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March 14, 2014
Hogwarts Express Excitement
They've done it again. Universal's PR machine has managed to get people even MORE excited about the upcoming Potter 2.0. This time by releasing a few images and information about what to expect on your trip aboard the Hogwarts Express ride.
People in the know have long said this will be a pretty impressive addition. But most in the general public didn't know much until the trains were hoisted onto the tracks in October.
Today -- Universal spilled the beans on much of what we can expect.
From "London" (Universal Studios side) you will actually go through the magic portal at King's Cross Station's Platform 9 3/4. You may want to go at it with a bit of a run. How the illusion will work is still not clear. But here's what you will see once you are in the mythical place where Hogwarts students board for the trip to school/
The concept art released a few weeks ago certainly has people excited. I mean look at how the tourists are reacting in the painting above.
Once you board the train itself (8 per cabin, 200 people per train) you will be seated by a window that (instead of the industrial backstage of the Universal parks) will let you see the countryside to Hogwarts (or, from Hogsmeade, the scenery back to London). The roughly 7 minute trip each way will feature two different experiences complete with beloved characters from the movies.
You'll also see Hedwig the owl. the Knight Bus, and an attack by Dementors (depending on which way you are going). I don't want to spoil the surprises. Earlier plans to somewhat randomize the ride apparently changed, but I understand there will still be in-train effects, and the view will be a little different depending on where you sit in the train.
You'll get to board the Hogwarts Express this Summer. Date: TBA.
Don't forget to ride this ride you must have a 2-park pass or an annual pass. One nice detail, to get to King's Cross station (or when arriving at that station) you have to enter the muggle world of London before you can enter Diagon Alley through the Leaky Cauldron.
It is going to be interesting to see how (operationally) Universal can pulse guests through to platform 9 3/4 and how they will handle the spinning bricks that allow passage into Diagon Alley. Both have the potential to be amazing -- and a bottleneck for hot and angry tourists looking to get in and out of the much-anticipated new land and new train ride.
Here's a video Universal shared this morning:
Universal's full press release is below.
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UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT REVEALS NEVER-BEFORE-RELEASED DETAILS ABOUT THE MAGICAL JOURNEY GUESTS WILL EXPERIENCE ABOARD THE HOGWARTS EXPRESS
Universal Creating First-Ever Experience that Will Allow Guests to Actually Ride the Iconic Train Between London and Hogsmeade - Just Like in the Books and Films
ORLANDO, Fla. (March 14, 2014) - One of the most memorable and exciting experiences from the Harry Potter series will come to life at Universal Orlando Resort this summer. Imagine:
· Being transported from the Muggle world to the wizarding world as you pass through the brick wall at King’s Cross Station to arrive at Platform 9 ¾
· Watching in amazement as the Hogwarts Express pulls into the station - its billowing steam and authentic whistle beckoning you to hop aboard
· Sitting in one of the train’s cabins with your family and friends and actually riding the Hogwarts Express - just as your favorite characters did in the Harry Potter films
· Looking outside your cabin window and enjoying a scenic, breathtaking journey through the British countryside as you encounter magical creatures, some of your favorite Harry Potter characters…and even Dementors…
Since the very first Harry Potter film, every fan has dreamed of taking the same classic journey Harry Potter did aboard the Hogwarts Express. And this summer - they will get to live it.
Today, Universal Orlando revealed never-before-released details about the Hogwarts Express experience that will debut as part of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley - the all-new, magnificently themed land opening this summer. The train will connect the new land in Universal Studios Florida with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure - allowing guests with park-to-park admission to enjoy a real journey aboard the iconic locomotive.
Never before has this been done - creating an actual train ride experience to connect two spectacularly themed environments. The Hogwarts Express experience combines powerful storytelling, live special effects, lifelike animation and state-of-the-art technology to take riders on the journey of a lifetime. Guests will enjoy two completely different experiences depending on whether they’re traveling to Hogsmeade or London.
Once seated in the cabin, guests will be able to look out their windows as an incredibly authentic and magical adventure unfolds before them. They’ll see Hagrid come alongside the train on his flying motorbike, Buckbeak the Hippogriff swoop gracefully over the black lake, the Weasley twins on brooms and up to their usual antics, the Knight Bus swerving through London traffic - and other special moments and surprises.
Universal’s Creative team has been working closely with Warner Bros., Stuart Craig and the production team from the Harry Potter films to create a sensational Hogwarts Express experience that the entire family can enjoy. The Creative team has gone to great lengths to ensure the experience is true to the books and films. Everything about the train is authentic - from the paint and the materials used to build it….all the way down to the whistle.
Park-to-park admission is required to experience the Hogwarts Express journey from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley (located in Universal Studios Florida) to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade (located in Universal’s Islands of Adventure). For more information about the Hogwarts Express - including a new video that features a first-look at the ride experience - and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, visit www.universalorlando.com