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Universal Orlando Grows Harry Potter Partnership With New Roller Coaster

April 30, 2019 Sarah Cavill

universal orlando harry potter

Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure will open June 2019 within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter ― Hogsmeade at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure theme park. The ride is an homage to Hagrid, gamekeeper of magical creatures and Harry Potter’s beloved mentor, and marks the continuation of Universal Orlando’s successful strategic partnership with the Harry Potter brand.

Aligning With The Harry Potter Brand Is Popular And Profitable For Universal Theme Parks

In 2010, Universal Orlando opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, nearly doubling park attendance in the subsequent years. (In 2017 Universal Orlando welcomed 10.2 million visitors, up from 5.5 million in 2009.) Souvenir sales also skyrocketed for Universal with the addition of Harry Potter merchandise, increasing 104%.

And the growth continued. According to Comcast Corp., Universal Studios’ parent company, year-on-year park revenue earnings for the first quarter of 2015 were $773 million. An increase of $158 million from 2014.

Universal Studios Hollywood, which opened their Harry Potter theme park in 2016 clocked a 13.9% increase in attendance compared to prior years. Evidence that Harry Potter’s magic works on both coasts — even among muggles.

The Large Library Of Intellectual Property Offered By Harry Potter Allows Universal To Continue Innovating

universal orlando resort harry potter

JK Rowling wrote seven original Harry Potter books, and there have been a number of iterations since the completion of the series, including Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and the Fantastic Beasts film franchise. The sheer amount of Harry Potter-related intellectual property creates nearly unlimited opportunities for innovation and growth within the Harry Potter theme parks. Similar to the new Star Wars theme park  attractions opening at Disney World, the universe is full of possibilities.

The creation of Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure allowed Alan Gilmore – one of the art directors on the Harry Potter films and Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter – to tap into the foreboding, and as yet unused setting, of the Forbidden Forest. Well-known to movie and book fans, but until now not a part of the park, the Forbidden Forest is a natural fit for a Hagrid-centered ride.

Hagrid’s role as gamekeeper also offers opportunities to introduce unseen creatures and introduce a new, exciting world for park goers. “We’re creating a new environment with the Forbidden Forest,” said Mike West, Senior Director and Executive Producer at Universal Creative. “This will add a whole new layer, a whole new vista for [author] J.K. Rowling’s incredible stories and will really take the Wizarding World to a whole new level.”

According to Universal the ride combines, “innovative coaster technology with rich environments and sets — including an actual forest with more than 1,200 live trees.” Coaster enthusiasts interpret this as less reliance on screens and more sets and animatronics reminiscent of the film.

Promotions On Social Media Generate Excitement About The New Coaster

universal orlando resort harry potter

For promotion of the new coaster, Universal enlisted Tom Felton, best known to Harry Potter fans as conflicted Slytherin bad boy Draco Malfoy. In a video released on the Universal Orlando website and their social channels, Felton strolls through the Forbidden Forest discussing the new ride and chatting with designer Alan Gilmore.

The park used their Twitter feed and blog to reveal the different magical creatures featured in the ride, including the never-before brought-to-life “blast-ended skrewt.” The creatures were disclosed with photos and entertaining facts linked to characters and events in the books and films. Universal’s use of social media, particularly insider details and knowledge, continues to create buzz across their and Harry Potter’s very active fandoms, stirring up excitement for the opening day of Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Associate Content Manager, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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