Universal Orlando Resort entered a new era when they opened both halves of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Attendance and profits have never been higher for the chain. Millions of Potter fans from around the world travel to the parks to experience the magic first hand. Universal really knocked it out of the park with these extremely themed and immersive lands; they have pushed the boundaries of what a theme park can create. While nothing new related to Harry Potter has been added to the parks since the 2014 opening of Diagon Alley, more may be on the way. Recent rumors have been pointing to a new Potter-themed attraction coming to Universal Orlando in the near future and we will break down the possibilities of what it could be — should it come to fruition.
Shortly before Diagon Alley opened in Universal Studios Florida, a persistent rumor was floating around regarding the future of the Potter IP in the resort. Many started to speculate about the idea of the famous Ministry of Magic taking the place of Fear Factor. Over time, that rumor seems to have died, with the park beginning to focus on projects like Fast & Furious, Volcano Bay, and ground work for a future third gate. Recently, Universal Studios filed the concept for a potential future ride. The concept is essentially an interactive dark ride with a controller that can be in the form of multiple shapes including a steering wheel and most notably, a wand. The Potter ride rumors have revived but in a new format, it seems, as the language used in the concept is very specific. Universal didn’t put the word “wand” in there by accident. Now this rumor does have two parts. But where would a brand new dark ride like this even be located?
A dark ride of this caliber is a major E- ticket attraction; it needs a prime location to maximize its success. While it is very plausible that this may be headed to a third theme park, should it be built, there is another location within the current resort that makes sense. In our Hulk ride review article, we mentioned that Dragon Challenge could receive the retracking that Hulk got this summer as they were built at the same time and have similar wear and tear. Insiders have begun to say that Dragon Challenge may actually be on its way out. You may sit and think to yourself, why would Islands of Adventure remove one of its major roller coasters? The truth is, the signs of its removal may be in plain sight. The two coasters no longer duel after an incident where a guest was injured by a projectile (though it wasn’t until years later that all Universal’s outdoor coasters received metal detectors to prevent loose objects). In addition to this, the wait time for the ride has dropped dramatically. This, and the fact that more of Universal’s theme parks have opened their own Wizarding World attractions across the world, and J.K. Rowling having creative involvement in all the projects, the removal of the ride does make sense. Furthermore, the land Dragon Challenge sits on is roughly double that of Hogsmeade itself (its size is also a reason why no other parks are adding it to their respective Potter areas). For these reasons and the fact that it is within close proximity to the current Potter area makes it an ideal location for a possible new ride.
There are many locales and stories in the Harry Potter universe that can be used for a new ride. The most likely scenario is a ride based off of the Forbidden Forest. In the movies and novels, the forest is located just off the grounds of Hogwarts and past Hagrid’s Hut. Islands of Adventure already has those locations in place. The forest would also provide a cover for the ride’s show building, adding to the truly immersive feeling when stepping foot in the Wizarding World. The land is big enough for a ride and something smaller as well, so if this dark ride rumor does come true, we may be seeing more than one magical experience.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is by far the best creation Universal has ever made. Its popularity is second to none and each time something has been added to it (whether it be grand scale like Diagon Alley or small like the Death Eater invasion in Japan), the experience has been enhanced. Universal will continue to create groundbreaking attractions and while not all of them come to light, they are all to benefit the resort. Now may be the time to ride Dragon Challenge as its life may be coming to an end. If permits begin to arise then the coaster’s fate is pretty much sealed. But until that happens, this concept may only exist as a rumor. Stay tuned to Attraction Insight for more updates on this possible attraction.
DISCLAIMER: This article is tagged as a rumor. Please be aware that the information in this report can change or may not have been planned at all. Attraction Insight shall not be held accountable for the accuracy of any rumors.