We are closing out the year 2011 with some significant news. The Theme Park Insider has released the plans that are currently in place for the expansion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
The plans go into quite a bit of detail and are labeled as "Concept" plans; therefore, they are far from the final plans. However, they are very intricate and therefore significant enough to give you a taste of their thoughts on this expansion.
As previously released, Gringotts will be the source of a major new attraction inside the proposed Diagon Alley area. Diagon Alley will be approximately 500 feet long and packed with additional shops but its not clear at this time what they will be.
On the Gringotts ride:
It looks like we can expect another elaborately themed walk-through queue tour, along the lines of what we got with Hogwarts Castle in the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter. From the "Entry Hall," the queue appears to leave the building into shaded, then covered, area before re-entering into the large "Bankers Hall." The next room in the queue is "Vault Display," then the "Reading Room." From there it's into what's labelled "Office Hallway" before we reach "Bill Weasley's Office." The next feature is labelled "Elevators," which take us up a level in order to cross over the ride tracks to access the center load island.
There are two load channels for the ride, with loading on the center island, and unloading off the outsides. The ride vehicles are twin, 12-person, open-air cars, arranged in three rows of four. Each row is placed slightly higher than the row in front of it, in a "stadium seating" effect. The look of the cars is very Victorian, with individual lap bars and six Dolby speakers per seat for on-ride audio.
Here are the concept artwork of the carts: Front | Back
There are plenty more details of the ride, which you can read here. But overall it appears that the Gringotts Cart ride will not be a traditional roller coaster. It appears to be a hybrid roller coaster and motion-base ride, with 3D projection screens throughout the ride embedded in the rockwork of the tunnel walls, creating an allusion of open space, within which we will be able to watch battles taking place.
Tell us what you think of the ride concept.
Thanks to Hypable for the tip.