Confirming at long last what everyone has suspected for the past two-and-a-half years, Universal has today announced that Dragon Challenge will be closing down on Tuesday, September 5 in order to make room for a brand-new Harry Potter attraction.
Although Universal didn’t offer much in the way of specifics for the replacement ride, it did provide some rather vague – though still incredibly exciting – details: it’ll be a “highly-themed” roller coaster that will, as expected, take us into a different corner of the wizarding world, where we’ll encounter some of our “favorite characters and creatures.” Interestingly enough, the company refers to the attraction as both a thrill andfamily-friendly ride, which leads us to believe that it might provide an experience not unlike Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts – even though it’s supposed to be unlike anything Universal has ever done before. Finally, there’s the little tidbit that the new coaster will open in 2019 (when many of Disney’s new additions to Walt Disney World Resort will be up and running, incidentally).
A pair of patents from Universal Orlando Resort's sister entity, Universal City Studios, may hint at what's next for the theme park's Harry Potter attractions. The two patents, dubbed "vehicle transportation room system and method" and "system and method for a moving puzzle theater," both show technologies that could be used to bring more elements of the Harry Potter world to life. That may happen since rumor has it Universal will replace the existing Dragon Challenge coaster at Islands of Adventure with a new Harry Potter attraction— with land to spare as the coaster took up a substantial portion just for clearance /safety space.
Most intriguing is the patent of the vehicle transportation system that talks about using a retractable "launch room" that would cover ride cars on multiple sides with walls. "The launch room vehicle may include one or more show elements, such as displays, animatronic characters, speakers, fog machines, strobe lights or the like configured to operate in sync with each other and the movement of the launch room vehicle and/or ride vehicle," said the patent, noting the launch room would move alongside the ride car to keep guests in the experience.
Last year, I let you know about a new partnership between Universal Parks & Resorts and Nintendo. Today, I am going to update you on this historic collaboration – and share a glimpse at the creative vision behind it. Imagine the fun of stepping into a larger-than-life Nintendo adventure. Gigantic Piranha Plants spring to life. Question blocks, power-ups and more surround you. And Mario and all his friends are there to pull you into a brand-new world. You’ll enter an entire realm filled with iconic Nintendo excitement, gameplay, heroes and villains. And it’s coming to three Universal theme parks around the globe.
The minds behind Universal Parks & Resorts’ attractions are looking to merge the theme park ride with video games — possibly with a Harry Potter theme. At least that’s what a patent dubbed Video Game Ride from NBCUniversal subsidiary Universal City Studios LLC is trying to do.
Specifically, the patent is aimed at creating a vehicle "configured to receive respective inputs from one or more riders via the vehicle interface circuitry, and wherein the respective inputs are related to one or more game features of a game environment; and a game controller configured to receive information from the vehicle interface circuitry related to the respective inputs; and provide instructions to modify the game environment based on at least one of the respective inputs.”
Photo (C) US Patent Office
Universal Orlando on Wednesday began testing the use of metal detectors for roller coaster passengers to ensure rider safety, according to the theme park.
The park said one metal detector was put into use Wednesday morning at the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit coaster at Universal Studios. If the test runs smoothly, the park said it will consider putting stand-alone detectors at other attractions.
The metal detector is located in an area just before the loading platform of the ride. If a potential passenger activates the metal detector, a wand is used to determine what specifically triggered the mechanism.
When it came to creating authentic live entertainment for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley, the folks at Universal Orlando Entertainment really went by the book.
"Which book?" you ask. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets -- a single sentence from that 1998 J.K. Rowling novel, to be exact. As the Boy Who Lived is exploring the Burrow (i.e., the Weasley family home), he notices that "the old radio next to the sink had just announced that coming up was 'Witching Hour, with the popular singing sorceress Celestina Warbeck.'"
Universal Studios Resort has once again teamed up with the Warner Bros. Entertainment company to once again bring another part of Harry Potter to life. This week Universal Studios released information on the latest Harry Potter themed area that is set to debut in the Summer of 2014. According to Amusement Today, Diagon Alley will double the size of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and will be the first centrally themed, multi-experience park in the world.
