With Dragon Challenge closing in September last year, we knew it cleared the way for a brand-new thrill coaster to take its place, but the suspense is killing us already!
So, what do we ACTUALLY know?
Universal have only revealed the following: "[the new attraction will be] a highly-themed roller coaster that will take us into a different corner of the Wizarding World, where guests will encounter some of their favourite characters and creatures.” This doesn’t reveal too much – only that the attraction will definitely be a coaster rather than a simulator attraction similar to Escape from Gringotts. The use of the word ‘creatures’ is very telling though, and leads us on to what is our first rumour…
*Beware…we are entering the rumour mill here! None of these details have been confirmed by Universal Orlando Resort*
Will the attraction be set in the Forbidden Forest?
One rumour that seems to hold a lot of weight is that the new attraction will be set in the Forbidden Forest. This makes sense, as the area where the attraction will sit is within a reasonable distance of Hogwarts Castle and would tie in with the idea that guests will be able to see some famous ‘creatures’ from the series. We can only hope these creatures won’t include Aragog, but rumours are rife that we will come face to face with the infamous 3-headed dog Fluffy from the Philosopher’s Stone.
If the ride does go through the Forbidden Forest, we can definitely expect to see Hagrid at some point, which is why the ride is often being referred to as ‘Hagrid’s ride’. Some people have speculated that the ride will even go through Hagrid’s hut on it’s journey, which would be incredible!
Other options for theming have included the ‘Great Lake’ where guests could see creatures such as Grindylows, Selkies and giant squids! It could be that the ride incorporates both settings due to the alleged mixture of visual effects and track time which brings us to our next rumour…
What will the ride look like?
First off, we know that the ride manufacturer is Intamin, who designed the Escape from Gringotts Ride in Diagon Alley. So, if you love that ride, you know you’re in safe hands!
The rumour is that it will be a coaster that is fast and low to the ground, featuring at least one launch, several drops and shows scenes along the way. The track would potentially snake its way around the Forbidden Forest, broken up by highs, lows, trees and rocks. We think this sounds very similar to Cheetah Hunt at Busch Gardens, one of the most exhilarating coasters in the ‘family’ category. This ride similarly features more than one launch, as the new attraction is rumoured to do as well.
The most thrilling part of the ride will come around half way through, when riders will allegedly be sent upwards at an almost vertical angle before coming to a stop at the top of a steep lift, several storey’s high. Suddenly, the ride starts travelling backwards at speed, which is sure to promote some screaming from the riders! The source of this rumour is the sighting of a steep spike/pole which connects to nothing and is likely to hold the double track mechanism.
Links have also been made to the ride Thi3rteen at Alton Towers, due to the emergence of a rumour that the track will feature a vertical drop sequence in which the ride cars in their entirety drop vertically from one track to another below. The theming of this area of the ride would work well with The Devils Snare trap from the first book, where Harry Ron and Hermione have to remain calm in order to drop through the vine’s creeping tendrils. Whether this fits in with the Forbidden Forest theme, we’re not so sure!
From sneak previews of pictures we’ve seen, the track colour is also brown, which supports the idea that the ride will have an outdoorsy theme and would definitely fit in with the Forbidden Forest theory! The loading platforms for both sides of the Dragon Challenge ride are also staying, which has lead to rumours that some visual effects might be used as the track loops through these stations.
What will the ride cars look like?
There are three main theories on what the ride cars might be like when the new Harry Potter attraction opens. The first theory, and probably the most subscribed to theory, is that guests will enjoy the ride on cars modelled to look like Hagrid’s famous motorbike. This would give the ride a similar feel to the Tron coaster from Disney’s Japan park, which it has also been announced is coming to Walt Disney World in 2020. If Universal felt that they wanted a similar competing attraction, this theory would make a lot of sense.
The second theming theory is that guests will be whisked off on an adventure with Ron and Harry in Arthur Weasley’s Ford Anglia as they crash, bang and dive their way into the Forbidden Forest. Personally, this is our favourite theory but we think a combination of all of these theories will eventually be what Universal settle upon.
Finally, some people have theorised that the ride will be ‘pulled’ by Thestrals, mythical beings that can only be seen by people who have witnessed someone dying. We’re not sure about this idea as we don’t feel the Thestrals appear enough in the books to be given their own dedicated attraction – but it will definitely be an interesting ride if they do!
So what’s our best guess?
If we had to put money on it, we would bet that the ride will be set in the Forbidden Forest, with ride cars shaped like Hagrid’s motorbike. However, we do think that the Ford Anglia will make an appearance (how could it not in this setting?) so we are open to argument on those ride car designs! We will also be crossing our fingers for a summer time 2019 opening…watch this space!
All theories in this blog are rumours! To receive updates on new announcements, keep an eye on our Facebook for all the latest Orlando news.
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