Published: February 16, 2015
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
Motion Base Ride
Published: February 16, 2015
You are visiting Gringotts Bank to meet with Bill Weasley and tour the underground vaults before opening your own Gringotts account. However, you just happen to be visiting on the same day that Harry, Ron, and Hermoine have disguised themselves to break into Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault, from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Before your tour can begin, Bellatrix finds you and attacks, soon to be joined by Voldemort. Will you ever escape from the “safest place on Earth”? A hybrid of roller coaster and motion-base ride systems, coupled with 3D filmed scenes and practical effects, Escape from Gringotts features filmed performances from Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Finnes, and Domhnall Gleeson, who reprised their roles as Bellatrix, Voldemort, and Bill Weasley, respectively, for this ride.Tweet
This ride definitely got better the more I rode it. I loved the queue, but it was a treat for a theme park geek like me to unravel the sheer number of new effects and effect combinations on the ride itself. Having said that, the narrative doesn't quite hold together for me. I don't get why the best that Voldemort could muster on us is a fire spell that he casts in the wrong direction. I don't get why we should feel safe at the end returning to a train station still miles underground when we know that Voldemort is on our tail (like, why can't we burst out the bank with the dragon and all?). AND, SPEAKING OF WHICH, what about that huge "hydrolator" down to the ride level? It's a great way to create the illusion of being deep in the earth. But, uh, that illusion is broken pretty fast when you only have to take a few stairs (down!) to exit back to street level.
This is really nitpicking though. The ride is excellent, and I found myself enjoying it more and more, which is the sign of a great attraction. Once you've gone through the proper queue once, the single rider line is a beautiful thing (but don't expect to take the elevator there!). Oh, and the sound design is the best I've ever heard on a ride.
Great attraction, if a bit short. The queue is so detailed and amazing. The ride itself is great fun, and I love the first drop, as it caught me by surprise. The screens themselves look great and the physical sets are very impressive. The final launch also caught me by surprise and is a ton of fun.
This is an attraction that gets better the more times you ride. There's so much going on, and the sets are so huge and seamless with the screens, that it takes repeat rides to fully appreciate. After my first ride I would have given the ride portion of the attraction an 8. But after a couple of more rides I changed my score to a perfect 10. It's as good as Spiderman, Transformers, and Mummy, but a notch below Forbidden Journey... We ended up riding Gringott's 11 times on our vacation. I've never rode a ride where seat placement changes the attraction so much. Depending on your seat in one of the two cars, your placement in front of, and view of, the screens is often dramatically different. For best thrills sit in the last row of the second car. But my favorite seat for screen viewing was first row far left of the second car. The queue is an A+ with some of the best AA's I have ever experienced.
Of all of Universal's screen-based dark rides, Escape from Gringotts is the only attraction where the screen-to-screen structure is noticeable to me. This is probably a side effect of the overall lack of simulation in the attraction - out of the five or six significant screen-based scenes that I count, only one offers significant simulation effects. As a result, several scenes in the attraction can feel drawn out and detached from guests. Contrast this with rides like Spider-Man, Transformers, and Forbidden Journey that all offer near-constant simulation during scenes. As a result, I find myself more consistently engaged with these rides when compared to Gringotts.
To be more positive, several elements of Gringotts are outstanding, including a track-based effect in the intro scene, the overall screen sizes and projection quality, the downright killer audio, and a spectacular finale maneuver. The physical sets are also enormous and detailed. Additionally, guests should find themselves easily distracted in the stellar queue and pre-show rooms featuring a variety of effects - from audio-animatronics, to high-quality musion projections, to a simulated elevator descent.
Overall, I'm giving Escape from Gringotts an 8/10. Despite numerous positives, I feel that the ride's general design offers poor pacing and perhaps boredom as certain scenes linger substantially with few elements of interactivity (simulation) to maintain engagement. Innovative ride technology, impressive projections and sets, and an incredible queue help it win points. Enjoyable attraction overall, but only die hard Potter fans should wait over an hour to ride.
What a great attraction. The queue should be considered part of the ride. It's gorgeous and incredibly well themed. The preshow is also great. You step into a elevator to take you down the vaults, a la Journey to the Center of the Earth at Tokyo DisneySea. Lots of similarities to that experience actually, which is great. Really well done and exciting. The ride itself is also a refreshing example of what can be done with coaster carts as a dark ride. While it is a little "screen" to next "screen", the transitions in between the videos are really clever and well done, and the 3D and the ride does not make you as dizzy as Forbidden Journey. The lack of physical props is upsetting, but the story the ride brings you on makes up for the lack of immersion using physical props. I felt more immersed in this ride then I did on Spiderman. Not saying the ride is better than Spiderman, as that might be a better "ride", but this is an immersive story that places you IN the Harry Potter movies at a specific moment, and you interact with part of the movie. What I found myself talking about to everyone when I got home, is how I felt like I was part of the movie, just unseen by the cameras at the time of filming, which is really cool. Can't wait to experience it again.
