Revelio! Uncover the Secrets of Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure!

Jun 14, 2019

Posted by: Dawn Johnson

News, Theme Park, WIzarding World of Harry Potter Orlando

Everyone knows that you should enter the Forbidden Forest at your own risk. It is a prohibition announced to all new students entering Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. But apparently there was a time before magical creatures overtook the mysterious wood, and young wizards and witches roamed the grounds freely. In fact, there are ruins deep in the forest, ruins that existed long before Hogwarts castle was built.

Curious students discovered those ruins and began wandering its aging halls and tunnels. They congregated after long afternoon classes and, in a bit of mischief making, decorated the crumbling, ivy-covered walls with graffiti. But then magical creatures began to claim the recesses of the ancient stone fortress for shelter, and it was no longer a safe place for students. That is, until a certain half-giant with an affinity for unusual and often dangerous creatures became the Keeper of Keys and Grounds.

Universal Orlando Resort has created its most life-like animated figure for the most highly themed, immersive coaster experience yet, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure – opening June 13. And it’s none other than Hogwarts gamekeeper and Care of Magical Creatures professor himself – Hagrid.

When headmaster Albus Dumbledore promoted Hagrid to Care of Magical Creatures instructor, it was only a matter of time before one of his educational but unorthodox lessons turned into a downright adventure!

As a special guest in Hagrid’s class, you must navigate stacks of crates, barrels, a pumpkin-filled wheelbarrow and huge coils of rope located next to Hogsmeade station. The crates likely contain food for the creatures’ ravenous appetites–or equipment for Hagrid’s not-exactly-sanctioned experiments. After skirting his precarious piles, which may be cleared away in time as he unpacks this latest delivery of provisions, you’ll pass beneath an ornate archway, which breaches the perimeter of the wall surrounding the ruins.

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Guests then follow a trail through the trees, of which there are over 1,200. Breaking through the stillness is the sound of birds chirping in the branches and distant neighing beyond the ruins. Be on your watch, the equine noises could be unicorns…or thestrals, unseen by passersby. We know they make their way through the forest, and Hagrid tends to the invisible herd with barrels of malt whiskey from the storehouses below the ruins–and, as he learned from Beauxbatons’ headmistress, Madame Maxime, they love single malt whiskey!

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Further up the trail, new students will pass a two-room hut built of large smooth stones on the left, as well as a triangular garden trestle covered in vines of string beans and clustering red fruits. Though it is surrounded by garden tools and orange and yellow varieties of giant pumpkins, it’s not Hagrid’s hut–so don’t stop in for tea and a platter of rock cakes. The outbuilding actually houses the young Blast-Ended Skrewts, crossbred by Hagrid against Ministry regulations. Half Manticore and half Fire Crab, the adults are particularly dangerous. With a lava-crust shell and the tail of a scorpion, it’s best that you hurry on and join Hagrid before you meet one unaccompanied! Never fear, you’re quite close to the entrance of the ruins now…

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As you turn the corner, you’ll spy another archway and the remnants of the once-formidable structure. Directly in front of you, by the doorway you’ll enter to find your class, there is a stern-faced mermaid flanked by teeth-baring Grindylows carved into the stone wall–perhaps because there are merpeople in the lake that resides next to the ruins. They are known to inhabit the Black Lake south of the castle, but that great lake does not reach into the Forbidden Forest, located to the east–who knows but that these mythical beings make their watery dwelling here as well.

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Once you’ve passed through the door, you enter a small round antechamber. A collection of wooden crates, cages and cobwebs hang from the ceiling, peppered with lanterns to guide your way. Here you’ll find the colorful graffiti, etched by wizards long ago. There’s a hippogriff and a phoenix, and scrawled across both are the ramblings of youth, some barely discernable. The keen observer will pick out Ravenclaw’s motto: “Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure.” Run your hand and eyes over the wall, and you might find the name “James” as well.

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Proceed through this room, and you’ll see the calling card of the “Dueling Club” in a medieval script on your left and stone columns on your right. We imagine the club practiced defensive spells in the rooms of the ruins, as Harry and Dumbledore’s Army would later do in the Room of Requirement.

As you’re inspired by thoughts of the wizarding students who came before you, continue down the narrow passageway, lit with the glow of lanterns. You will see a wall lined floor to ceiling with stacks of split wood ahead, and the passageway opens into a large stone room on your left. Before filing through it, you’ll finally join your Care of Magical Creatures class.

Hagrid and Arthur Weasley are attempting to enchant motorbikes for you and your fellow classmates to ride during the lesson–it’s certainly easier than walking through the forest. But, as is often the case with Hagrid’s lessons, things quickly begin to go awry. Fang knocks over a cage filled with Cornish Pixies, and havoc ensues as they light a fire on the mantle above the sprawling fireplace…and the fire spreads! The motorbike eventually explodes, but Hagrid and Mr. Weasley both assure you that they’ll have the problems sorted before it’s time to board them for the expedition.

