Despite ongoing previews of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando, the area’s signature attraction, the Harry Potter and the Forbidden ride, still remains largely a mystery. Previews have not allowed visitors to ride the multi-million dollar attraction and many specifics surrounding the ride stay secret.
But a new photo sent to Inside the Magic depicting one of the Forbidden Journey attraction’s posted safety signs reveals a rather stern-sounding description of just what the ride is capable of:
NOTICE FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF MAGICAL GAMES AND SPORTS
THIS RIDE SIMULATES DRAMATIC AEROBATICS. THE RIDE VEHICLE WILL SUDDENLY ACCELERATE, STOP, TURN, CLIMB AND DROP.
FAILURE TO FOLLOW POSTED GUIDELINES MAY RESULT IN SERIOUS INJURY OR EXPULSION FROM THE PARK.
Obviously the “Department of Magical Games and Sports” is a fictional organization from the “Harry Potter” books and movies, but the rest of the sign appears to be quite serious in tone, making it very clear what kinds of twists and turns the ride will be putting riders through.
It’s been long-rumored that the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride is based on KUKA Robotics’ “robocoaster” ride system, with ride vehicles vaguely resembling something like those pictured in this rendering:
Universal Orlando has said that riders on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey will be whisked around familiar scenes via an “enchanted bench” while Harry and friends fly nearby on broomsticks. But what is not known is just how intense the ride will be. The height requirement for the ride is set at 48″, which suggests an exciting experience, but not overly scary. In comparison, the Wizarding World’s Dragon Challenge roller coaster (formerly Dueling Dragons) has a height requirement of 54″, so it’s clear that Forbidden Journey will not be as intense as the inversion-packed coaster.
But based on this warning sign posted in the Forbidden Journey’s queue, it seems that Universal is quite concerned with the new technology they are utilizing for this attraction. While we don’t know what the “posted guidelines” are for the ride, I’d be willing to guess that they involve staying seated with hands and arms inside the enchanted bench at all times – and never trying to slip out of whatever harnesses are provided for safety. Since riders will be subjected to sudden speeds and turns in all directions presumably at the mercy of a giant robot arm, it’s easy to imagine why “serious injury” may occur for anyone choosing to ignore the theme park’s rules.
The most interesting note on the Forbidden Journey safety sign is the posted notion of “expulsion from the park” being a solution for unruly guests. It’s clear that a guest misbehaving on the ride could lead to his or her own injury, but this added clause makes me think that other guests’ safety could potentially be at risk. Universal obviously doesn’t want one bad apple to ruin the bunch and removing a guest from the park seems like a sufficient enough threat to prevent anyone from disobeying any guidelines that may put anyone in harm’s way. Safety is always a primary concern with any theme park’s attractions.
Update: Of course, as Mac and Diana have pointed out in the comments below, the “expulsion from the park” line may only be a tongue-in-cheek reference to the signs posted around Hogwarts by Dolores Umbridge in “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.” It’s still possible that even if it is meant as parody, Universal may not be entirely kidding.
While this sign may cause some guests to “chicken out,” fearing that the ride is too intense, it only heightens my own anticipation of the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride. I look forward to joining Harry, Ron, and Hermione for some “dramatic aerobatics” very soon.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will hold its grand opening on June 18, 2010.