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Universal shows off its goblin animatronics from Harry Potter Diagon Alley (Update: With new Hogwarts Express scenes, too!)

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Published: May 8, 2014 at 9:05 AM

We showed you yesterday a Today show promo that included a glimpse of the new goblin animatronics in the great hall of Gringotts bank in Universal Studios Florida's Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley. Today, Universal Orlando has released a promo clip of its own, allowing us a slightly longer and much closer look at the animatronics.

Last month, we wrote about Disney's use of projection technology on its new animatronics for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. In discussions here on Theme Park Insider and elsewhere online, many theme park fans hold on to a stereotype that Universal relies on projection technology in its attractions while Disney works more with practical effects. That Disney's using projection while Universal's developing richly detailed practical animatronics illustrates how old thoughts about who's doing what in the themed entertainment industry don't always hold when technology advances and media mash together. Creative leaders will find a way to implement whatever tools they feel best tell the story at hand.

Gringotts goblin

Update: Now Universal's posted another preview, with scenes from on board the Hogwarts Express.

For more on all of Universal's Harry Potter projects around the world, please visit our Wizarding World of Harry Potter page.

Readers' Opinions

From Brian Emery on May 8, 2014 at 9:14 AM
If I could only count the Goosebumps I just got watching this...

And Disney has a new Train Ride.... Just saying....
With Screens..

From Rob Pastor on May 8, 2014 at 9:17 AM
Wow. Can't wait to see these AA's. Just the quick glimpse indicates they will be as realistic as all he__. Universal seems to be doing a fantastic job on the Potter expansion.
From James Rao on May 8, 2014 at 9:34 AM
Looking great! Hopefully they will still be working when I finally get back to Orlando in 2015/16!
From Gabriel Schroll on May 8, 2014 at 10:25 AM
These animatronics look fantastic! And I'm really happy to see Universal hasn't forgotten about the technology.

With that being said, I think it's important to let your creative people come up with the solution that best fits your project. If it's an animatronic with a digitally projected face, then I'm fine with that. The Lumier animatronic at New Fantasyland for instance kind of blew my mind. I was so impressed with that. And I love the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train projected faces too.

I really don't care if it's purely animatronic or if the faces are projections. As long as it works and serves the purpose of the theming, I give it two thumbs up.

From 24.11.84.25 on May 8, 2014 at 11:28 AM
I know this may seem like a minor thing. But, I am really happy they decided to go with the lighting of the first movie rather than the last. (It is much darker in the first movie). It makes it look more mysterious in my opinion.
From 99.233.27.67 on May 8, 2014 at 3:07 PM
Wow, the animatronics and the set looks fantastic. Amazing to think that's just part of the queue! I can't wait to go this summer. This expansion is the only reason my family is going to Florida this year.
From Anthony Murphy on May 8, 2014 at 5:58 PM
I gotta tell you. It seems that Universal can never do wrong on this site. While it is impressive, this is like comparing apples to oranges to the Mine Train roller coaster at MK. First, it appears that you are going to be walking nearly up to the Goblins. If you were walking up to the dwarves, it would be the same thing, but they are part of a set piece an you are seeing them at one angle.
From TROY DAVIDSON on May 9, 2014 at 9:19 AM
I was blown away when I saw this video. I love the animatronics. I know a lot of people say Universal uses a lot of video screens (which they do) They also have their fair amout of AA's

Harry Potter-Sorting Hat/Dragon
The Mummy
T-Rex and Dinosaurs
3 Little Pigs in Shrek
Men in Black (Aliens)
Gringott's Goblins and soon to be roof mounted Dragon
E.T. (can't belive they kept these going for so long)

This makes me so excited to see what Universal has up their sleeve in the next year or so. (not half a decade or more like the other theme park(s) that shall not be named)

A home run! Universal Creative and the team should be proud!

From Michael Gilmore on May 10, 2014 at 1:35 PM
Uhm...I have seen better animatronics with Chucky at the VIP Hollywood Horror Nights Experience and these units are several years old. Hopefully we will be so far removed from these goblins that there skin won't look so fake.

KUDOS to WWW for attempting something cool like their Seven Dwarf projected faces to show all the character that was too complicated and/or too expensive to create before.

Obviously I am a proud Disney Geek, but I also deeply love Universal. I am very excited about all their new developments both in Orlando and Los Angeles. I loved the Transformers "Video" ride so much I rode it four times in-a-row thanks to that VIP pass.

Diagon Ally...one Porter Car or Potter car please!!

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