MuggleNet’s Sneak Peek of Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, the Wizarding World at Universal Orlando Resort’s newest roller coaster, is set to open shortly, and while we’ve been able to get some sneak peeks from other sources, MuggleNet was in Orlando, Florida, this past week to get a sneak peek of our own!

This writer was given a guided tour of the immersive queue, an interview with the creative director, and the chance to capture video and pictures at a few spots. Here’s everything we learned at this exciting sneak peek.

 

The Story

The ride and its queue showcase a set of ruins that are in the Forbidden Forest. According to Elaine Hinds, Show Producer, and Gary Blumenstein, Creative Director, these ruins (which are unnamed) used to be frequented by Hogwarts students who took to drawing on the walls while they visited. Now, however, the ruins have been taken over by Hagrid for his magical creatures. And the large hut that’s visible in aerial shots? That is not Hagrid’s hut, but an outbuilding where Hagrid keeps the Blast-Ended Skrewts.

 

The Queue

Guests will enter the ride queue from Hogsmeade, across from Honeydukes. You will travel past Hagrid’s hut, which is located near the Flight of the Hippogriff ride, and toward the ruins. The main ruins entrance, which can be seen in a photo below, is a great selfie spot, according to the ride’s creatives. It features a gorgeous sculpture of a merperson and an excellent view of the ride to your right.

When you enter the ruins, you will walk through hallways and corridors with some more creatures and Hagrid’s tools for taking care of them. You’ll travel through a room with some “mysterious” eggs. “We don’t say what they are,” laughed Blumenstein, though the press release implies that these are dragon eggs. The walls of the ruins are covered in graffiti from Hogwarts students, but Blumenstein wouldn’t say exactly whose name you might find on the walls.

There [are] some fun little Easter egg moments in there that people would enjoy. […] We work closely with Warner Bros. in developing the correct creative content.

These corridors lead to a room where you will stop to watch a video, like in other Wizarding World rides. The video features Hagrid and Arthur Weasley. Hagrid explains that Arthur is here to enchant Sirius’s motorbike to fly and there are some fun hijinks when things go wrong – we won’t spoil the whole video for you, but it was a delight to see Arthur and Hagrid together, along with a few creatures.

Riders will then head to a room called the chamber. Blumenstein explained that this room is where Hagrid crossbred manticores and Fire Crabs to create the Blast-Ended Skrewts. The chamber holds the remnants of this experiment (you might notice a rotting fish smell!), along with some gorgeous art by MinaLima.

The focus of the queue is, of course, the ruins. Blumenstein said they worked closely with Harry Potter movie creative Stuart Craig to create them. They are “centuries older than Hogwarts, and it’s something that’s always lived in the forest, just never seen in the films.” Check out some photos of the ruins below.

 

 

 

The Ride

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is on 6.6 acres of land, and 1,200 trees were planted to create the beautiful Forbidden Forest. The team behind the ride is calling it a “family thrill story coaster,” but what exactly does that mean?

Blumenstein explained that the ride, which is the longest roller coaster in Florida, features some backward motion and a free-fall drop at the Devil’s Snare. In fact, this is the first coaster in the United States to include a free-fall vertical drop. The ride accelerates to speeds of 50 miles per hour and is around two minutes and twenty-five seconds in length. Blumenstein described one particular thrill moment.

When you accelerate, it’s about 40 mph through the tracery window. You actually turn onto your side and then dip down through this bend here. You go racing across the lake. It’s just a dynamic, exciting moment, a head-knocker moment.

There are “show moments” throughout the ride when the cars slow down and even stop for riders to enjoy these moments, but the ride is mostly outdoors.

As for the carts themselves, Blumenstein explained that you actually sit six inches higher on the motorbike, so it is a different ride experience.

You think that the sidecar is a [safer] experience, but it’s thrilling. And the motorbike is… You’re much more out in the open and exposed in the way that you sit up in the seat. It’s a different experience from each seat and from where you sit on the train. I would say that the front end of the train is much more thrilling. The back end is also thrilling, but you get more show in the back. And it switches places. When you go backward, all of that switches around.

You will have the option to choose either the motorbike or the sidecar once you reach the front of the line. Blumenstein said the views are slightly different depending on where you’re seated, but you will be able to see everything no matter where you are. The height restriction is 48 inches.

When asked about the timeline of the ride, Blumenstein stated, “We don’t really place it in a timeline. I mean, a lot of the elements take place in the fourth book, in the fourth film.”

As for why this story, he said, “We thought it was a great opportunity to expand on Hagrid’s story [and] introduce more challenging adventures to our guests and more challenging magical creatures.”

This writer took it upon herself to ask if they thought about Newt for the ride’s main character since it is about creatures. Blumenstein chuckled.

Newt is certainly something we think about very much. […] It just was perfect [to have it be Hagrid] and also the time period in which we’re in.

We also just had to ask about the length of the ride’s name, a question that also received a laugh. Blumenstein said that it was the most succinct way to focus on both the creatures and the motorbikes. “It really tells you everything that you need to know about the experience. […] Big name for a big guy.”

Check out our footage of the ride below and Universal Orlando’s sneak peek video here! Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure opens June 13.

 

 

Full Transcript with Gary Blumenstein, Friday, May 17, 2019

Transcribed by Felicia Grady

Gary: So you’ve just experienced basically what we call tech rehearsal, so the preshow with Hagrid. We’re still working on the audio. We’re still working on getting that to levels where it’s audible and you can hear it, but it’s really exciting. We’re super excited about having the opportunity to redo that entire building and bring it into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Press: Is that [Hagrid actor] Robbie Coltrane’s voice?

Gary: That is Robbie Coltrane. And Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley).

Press: So the last room that we just saw. There’s quite a reference that that used to be the old “Choose Thy Fate” room [for Dueling Dragons]?

Gary: No, it’s not. When we were working on this, we figured this is a place where it was a perfect opportunity to tell the story about what you were going to experience on the ride. So Hagrid has, according to Rita Skeeter in the book, crossbred a manticore and Fire Crabs to create the Blast-Ended Skrewts, which figure prominently in the fourth book, Goblet of Fire. So he’s created these creatures. He used that room to breed them and grow them, and when they got too big for that room, he moved them out to the outbuilding, which is one of the experiences we experienced on the ride.

Press: Could you review again for us the order of scenes in the queue?

Gary: Yes. So you begin at the main ruins entrance, and then you course your way through the corridors to the hall, which is where you meet Hagrid and Arthur. And that’s where Hagrid welcomes you to class, sets up what you’re going to see in class, and explains that Arthur is there to help modify Sirius Black’s motorbike and duplicate it to take you to the edge of the forest. Once you go beyond that, you move through the hearth space and then a long corridor where Hagrid has a collection of eggs. We don’t say what they are. [laughs] They’re curious eggs. And then we move further down into tunnels to the chamber, which is the room I was describing in which he raised the Skrewts.

Press: And [can you] talk again about the drop with the speeds and all that for this ride? I saw on the sign it said “backward motion.” What’s that about, Gary?

Gary: We do have backward motion, and we have a free-fall drop in the journey. It’s our double snare moment, and it’s really exciting. It’s great. Our speeds are up to 50 mph. And in addition to that, we have a spike element in which you ascend upward into the sky and roll backward and accelerate at speed. There'[re] a lot of fun thrill elements on this [ride].

Press: You guys mentioned earlier that there was a dual drop. What exactly does that mean?

Gary: Yeah, so it’s the free-fall drop track that we have. The dual purpose is a behind-the-scenes thing. It helps us maintain our capacity on the attraction. As a guest, you experience one free-fall drop on any given ride.

Press: Gary, in terms of the ruin itself, does it have a name?

Gary: No. No, it’s just generic ruins on the backside of Hagrid’s hut in a Scotch forest.

Press: Was there a specific design inspiration for the ruins?

Gary: Yeah, very much so. We worked closely with Warner Bros.’ film team, Stuart Craig (the production designer), and he set the tone for what that would be. It’s centuries older than Hogwarts, and it’s something that’s always lived in the forest, just never seen in the films.

Press: Can you talk about what we’re looking at right there. It appears to be a twisting in the archway. What is the effect?

Gary: When you accelerate, it’s about 40 mph through the tracery window. You actually turn onto your side and then dip down through this bend here. You go racing across the lake. It’s just a dynamic, exciting moment, a head-knocker moment. It looks like you’re going to smash into it.

Press: So as far as the timeline for the books and the film, does this fall within any certain area?

Gary: We don’t really place it in a timeline. I mean, a lot of the elements take place in the fourth book, in the fourth film (Goblet of Fire).

Press: Of all the choices you had for the next Harry Potter story to tell, why the Forbidden Forest?

Gary: We thought it was a great opportunity to expand on Hagrid’s story. Hagrid is such a beloved character, and we do have the hippogriff attraction. And [Flight of the] Hippogriff is a younger family experience, and we just thought this would be a great opportunity to introduce more challenging adventures to our guests and more challenging magical creatures.

Press: What was the reason to go with more of a family-oriented attraction to replace more of a high-thrill attraction [Dragon Challenge]?

Gary: Just to continue along the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme so that more of the family can enjoy it. As you can see, the location of this building, having Hagrid’s hut there, we just thought it was a perfect way to go with the story, is expand Hagrid’s story.

Gretchen Roesch: So you never thought about Newt? Because [of] the beasts? [laughs]

Gary: Newt is certainly something we think about very much, yes. [laughs]

Gretchen: He’s on the mind? [laughs]

Gary: Yes, yes. Yes. No, it just was perfect. And also the time period in which we’re in.

Press: How many trains can be running at one time on this track?

Gary: At least three. As many as you see.

Press: In each train, there'[re] 14. Is that correct, Gary?

Gary: Yeah. So two per motorbike and sidecar unit.

Press: Is it the same height restriction for the sidecar as it is the motorbike?

Gary: It is, but it is a different ride experience. You sit about 6 inches higher on the motorbike.

Press: Have you guys announced height restrictions yet?

Press: Yeah, 48 inches.

Press: So it does appear that the trains are slowing down in the interior.

Gary: Yeah. There are show moments throughout the ride in which they slow down. They even stop.

Press: Fast launch experience at multiple points.

Gary: Yes. And I have to say, having ridden it, the speed is quite thrilling. Some of what we thought would be slower moments are actually fun, thrilling, speed moments. So it’s very good.

Press: So it’s mainly outdoors, but you have some experiences inside?

Gary: It’s mostly outdoors. We do have a really great couple of scenes on the inside.

Press: We’ve seen some pictures of some of the animated figures, but how many animated figures are actually in the attraction?

Gary: At least five. It’s a tricky question because we have several animated effects, upward of over a hundred per scene inside the building, but as far as figures go, it’s five, five figures.

Press: When you first enter, there'[re] the walls. There’s writing and stuff. Is it the [unintelligible]. What is the story behind that?

Gary: Okay, yeah, so going back to that, this castle, having been in existence for centuries… We developed an idea in which, over the decades, Hogwarts students hang out in the castle and they add their own comments to the castle walls in addition to painting magical creatures on the walls.

Press: Are there things we should be looking for, maybe some characters we might recognize, in the writings?

Gary: Yeah, there [are] some fun little Easter egg moments in there that people would enjoy.

Press: Can you share some of them?

[Everyone laughs]

Gary: I don’t think I can at this point. No, but they’re fun moments. In all these cases, we work closely with Warner Bros. in developing the correct creative content.

Press: The video we started, with the motorcycle coming through, is that where people will be stopping to watch it or is it like at the Hogwarts one when you’re walking by as Dumbledore is talking?

Gary: We actually do. We stop in that room. It’s about a three-minute experience, and then you move on into the rest of the queue.

Press: Has J.K. [Rowling] been out to see it yet?

Gary: Not yet.

Gretchen: Can you tell us about the name?

Gary: Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure!

Gretchen: Why is it so long?

Gary: Because all Harry Potter names…!

[Everyone laughs]

Gary: It really tells you everything that you need to know about the experience. We have magical creatures, which we really want to play up, and it is a motorbike adventure. So we just thought that that was the most succinct way to get that across.

Press: Big name for a big guy.

Gary: Big name for a buy guy!

Press: If not a different ride experience between the motorbike and the sidecar, what do you think the difference is, and what do you love about each one?

Gary: I would say that you think that the sidecar is a [safer] experience, but it’s thrilling. And the motorbike is… You’re much more out in the open and exposed in the way that you sit up in the seat. It’s a different experience from each seat and from where you sit on the train. I would say that the front end of the train is much more thrilling. The back end is also thrilling, but you get more show in the back. And it switches places. When you go backward, all of that switches around. So the front becomes the back.

Press: Is there any difference in the show that you’ll see from the sidecar to the motorbike?

Gary: Yes. I mean, in terms of your views. Your view off to the right on the motorbike is much broader, but we designed the whole show around the sidecar so that the guest there would not be shortchanged.

Press: Do you have a special queue for going on the front or the back?

Gary: Not really, no. At the end, you choose. We do tell you to choose which side you want to ride before you get to the load area.

Press: You’re still choosing.