The loading is area is amazing..the rest of the queue is well themed, but the ride itself left me underwhelmed. It was basically getting moved around from screen to screen..I wish it had more of a thrill ride element, but overall it deserves marks for themeing and scale.
I would rate the ride as 8 out of 10. It takes ride characteristics from the Mummy, Spiderman/Transformers, and the Forbidden Journey and mashes them together into what could be best described as a 3D dark ride that happens to have a few tame roller coaster elements (more like a mine train ride)included. The story is somewhat engaging, albeit slightly convoluted due to the short running time of the ride. The actual Gringotts Bank queue (after you stand in line outside which feels like an eternity) is impressive and the animatronic goblins look very, very real. I wouldn't recommend waiting over a hour to ride this ride though.
A few notes about the ride (possible spoilers):
There aren't many actual, physical settings throughout the ride. It almost feels as if the ride travels from screen to screen with transitions of darkness between scenes. You could have fooled me for the most part in believing I was in an underground cave.
The actor playing Bill Weasley almost feels like he's phoning his performance in. The scene that plays in the queue and his scenes on the ride had a weird vibe like he was just passively interacting with the audience and the characters around him.
its worth until 2.00 hours after that (in my case 3 hours) you'll get disappointed.
I rate this 10 out of 10. The queue is spectacular, and the animatronic goblins are truly lifelike. I love this ride because to me, it is a perfect mix of simulator (which I hate) and mild roller coaster. It is definitely milder than Forbidden Journey, but that's ok. I actually like that they are 2 completely different rides. I hate that theme parks are only building 3D simulator rides anymore - I feel cheated out of a real ride. Escape from Gringotts provides a little of both. And the simulator aspects of Gringotts did NOT make me sick like most simulators do. We rode it 3 times in a row (2nd time it broke down half-way through which allowed us to ride the 3rd time). I loved it!
Outstanding ride. The wait is worth it just for the queue alone. 9/10
Great theme. Outstanding tech. Mediocre and slightly boring ride. I really was expecting a great deal more.
Escape from Gringotts continues in the Universal tradition of putting the guest in the movie. Like Spiderman and Transformers before, this ride continues to tell a story. However, I was thinking there would be more coaster action to this attraction and not just a 3D sim ride that moved from room to room.
I'm very pleased that the posted wait time on my day of visiting was just 15 minutes. I don't think I would wait more than an hour for this ride in its first year. I'm not that die hard of a fan.
The tech elements are wonderful and amazing when they are all working, which thankfully they were for me.
A great ride, but I think FJ has a slight edge due to the physical props vs almost all screen based effects on Gringotts.
The queue is worth waiting for this ride alone.
This is a tough one for me. If we're comparing the 2 Harry Potter rides, Forbidden Journey still wins for the wow factor. Flying with Harry Potter on those kuka arms just blows me away every time.
But this? It's a very good ride, yes. Just a very good ride. I love some of the innovations. That first drop is very fun! But it just seemed like a hybrid of rides I've already been on. The story is told well, i think, and is much easier to follow than the robot/destruction porn that is the Transformers ride. The ending seemed abrupt and anticlimactic to me. Voldy doesn't appear very threatening. Bellatrix does most of the spellwork, Voldy burps fire. I actually found his fire breathing face very comical, hehe.
The ride broke down twice. I was on it both times. And yes, i was amused because i always hope to break down on FJ and i never do. First time, in the troll scene. Our group of carts must have looked absolutely stonefaced when we returned to the station. They didn't even try to get us to clap, just apologized and allowed us to use the child swap line to re-ride.
The second time (same group of people) we got stuck just outside the load station. Maybe 5 minutes or so? Luckily this disruption occured before any show scenes, so everything was synced and looked great.
Everything was very well done. I enjoyed the effects (although i believe a water spray effect may have been not functioning?), I enjoyed the coaster parts, but combined both elements just seemed a bit too short. The best use of the 3d was (only my opinion here!) the goblin on the right side running (up/across?) as your ride vehicle passes. He looked like he was actually there with us.
I'm not sure I like the hole in the screen exit thing. That's like, breaking the fourth wall. You're supposed to feel like you're in these caverns but all of a sudden there is a hole in them, and that takes you away.
I know I seem harsh. I did enjoy the ride very much, and I look forward to experiencing it again. I waited 1.5 hours in the single rider's line. Posted wait time was 4 hours for the standby line.
EDIT - I have read further and see that the whole in the screen thing is supposed to be obscured by fog. My 2 rides had no fog. I may change my vote if I ride with that working,I'll have to see it.
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