Since The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened in 2010, rumors have been swirling about how Universal Orlando would expand Harry Potter. A lot of signs were pointing towards a Diagon Alley expansion taking over the rest of The Lost Continent, but nothing was set in stone. Once Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 hit theaters, fans started talking about the potential for a Gringotts Bank ride, similar to the action-packed sequence in the film, fueling the fire to see a Diagon Alley expansion.
Jump to 2014, The Lost Continent still stands and Diagon Alley is nearly completed in the area that Jaws once occupied in Universal Studios Florida. Fans are going to see a lot of the shopping and dining experiences they expected (The Leaky Cauldron, the REAL Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands Since 382 B.C., Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes), but the biggest buzz is around Gringotts Bank – which will house one of the most technologically innovative attractions to ever be built in any theme park, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.
In general, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is considered timeless, meaning the things guests see in the land don’t specifically fall into a certain time period in the books and movies. For instance, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey doesn’t place itself during a specific time period in the Harry Potter universe, but the banners for Harry Potter, Cedric Diggory, Victor Krum and Fleur Delacour along with select audio clips place Dragon Challenge directly in the middle of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts will give fans exactly what they wanted and expected – a recreation of the Gringotts Bank chase in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. This means guests will follow Harry, Ron and Hermione into the vaults of Gringotts to retrieve a horcrux and along the way they will encounter a dragon, Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter) and even Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). Guests should also expect to see appearances from Griphook (Warwick Davis) and Bill Weasley (Domhnall Gleeson).
The experience starts out front as you approach Gringotts Bank and see a 60-foot, fire-breathing Ukranian Ironbelly dragon perched atop the building. Inside the bank will be stunning audio-animatronic goblins hard at work.
Guests will make their way down into the loading area that will feature dual loading stations, similar to Revenge of the Mummy. The ride itself is considered a family attraction with a 42-inch height requirement, but Universal Creative isn’t flat out saying it’s a roller coaster. The 4K digital high definition animation will be projected in 3-D, while the sets are designed to be themed and viewed from 360-degrees. Other rumored elements include an elevator system in the attraction, similar to TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D, which would make Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts a mind-blowing mixture of things never seen together in one attraction.
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts will open with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley sometime in Summer 2014.