Universal’s Harry Potter extension “huge” in scale

Details released of Harry Potter & the Escape from Gringotts

Universal Orlando Resort has released more details about the soon-to-open Gringotts Bank attraction, part of the Wizarding World expansion. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts will be the signature attraction in the resort’s forthcoming Diagon Alley.

It recreates the scene from the Harry Potter film series when Harry, Ron and Hermione break into the bank to retrieve a magical object to help defeat Lord Voldemort. The queue will start inside Gringotts Bank, ensuring visitors have plenty to look at while they wait.

“You will enter the attraction through the main banking hall, where you will see animatronic goblins hard at work and they will talk to you,” Alan Gilmore, art director of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, explained to TTG Digital. “Then you will pass through Bill Weasley’s office and take an elevator deep into the vaults. This is where you board the ride carts.”

The ride will be a race through a labyrinth of Gringotts’ underground vaults, bringing close encounters with Bellatrix Lestrange and Voldemort himself.

“The scale of this ride is huge. It will be a 360-degree, 3D fully immersive experience. The carts will rotate, twist and lean,” Gilmore said.

The Hogwarts Express is also being added to the Potter attractions – a replica of the train from the films, connecting the existing Hogsmeade with the new Diagon Alley. “The train compartments are like little mini theatres,” said Gilmore, and a “very simple but very cool special effect” will allow guests to penetrate the brick wall at Platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross Station.

Continuity with the films and books has been a key theme. Gilmore, who lives in London, said heducated his design team about authentic old London architecture. “I took them around London several times,” he said. “I even carried actual bricks over to Florida in my luggage. It was important we approached the build of Diagon Alley as if it were a real place, not as part of a theme park.”

Exact opening dates are still to be announced.

TTG Digital

[photo courtesy Universal Orlando Resort]

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