Insider's Update: Potter, plunging, and planning

May 10, 2014, 11:32 AM · Harry Potter and theme park fans can look forward to Monday, when Universal Orlando has promised to reveal new details about Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts on the new Universal Orlando blog. Of course, we told you all about the ride two and half years ago, when we first leaked its details on New Year's Eve 2011. Perhaps Universal will share the one little bit of detail about the ride that no one's confirmed yet — the day it will open.

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
The latest concept art for the Gringotts coaster's loading area

In the meantime, Universal is installing the fire-breathing dragon atop Gringotts this weekend, and the resort released a couple of teaser videos this week, one showing the animatronic goblins in the Gringotts lobby and another offering snippets from the show scenes aboard the Hogwarts Express. There's also a nice description of the show on the train, in both directions, over at Orlando Informer. And for more news, previews and leaks about Universal's many Harry Potter lands around the world, visit our Wizarding World of Harry Potter page.

We don't typically cover water parks, but water park fans visiting Orlando this summer might be interested in trying the Ihu's Breakaway Falls at Aquatica, which opened this week. The new attraction features four unique waterslides down from an eight-story tower. Three of four start with a straight vertical drop from a breakaway box, thus the name.

Ihu's Breakaway Falls
Photo courtesy SeaWorld

Don't know that we've mentioned this one in the update before, but Jerry Rees, a director who's worked on more than a dozen Disney theme park attractions, from Back to Neverland and Cranium Command to Mystic Manor, has listed on his website a "mystery attraction" he's working on for Epcot, debuting in 2016. It's described only as a "next-gen larger-than-life interactive spectacle." Let's hear your wishes for this project, in the comments.

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Replies (14)

May 10, 2014 at 2:15 PM · For Jerry Rees my wish is simple: replace the Imagination Pavilion with some sort of Mystic Manor clone.

The imaginative aspects of Mystic Manor would be perfect for the Imagination Pavilion although Mr. Rees would have to adjust things to better fit with the Future World theme. He could even reuse the Imagination Institute, Figment, and Dreamfinder if he wanted.

I'll never make it to Hong Kong, so bring MM to the states, Mr. Rees! You've got the know how, so make it happen.

May 10, 2014 at 1:13 PM · James, copy/pasting the same comment over and over again doesn't work. Believe me, if it did, there would be no stage in front of the hat at DHS.
May 10, 2014 at 1:41 PM · Well the current scuttlebutt is that the mystery 2016 Epcot project will be that Frozen attraction that Bob Iger has been hinting at.

It will supposedly utilize Mystic Manor tech inside of sleigh ride vehicles.

May 10, 2014 at 2:42 PM · James, Mr. Niles asked for our wish, I gave him mine. Can't help it if it is the same wish I've had before (although I did notice a typo or two I needed to fix - thanks!).

Consistency, my boy, consistency.

May 10, 2014 at 2:34 PM · hope it replaces journey to imagination!!!
May 10, 2014 at 2:48 PM · You say, "next-gen larger-than-life interactive spectacle", I say Magic Anklets! What could be more spectacular than every step I take potentially interacting with the most next gen, larger than life park that never ceases to stay on the cutting edge of things. I only hope they don't cheap out and this time earmark at least $2 billion to really give the guests something they've been clamoring to have for the last 20+ years easily, unlike the silly idea of a Star Wars land. Who would really want something boring like that wasting company dollars, when anklets are clearly the way of the theme park future ;o)
May 10, 2014 at 3:49 PM · EPCOT? Must be another restaurant.

Failing that it is a long, long tunnel playing "it's a small world" for a queue that circles the entire park and keeps people in line for hours. At the end is yet another gift shop with the same merch as every other Disney gift shop.

May 10, 2014 at 3:56 PM · The use of the word "spectacle" makes me think it's some kind of replacement for Illuminations. And I sure as heck hope that's not the case. But this is great news and I'll be keeping my eyes out for news relating to this, as EPCOT sure could use something new, big, and fantastic. Using the same ride technology as Mystic Manor and Ratatouille would be amazing.

May 10, 2014 at 11:21 PM · I've been thinking that a reboot of Imagination should be interactive in some sort. Despite the current sad state of the pavilion, they still sell a ton of Figment merchandise and they could put a great restaurant there.

The main hiccup for Imagination is that Kodak co-owned the rights to Figment and Dreamfinder. Which makes me ask questions like:

1. Did Kodak sell back the rights?

2. Is Kodak even still a company?

May 11, 2014 at 6:54 AM · "interactive spectacle" is likely not a ride. I'm guessing another exhibit or show or maybe a parade.
May 11, 2014 at 7:19 AM · Personally, if it's "Lager than life" I am going to assume it's Ratatouille in France. They already have the facade in place unlike the studios Paris. They could easily build this in the back. Now that they have built this attraction once, they will pull a Universal and fast build this for Epcot. Since Future World is completely being rebuilt, they need something strong to keep the park alive while they do the make over. What do you think?
May 11, 2014 at 7:35 AM · "It's described only as a "next-gen larger-than-life interactive spectacle." Let's hear your wishes for this project, in the comments."

My wish for the project is that Disney starts filling Future World with stuff like this:

May 11, 2014 at 8:30 AM · how about they redo the imagination ride with a trackless system like everyone here keeps saying, BUT while your waiting for your ride, you go and play in the newly imagined image works that's located on the reopened 2nd floor? I think that would be sweet. It worked for Dumbo. Then put in a nice new 3D movie to complement the new ride.... BOOM!!! All problems solved for that pavilion. With that, Soarin over the World, and a new show that's based of the old Illuminations would just put Epcot on a great level once again.... I do know that it needs more attractions, but I'm talking about the easiest way to make old school fans happy again.
May 12, 2014 at 8:56 AM · I'm hoping that the new attraction will be Western River Expedition. Hey, a guy can dream right?

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