PHOTO REPORT: Universal Orlando Resort 2/21/23 (Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Closed for Refurbishment, VelociCoaster Accepting Express, and More)

Annie Wilson

PHOTO REPORT: Universal Orlando Resort 2/21/23 (Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Closed for Refurbishment, VelociCoaster Accepting Express, and More)

Welcome to an extremely busy Fat Tuesday here at the Universal Orlando Resort. The crowds are here, and so are we, so let’s get going and see what’s happening around the parks today.

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As we approached Islands of Adventure, we could see the signs notifying guests that Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure will not be operating today. These signs were placed all around the park to inform guests of the temporary closure.

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Port of Entry is one of the best places in the park. From the music to the streetmosphere, it really sets the tone for the day.

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New flags have been added around Seuss Landing. We noticed the poles around the entrance had been bare lately, but today we spotted bright, new flags blowing in the breeze.

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Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is closed temporarily to repair damages from Hurricane Ian last year, but it looks like they’re doing some other refurbishment as well. The entrance has a fresh base coat in preparation for new paint and lockers are blocked off by construction walls.

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We might not be able to enjoy a ride on Hagrid’s, but we can enjoy a Butterbeer in a brand new souvenir stein. This metal stein debuted out in Hollywood a few weeks ago, but has now arrived here in Orlando. It’s $37.99 and comes with a cold or frozen Butterbeer.

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I needed to send a letter, so I decided to send it by owl in the Wizarding World. Did you know you can get a special postmark on your letters and send them from Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley? Each area has its own postmark ink stamp. You can purchase a book of postage stamps, or bring your own. The ink stamp marking on your letter is free and makes a fun little surprise when sending mail. There’s even a mailbox there to drop it in (for the owls to pick up later, of course).

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universal orlando resort photo report 2 21 23 10

Last week, we first brought you the rumor about VelociCoaster getting Express and now we have confirmed it! The sign has always been here, hidden under a covering, but now we can admire its true beauty.

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universal orlando resort photo report 2 21 23 12

The full size wooden VelociCoaster model has increased in price. It was $150 when it originally debuted, but now it’s priced at $200.

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Jurassic Park River Adventure has reopened from its annual refurbishment. Almost everything got refreshed, but no major changes were made to the attraction. A lot of the refurbishment involved repairing the hole in the side of the building caused by Hurricane Ian.

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A small section is blocked off in Camp Jurassic for some maintenance. Brand new rope is being installed along one of the bridges. Safety first. It’s just one small bridge and the rest of the play area is open.

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universal orlando resort photo report 2 21 23 65

The Pizza Skulls are gone from the Mess Tent. RIP. In their place, the vegan hand pies have taken over. You might remember these coffin-shaped sambusas from Halloween Horror Nights. They can now be found here at the Mess Tent or over at the San Francisco Beer Cart at Universal Studios Florida.

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Some places have been on winter break lately, so the parks have been very busy over the last few days. We were not expecting it to be so packed on a Tuesday morning. Almost all the attractions around the park had high wait times. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man had a 70 minute wait when we passed by. We also heard that Spider-Man may be open during Early Park Admission while Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is closed.

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There were lines everywhere. There were even lines of people just standing around. This is good practice for the rest of the day.

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Over at Universal Studios Florida, there are construction walls up near the entrance to the park. They surround the planters and fence to the right of the entrance. This could be some typical maintenance or perhaps adding more entrance scanners. We recently saw new scanners installed and assume they will be added to the rest of the entrances soon.

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universal orlando resort photo report 2 21 23 27

Inside the park, the construction walls continue to wrap around the planter, but stop just before the entrance to Guest Services.

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universal orlando resort photo report 2 21 23 45

The Silver Screen store at the front of the park has removed the silver Betty Boop sign from the entrance. The snack stand in front of the store was recently demolished and we believe there are going to be a lot of changes coming to this area of the park soon.

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universal orlando resort photo report 2 21 23 47

Inside Silver Screen, the Betty Boop theme remains. The Hello Kitty Shop underwent some changes last year, so we expect this store could change, too.

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Despicable Me Minion Mayhem had a 150 minute wait just before noon. It was absolutely packed today.

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Just over the construction walls around the entrance of Villain-Con, we can see entrance signs have been added for the attraction. There’s one for standby and one for Express.

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These signs are good signs, right?

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The front of the building has gotten its fresh coat of paint and looks complete now. The edges have been painted and the building has maintained the same color scheme it had for its previous tenant.

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The side of the building facing the new Minion Cafe is not finished yet, but has gotten painted since our last visit.

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Some of the blue scrims have come off of the new structure of Minion Cafe. This building looks huge already.

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The Wall Climb in New York appears to be gone completely. We noticed it had been closed off on our last few visits, but now all the equipment, signs, and register are gone. You can still find one of these in Jurassic Park at Islands of Adventure, though.

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Revenge of the Mummy was posted at a 90 minute wait.

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There’s nothing like family. There was a 70 minute wait for Fast and Furious: Supercharged. This is how you know it’s a busy day.

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The Hogwarts Express was down temporarily when we were making our way to London. There was a small crowd of guests crowded around the entrance hoping the train would reopen shortly.

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universal orlando resort photo report 2 21 23 56

Diagon Alley is always busy. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts had a 90 minute wait, but we were more surprised by the lines for the money exchange and the Leaky Cauldron.

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universal orlando resort photo report 2 21 23 59

New “Pardon Our Dust” signs were added to the construction walls around KidZone.

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There are some new iron-on patches available for Quidditch players. Whether you’re a Beater, Seeker, Keeper, or Chaser, there’s a patch for you. These are $13 each and available in the Universal Studios Store.

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A few select Mardi Gras items are 30% off. The jewelry and ball caps are marked down, but most of the other merchandise is still full price.

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The construction walls at the exit have come down and the new scanners have been revealed. We saw Islands of Adventure get upgraded scanners last year, and Universal Studios Florida has started to get new ones installed, too.

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That’s all for this visit to the Universal Orlando Resort. Thanks for joining us around the parks today. It’s been a busy day, but if you want to watch it all unfold, check out our update video below.