The New Harry Potter Roller Coaster Sounds Like It Might Be Universal’s Best Ride Yet
From wand spells to cauldron cakes, there’s no shortage of magical experiences at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Guests traveling to Universal Orlando Resort can already face dementors and dragons at Hogwarts Castle, descend into the vaults of Gringotts Bank and even glide past Buckbeak outside Hogsmeade village. But, this summer, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure won’t just break boundaries of ride experiences — it’ll make you really, truly feel like one of Harry’s Hogwarts classmates.
When it opens on June 13, 2019, the new Harry Potter ride at Universal’s Islands of Adventure will fully upend traditional roller coaster design. Enchanted motorbikes specifically designed to make passengers “feel the freedom of flight” will twist, turn and move forward and backward, all at speeds up to 50 miles per hour — faster than Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride at Universal Studios Florida next door.
The motorbikes and attached sidecars — which are a dead ringer for Hagrid’s own, as seen in the "Harry Potter" films — will provide two completely different experiences as guests soar beyond the spellbound walls of Hogwarts Castle at high-flung speeds, all while remaining somewhat family-friendly. (Passengers 48” tall and over can ride, the same restriction for the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride inside Hogwarts Castle at Universal’s Islands of Adventure park.)
In a way, it’s not just a Harry Potter ride — it’s an opportunity to live as him, Hermione and Ron in an entirely new way. Soon-to-be passengers will first join Hagrid’s Magical Care of Creatures class before reaching far-flung expanses of the Forbidden Forest, an actual woodsy realm created by planting over 1,000 trees. While on board, riders will come face-to-face with characters heretofore not available within Universal theme parks as well, including cornish pixies, a centaur and an audio-animatronic Fluffy the three-headed dog, first seen in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone."
Like racing from trolls and treachery within the underground vaults of Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts or flying a broom through Hogwarts Castle and over a Quidditch pitch on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure places would-be wizards within familiar dangers of the films themselves. Riders will come face-to-face with Devil’s snare, which entangled the trio in the first "Harry Potter" film, as well as some yet-to-be announced creatures within the depths of the hauntingly dark forest.
It’s all coming at the apex of ride innovation, at a time when Orlando theme parks are collectively hitting a high mark of realistic storytelling. Even Art Director Alan Gilmore, who has been involved in the creation of "Harry Potter" films and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, promised the new ride will “be the most highly themed, immersive coaster experience ever created.”
With its multi-directional vehicle, state-of-the-art design and appearances by unfathomable mythical beings, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure sounds less like a new Harry Potter experience and more like Universal Orlando Resort’s answer to our #1 ride at Walt Disney World — or, more likely, a competitor to the Millennium Falcon ride or Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, opening within Disney’s Star Wars-themed land later this year. Still, no matter what’s to come, one thing is for certain: Harry Potter fans are going to be delighted when this coaster debuts in summer 2019.