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Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey - Rumours and Facts
FACT: This Thursday (25 March), Universal will be announcing the opening date for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
RUMOUR: At the same time, Universal will also announce more details about the new ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
In advance of this, I thought it would be a bit of fun to have a few guesses about what this ride will involve, how it might work, and what it might, and might not, include.
FACT: Here is Universal' s own description . . .
Enter through the towering castle gates and make your way through the familiar passageways and corridors of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You' ll visit iconic locations such as Dumbledore' s office, the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, the Gryffindor common room, the Room of Requirement and more. Then get ready to soar above the castle grounds as you join Harry Potter and his friends on an unforgettably thrilling adventure, coming face-to-face with an array of magical creatures! This amazing new attraction uses groundbreaking, state-of-the-art technology (and a little magic) to create a one of a kind ride experience.
On top of that, here are a few other snippets that we may, or may not, know . . .
FACT: Universal' s existing visuals have suggested some kind of flying experience.
RUMOUR: The park wizards working on this new attraction are the same people who brought us Spiderman and Revenge of the Mummy. Both very immersive experiences!
FACT: The Hogwarts building itself is pretty huge. There is either something in there that is pretty big, or there are lots of copies of something pretty small to manage the throughput of people required for a top tier attraction.
RUMOUR: The ride will use robotic arms, similar to those used for the The Sum of all Thrills ride at Epcot and the Knight' s Tournament Robocoaster at Legoland California.
RUMOUR: Universal have hinted at a ride/experience that is something totally new . . . so that would suggest something more than just a robotic arm type ride?
FACT: A Universal promotional video shows clips from the filming for this attraction. The cast appear to be wearing Gryffindor Quidditch Colors.
RUMOUR: Construction documents show that the resort is working with a company that builds ride systems based on KUKA arms.
FACT: KUKA Aktiengesellschaft is a German company specialising in large robotics systems (the type of robotic systems used on large production lines - not the type that might one day do your vacuuming).
Given all the above, what might the final ride/experience be like?
OK, close your eyes and start to imagine . . .
(OK - keep your eyes open while reading, but you know what I mean . . . )
Suppose the ride began with a simple walkthrough of some the iconic areas of Hogwarts? It would give plenty of time to become fully immersed in the Harry Potter world (if not already) and help to suspend belief in the real world outside and remove special awareness. It would also present a good way to manage the queue into the main ride while maintaining interest. Think Test Track at Epcot or the Tower of Terror at Disney Studios.
As for the main ride . . .
The rumours of robotic arms just seem to gel together too well for the ride to be anything else. If it was going to be a simple roller coaster one would also guess that someone would have seen an awful lot of track being delivered under cover of darkness. And yes, there are people out there watching ; -) Legoland and Disney already have robotic arms but theirs are fixed to the ground. Suppose, just suppose, that a robotic arm was built onto a track along which it could move. It could simulate practically any kind of movement. The movement of a broomstick flying over Hogwarts for example? Or an impromptu game of Quidditch to make things a bit more hairy? As these rides present their stories something invariably has to go wrong to pull the ride into the coaster zone and give it the license to fling everyone around a little.
Being a bit more speculative still . . . if this kind of motion platform was coupled with the same 3D effects seen in Spiderman the results could be absolutely breathtaking.
We wait, with baited breath, to see what Orlando' s best kept secret turns out to be!
Author: Steve Harrison
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