Behind the Scenes of Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure with Creatives and Talent
On Tuesday, June 11, VIP guests and media were invited to an opening celebration event of Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure held in front of the attraction, followed by a chance to experience the ride. The first to speak was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Universal Parks & Resorts Tom Williams, who introduced a few special guests in the audience, including Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Warner Bros. Senior Vice President of Global Entertainment Peter van Roden and Vice President Roxanne Gray, and Franchise Director Adam Reed from the Blair Partnership. Our host for the evening, Gemma, gave us a rundown of the creatures featured on the banners behind the stage, salamanders, Cornish pixies, unicorns, and Fire Crabs.
Following this introduction, Gemma was joined onstage by Evanna Lynch and Warwick Davis. They began speaking but were interrupted by honking coming from a certain Ford Anglia, driven by none other than Rupert Grint. He and Tom Felton jumped out before the car reversed back into the shadows. The audience was then treated to a special welcome video message from Hagrid actor Robbie Coltrane. Suddenly, James and Oliver Phelps came roaring up from the opposite direction on Hagrid’s motorbike and sidecar. With all six actors on the stage, host Gemma wondered aloud how we would access the ride with all the crates and boxes in front of the entrance. Of course, that required a bit of magic. With the help of the audience, those onstage took out their wands to cast the Levitation Charm, Wingardium Leviosa, on all the objects in the way. Everything was lifted into the air as jets of red, green, yellow, and blue lights and smoke shot up above the banners. Robbie Coltrane appeared on the screen once again to finish off the celebration.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.
You can watch the full event below, which was live streamed on our Facebook page.
Earlier in the day, we attended a special Q&A with Tom Felton, James and Oliver Phelps, Evanna Lynch, and Warwick Davis.
When asked their favorite part of the ride, Tom and Warwick discussed “the sheer speed of it” and how the fact that it’s very close to the ground “increases that feeling of speed” as opposed to being higher up in the air like most roller coasters. Tom, who was one of the first to experience the attraction, first rode on the sidecar but then quickly switched to the motorbike, both times in the front row. As he says, “There’s something about the handles” that make the motorbike a particularly appealing choice.
One outlet asked each actor, “If you could own a magical creature, which one?” James responded that he thinks it’d be cool to own a Niffler because “he’s cute and I could send him into Oliver’s room” to get some spending money, while Oliver had a more innocent wish, wanting to own a unicorn. Tom’s first thought was that it’d be pretty cool to own a hippogriff but realized he would have no idea what to do with it, while Evanna was surprised that no one else would want to own a phoenix because they’re so loyal (Warwick thought it would be a fire hazard). In true Luna fashion, she would also want a free house-elf to talk to, not to own, of course. Warwick had the most creative response, saying he’d like to own a small, manageable creature that would eat trash. He wouldn’t want to be stuck trying to figure out what to feed a magical creature, and this way, it would be good for the environment. Despite Evanna pointing out that such a creature does not exist, he would not be swayed!
Taking inspiration from the ride queue, we asked each actor what sort of drawing or words their character would have added to the wall of graffiti inside the ruins.
- “‘Flitwick was here,’ very low down.” – Warwick Davis
- “I think Fred and George’s would always be something a bit more obscene.” – Oliver Phelps
- “I think it would be enchantment where you went to read it and it would jump out and scare you.” – James Phelps
- “Probably something very rude that I shouldn’t repeat.” – Tom Felton
- “I think Luna would draw a Crumple-Horned Snorkack. […] Maybe the latest Quibbler headline.” – Evanna Lynch
When asked who screamed the most on the ride, Oliver claimed it was Rupert Grint, with Tom adding that “he’s got a unique high pitch.” Unfortunately, Rupert wasn’t there to defend himself, although he did appear at the aforementioned opening celebration event.
You can watch the full video of the Q&A with Tom Felton, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Evanna Lynch, and Warwick Davis below, which was live streamed on our Facebook page.
Earlier still, we had the chance to interview Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Creative Director Gary Blumenstein and Art Director Alan Gilmore. We asked them what they liked about the ride, the creative process behind the Blast-Ended Skrewts, and the architecture of and inspiration behind the ruins themselves. Gilmore, unable to choose a favorite, seem just as excited about the opening of the ride as all of us!
Particularly, I love the large ruin you pass through on the motorbike because it’s an amazing moment to fly through. I love the barn, the way Hagrid just sits at the barn. I love all the amazing spaces we pass through. I love seeing the pixies on the Anglia being naughty, and the pixies all turn out to be naughty everywhere. Inside, I love seeing Hagrid and Arthur tinkering with the motorbike and duplicating it. We really have a story. I love the spaces in there, the motion. It’s very natural.
Blumenstein was able to shed light on the Green Man design featured prominently throughout the ruins.
J.K. Rowling had given an interview where she mentioned that she had based Hagrid [on] the Green Man from folklore because he’s the spirit of the forest, in a sense, so we just thought that was a natural fit to become an icon for the attraction.
You can read transcripts of the complete interviews below. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is open now.