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Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

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Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
[[File:Wizarding World of Harry Potter Castle.jpg#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.alt=Looking up at the replica of Hogwarts Castle which encloses the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride.|250px]]
Within Hogwarts Castle lies Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
Template:Infobox attraction/section
Template:Infobox attraction/section
Template:Infobox attraction/section
General statistics
Attraction type Dark ride
Designer Universal Creative
Model RoboCoaster G2
Theme Harry Potter universe
Vehicle type Enchanted benches (Robotic arm)
Vehicles 47[1]
Riders per vehicle 4
Rows 1
Riders per row 4
Duration 4 minutes and 6 seconds
Height restriction Script error: No such module "convert".
Track system Busbar
Manufacturer Dynamic Structures, RoboCoaster Ltd, KUKA
Ride Hosts Harry Potter
Ron Weasley
Hermione Granger
20px Single rider line available

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is a motion based dark ride located in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter themed areas of Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida, and Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, Japan. The ride takes guests through scenes and environments in and around Hogwarts Castle from the Harry Potter series of books and films. Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative, described the ride as an in-depth look at the world of Harry Potter, which utilizes never before seen technology which transforms "the theme park experience as you know it".[2] The original attraction at Islands of Adventure opened with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter section on June 18, 2010.[3] An installation has also been announced for Universal Studios Hollywood,[4] with it due to open in 2016.[5]


This summary describes the attraction at Islands of Adventure. The attractions currently under construction may have significant differences.
Entrance to the ride at Islands of Adventure

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey uses KUKA robocoaster technology, which allows the seats to pivot while being held above the track by a robotic arm. However, the ride is not a roller coaster but a scenic dark ride. The experience includes a flight around Hogwarts castle, an encounter with the Whomping Willow and a horde of Dementors, and a Quidditch match. The ride drops, spins around, twists and turns, but does not turn upside down, though passengers sometimes lie flat on their backs. Over-the-shoulder bars are used to secure guests in their seats, and a single parabolic metal bar is used as a hand grip. At the conclusion of the ride, guests exit into "Filch's Emporium of Confiscated Goods" gift shop.[2][6] As of May 2014, Universal Express Pass is not available for this attraction,[7] but a single rider queue is available.

Queue area

File:Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey - DADA classroom.jpg
The Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom forms a portion of the queue at Islands of Adventure

To enter the ride, guests walk through the gates of Hogwarts and begin their journey in the dungeons where they see items featured in the movies and books. Passengers enter through the castle doors, go to the lockers, queue outside in the green house and then enter the back castle doors. Objects recognizable from the series include the Mirror of Erised, the Hogwarts House Jewels, and talking portraits. As guests proceed throughout the hallways, they encounter replicas of the rooms of Hogwarts castle, including the Headmaster's office, the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom and the Gryffindor common room. In the Headmaster's office, Professor Dumbledore extends a warm welcome to all Muggles, informing them that Professor Binns is hosting a lecture on the history of the school. In the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, Harry, Ron, and Hermione appear from under the Invisibility Cloak, urging guests to meet them in the Room of Requirement in order to sneak everyone down to a Quidditch match. Ron tries to perform a magic trick which goes wrong, and one of several special effects, such as falling snow, is triggered. Before continuing on, visitors receive a safety reminder from the Sorting Hat and several paintings in the next two rooms.[8]


File:Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey station.jpg
The "enchanted bench" ride vehicles.

Next, riders board an enchanted bench inside the Room of Requirement, which lifts off the ground and through the Floo Network for a journey with Harry. The ride combines real sets and animatronics with segments that use wrap-around projection screens.[8][9]


File:2010 0325 PotterFly1.jpg
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) in a scene from the ride-film of the attraction.

The ride begins with a dousing of Floo Powder from Hermione Granger, who asks the guests to say, "Observatory" in order to transport them to their desired location, and the enchanted bench flies off through the Floo Network to the Astronomy Tower. The guests leave the Astronomy Tower through its fireplace and enter the Observatory, where they look out through the open arches to the hills and lake outside Hogwarts' boundary. As the guests fly out of one of the Observatory's arches, the ride smoothly switches to a wrap-around projection screen and they follow Harry Potter and Ron Weasley around Hogwarts' buildings and towers to a Quidditch match. As Harry and Ron travel under a bridge, Hagrid yields the riders and asks them if they have seen a dragon. As Harry redirects the riders' attentions back to their journey, Hagrid's pet Hungarian Horntail dragon begins to chase the riders. The bench flies out of the projection screen and into a set of the uneven bridge that crosses the valley behind Hogwarts and, after falling out of a hole in the floor of the bridge, they encounter an animatronic dragon, which breathes false fire at them.[9]

The riders descend into a set of the Forbidden Forest where they encounter a figure of Aragog a large, sentient spider who spits water at them. As Hermione tries to help the riders away from Aragog and towards the castle, encountering many spiders on the way, they encounter an animatronic Whomping Willow which swipes at them, knocking them into the Quidditch pitch. The ride returns to a projection screen as the riders become caught up in Harry's and Ron's game of Quidditch. As Slytherin scores into Gryffindor's goal, Dementors arrive at the Quidditch pitch and Harry attempts to lead the riders away through the structure of the pitch and back to the school, but their bench falls into the long-abandoned Chamber of Secrets through a hole. The riders return to a real set as the Dementors appear from the pipelines and chase them. The skeleton of the long-deceased Basilisk lies on the floor of the Chamber, and expels Lord Voldemort's Dark Mark into the air as the benches are drawn into the mouth of Salazar Slytherin's statue.[9]

Many Dementors emerge from the darkness while one descends and attempts to suck out the rider's souls. This effect is achieved by projecting the rider's faces onto a cloud of fog in front of the Dementor, blasting cold air towards the riders, and using a heartbeat-like sound played through the sub-woofers built into the benches. After shaking the riders out of the trance, Harry causes the Dementors to flee with a protective Patronus charm.[9] After the final Dementor, and while Harry uses his Patronus, the riders enter the final video dome segment, where the cliffs outside the Chamber of Secrets cave in. They fly over the Black Lake, back into Hogwarts and through the Main Hall and Grand Staircase, where they are cheered on by a series of on-screen characters from the movies who appear three-dimensional. Professor Dumbledore sends everyone back through the Floo Network to the Room of Requirement, where they exit their bench.[9]


File:Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey - test seat.jpg
Test seats exist at the entrance of the queue at Islands of Adventure.

While everyone may walk through the queue, all riders must be at least Script error: No such module "convert". tall. The ride has no maximum weight limit, and riders can test whether the attraction accommodates their size using test seats at the queue entrance and again at the end of the queue, which are equipped with red, yellow, and green lights that indicate whether the rider can be accommodated. Persons requiring modified seating on other rides may have difficulty closing the ride's over-the-shoulder harness.[10] If passengers are unable to secure the harness, they are not permitted to ride the attraction.[11] In an attempt to alleviate this problem, Universal has modified the restraint system on some of the seats to accommodate larger guests. These modifications will not affect the size of the seat nor create a dangerous situation for smaller guests. Guests who receive a yellow light on the test seats may sit in modified seating.[10][12][13]

According to the Universal Orlando Resort Rider's Guide, both legs must protrude from under the restraint and form a lap. In practice, above-knee amputees will not be permitted to ride unless their residual natural limb reaches the edge of the seat (or at least includes a knee), even if the lock-bar appears to successfully engage the limb. Lower-limb prosthetics will not offset this requirement since they must be removed prior to boarding the ride. These particular restrictions are not clearly posted at the ride or on the website, which lists the height requirement only. The lower limb prosthetic removal requirement can be found at the "Accessibility Information" page under "Guests with Prosthetic Limbs."[14] The residual limb length requirement is not listed there but will be enforced at the ride prior to boarding. Wheelchair users who are able to transfer directly to the ride vehicle may do so at a separate area, which does not contain the introductory theming of the Floo Network. Instead, wheelchair users pass through a series of unthemed elevators and corridors to arrive at the accessible loading area. Only one accessible ride vehicle is available, and each party must wait for the previous group to return before they may enter the loading area.



In January 2007, rumors arose about the possibility of a Harry Potter themed island at Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park.[15] This was followed by further rumors that part of the project was codenamed "Strong Arm" in reference to the KUKA robotic arm technology it would utilize.[16][17] On May 31, 2007, Universal, in partnership with Warner Bros., officially announced that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter would be coming to Islands of Adventure.[18][19][20] Preparation of the site for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter began in late October 2007, and the construction of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey began in February 2008.[21] Construction ended in the first half of 2010. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey began operating on June 1, 2010,[22] and officially opened to the public on June 18, 2010.[23][24]

On December 6, 2011, Universal Parks & Resorts announced that it would open The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood, and that one of the attractions would be Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.[25][26] The area is set to open in 2016.[5] On May 5, 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported that Universal Studios Japan would also be receiving a The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, with Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey confirmed as one of the attractions.[27] The Japanese ride opened on July 15, 2014.[28]

