Construction is underway on Universal's new Harry Potter coaster

January 6, 2018, 3:21 PM · An Insider posted an update to Reddit today on the new "coaster experience" that Universal Orlando is building in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade, to replace the now-demolished Dragon Challenge Bolliger & Mabillard dueling inverted coasters.

Apparently, Universal's contractor now is pouring the footers for the track supports for the new coaster, and the track supports are on site, awaiting installation.

"It seems like it is going to be a suspended/inverted coaster, as the support-to-track connectors are 'underneath' the support structure," the poster wrote.

That track placement would support the chatter that the new Harry Potter coaster will be North America's first Mack Rides Inverted Powered Coaster, the same model as the Arthur coaster at Europa Park and Dragon Gliders at Motiongate Dubai.

I have not been yet on either of those coasters (the Dreamworks Animation indoor land where the "How to Train Your Dragon"-themed Dragon Gliders is located was not open when I visited Motiongate, and I haven't been to Europa Park yet), but both provide an excellent platform for a more narrative-driven experience than your typical roller coaster ride.

In that sense, these installations are more like Universal's Intamin-designed Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts than some Mack Rides family coaster you might have ridden somewhere else — except that the track will be above you on this new ride instead of below you as it is on Gringotts. Visitors ride in four-person cars that can rotate under the car's mount, allowing designers to direct your attention along the ride. On-board audio also is supported, allowing for music and narration. The Arthur installation won the TEA's THEA Award for Best New Ride System this year.

Arthur coaster
A look at Europa Park's Arthur coaster in action

Universal has not yet confirmed the ride system for the new attraction, other than to say it will be a family friendly "coaster experience." Nor has Universal revealed setting or theme for the ride. It has, however, announced that the new Harry Potter coaster will open sometime in 2019 at Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure.

Replies (21)

January 6, 2018 at 6:13 PM · i love harry potter i have seen is movies read is books, he is awesome wizard ever. and i did not even notice they have a roller coaster i was so shocked and surprised baout it
January 6, 2018 at 8:12 PM · I've been hoping for this over the motorbike coaster idea. Seems like an absolutely perfect fit for what Universal needs from this attraction, which is something to gobble up crowds, fit into the land better than Dueling Dragons, and provide an alternative for children who do not meet Forbidden Journey's 48-inch height requirement. Should allow them to tell a more engaging story as well. Can't wait for more details!
January 6, 2018 at 8:25 PM · I do hope this is a family attraction - that the whole family can ride, without it being too kid friendly or too adrenalin fuelled. Furthermore i do hope the screens they use are used to compliment the attraction, and not actually make up the main aspect.

Universal has very few attractions that everyone from the whole family can enjoy - either too scary, or too child like. Please stay away from screens.

January 6, 2018 at 9:35 PM · Universal is beginning to seriously lack on roller coasters and as an annual pass holder this is dissappointing and I am sorry to say I will be trading in my Universal Pass for a Busch Gardens pass next year simply for the roller coaster aspect.
January 7, 2018 at 1:07 PM · Sounds promising. I can see how an inverted coaster could work well with theming and show elements. Of course, a new Potter ride is the only way that Universal can provide some competition in 2019 to the coming crowd magnet known as Star Wars Land...
January 7, 2018 at 12:45 AM · Went on Arthur in Europa Park and I can only say very good things about it. A perfect blend of narratives and roller coasters, though I’m sure Universal will take that to the next level with Harry Potter.
January 7, 2018 at 6:09 AM · I've been on Dragon gliders in Dubai and it is a fantastic ride! Some great use of moving figures and interactive screens so it will be good to see how Universal use this...
January 7, 2018 at 9:23 AM · too bad its in orlando, and not at hollywood
January 7, 2018 at 9:49 AM · Let's make their rides,easier for the BIG GUY too ..Disney has,done a great job with this while Universal totally ducks on this,issue
January 7, 2018 at 9:51 AM · They used a simpler version of this system, made by Zamperla, on the Puss In Boots ride at the Singapore park. That turned out really well - a lot more fun than you'd expect for a ride model like this - so I've high hopes for what they can do with a Potter-level budget.
January 7, 2018 at 11:20 AM · I like that Universal is replacing another thrill ride with a Disney type family coaster.

Now, a family can ride together!

January 7, 2018 at 1:38 PM · This sounds perfect! I was really impressed with the Arthur Coaster at Europa-Park, even though I'm not a fan of the franchise. It's a perfect blend of mild thrills and storytelling, and I can see it working really well with a franchise like Harry Potter. Looking forward to it!
January 7, 2018 at 1:56 PM · Just last week I saw a deep dig with the Florida-requisite dewatering pumps. I wasn't a fan of the Dueling Dragons coaster, so I hope the new ride is a better complement to the Wizarding World.
January 7, 2018 at 6:23 PM · This could be interesting, but it has to fill a number of needs:

- a suitable replacement for Dragon Challenge
- Fit in to the HP world, internally and externally
- Give a new and immersive re-rideable experience for HP fans
- Apparently, it has to be suitable for kids
- Be reliable and have sufficient volume
- Uni critics would probably say that it can't have "too many screens"

I think the biggest challenge on this list will be making something exciting enough to satisfy fans of Dragon Challenge, whilst being tame enough to be family friendly. I hope it's not TOOO family friendly -- that's what Disney down street is for.

January 7, 2018 at 7:12 PM · Please make it comparable to dragon challenge. Disney has plenty of family friendly rides, lets keep Universal for grown ups.
January 7, 2018 at 8:55 PM · I, for one, am completely in the use-all-the-screens-you-want camp. If it is to be a Forbidden Forest attraction, then they should use all the tools in their arsenal, including screens. Practical effects, projections, both with and without screens, and even smells. I think to avoid screens entirely or try to have too few would hamstring the project within the IP.
January 8, 2018 at 12:26 AM · I grew up at Busch Gardens Williamsburg and the park favorite was the big bad wolf and it was inverted and it was so smooth and fun and such a great intro coaster to a young kid who was scared. After one ride I was addicted. The cool thing about it was it went through a German village and gave you the perspective that you were the wolf moving fast. I miss it so much. So I am excited about this. I will also add some cities have inverted transportation instead of above track subways and they are brilliant and smooth and I wish every city would adopt this you can glide right over traffic and swing around corners.
January 8, 2018 at 8:55 AM · I agree JC VanHouten. When well used and combined with other mediums, screens are an important part of an IP like Harry Potter.

I think where something like Transformers took a wrong turn away from the excellent Spider Man is the lack of combination. Spidey has way more in the realm of practical effects and even some pyro. I still enjoy Transformers, but it's a definite #2 to Spider Man.

Exciting times to be a theme park fan, eh?

January 8, 2018 at 9:41 AM · Love the screens. Always pro-screen. Universal's four top tier rides - Transformers, Spider-Man, and the two HP attractions - have heavy screen use, and they're all exhilarating, next-level attractions. I'm sure they will mix them in perfectly for this.
January 8, 2018 at 1:45 PM · Who likes screens more than actual roller coasters? Crazy fans...
January 9, 2018 at 3:11 PM · I love Spiderman, etc, but I find that these type of rides get boring after awhile especially if the story line remains the same over several years. If screens are the intent, it would be nice if you could get random storylines.

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