The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has been a huge worldwide phenomenon, bringing the attention of Harry Potter fans straight to Universal Orlando. It brought out some of the most elaborate details, and adventures of any theme park attraction to date. Universal is looking to do it once again when they open Diagon Alley later this summer. While we still don’t have an opening date for the new area, we do have some amazing new details about the signature attraction-Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. The new ride has only been described as “multi-sensory adventure”, but today we get a few new details, including who we can expect to see in the attraction.
Death Eaters, Goblins, Weasleys, and Dragons will make up this all new attraction. Even worse to face, guests will have to face Bellatrix LeStrange as part of the all new attraction. Universal says that the all new attraction will not be a coaster, but will have a mix of different elements, including some fast moving sections. Unlike it’s predecessor at Islands of Adventure, Gringotts will have a height requirement of just 42 inches, allowing the smaller Muggles to be able to ride. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which is nestled in the halls of Hogwarts has a 48 inch height requirement, leaving some of the smaller wizards to hope for a growing spell.
The adventure will begin on the streets of Diagon Alley as guests approach the crooked marble columns of Gringotts Wizard Bank. The entire scene will be taken straight from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. As guests approach the bank, a 60 foot mechanical dragon will spit flames down towards the guests below.
While the view from outside will be amazing, the view inside will take your breath away as Universal will transport you directly to the film, as the bank looks EXACTLY as it did in those final movies. Guests at Universal Studios Florida will find themselves roaming through the lobby of the bank, with goblins on either side, moving and even talking to them as they go about their business of handling wizard money. Guests will be Muggles welcomed inside by Bill Weasley (once again played by Domhnall Gleeson) as the tour begins.
The same time, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are sneaking into the bank to retrieve a Horcrux. They are trying to get the Horcrux to put an end to the evil Lord Voldemort, who is for the first time a part of the theme park experience, unlike at Hogsmeade.
When things go horribly wrong, as they always do in theme park attractions, guests are taken into the depths of the bank vaults and past some very recognizable visual moments. The attraction will then whisk guests past trolls, dragons, and even dementors as Bellatrix LeStrange notices Muggles snooping in places they shouldn’t be. The ride vehicles will take guests on a journey throughout the different areas of the bank vaults, and will encounter all manner of new elements designed specifically for this ride. The car will hold 12 guests at a time, and will carry guests through the dangers, leading to a final showdown with “He Who Must not Be Named”…of course we’re going to name him…VOLDEMORT. That’s right, Muggles will be pitted against the dark lord himself. The ride will feature a huge 60 foot drop, as well as live effects like pyrotechnics, high definition 3D animation, and of course dragons! The ride will last about four minutes, and will combine roller coaster style thrills with dark ride effects and detail, making it one the most detailed attractions that Universal has ever done…and quite possibly the most detailed ride in the world.
Universal has released a behind the scenes video with tons of new looks, and a peek at Bellatrix and Voldemort in action. The interesting thing is that the ride will take place during the events of the seventh film. You will see the film unfolding as you watch from the sidelines. Guests will see security break down, and deal with Bellatrix after she deals with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Security Trolls, and a huge dragon will be trying to stop you from escaping. Plus, the ride will send you plummeting via a new track system that rumors say will literally drop your vehicle down towards the big dragon. The more we hear, the more new technology we hear about, the more excited we get about it.
Video – More details about Escape from Gringotts
The video does seem to show off a bit of the digital portions of the ride, as well as the motions the ride vehicles will be following, so it’s likely that we see some huge thrills as well as some high tech wizardry. The ride will utilize 4K video, as well as 360 degree sets, and 3D projection. Will we have to wear 3D glasses? That remains to be seen, but judging the visuals, it’s very much a possibility.
“Harry Potter and the Escape fromGringotts will change the way you think about theme park attractions,” said Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative. “We’ve created an entirely new type of ride that propels guests into the story like never before, and guests will remember it long after their visit toDiagon Alley.”
Gringotts will be the centerpiece of the huge new Diagon Alley, but there will be tons of more things for us Muggles (non magic folk) to experience as we explore the world of Diagon Alley. For starters, guests will be able to roam through specialty shops and an expanded Ollivaders wand experience. Of course guests will also be able to board the Hogwarts Express at Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station for an all new adventure as they fight dementors, soar past Weasleys and encounter the Knight Bus, all on the way to Hogsmeade Station at Universal Islands of Adventure.
There is no exact opening date as of yet, but all signs point to a mid June opening, much like the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter had in 2010. That, along with many other details, will be revealed in the coming weeks…and possibly days.
Stay tuned for even more from Universal, and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and be sure to follow along with us on Twitter @BehindThrills for the latest updates!