Ride mechanics

KUKA robotic arms, similar to those used on Robocoasters (pictured), are used on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in conjunction with busbar track technology.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey features a RoboCoaster G2 ride system provided by Dynamic Structures, KUKA and RoboCoaster.[29] The first generation RoboCoaster system featured KUKA robotic arm technology anchored to a stationary platform, while the second-generation G2 system mounted the arms on a busbar track.[30][1][31][32][33][34] The system was first publicly disclosed at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Trade Show in 2003.[35][36] At around the same time, rumors began circulating about the possibility of Islands of Adventure adding a Van Helsing-themed ride using this technology.[37] These plans were later scrapped with Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ultimately using the same technology and opening on the same plot of land proposed for the Van Helsing ride.[1] The ride's seats are mounted on robotic arms which are in turn mounted on a track. This allows the arms to travel through the attraction while performing their movements in synchronization with the ride's show elements (animated props, projection surfaces, etc.).[31][32][33][34] This concept first appeared in the 2004 International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Trade Show.[36] The disadvantage of this intricate machinery is that if the ride breaks down, some guests are stranded in uncomfortable positions, such as being tilted backwards in dark enclosed spaces.[38]

For the three sections of the ride where wrap-around projection is used, each robotic arm continues its steady movement on the track but is met by its own individual parabolic projection screen and projector traveling at exactly the same pace. Each projection section uses a huge turntable with six of these enormous screens mounted facing outwards - one for each robotic arm as they pass by - and each screen is large enough that when in front of each ride bench its edges cannot be seen. The screens appear and disappear behind the edges of the physical sets. The robotic arms can then freely dive, turn and pivot each ride bench within the curved area, giving the illusion of extreme movement when synchronized with the projection, whilst the base of the arm on the track simply follows the slow circular path that each screen takes as it revolves. This is why each projection section of the ride is approximately the same length, as each ride arm must follow each identically-sized projection screen turntable for a set period of time.


The attraction was designed by Universal Creative in association with Warner Bros. Recreation Group. Thierry Coup, who worked on The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, Shrek 4-D and Revenge of the Mummy, was the Creative Director for the ride.[39][40]


Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey features many of the main characters of the film series including:[41]


Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey has been widely praised for its innovation and theming. Arthur Levine of stated that he felt he "had been taken to a truly magical place. For a few glorious moments, the Floo Network, flying benches, and willows that whomp seemed not just possible, but actual." He gave the ride a rating of 5 stars out of 5, and wrote that the ride was the best of its kind.[42] Robert Niles of Theme Park Insider commended Universal Creative for its attention to detail on the ride. Niles wrote that the company had set its expectations almost impossibly high, and that the ride is "the most advanced and engaging attraction in theme park industry history".[40] Ricky Brigante of Inside the Magic described the ride as a "jaw-dropping journey that no one should miss", but criticized the lack of continuity with the story.[43][44]

In Amusement Today's annual Golden Ticket Awards, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey debuted as the best new ride of 2010.[45] This was followed by winning the Best Dark Ride category for the three years from 2011.[46][47][48]