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Your class now enters the large stone hall, where you’ll see windows of cloudy glass, no longer sparkling with sunlit clarity, emitting vestiges of natural light. High above, ivy and moss now creep through holes in the ceiling, hanging in long green tendrils. And against the wall on your right, interspersed between stone columns, are shelves of dragons eggs. Large and small, blue, white and speckled, they sit nestled in beds of browning pine needles. Some–have hatched.

Try not to be alarmed. Hagrid has cared for a dragon before, after all! Just keep moving forward, continuing through twisting passages that seem to tunnel beneath the ruins, the walls made of more roughly-hewn stone.

You’ll eventually enter Hagrid’s workshop, littered with posters of the magical creatures he researches and attends. Stone arches run along each wall and are filled with bowls and glass canisters. They contain items like eyeballs and honeycomb. In the center of the room, you’ll find his workspace, a large wooden table covered with tools, gigantic leather gloves, a lantern and two copies of the Monster Book of Monsters, open to sections on the Manticore and the Fire Crab. Suspended above is a collection of household tools, such as a sieve.

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Walk on and you’ll enter an open room with wooden slats for a ceiling. Cracks spill across the exposed walls, ragged tarps hang from the slats and light peaks through the gaps. You might see the tread of a motorbike above or intermittent bursts of fire, but bear in mind, Hagrid is a professional!

When you and your class finally reach your enchanted motorbikes, you’ll have to choose whether to travel seated in the sidecar or fly elevated on the motorbike. As you prepare to take off, you’ll ride past a stone courtyard strewn with barrels of whiskey, giant pumpkins and a press for juicing them. The adjacent stone walls are covered in lichen, crawling roots and lingering ivy.

When you take flight, you’ll twist and turn through the ruins, the forest and over the lake, reaching speeds of up to 50 mph! The bike will occasionally slow as you approach the magical creatures inhabiting the forest and then accelerate into seven distinct launches that catapult you on your way.

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You’ll encounter the Blast-Ended Skrewt first, not quite as tame as Hagrid believes, followed by Fluffy the Three-Headed Dog. Riders come to a dead stop 65 feet in the air, at a more than 70 degree angle, as the motorbike stalls and falls back through the forest, passing a Centaur and backing into a patch of Devil’s Snare. Try to relax–and you’ll fall 17 feet through the encroaching vines before blasting off again. As students come back in for a landing, they will pass a unicorn with her foal, making this one of the most exhilarating Care of Magical Creatures lessons ever!

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All told, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure hurls riders across nearly a mile (5,053 feet) of track, making it the longest roller coaster in Florida. During the day, riders will experience the thrill of attending one of Hagrid’s unpredictable classes, while riders at night may have a heightened magical experience as darkness permeates the forest and mystical lighting sets creatures in stark contrast.

Ride staff revealed that it might be wise for visitors to leave bags at home, if at all possible, in order to avoid using one of the attraction’s lockers. This could potentially streamline entry, at least during the opening days of the ride. Universal also announced that beginning June 14, it may ask guests to join a Virtual Line.

Make sure you keep an eye out for the many nods to the Harry Potter books and films, as well as the Hogwarts: A Mystery game. From the graffiti to the dragon eggs to the new pages in the Monster Book of Monsters and more, there are numerous details hidden within the attraction for avid fans to find. We’re also told that when the switch on the handle of your motorbike lights up, you’ll want to press it!

As for the question lingering in the minds, and on the lips, of many Potter fans, it’s difficult to compare this new attraction to The Dragon Challenge, which it replaced. The Dragon Challenge was a favorite since the time when it was known as Dueling Dragons, before it was overhauled to reflect the storyline from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The two dragons reached high rates of speed, looping precariously close to one another, making it a priority destination for thrill-seeking fans. That said, The Dragon Challenge was best compared to other traditional roller coasters like The Hulk and the Rockin’ Rocket.

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Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure manages to exceed its predecessor in many ways. Not only does it reach a high rate of speed, but it also features the seven distinct periods of sudden acceleration which set it apart from every other roller coaster. They are so memorable and exhilarating, you will still be feeling it when you step off the ride! Additionally, the attraction boasts the added thematic elements, the concept which makes Gringott’s Escape so magical. And it is much longer than the traditional high-speed roller coaster, suspending the magical experience. For all these reasons, billing it as a “storycoaster” is exactly right!

This new attraction is bound to astound and delight fans in the coming days, weeks and months, and we’re excited that we’ve been able to uncover the secrets of the Forbidden Forest for you. Which part of the attraction are you most looking forward to experiencing for yourself, Potter fans?

For Leaky’s exclusive coverage of the media event celebrating the opening of Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, including our interviews with Universal creatives Gary Blumenstein and Alan Gilmore, the Q&A with Harry Potter cast and the spectacular evening ceremony on Tuesday, June 11, read here!

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.