Earlier today, Universal Team Members were invited to try out the new Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride. It’s the new multi-million dollar ride, and only brand new ride developed for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
Although team member previews were held previously, today is the first day anyone’s been allowed to ride the new attraction. The queue takes guests on a tour through Hogwarts Castle, through many familiar rooms and up to the loading area for the ride. Previously special guests have been allowed to tour the castle, but had to stop short of the ride.
Today’s previews didn’t last long, as the ride broke down before most of those in line could get on. But that’s what previews are for, to work out the kinks before the grand opening.
But before it went down, some employees did get to ride, and one of them has written to us with many previously unannounced details of the ride. Universal has described the ride as “a revolutionary, 360-degree theme park experience and first-ever combination of live-action, advanced robotic technology and innovative filmmaking.”
According to the anonymous team member who wrote to us, the ride mixes real world environments with video screens, similar to The Many Adventures of Spider-Man in the same park.
Warning: If you don’t want the ride spoiled, don’t read their description below. Also, since this was sent anonymously, we can’t verify its legitimacy.
UPDATE: Our anonymous source wrote back to use right after we posted this telling us he made it all up. I have confirmation that this story is in fact not true, although parts of it are very similar to the ride.
“It’s a really good ride, a lot of fun, although I still think I like Spider-Man better. But my friends disagree.
“After walking through the castle rooms and listening to the pre-show with the movie characters, you go through the usual safety spiel and the sorting hat is there. It’s pretty funny and stays with the Potter theme through the safety info.
“Then you sit in chairs similar to the Incredible Hulk coaster (overhead harness) and the ride starts out slow. You fly out of the castle following Harry and Ron but it’s like you’re just watching a screen, like The Simpsons Ride while your seat bounces around. But then you sort of fly through a real forest and see both the screen and real props – sort of like the Spider-Man ride except it’s not in 3D.
“Before that you see the castle and a quiddich game. It’s all happy at first. The Weasley brothers fly in at one point and start throwing fireworks around you (a really cool effect) but then Draco pops in and sends you off-course pushing you toward the Forbidden Forest. Harry and Ron have to catch up with you.
“When you get to the Forest you realize Lord Voldemort is there and he is trying to get Harry and you’re inbetween them so you’re in trouble. So you avoid him and his henchmen and end up falling into the spider pit in the forest. Here’s where it really gets cool because there are animatronic spiders all over the place that you go around. After that you go further into the Forest and see dragons like in the movie. You are still being chased by Voldemort, but now you are spotted by a dragon (on a screen) and it flies toward you. You make some fast turns and suddenly there’s a huge animatronic dragon spitting fire. The fire is really hot but it misses you and hits Voldemort instead and sends him flying away, for now. But now you’re being chased by the dragon instead (back to screens). You fly past Hagrid’s giant brother, Grawp, in the forest and you think he’s swinging at you, but he saves you from the dragon by hitting it instead.
“Then you think you’re safe but suddenly Dementors come out and start coming after you. This takes you out of the Forest. Then while flying away you see a bunch of other characters and places from the movies. I think they tried to cram as much in as possible to make sure the fans see all their favorites. You see buildings and cities and a flying car.
“All of this time Harry and Ron are nowhere to be seen, but then suddenly Harry shows up and does the Patronus spell and sends away the Dementors, but that attracts the attention of Voldemort. You follow Harry and Voldemort battling back to the castle where Harry is able to defeat him.
“Then you finally get back to the castle where Hermione casts a spell to put you back down where you started.”
Here are a couple of photos of the queue submitted by another person who didn’t make it on the ride today: