Disney's new Star Wars lands as we look ahead to the top new theme park attractions of 2019. But let's not forget another big new attraction based on a wildly popular entertainment franchise — Universal Orlando's new Harry Potter coaster.Yes, we've been talking a lot about
Our readers haven't. The Potter coaster has been running neck-and-neck against Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance in our recent poll asking you which new theme park attraction you are looking forward to most this year. While Disney has been cranking up the hype machine for its Star Wars lands, we haven't heard much (at least, not yet) from Universal about the new Potter coaster. So what have fans seen from this ride that's gotten them so excited?
First, there's the fact that it's a Harry Potter ride. Potter remains one of the world's top entertainment franchises — along with Marvel and Star Wars — and Potter has been nothing but money and rave reviews for Universal since its first Harry Potter land opened at Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure in 2010.
J.K. Rowling mastered world building with the Potter franchise, and Universal's lands have given fans the opportunity to spend time in some of the most iconic destinations portrayed in the Potter books and movies: Hogwarts Castle, the Village of Hogsmeade, and Diagon Alley. The new coaster will take fans to what probably is the next most famous location in the Wizarding World — the Forbidden Forest.
(Just for the record, no one is clamoring to visit Privet Drive.)
I can't speak for others on this site, but Universal's new Harry Potter coaster excites me because it promises a wild ride through that forest, where we can see, in person, all sorts magical creatures from books and films. Fans want to follow the spiders, escape from dragons, ride with unicorns, fly with pixies and experience every other adventure that student witches and wizards of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry do when they stray out of bounds and into the forest.
That this is a roller coaster-based attraction provides another excuse for excitement. No theme park ride system provides the visceral thrill of a roller coaster. Other ride systems might simulate the speed of a drop or launch, or the intensity of G forces. A roller coaster delivers those thrills for real.
But Universal had a roller coaster on this site, and it tore that down in favor of this attraction. That gives Universal the opportunity to create a better experience than it had offered on Dragon Challenge — one that incorporates the speed of multiple launches with the joy of watching practical visual sets and effects as well as with unique track elements that visitors haven't experienced before in an Orlando-area theme park.
Finally, the new Harry Potter coaster will complete The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade. Yes, that land opened more than eight years ago. But ever since Universal began demolition of Dragon Challenge, the land hasn't looked right. Whether it was the wreckage of the coaster track as it came down, or the massive cranes that followed to install its replacement, views of Muggle construction have distracted from the land.
Of course, many argued that the land never looked as perfect as it could have, due to those Bolliger & Mabillard dueling coaster tracks that loomed over the village for all those years. When Harry Potter fans and even film stars gushed about the lack of those tracks in the more visually convincing Diagon Alley land on its opening in 2014, one could sense that Dragon Challenge eventually would have to go away.
Now it has... and in its place will be the Forbidden Forest that should have stood at the edge of Hogsmeade all along. This land of the Wizarding World will be complete.
And that is something to get very, very excited about.Tweet
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