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Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts at Universal Studios FloridaLast updated by Nick on Thursday, June 19, 2014 16:18
Submitted by Nick on Wednesday, December 07, 2011 09:40
The headline attraction of the under-construction Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida will be a major new roller coaster themed around Gringotts Wizarding Bank: Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Harry’s first encounter with the bank is an innocent descent in its mine-cart-style conveyance in the first film; by the last, the out-of-control race through the vaults was accompanied by loops, waterfalls, and captive dragons - perfect material for a theme park ride.
The massive show building being constructed on the remains of the now-removed Jaws ride will be Gringotts, and indeed, black roller coaster track visible from within indicates that the Wizarding World will expand to offer new experiences and new adventures for Universal’s already flabbergasted fans.
Where is it?
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley is currently under construction at Universal Studios Florida in Orlando. It will sit on the former home of the Jaws ride in the park's north-east corner, and will recreate an entire section of London as seen in the Harry Potter books and movies.
Gringotts Wizarding Bank will sit at the end of Diagon Alley, and is expected to be the icon of the new land. A huge, fire-breathing dragon will sit on top of the building, as can be seen in the top right-hand side of the artwork above.
The ride system
Images of the trains that will be employed by the Gringotts Bank coaster have already been leaked online, and resemble those seen in nearby Revenge of the Mummy. They are expected to consist of two cars, each with three rows that seat riders four-across. This means there will be 12 riders per car, and 24 per train. Each train will be equipped with a surround sound system, and will feature Victorian-style theming.
The image above shows one of the trains being loaded into the ride building.
The ride experience
So what will the Gringotts Bank roller coaster be like? Well, Universal hasn't unveiled the details of what would be one of their most impressive rides yet. But we do know what Universal is working with: an increasingly impressive arsenal of technological innovation. After its outstanding and unparalleled foray into what can only be described as “4-D motion-base dark-ride simulator” technology with 1999’s Spider-Man and the even-more-progressive Forbidden Journey, you can bet that a Gringotts roller coaster would not be a Space Mountain style ride in the dark.
In fact, some reports suggest that the roller coaster could be a combination of the park’s Revenge of the Mummy (dark-ride morphs into roller coaster) and Spider-Man (roving motion-base with seamlessly integrated 3-D screens). Universal had shattered its own standards in the past, so this would doubtlessly be no different.
Other reports suggest that the ride may opt out of technological overload and instead present a quality, high-octane thrill ride with outstanding theming that may incorporate a few surprises (launches, backward sections, or even free-fall track like Busch Gardens' Verbolten or Alton Towers’ Thirteen).
It is believed that Gringotts Bank will combine thrill ride coaster experience and dark ride elements, like Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Islands of Adventure, with the addition of 3D technology like that used in Transformers. However, Gringotts is rumored to offer a somewhat softer presentation, allowing the attraction to be more friendly toward youngsters who are unable to ride Forbidden Journey.
The queue for the ride will be elaborately themed. The latest (unconfirmed) rumors suggest that there will be 9 themed rooms or zones, each recreating a recognisable location from the movies.
SPOILER ALERT: The text below contains a blow-by-blow description of what will be featured in the Gringotts Bank ride, based on a report from Theme Park Insider. Note that some (or all) elements of this may have changed, as the TPI report was based on early "concept" plans.
- The queue - will pass through the "Entry Hall", the "Bankers Hall", the "Vault Display", the "Reading Room" and "Bill Weasley's Office". Finally, elevators will take riders up to the loading area.
- Scene 1: Turntable - will feature a groundbreaking "tilt track" effect, which will see the track drop away from underneath the trains.
- Scene 2: Dark Tunnel - will be a traditional coaster section.
- Scene 3: Ledge - 3D projections will bring to life a battle between wizards and mythical creatures, the track will shake and the scene will culminate with a waterfall effect.
- Scene 4: Thief's Downfall - will employ wind and heat effects as riders encounter a dragon.
- Scene 5: Sirius Black's Vault - riders are blasted by fog as they head towards a pile of treasure.
- Scene 6: Ruins - the trains pass through a collapsed tunnel.
- Scene 7: Chasm - a huge projection cone displays action involving Harry and his friends.
- Scene 8 - riders pass through a dark tunnel.
- Scene 9 - Harry and friends bid riders farewell.
Concept artwork for the ride has now been released:
When will Diagon Alley and the Gringotts Bank coaster open?
No opening date has been confirmed for Diagon Alley or the Gringotts Bank coaster. Current rumors point to an opening date falling between May 22, 2014 and June 14, 2014 (the date that "block-outs" start for Annual Passholders).
October 4, 2013: Check out our latest photo update from Diagon Alley.
November 3, 2013: You can find a few more shots of Diagon Alley in our latest update.
November 14, 2013: A video was recently posted online that may show some of the Gringotts Bank ride experience. Unfortunately, it's now been pulled, but you can still read out evaluation of it here.
December 11, 2013: A few more details of the Gringotts Bank coaster ride experience have leaked out, and are consistent with our plot outline above.
January 6, 2014: A plan of the layout of the coaster has been leaked online.
January 24, 2014: Take a virtual walkthrough of Diagon Alley!
Learn more about Diagon Alley
Click through to any of the articles below to learn about another element of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley:
- Diagon Alley Guide: The Layout
- Diagon Alley Guide: Hogwarts Express
- Diagon Alley Guide: Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
- Diagon Alley Guide: Shops and Restaurants
- Diagon Alley Guide: Interactive Elements
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Upcoming refurbishments, rehabs and closures
We are not aware of any scheduled refurbishment periods for Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Do you know of any upcoming "rehabs" that we're missing? If so - please contact us so that we can keep the list up-to-date.
Photos of Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
Reader reviews of Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
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