FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

2014 promises to be an incredible year for visitors to Orlando, with three major new rides due to open at the area's theme parks.

Universal Orlando, of course, will open its Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley expansion, which will host the Hogwarts Express and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Walt Disney World, meanwhile, will finally complete the New Fantasyland expansion at the Magic Kingdom with the opening of the Seven Dwarfs mine Train.

With the summer season just months away, we thought that now would be a good time to round-up the latest construction photos and artwork for each of the new rides, as well as summarizing the latest speculation on opening dates.

3. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Themed around Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will take guests on a musical ride deep into the Dwarfs' diamond mine. It will feature a first-of-its-kind ride system that will allow the vehicles to swing back and forth as they move along the twisting track, accompanied by tunes from the movie's soundtrack.

The mountain that hosts the ride will be the centerpiece of the completed New Fantasyland. It will feature theming that is designed to match the attractions surrounding it, such as Under The Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid. The level of detail on show is very impressive, as you can see in the photos below (the trees are fake, by the way):

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (1)

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (2)

As for those unique trains, they've been in testing for months:

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (3)

When will it open?

The latest rumors that we've heard point to a grand opening in May. However, a "soft opening" could begin sooner than that - perhaps as early as late March or early April. But there's no official word yet.

Find out more

For full details of Disney's new coaster, plus all the latest construction updates, check out our complete Seven Dwarfs Mine Train guide.

2. Hogwarts Express

Linking the existing Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure with the under-construction Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida, the Hogwarts Express will recreate the journey taken by Potter and his friends at the start and finish of every year at Hogwarts. It will actually travel through a backstage area between the two parks, but multimedia technology will be used to convince guests that they are journeying between London and Hogsmeade.

The new station in Hogsmeade is shown in the concept art below, followed by an image showing the structure taking shape in the real world:

Hogsmeade Station concept art

Hogsmeade Station construction

Over at Universal Studios Florida, Kings Cross Station is also nearing completion:

Kings Cross station concept art

Kings Cross station construction

The interior of the train itself was seen for the first time in Universal's recent webcast:

Hogwarts Express interior (1)

Hogwarts Express interior (2)

The trains themselves have been in testing for several months.

Hogwarts Express train

Image © Universal Orlando Resort

When will it open?

June has long been rumored as the likely opening date for Diagon Alley and the Hogwarts Express. However, there are still many unfinished facades in Diagon Alley, so Universal has some work on its hands to meet that date. All it has said officially is that the expansion will open in "summer 2014".

Find out more

For full details of the train ride, plus all the latest construction updates, check out our complete Hogwarts Express guide.

1. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

The headline attraction of the under-construction Diagon Alley 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.

Because it's enclosed in a enormous ride building, we've seen little in the way of construction photos of the ride itself. Universal has, though, released some concept artwork of the coaster:

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts (1)

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts (2)

We've also had a look at some vaults, packed with treasures. Expect these to feature in the elaborate queue line:

Gringotts vaults

When will it open?

As above, the latest rumors point to June, but Universal has only revealed that the ride will open in "summer 2014".

Find out more

For full details of the coaster, plus all the latest construction updates, check out our complete Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts guide.

You can keep up to date with the latest confirmed and rumored opening dates for new attractions through Theme Park Tourist's "New Attraction Watch" section, and by signing up for our weekly newsletter.

FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

Add new comment

About Theme Park Tourist

Theme Park Tourist is one of the web’s leading sources of essential information and entertaining articles about theme parks in Orlando and beyond.

We are one of the world’s largest theme park guide sites, hosting detailed guides to more than 80 theme parks around the globe.

Find Out More About Us...

Plan Your Trip

Our theme park guides contain reviews and ratings of rides, restaurants and hotels at more than 80 theme parks worldwide.

You can even print them.

Start Planning Now...