Universal Orlando Unveils Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey

Feltbeats.com had the amazing honor of being invited to tour Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey, Universal Orlando’s signature ride in the upcoming Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

In a Q & A with President of Universal Creative, Mark Woodbury, prior to the tour, we were given a glimpse of what to expect.  He said it is to be a state of the art ride that will change the nature of the theme park business. We learned that Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey will incorporate new film technology and take each rider on a new adventure surrounding the chaos of Harry’s life. The ride is a combination of robotics, 360 degree filmatic experience, and will have the biggest special effects ever put into a theme park attraction. The ride has been in development for three years and involved Universal Creative, JK Rowling, Warner Brothers as well as several Filmakers in its conception. The experience was done at such a level of execution that everything else will pale in comparison. Visitors will find it difficult to distinguish fantasy from reality.

As each visitor makes their way into Hogwarts Castle, they will first see the famous winged boars at the entrance. Vice President of Universal Creative Thierry Coup, and Alan Gilmore, Art Director for the Harry Potter films, explained that they are the guardians of Hogwarts, keeping the students safe from dementors and Voldemort himself. The line for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey then makes its way through the dungeons, where the statue of the one-eyed witch and the famed Mirror Of Erised reside.

The queue then takes you through the greenhouse area where vines will be growing around the structures where you happen upon a batch of Mandrakes resting in their pots. It’s a nice shaded area with misting fans to protect visitors from the hot Florida sun.

Visitors to Hogwarts will then be led into the Oxford Corridor, where the statue of the architect of Hogwarts is located followed by the House Points Counter. This is an exact replica from the movies. There is also a statue of the first headmaster of Hogwarts, who has no name. Due to the immersive experience of the queue, the lines have been expanded to accommodate guests who wish to witness the entire scene while allowing the line to progress behind them.

The next prominent feature is the Griffin statue. Fans of the movies will recognize this as the entrance to Dumbledores’ office.

Visitors will then follow the queue into the portrait room. There are over 100 portraits on display, including the four school founders who interact with each other. The banter between them is quite comical and a treat for any Harry Potter fan. The portraits were filmed in Leavesden with actors and costumes approved by JK Rowling. There are other moving portraits that explain what the ride experience should be like and what rules to follow when you are on the journey.

Guests are then led into Dumbledores Office and only one word describes it: Stunning! Filmed on location in Leavesden Studios, visitors are greeted by Dumbledore, who invites you into Hogwarts. The technology used here is truly amazing. It is as though Dumbledore is really standing in front of you. The attention to detail  is outstanding from the magical instruments one would expect to find in the Headmaster’s Office, to the portraits of the sleeping headmasters.

Dumbledores office

Dumbledore then instructs guests to enter the Defense Against The Dark Arts classroom to attend a class taught by Professor Binns. He is filling in since Hogwarts has a tough time filling that teaching position. In the DADA room, you are welcomed by Harry, Ron and Hermione. They proceed to tell visitors how boring Professor Binns is and that they should skip class with them to attend a Quidditch match. Guests are instructed to head to the Room of Requirement as Harry, Ron and Hermione disappear under the invisibility cloak to meet you there.

Next visitors will encounter the Fat Lady who will grant access to the Gryffindor Common Room. Everything one would expect to find is there from the Red and Gold walls and tapestries to the plush couches and fireplace. There is also the bulletin board which features a copy of “The Daily Prophet” complete with moving pictures. The portraits on the wall give visitors information about the ride, as well as etiquette while experiencing the journey. Guests are warned that although Hermione cast a spell on the flying benches to get you through the floo network, it can be unpredictable.

The final stop on the queue is a visit with the Sorting Hat who gives final instruction before entering The Room Of Requirement for final boarding.

It is now time to ride Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey. Guests will be taken on a totally immersive ride, taking part in a Quiditch match with Harry and Draco, see the Whomping Willow, be chased by Dementors and Dragons, all while free flying with the main characters. Visitors will be living the experience.

There will be an occasion for guests to partake in photo opportunities within Filches Emporium of Confiscated Goods while exiting the ride. There are also many props that have been brought over from Leavesden, with many more on the way.

The creative staff at Universal Orlando has made Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey a truly authentic experience and something that has never been done before, and will be beyond expectations. This will definitely be a dream come true for any Harry Potter fan.

Here is Universal Orlando’s official press release:

Universal Orlando Also Unveils Details for the Highly Anticipated New Attraction:
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 25, 2010) – One of the most widely anticipated theme park entertainment experiences ever created – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort – is set for a public grand opening on June 18.
Today, Universal Orlando Resort also revealed details about what is expected to be one the most exciting theme park experiences ever created: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. It will be one of three themed attractions within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, including Flight of the Hippogriff and Dragon Challenge.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is the heart of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This all new adventure combines a powerful storyline with spectacular new technology so effectively that guests will be completely immersed in the experience.

And as they live their adventure, guests will feel things no one has ever felt inside a theme park attraction, move in ways no one has ever moved, experience film like no one else ever has, explore vast sets punctuated by amazing special effects – and have an adventure only possible in Harry Potter’s world.

The new attraction lies deep within Hogwarts castle, a majestic structure that towers over The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – the only place in the world where the wonder, excitement and adventure of the Harry Potter books and films comes to life.

The Adventure
…meeting Harry, Ron and Hermione as if they were in person
…soaring over Hogwarts castle with Harry
…being swept into a Quidditch match
…feeling the chilling effect of a Dementor
…exploring your favorite places inside Hogwarts castle
…living adventures you’ve only been able to imagine – until now.

The Story

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey draws you into the excitement and chaos of Harry’s life. As you venture through Hogwarts castle, you meet Harry, Ron and Hermione who convince you to skip a planned lecture and follow them. Upon taking their advice, you travel by Floo powder, and begin the adventure as you soar over Hogwarts, narrowly escape a dragon attack, have a close encounter with the Whomping Willow, get pulled into a Quidditch match and more.

“Guests will experience firsthand a completely new adventure featuring the iconic characters, amazing creatures and recognizable locations they’ve only read in the books or seen in the films,” said Thierry Coup, creative director for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

The Location
The Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey experience starts as soon as you walk through the gates of Hogwarts. Within the towering Hogwarts castle, you explore a truly magical place. You journey through iconic locations taken from the films and take in the extraordinary detail of each scene. They include:

  • Dumbledore’s office: Here, you meet the Headmaster as he welcomes you to Hogwarts
  • Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom: Where you first meet Harry, Ron and Hermione
  • Gryffindor common room: You meet three additional characters who prepare you for your journey
  • Room of Requirement: Here, with hundreds of floating candles above, you take your seat on an enchanted bench and begin the Forbidden Journey
  • Other locations: In addition, guests will pass through the Dungeon passageway and hallways of Hogwarts where they will have the chance to see hundreds of wizard portraits from the films, including several magical talking portraits created exclusively for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, including the four founders of Hogwarts. Guests will even get a glimpse of the Sorting Hat.

The Innovation
This is more than just an attraction and it is unlike any theme park experience ever created. It’s a revolutionary, 360-degree theme park experience and first-ever combination of live-action, advanced robotic technology and innovative filmmaking – specially designed and developed for this brand-new adventure.

“We have created an entirely new way to place our guests into the heart of one of the most compelling stories of our time,” said Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative. “What we have done will forever change the theme park attraction experience.”

The attraction’s newly created ride system envelops guests in filmed action scenes and moves those scenes with them as they travel through the ride, allowing more time in the center of the adventure and with their favorite characters. This fusion of robotic technology and filmed scenes has never been achieved until now. In some cases, technology had to be invented to achieve the highest level of guest experience. The combination of pioneering, state-of-the-art technology, innovative filmmaking and surprises around every corner make this attraction the embodiment of the Harry Potter book and film series—and the future of theme park entertainment.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Quick Facts

  • Storyline: As you venture through Hogwarts, you meet Harry, Ron and Hermione, who convince you to skip a planned lecture and follow them. Upon taking their advice you travel by Floo powder, and begin your adventure as you soar over Hogwarts, narrowly escape a dragon attack, have a close encounter with the Whomping Willow, get pulled into a Quidditch match and more.
  • First-ever combination of advanced robotic ride system technology with innovative, immersive filmmaking
  • Award-winning composer John Williams oversaw the creation of the attraction’s score
  • The queue includes the following Harry Potter book and film elements: Headmaster Dumbledore’s office, Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, Gryffindor common room, Room of Requirement, and the greenhouse; talking portraits including the Fat Lady and the never-before-seen four founders: Godric Gryffindor, Salazar Slytherin, Helga Hufflepuff and Rowena Ravenclaw; the Sorting Hat, the One-Eyed Witch statue and the Mirror of Erised
  • Duration of ride: The full attraction experience, including the queue, takes about an hour
  • Number of scenes in the attraction: 12
  • Characters (featuring Harry Potter film talent): Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Albus Dumbledore, Rubeus Hagrid and Draco Malfoy
  • You may also catch a glimpse of Fred and George Weasley, Ginny Weasley and Neville Longbottom

For the latest news about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, visit www.UniversalOrlando.com.

Universal Orlando Resort
There are many ways to enjoy your Orlando vacation – but there is only one Universal Orlando Resort. It is a completely separate destination featuring two theme parks, three magnificently themed on-site hotels and a nighttime entertainment complex. It’s the only Orlando destination where you are not just entertained – you are part of the most exhilarating entertainment ever created. You can soar above Hogwarts with Harry Potter, swing above the streets with Spider-Man, battle aliens alongside Agent J, and help Shrek save Princess Fiona in Shrek 4-D. You can be courageous, be outrageous – and be extraordinary.

Warner Bros. Consumer Products
Warner Bros. Consumer Products, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, is one of the leading licensing and retail merchandising organizations in the world.

Harry Potter continues to be a global phenomenon. The series of books by author J.K. Rowling has been translated into 68 languages with more than 400 million copies sold in over 200 territories around the world. The films, produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, have grossed more than $5.4 billion at the box office worldwide, making Harry Potter the largest-grossing film franchise in history.

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HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR.


22 thoughts on “Universal Orlando Unveils Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey

  1. I’m rooted to my seat, so much taken in reverse by everything I’ve readed! This is just incredible! Too incredible, that is, than so much love has been put to recreate this universe with accuracy and novelty, all at the same time! it’s the first time I’m seeing this written black on white!

    With Love,



  3. This sounds SO F-ING AMAZING! I have never wanted to go on an overseas trip as much as I do now. Unfortunately I think it’ll be years before I get to experience this amazing theme park. I hope it’ll be as amazing as you’ve described even then! I use amazing a lot. :X

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