By Fowl Owlerson
Disclaimer: Unless where otherwise noted, the following is rumor and speculation, and should not be regarded as fact unless confirmed by the companies mentioned.
In March of 2017, I wrote about the rumored replacement for Dueling Dragons at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure. Dueling Dragons closed on September 4, 2017.
It’s been more than a year as of the publication date of this column, and Universal Orlando has yet to publicly disclose what this new Wizarding World experience is going to be. I’ve been listening to various sources since construction commenced and have more details to share.
The attraction, as previously rumored in our column, will feature magical creatures from the Wizarding World. It’ll be set around and inside the Forbidden Forest, which those familiar with the series of books and movies know sits on the edge of Hogwarts Castle. Thematically, it all works, given that Hogsmeade and Hogwarts are inside Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
So, with the Forbidden Forest as the setting for the ride, what will the story be?
Based on what I’ve pieced together from several sources, the attraction will follow guests as they participate in a Hogwarts “Care of Magical Creatures” class taught by Rubeus Hagrid (with Robbie Coltrane reprising his role).
A source disclosed that Arthur Weasely (with Mark Williams reprising his role) will be assisting Hagrid in some manner. Something will – as it always does with the storylines of theme park attractions – go awry and guests will venture through the Forbidden Forest and encounter various magical creatures.
As for the technical aspects of the experience, it’ll be on a coaster track with ride vehicles that will be “enchanted” versions of Hagrid’s motorcycle. This photo update from our past coverage with descriptions is a great visualization of the coaster track.
Parts of the experience will propel guests forward and backward with sharp turns and drops. Think something closer to Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts than Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in terms of the guest experience. There will be practical animatronics and screens, and the experience in total should be around 3 minutes long.
As for the opening date, 2019 has been confirmed as the opening year by Universal Orlando. To be more specific, it’s likely to be spring to summer 2019. More details will emerge from Universal Orlando Resort as the attraction draws closer to being completed.
Once construction has been completed on this Forbidden Forest coaster, I’ve heard Universal Orlando intends on closing Fear Factor Live at Universal Studios and constructing the long-rumored Ministry of Magic experience… although I’ll believe it when I see it.
Check out our helicopter video above the construction site for this yet-unnamed Harry Potter coaster below:
• Fowl Owlerson has been attending theme parks since he was a little owlet. When he’s not filtering through the latest murmurings around the industry, he can be found writing, reading, and snacking on the occasional rodent. Follow him on Twitter @fowlowlerson for the latest rumors, and drop an anonymous letter to him at email@example.com or via direct message on Twitter.