With the purchase of a ticket to both parks, Universal Studios and Island of Adventures, guests will be able to hop onboard on Hogwarts Express in Hogsmeade and travel through London and the iconic brick wall. Hogwarts Express will then drop those on-board at the King’s Cross Station at Diagon Alley.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter- Diagon Alley will feature movie themed shops including Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, Magic Menagerie, and Scribbulus. More shops include Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment and Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour.
A new ride will also debut in Diagon Alley. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts will take guests through a multi-sensory, multi-dimensional journey in which riders will be able to navigate through the perils of the Gringotts vaults.
Along with the shops and the ride, guests will also have the opportunity to walk through Knockturn Alley, the darkest of dark places that features Borgin and Burkes, a shop specializing in the Dark Arts that will offer a wide variety of Dark objects, such as Death Eater masks, skulls, and other sinister items.
Harry Potter Expansion Announced at Universal Studios Orlando: Diagon Alley and Hogwarts Express will be added
The success of the Harry Potter series of books and movies has been felt throughout the theme park industry at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. The park opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 2010 and today the park announced the long speculated expansion. According to cfnews13, Universal and Warner Brothers has announced The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley as the official name of the expansion. The park says that it will open in 2014.
The major breakthrough for this expansion is the fact that it will span two different theme parks and connect them unlike any parks has ever been connected. Guests who will attend the parks may travel on board the Hogwarts Express train. The train will take them from the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter on the Islands of Adventure to the new Diagon Alley addition that is actually inside of Universal Studios. According to the article, the expansion will include the dark and grim Diagon Alley and even Gringotts Bank. The Harry Potter expansion is being constructed where the Jaws attraction once stood. The park is taking great pride in having the first immersive multi-park attraction.
According to the park release, guests will be immersed in a “London” themed area and they will get to travel between there and the magic world just like they do in the movies and books. Construction is already under way on the new area and when it is complete, there will be new shops, a restaurant, and even the famous Gringotts Bank known for the goblins who are the caretakers. Universal’s design team has been working with Warner Brothers to make sure that things are exactly right and that the park will flow with the already build park in Islands of Adventure. This expansion comes right after Universal Studios Hollywood announced that they would be building their own Harry Potter themed area there.
One of the most important critics for a project like this would be the author of the books that it was designed around. JK Rowling has been positive of the experience so far and cannot wait for the expansion. "I'm so pleased that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has proved so popular to date, and I'm sure that the attention to detail in creating the new Diagon Alley area will make this an even better experience.” “Our vision is to create two amazing theme park experiences that combine into one, complete, magical journey,” said Alice Norsworthy, executive vice president, marketing and sales for Universal Orlando Resort. With the popularity of the park already through the roof, this seems like only a formality.
The rumors are true—the iconic Jaws ride at Universal Orlando will be closing in the near future to make room for the parks future. After the rumors began floating around the internet the past two weeks that the classic ride would be closing permanently in the coming months, Universal Studios finally confirmed that this past week, announcing that the ride would shut down forever as of January 2, 2012. With the loss though comes some gain, as the park has stated that a new attraction would replace Jaws, though no specifics or details of the attractions have been announced yet.
Jaws was one of the last remaining attractions that originally opened with the park back in 1990, already 15 years after the hit classic Jaws movie was released to mass popularity, built at a cost of $35 million. Since then, the ride has taken millions of passengers around Amity on a boat cruise (similar to Disney’s Jungle Cruise), as the skippers fight Jaws back to save the guests from becoming fish food.
The long-standing ride has built up quite a following over the years, and clearly opinions on the rides closure are mixed. The ride takes up a lot of real estate, and will free the park up for a major expansion, something it hasn’t seen in a long time, and while it was high-tech when it first opened, the ride technology is rather outdated by today’s standards. Still, the outcry of love for the ride has already been quite loud, especially following just years after the loss of another of the parks classic rides, Kongfrontation.
With the loss of its only major attraction, the entire Amity area will also be closed and renovated for the parks future attraction that will take place of Jaws and the Amity area. No information has been given on when the announcements may work their way out to the public, but by opening up such a large plot of real-estate and closing such a beloved classic ride, one can only hope that it’s something big.