Golden Ticket Awards: Best Dark Ride
Year 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Ranking 4[45] 1[46] 1[47] 1[48] 1[49]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Hart, Lance (April 4, 2010). "Islands of Adventure". Screamscape. Archived from the original on April 5, 2010. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Scull, Eric (2010). "The Wizarding World 'Forbidden Journey' ... ride preview". Muggle Net. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Islands of Adventure: Live the adventure of a lifetime". Universal Orlando Resort. 2010. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Hogwarts Coming to Hollywood". Press Release. Universal Studios Hollywood. December 6, 2011. Retrieved December 6, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Universal Studios Hollywood Makes Unprecedented Investment in Epic Theme Park Transformation" (Press release). NBCUniversal. April 9, 2014. Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  6. ^ "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Media". Universal Orlando Resort. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  7. ^ "UNIVERSAL EXPRESS PLUS PASS". 2010. Retrieved July 12, 2010. 
  8. ^ a b Inside the Magic (May 29, 2010). "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey queue at the Wizarding World in Universal Orlando". Video. YouTube. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b c d e Nefer, Barbara (June 18, 2010). "Blow by blow account of Forbidden Journey ride at Wizarding World of Harry Potter". Examiner. 
  10. ^ a b "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride seats modified to fit larger guests". Orlando Attractions Magazine. September 11, 2010. Retrieved September 23, 2010. 
  11. ^ The Harry Potter Automatic News Aggregator (June 19, 2010). "Follow-up: 'Forbidden' fatties at 'Wizarding World of Harry Potter'". The Harry Potter Automatic News Aggregator. Retrieved November 29, 2014. 
  12. ^ Hart, Lance (July 22, 2010). "Islands of Adventure". Screamscape. Archived from the original on July 31, 2010. Retrieved September 5, 2010. 
  13. ^ Garcia, Jason (September 13, 2010). "Harry Potter ride tweaked for larger guests". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved September 23, 2010. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ Levine, Arthur (January 28, 2007). "Universal to Float New Island at its Florida Park". Retrieved May 19, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Harry Potter / Lost Continent Transformation". Screamscape. February 1, 2007. Archived from the original on February 3, 2007. Retrieved May 19, 2010. 
  17. ^ Hill, Jim (February 5, 2007). "Monday Mouse Watch: You'll believe a car can fly". Jim Hill Media. Retrieved May 19, 2010. 
  18. ^ Sturcke, James (May 31, 2007). "Harry Potter theme park to open in Florida". The Guardian. 
  19. ^ "Harry Potter theme park swoops to Fla.". USA Today. May 31, 2007. 
  20. ^ "Harry Potter theme park planned". BBC News. May 31, 2007. 
  21. ^ The Leaky Cauldron. "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Theme Park". The Leaky Cauldron. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  22. ^ The Leaky Cauldron (June 1, 2010). "Wizarding World of Harry Potter Soft Open Report RoundUp". The Leaky Cauldron. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  23. ^ "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Only at Universal Orlando Resort". Universal Orlando Resort. 2010. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  24. ^ Sangalang, Jennifer (June 18, 2010). "'Harry Potter' movie stars help christen Wizarding World". USA Today. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  25. ^ MacDonald, Brady (December 6, 2011). "It's official: Harry Potter land to debut at Universal Studios Hollywood". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 6, 2011. 
  26. ^ Nakashima, Ryan (December 6, 2011). "Poof! Harry Potter park to appear in Hollywood". Associated Press. Retrieved December 6, 2011. 
  27. ^ Fritz, Ben (May 9, 2012). "Harry Potter heads to Universal Studios Japan". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 10, 2012. 
  28. ^ Cripps, Karla (July 17, 2014). "Universal Studios Japan's 'Wizarding World of Harry Potter' opens". CNN. Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Portfolio". Dynamic Attractions. Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  30. ^ "History". Robocoaster. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  31. ^ a b Harry Potter World Orlando (March 22, 2010). ""Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" Attraction Details". Harry Potter World Orlando. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  32. ^ a b "Kuka Entertainment – Robocoaster". Kuka Entertainment. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  33. ^ a b "Kuka Industrial Robots – Robocoaster". Kuka Industrial Robots. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  34. ^ a b "Large & Theme Park Solutions". Robocoaster. March 22, 2010. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  35. ^ Hart, Lance. "IAAPA News". Screamscape. Archived from the original on December 8, 2003. Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  36. ^ a b "IAAPA 2004 Innovations - RoboCoaster on track". Coasters and More. 2004. Retrieved July 8, 2012. 
  37. ^ Niles, Robert (November 29, 2003). "A 'Van Helsing' Robocoaster for Islands of Adventure?". Theme Park Insider. Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  38. ^ Jacobson, Susan (July 23, 2010). "Guests stuck on Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter ride". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved September 23, 2010. 
  39. ^ Goh, Robin (October 5, 2011). "Getting to know: Thierry Coup". Resorts World Sentosa. Retrieved July 8, 2012. 
  40. ^ a b Niles, Robert (June 17, 2010). "Theme park magic in Orlando has a new home: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey". Theme Park Insider. Retrieved July 8, 2012. 
  41. ^ "Grand Opening Of The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter At Universal Orlando Resort Set For June 18". News Article. Universal Orlando Resort. March 25, 2010. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  42. ^ Levine, Arthur. "The Forbidden Journey of Harry Potter Ride". Retrieved July 8, 2012. 
  43. ^ Brigante, Ricky (June 2, 2010). "Spoiler-Free Review: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride at Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World". Inside the Magic. Retrieved July 8, 2012. 
  44. ^ Brigante, Ricky (June 4, 2010). "Spoiler-FILLED Review: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride at Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World". Inside the Magic. Retrieved July 8, 2012. 
  45. ^ a b "Park and ride winners" (PDF). Amusement Today 14 (6.2): 4, 5. September 2010. 
  46. ^ a b "Park and ride winners" (PDF). Amusement Today 15 (6.2): 4, 5. September 2011. 
  47. ^ a b "Park and ride winners" (PDF). Amusement Today 16 (6.2): 4, 5. September 2012. 
  48. ^ a b "Park and ride winners" (PDF). Amusement Today 17 (6.2): 4, 5. September 2013. 
  49. ^ "Park and ride winners". Amusement Today 16 (6.2): 4, 5. September 2014. 

External links