Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey safety sign reveals ride capabilities and maneuvers

in Islands of Adventure, Movies, Theme Parks, Universal Orlando

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:

The sign reads:





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.


  1. Mac

    Yo, you are taking the “expulsion from the park” line way too seriously. It’s 100% a parody of the signs Umbridge puts up that has her rules on them.

  2. Diana

    I think the expulsion from the park part of the sign is supposed to be similar to the expulsion from hogwarts as in the 5th book/movie. They’re replicating Umbridge’s signs.

  3. Ricky Brigante

    Mac and Diana – Very true. The sign is certainly inspired by Umbridge’s signs. But at the same time, it’s certainly possible that some guests will take the sign entirely seriously if they’re not as familiar with the Potter stories… and Universal may also as well! 🙂

  4. I would take the expulsion from the park as being strange! Personally I believe that anyone misbehaving should be removed. I have no problem with that. The strangeness I refer to is that the sign is stepping out of character and referring to the zone as being part of a park, instead of continuing the environmental immersion. Could that sign have been taken seriously with a “FAILURE TO FOLLOW POSTED GUIDELINES MAY RESULT IN SERIOUS INJURY OR IMPRISONMENT IN AZKABAN.”?

    I know theme parks are relatively safe, but do these KUKA robots ever have an off day? Similar to when Dinosaur wants to shake you to bits.

  5. Alan

    The ride vehicles for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey actually aren’t that mysterious. They’re big matte black KUKA arms, on top of huge tripod-like bases covered in tons of boxes and cables. The bases are presumably so large to provide stability and to prevent the whole rig from toppling over. The arms look like they have less articulation than those used on the Sum Of All Thrills at Epcot.

    The benches are attached to the end of the arm. They’re quite big and boxy in design, with very high backs. Riders’ legs are not contained in the benches, and instead dangle below. There are 4 riders per bench.

    It will be interesting to see what the capacity of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is. The ride vehicles used on The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man seat 12 people, as do the ones used on the Indiana Jones Adventure. But these KUKA arms only seat 4 people, which is only a third (or 33%) of the others!

  6. Dave

    Those signs are NOT a parody. All major signage at Universal features this text as it is 100% true. Don’t follow the rules, you will get kicked out.

  7. DodgeRules

    I just visited the park and saw the “expulsion from the park” clause on at least one other ride. (Sorry, I cannot remember which ride it was but I do remember reading that possible consequence.)

  8. Jeff Merritt

    Height limits are physiological, not psychological. The design of the conveyance and restraint system dictate how tall someone should be in order to ride safely restrained, not the overall intensity of the ride. B&M’s safety systems are unusually high at 54″ while other manufacturers are shorter.

    I would also say the warnings are to be taken seriously.

  9. Joe

    I just hope that by the time I go it will still be working. Hopefully it’s not like expadition everest were the yeti is turned off now because he was to powerful and breaking the mountain.

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