Gary: Yes, yes, yes. Exactly. [laughs]

Press Release

UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT CREATES THE MOST THRILLING AND INNOVATIVE COASTER EXPERIENCE YET WITH HAGRID’S MAGICAL CREATURES MOTORBIKE ADVENTURE
Immersive Environments, Unparalleled Thrills and Beloved Harry Potter Characters Come to Life on the Epic New “Story Coaster” – Opening June 13 in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade

Orlando, Fla. (May 20, 2019) – From rich sets and an actual forest with 1,200 trees to ground-breaking coaster technology and a captivating storyline, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure will be the most highly-themed, immersive coaster experience yet – becoming the world’s first “story coaster.”

Epic Thrills Await Within the Forbidden Forest…
Get ready to soar into one of the most mysterious places in the Wizarding World – the Forbidden Forest. Aboard magical motorbikes, guests will actually feel the freedom of flight as they journey to the edge of the forest – regardless of if they’re on the motorcycle or in the adjacent sidecar. They’ll ascend above the trees, rapidly accelerate through mysterious ruins, speed forward – and backward, and so much more as they search for the wizarding world’s rarest magical creatures.

The “story coaster” will feature innovative technology that is integrated so seamlessly into the surrounding environments, guests won’t know what to expect next. Along the way, they’ll experience thrills they’ve never felt on a coaster before, including:

  • The most launches of any roller coaster in the world – with 7 total launches
  • Unexpectedly dropping nearly 17 feet on the first coaster in the U.S. to feature a free-fall vertical drop
  • Being catapulted 65 feet in the air at a more than 70[-]degree angle – and then immediately dropping backward in one movement

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure will also be the longest roller coaster in Florida, measuring nearly a mile in length (5,053 feet).

Your Adventure Begins When You Enter the Ruins…
Before taking off on an exciting journey through the Forbidden Forest, guests will enter ruins which appear to have been abandoned for centuries behind Hagrid’s hut. The ruins were imagined and brought to life by Universal’s award-winning Creative team in collaboration with the Harry Potter films’ Production Designer, Stuart Craig, and Art Director, Alan Gilmore. Hagrid now uses the ruins for groundskeeping at Hogwarts. And this is where guests’ Care of Magical Creatures class will begin.

As they make their way to their enchanted motorbikes, guests will see materials from the class, including dragon eggs on the verge of hatching and a makeshift nursery where Hagrid kept his Blast-Ended Skrewts – the creatures that are being brought to life for the first time ever for this epic new adventure. Guests will encounter beloved characters from the Harry Potter films including Arthur Weasley, Hagrid, and his loyal dog, Fang, through a pre-show experience brought to life with digital projection and special effects. During this interaction, guests learn about their impending trip to the Forbidden Forest as part of their lesson for the day.

When it opens on June 13, 2019, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure will join the lineup of award-winning entertainment experiences in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando and bring an all-new adventure inspired by J.K. Rowling’s beloved stories to life on an epic new “story coaster.” Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure will be located in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. For more information, visit www.UniversalOrlando.com.

About Wizarding World
More than two decades ago, a young Harry Potter was whisked onto Platform 93⁄4 at King’s Cross Station, and readers everywhere were swept along with him into a magical universe, created by J.K. Rowling. In the years since, the seven Harry Potter bestsellers have inspired eight blockbuster movies, an award-winning stage play, and, more recently, the start of the Fantastic Beasts five-film series. People of all ages have been enthralled by these extraordinary adventures, set within an expanding universe, inspired by the vision of J.K. Rowling.

For today’s growing worldwide fan community, and for generations to come, the Wizarding World welcomes everyone to explore more of this magical universe — past, present and future. The Wizarding World also provides fans with an instant, trusted kite-mark of quality and authenticity.

HARRY POTTER characters, names and related indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. J.K. ROWLING`S WIZARDING WORLD™ J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Publishing Rights © JKR. (s19)

About Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Orlando Resort is a unique vacation destination that is part of the NBCUniversal Comcast family. For more than 25 years, Universal Orlando has been creating epic vacations for the entire family – incredible experiences that place guests in the heart of powerful stories and adventures.

Universal Orlando’s three theme parks, Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal’s Volcano Bay, are home to some of the world’s most exciting and innovative theme park experiences – including [t]he Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade and [t]he Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. Universal Orlando’s on-site hotels are destinations unto themselves and include Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, the Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, and Universal’s Aventura Hotel. Its entertainment complex, Universal CityWalk, offers immersive dining and entertainment for every member of the family.

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