The dragon on the ride building actually breathes fire.
Today we’ve got a good look at Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts at Universal Studios Orlando. The ride will be part of “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley”, not to be confused with “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade” located right next door at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
The Diagon Alley section of the park will have its public grand opening on June 20, and it’s safe to say that the place will be packed. When the Hogsmeade section of IoA opened in 2010, there was a six hour wait just to get into the park, then you had to wait several more hours on a line that snaked all the way around the park just to enter The Wizarding World. Once you were in Hogsmeade, it was only a two hour wait to ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t go on opening day, unless you only want to ride Harry Potter and the Endless Queue.
Now, that I’m done proving my theme park geek cred, let’s talk about Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts. It’s a roller coaster featuring 3D screens and effects – the first of its kind. You start out in the queue area, walking through the main hall of Gringotts Bank, which will be lined with Goblin tellers. You wind up in Bill Weasley’s office, and then head down to the caverns below the bank. There, you’ll board a roller coaster car, and take a ride through an all-out battle. You’ll see Harry, Ron, and Hermione take on Voldemort and company, with a few surprises along the way.
Poor Warwick Davis. The guy has to spend hours having full goblin makeup applied, just to give a quick spiel in a behind-the-scenes YouTube video. Check out these images from Universal Orlando Resort Blog, and be sure to meet me on the other side for some closing thoughts.
A look at Bankers Hall in Gringotts.
Each ride car seats up to 12 guests.
Concept art for the loading area.
An encounter with Bellatrix Lestrange.
“I am the lasht one!”
I visited Universal’s Islands of Adventure a few months after the original Wizarding World opened, and the theming was amazing. Every inch of Hogmeade looked like it came straight out of the movie. NBCUniversal is sparing no expense to raise their parks up to the level of the Disney Parks (Maybe you guys could have saved a little money to buy another season of Community?). Other than the Escape From Gringotts, there are a number of shows and shops to explore, as well as the Hogwarts Express, a train that takes guests with a two-park pass from Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade and vice-versa. Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts looks like a lot of fun, no matter which house of Hogwarts you belong to (I’m a Hufflepuff).