Visitors wait 5 hours for Harry Potter ride

MIKE SCHNEIDER
Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — You might need a magic wand to get on the new Harry Potter ride at Universal Orlando Resort.

For a second day in a row, visitors waited up to five hours to get on the ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, located in the new Diagon Alley section of Universal Studios. A day earlier, on the first day Diagon Alley was open to the public, visitors waited for as long as seven hours.

A sign at the entrance to the 3-D ride at midday Wednesday said the wait would be 300 minutes.

“We’re not going to wait,” said Eric Poudrier after snapping a photo of the wait time. He was visiting with his girlfriend and 2-year-old daughter from Montreal.

Tammy Clark and her 11-year-old son, Ethan, also decided to skip the ride after seeing the line.

“It’s a five hour wait,” said Clark, of Bridgeport, W.Va. “You won’t be able to see anything else.”

Juan Sigler, his wife Susy and their two children, Samantha and Steven, arrived at the park after 7 a.m., got in line and didn’t exit the ride until well after noon. But they said it was worth a five-hour wait since they felt immersed in Harry Potter’s world.

“It has great special effects and you see the central characters,” said Susy Sigler, of Pembroke Pines, Fla.

The ride is the centerpiece of the new Harry Potter section. It combines a roller coaster ride with 3-D projections featuring characters from the Harry Potter books and movies. The rest of Diagon Alley consists of seven detail-heavy shops selling merchandise such as wizard robes and interactive wands that allow visitors to perform wizard tricks throughout the section.

Honeymooners David and Jennifer O’Neill spent their second day in Diagon Alley but skipped the ride since Jennifer isn’t a fan of roller coasters. Dressed in wizard robes, they wandered through the shops of Diagon Alley purchasing wizard wands and other merchandise.

“It’s fantastic! It’s like being in Diagon Alley,” said Jennifer O’Neill, of Dallas. “We walked in and it was so surreal.”

Universal spokesman Tom Schroder said the park doesn’t disclose attendance figures but “we are very pleased with the results we’re seeing.” Park workers were trying to accommodate the crowds by giving visitors a ticket with a time to return if they found the wait too long on a first attempt, he said.

Not everyone was thrilled with the long wait to get on Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.

Jason and Kristi Phillips of Baton Rouge, La. waited with their twin 9-year-old sons, Jacob and Jordan, for four and a half hours. When asked if the wait was worth it, all four said in unison: “No!”

They had to board the ride three different times Wednesday morning since it stopped twice mid-trip because of technical glitches.

“Nothing is worth a four and a half hour wait,” Kristi Phillips said.

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Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter: http://twitter.com/mikeschneiderap

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