February 21, 2019 – It has long been clear that something has been in the making in the Harry Potter corner of Universal Studios Islands of Adventure. The area left by the demolition of the Dragon Challenge (former Duelling Dragons) coaster has been a construction site since mid-2017, and today Universal could finally reveal that a new roller coaster attraction is being built there. The name of the attraction is a mouthful, however: Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. It is set to open on June 13, 2019, providing another attraction to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, arguably the most visited area of Islands of Adventure.
The name and opening date is the only official information given about the attraction at the moment. However, secrets are rarely kept for long in Orlando, with its many theme park fans and companies offering helicopter tours. Aerial pictures of the site have regularly been posted on social media throughout the construction process.
It is known that Intamin Amusement Rides is providing the coaster hardware, and that the coaster will feature several launches and a switch track. In this element (or rather, section of elements), the train is sent over a track switch and propelled partway up a steep incline. The track will then switch behind the train, so when it rolls backwards back down, it will go down another section of track, in reverse. Rumors suggest the train will then come to a halt inside a building, and fall down a so-called “drop track” (similar to the Intamin coaster Thirteen at Alton Towers), then be launched forwards out of the building again and back to the station. The attraction will feature many set-pieces separated by coaster sections, straddling the line between a roller coaster and a dark ride.
The name and theme of the coaster are taken from the Wizarding World universe that sprung out of the Harry Potter books and movies. Hagrid is the groundskeeper at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and a close friend of Harry Potter. As a half-giant, Hagrid is too large to fly on a broom sick, and prefers instead a flying motorbike as his main mode of long-distance transportation. Hagrid is known for his love of monstrous magical creatures, which he softly adore without care for the danger they may present. Among his many memorable monster companions (all of whom Harry Potter and his friends have dangerously close encounters with) are Fluffy the three-headed (and car-sized) dog, Aragog the giant spider, Norbert the fire-spewing dragon, and Grawp, Hagrid’s giant half-brother. Presumably, some of these may find their way to Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure for guests to encounter (and narrowly escape).
The “Magical Creatures” part of the attraction’s name also gives a nod to the other film series of the Wizarding World universe, which focuses on the magizoologist Newt Scamander and his run-ins with other magical creatures not featured in the Harry Potter books. Maybe some of them will be featured on the coaster as well?
As mentioned above, Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure replaces an older attraction on the same site. Before the introduction of the Harry Potter area, this section of the park originally housed a duelling pair of Bolliger & Mabillard Inverted Coasters known as Dueling Dragons. The coasters were re-themed and re-named Dragon Challenge when the Harry Potter area opened in 2010, focusing on the thrilling first challenge in the Triwizard Tournament featured in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. However, the attraction did not perform its signature dueling anymore due to safety concerns, and was too large and fast-paced to tell an immersive story to its riders, so the park management decided to retire and replace it after 18 years of operation. In 2017, Dragon Challenge was torn down, and construction on the site has been going on ever since.
See what our members think about HMCMA, and see pictures from its construction, in our Forum discussion.