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Harry Potter fans near and far eagerly await June 13 when the brand-new Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure ride opens at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Orlando. It’s one of the most anticipated new rides at theme parks across the world for 2019.
When the Wizarding World of Harry Potter first opened in 2010, the immersive theme park experience was changed forever. Universal Studios wasn’t the first to try its hand at creating magical themed rides and “trips” to other lands, but they were the ones who catapulted guests to places that make you feel as if you have left the confines of the theme park.
Now, Universal claims to have conjured up the most immersive and highly themed roller coaster ride … ever. Given its history with the previous Harry Potter attractions and some sneak peeks, we are inclined to believe them.
Hagrid Takes Center Stage
As the premier of this new ride gets closer and closer, Universal Orlando is sharing more details about the ride itself, including the fact that an animated Hagrid, Hogwarts’ gamekeeper, will take center stage.
The theme park says it has created a 7′ 6″-tall “hyper-realistic animated figure” that has 24 different body motions and facial expressions that capture the essence of Hagrid. The animatronic figure’s costume was also created by the same designers that developed the character’s on-screen wardrobe for the movies. And, actor Robbie Coltrane voiced Hagrid’s script as well to make sure visitors feel the experience is as authentic as possible.
Go Inside the Forthcoming Harry Potter Ride
To set the stage, riders will venture to the edge of the Forbidden Forrest (with over 1,000 live trees!) and enter some ruins located beyond Hagrid’s hut. It is here that your Care of Magical Creatures class with Hagrid will begin.
Ultimately, Hagrid’s motorbike will take you on an adventure that reaches speeds of up to 50mph and has a record-breaking seven total launches (for reference, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Disney World tops out at 34 mph).
An aerial overview of Hagrid’s Motorbike coaster showing a fully planted Forbidden Forest. pic.twitter.com/ZmcUyycbhz
— bioreconstruct (@bioreconstruct) May 7, 2019
The new Harry Potter ride, the longest in Florida at nearly a mile long, will travel in multiple directions (ahem, backwards). It will also be the first coaster in the US to have a free-fall drop! And, in a twist, the experience will be different whether you’re riding on Hagrid’s motorbike or in the side car. Double the fun, though also double the amount of time waiting in line if you want to ride twice (more on that in a moment). To keep the excitement building, here’s a brand new first-person look at some of the twists and turns of the ride but don’t watch if you want to be fully surprised come June.
This ride will plunge you into a pit of Devil’s Snare after whisking by Fluffy, the three-headed dog, and a swarm of Cornish pixies. There are more surprises in store because, as you know with all things Hagrid, things don’t always go as planned.
Along with the high speed come pretty big height requirements. Sorry young wizards, but you will have to be 48 inches for this one. That’s the same as for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, but more than is required for Escape from Gringotts (42 inches) and Flight of the Hipporgriff (36 inches).
Peeks at Construction
If you want more than just a peek at what is in the official release, as construction nears completion, more details are emerging from folks with an industrious eye in the sky. Theme Park Insider points to some images of Fluffy and other elements of Hagrid’s new playground:
Beyond the fence, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure lights up Hogsmeade. pic.twitter.com/tNt8IbFN0P
— bioreconstruct (@bioreconstruct) May 21, 2019
Reduce Your Wait Times for Harry Potter Rides
Not only can the streets of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley get very crowded, but waits for the existing Harry Potter rides at Universal can be hours long at times — and that’s before the newest attraction opens.
While word is there will be not be an Express option when Hagrid’s Magical Creatures first opens, there are ways to reduce your wait time for most things Harry Potter.
- Stay on-site at a Universal hotel to get into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at an hour early. Options include places like the new Aventura Hotel (hello, family rooms!), the well-rounded Loews Sapphire Falls or even the soon to open Universal Dockside Inn and Suites.
- Get included Universal Express Passes at the highest ‘tier’ of Universal hotels including: Loews Royal Pacific, Loews Portofino Bay and the Hard Rock Hotel Universal Orlando. It is unknown if Express Pass will help you get on Hagrid’s ride upon opening, but it will certainly help your overall Universal/Harry Potter experience. Staying at these hotels and getting included passes will save a family hundreds of dollars over buying them outright. It also pays to know that Loews Portofino Bay is on the list of Amex FHR properties, so if you have The Platinum Card® from American Express and book via that program, you can get perks like an up to $100 food and beverage credit, late check-out, shot at a room upgrade, etc.
- Consider a Universal VIP tour. There are very expensive Universal VIP tours, but there are more affordable options, too. If you want lots of Universal without the waits, VIP tours start at $189 per person. There are some VIP tour options on this year’s Daily Getaway deals valid at Universal Orlando.
- Use can use points for tickets. You can use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points from cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to secure Universal Orlando tickets very easily online, allowing you to save your cash for more butterbeer.
We can’t wait for Hagrid’s new attraction to open in Orlando. On top of being an epic new Harry Potter experience, it may help spread out the crowds a bit more in Hogsmeade (after the opening rush, at least). And, this awesome new attraction boosts the value of a Universal Studios annual pass, which already is a compelling offer for a fan of all things Harry Potter.
Read on for more Universal Studios tips and reviews:
- Why Now is the Best Time to Buy Theme Park Tickets
- How to Get the Most Out of One Day at Universal Studios
- Is Universal Studios Orlando Getting a New Theme Park?
- 5 Ways Universal Studios is Better Than Disney
- Inside a $3,000 Universal Studios VIP Tour
Featured image by Summer Hull / The Points Guy
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