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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Everything we know so far about Universal's upcoming Harry Potter roller coaster

Posted By on Tue, Jan 16, 2018 at 7:00 AM

click to enlarge Dragon Challenge and Hogsmeade Train Station - IMAGE VIA BIORECONSTURCT | TWITTER
  • Image via Bioreconsturct | Twitter
  • Dragon Challenge and Hogsmeade Train Station
Universal has called the attraction, which is replacing Dragon Challenge, “one of the most highly-themed coaster experiences” they’ve ever created and noted that it would “combine a new level of storytelling with an action-packed adventure.”

There have been two competing rumors regarding what the new family coaster will be. As mentioned in our July 2017 story, the two options that seem most likely are a Hagrid’s bike-themed motorcycle coaster and a Mack inverted powered family coaster.

click to enlarge TRON coaster at Shanghai Disneyland - IMAGE VIA SOCAL ATTRACTIONS 360 | YOUTUBE
  • Image via SoCal Attractions 360 | YouTube
  • TRON coaster at Shanghai Disneyland
The motorcycle and sidecar-themed coaster would deliver more thrills, but the coaster this one supposedly inspired has a 51” height requirement and is rated as the second worst roller coaster in the world, just ahead of a coaster that simulates riding a horse and lasts for 38 seconds. The ride would be very similar to the new TRON coaster announced for the Magic Kingdom. The TRON coaster in Shanghai, which Orlando will be using the same ride system as has a height requirement of 48 inches.

click to enlarge IMAGE VIA MACK
  • Image via Mack
The second option is the Mack Rides' Inverted Powered Coaster. This inverted coaster is an option that a Reddit poster claiming to be a subtractor working on the project also went with.

Some of the details in the post do seem to be a bit off, like the timing of pouring footers, but overall very few industry insiders are speaking out against the post which has since been deleted. It looks like, while there are still a few holdouts, the majority of the theme park rumor tracking community has begun to place their bets on the inverted powered coaster.

The system won the Themed Entertainment Association’s THEA Award for Best New Ride System in 2016. Two attractions in the world currently use the system, Arthur coaster at Europa Park and Dragon Gliders at Motiongate Dubai. Both rides are very popular with high praise from many guests and the industry.

Robert Niles, of Theme Park Insider, is a well-known industry insider often being one of the first to confirm new rides. He seems to be in full agreement with the anonymous Reddit poster. Inside Universal’s forum on the ride also seems to have a majority agree that this is the ride system but WDWMagic’s forums, a forum that is notably more Disney focused, still has some questioning if this is, in fact, the ride system we’ll be receiving.

The going narrative is that Universal selected the Mack system after learning of Disney’s plans to import the TRON coaster to Florida. While many parks in town share similar ride systems with this one being so unique Universal wanted to ensure that they had an attraction that stood out. Ironically, Disney was at one time looking at an inverted power coaster themselves for a now-shelved indoor/outdoor family coaster slated for Adventureland.

The indoor/outdoor abilities of the inverted power coaster, along with the onboard audio and lighting, does go along with strong rumors that this ride will feature both indoor scenes and a more thrilling outdoor section. It’s believed that the coaster will be the first indoor Harry Potter ride to not feature Harry, Ron, or Hermione; instead focusing on the larger world of Harry Potter more. This would make sense with the new Fantastic Beasts film series. The next film in that series will hit theaters this November.

Current rumored timelines point to Universal announcing details regarding the new Islands of Adventure attraction by this summer with it’s opening by mid-summer next year.

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