Published: June 22, 2014 at 5:02 AM

This Hogwarts Express attraction from the theming from the begining of the outer facade is an E Ticket attraction.
The idea that the express takes you to another park is fantastic. Rather than leaving guests at another area 600 feet away, you actually are at another destination, at another distinct location. This adds to the success of the ride.
Yes, there's a dollar benefit to Universal but that part shouldn't bother any guest as all should be purchasing Annual Passes anyway.
Seems Universal hasn't just moved the needle. Universal has taken the needle from WDW, moved the needle with Hogsmead, and now moved the needle twice beyond WDW.
Universal has raised the bar on itself twice in the last 3 years while, during the same 3 years, WDW built a cute children's coaster.
Universal grew 14% last year, AK grew 2%, DS grew 2%, and Epcot grew 1.5%.
Magic Kingdom will always be king but do you think after a full year of Potter, Transformers, Despicable Me, Springfield, King Kong, etc, that Uni might pass some of these rather half day and stale WDW parks?
James Rao

Published: June 22, 2014 at 5:51 AM

"The Hogwarts Express offers distinct journeys in each direction..."

You have cemented my decision to hold out for the eventual one-park-per-day round trip option. It is not only a fiscally sound choice, but one that offers the most comprehensive journey to boot.

Again, Mr. Niles, thank you for all the great Hogwarts coverage this past week. From the twitter posts, to the in depth articles, to the energetic and fun videos, you have done an amazing job of bringing Diagon Alley to life for those of us without media credentials. Very much appreciated.

Now I just need someone to cast an "Obliviate" spell on me so I forget everything I have read and seen over the last week, then the expansion will seem brand new to me when I visit! ;)

Rob Pastor

Published: June 22, 2014 at 6:48 AM

Robert: Would you rank Hogwarts Express as a D or E ticket attraction, including it's superb queues? Also, did you time the ride, from boarding to departure? Just curious.
Eric Malone

Published: June 22, 2014 at 7:05 AM

"there's no way to see all that the resort's parks have to offer in a single day"

That's funny, I've done this several times. Guess I'm just that amazing. ;)

Published: June 22, 2014 at 8:45 AM

James, I honestly don't think you're ever going to see that option.
David Brown

Published: June 22, 2014 at 9:25 AM

Universal can grow 14% in a year because it's so far behind Disney and it has potential for growth.

Everything we see in the actions of Disney says that they have calculated that they are pretty close to the maximum attendances they can expect to achieve and are therefore focussed on a) improving the guest experience within what they already have and b)extracting more money from those guests. Hence the magic arm-bands. And it's working for them...

Universal's growth is great. I look forward to the day when there is a choice of two theme park resorts that offer enough attractions to justify staying a week at each. But that day is still quite a long way off, despite the incredible achievements of Universal in the last few years.

Daniel Etcheberry

Published: June 22, 2014 at 9:49 AM

Is the train wheelchair accessible?

My hope is that in the future it will offer the option of a round trip.

There are videos of this ride online, but I cannot find a single one for the Gringotts one.

Robert Niles

Published: June 22, 2014 at 4:42 PM

Eric, that was *before* the Diagon Alley crowds hit.
Gabriel Schroll

Published: June 22, 2014 at 5:40 PM

I'm sorry, but nobody is going to convince me that this is not an E-Ticket ride.

I would love to see WDW create an immersive Star Wars area, which would include some kind of loading area similar to Star Tours, but instead of taking place entirely within a building, it would be a monorail station that would escort guests to EPCOT's World Showcase, where a new "country" would be added - another Star Wars planet.

I know that's completely illogical for many reasons. But DHS and EPCOT could use a boost, and this would help both parks. Plus I know monorail tracks aren't cheap, so connecting the two parks that are closest to one another would make the most sense. Also, having what would now be three park entrances at EPCOT would be complete overkill, so...

WDW could look at connecting Star Wars land at DHS with Avatar land at Animal Kingdom? They'd make good bedfellows, so to speak. And in my opinion, those two parks are the ones that take the least amount of time to get through so you could conceivably start at AK in the morning while setting up evening Fast Passes at DHS.

I'm just throwing things at the wall to see if anything sticks.

When it comes right down to it, Universal will never surpass any of the Disney parks until or unless they can add a third gate. That would be monumental.

Until then, I think of them kind of as the little engine that could.

Published: June 22, 2014 at 7:59 PM

Two days at Universal means minus two days at Disney. It may also mean passing Disney entirely, because as Walt knew, people keep coming back to see something new, and now that's Universal. Universal has also raised the bar for immersiveness, so anything that Disney does must meet the same standard, and that's good for Disney fans. It's time for a management change at Disney to let go of the geniuses behind My Magic Plus, and bring back Matt Ouimet.

Published: June 23, 2014 at 1:25 AM

@Daniel Etcheberry
Yes, the Hogwarts Express is accessible for wheelchairs for people who can't transfer. As is Harry Potter and the escape from Gringots bank. You can do the queue fine in a wheelchair. After the fake elevator ride you pick up your 3D glasses and where everyone goes up the stairs you can take a real elevator to the loading platform. You need to be able to transfer to the ride vehicle, wheelchairs are not able to enter the ride due to it's intensity.
Hope that helps.

Thank you to Theme Park Insider for your amazing coverage. I'm sure to visit this amazing addition as soon as possible!