Hogwarts Express details reveal realistic visuals with Dementors and more between Harry Potter lands at Universal Orlando

in Entertainment, Featured, Islands of Adventure, Theme Parks, Universal Orlando, Universal Studios Florida

Soon Harry Potter fans will finally have the chance to take that leap of faith onto platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross station en route to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

As part of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley expansion, Universal Orlando is creating a real life version of the famed Hogwarts Express train, connecting the existing Hogsmeade Village area of their Islands of Adventure theme park to the London waterfront opening this summer at Universal Studios Florida.

A few days ago, Universal teased they would be revealing new details about the Hogwarts Express ride this Friday. Now just after midnight, those details have emerged.

Universal Orlando describes the Hogwarts Express as follows:

• 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 3/4

• 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.

“Harry Potter” fan sites Snitch Seeker and Leaky Cauldron were invited to a Universal Orlando press event in New York to offer additional details about the experience.

The Hogwarts Express trains will seat roughly 200 passengers and the ride will last around 7 minutes.

Visuals will be featured in the “windows” of the train, showing familiar characters in a 3D-style manner that offers a better view than a simple 2D screen. It’s not traditional 3D (no glasses), but also not exactly flat either.

A few newly released images from the attraction are seen below.

Guests will need park-to-park admission to enjoy the real journey aboard the iconic locomotive.

The Hogwarts Express experience will combine storytelling, live special effects, lifelike animation and state-of-the-art technology to take riders between the two parks. Guests will see 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 windows to see an authentic adventure unfold. They’ll see Hagrid come alongside the train on his flying motorbike, Buckbeak the Hippogriff swooping over the black lake, Weasley twins on brooms, the Knight Bus swerving through London traffic, along with other special moments and surprises.

The trip from Hogsmeade and Hogwarts to London and Diagon Alley will include Fred and George Weasley flying on broomsticks, Hagrid waving to the train, London streets, and Buckbeak the Hippogriff flying.

The trip from London and Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade and Hogwarts will feature the British countryside, Dementors, Hedwig, and Hagrid on Sirius’ motorcycle.

Universal Orlando has updated its web site to include these details plus a guide to ticketing.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley and the Hogwarts Express will open this summer. No date has been announced yet.


  1. Avatar

    robby uk

    love universal and the harry potter ride they have now, universal have left disneyworld standing they have introduced 4 major rides transformers harry potter simpsons despicable me etc, while disney have spent 4 years on a silly fantasy land, disney are now giving priority to on site guests so unless you stay at there hotel YOU HAVE NO CHANCE OF GETTING A FAST PASS, i will be spending my time and money at universal, disney EVEN want you to book a spec to watch the fireworks, disgraceful MONEY MAKING MACHINE

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      Yes, but keep in mind that to get the Fast Pass equivalent at Universal you either have to pay a significant amount of extra money per person (sometimes more than the cost of daily admission) or stay at their expensive hotels. The new, mid-price hotel they are building will not come with front of the line access. At least at Disney all of the hotels give you the same access to fast passes (for now). And they are reserving some fast passes for guests who do not stay on property.

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        And the Universal “Unlimited” pass for which you pay extra does not include the Harry Potter ride, which would be the only real reason to buy that pass to begin with. That word does not mean what they think it means.

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      I’m not going to take anything away from Universal’s Harry Potter stuff, but seriously, this “silly Fantasyland” hate-on is ridiculous. New Fantasyland includes two areas with a mix of attractions. Yes, ONE of them is recycled (the Barnstormer), not unlike TWO of the THREE attractions that are in Hogsmeade. The only wholly original ride was Forbidden Journey. Everything else in Hogsmeade was a shopping experience… yes, they look like fantastic shopping experiences, but fundamentally they are still stores. Daigon Alley is shaping up to be the same, with only two attractions: Gringotts and the Hogwarts Express. Everything looks great if you’re a Harry Potter fan, but the Hogwarts Express doesn’t exactly look like the most intense experience either.

      In New Fantasyland, we’ve got Little Mermaid, Enchanted Tales with Belle, the new Seven Dwarfs coaster, the Princess hall, the redone Storybook Circus area with its character greet and the new Dumbo queue, the Tangled area, and Be Our Guest which looks like a nice dining experience in the same sense as Harry Potter’s shopping experiences. Again, I don’t want to take anything away from Harry Potter land, but New Fantasyland is the REASON we’re going to WDW for our honeymoon in September. Harry Potter (for my fiancee) and Jurassic Park (for me) are the only reasons we’re even taking a day out to Universal. I could honestly care less about simulator rides for movies I didn’t care about to begin with.

      As for FP+, you don’t have to book one for the fireworks. You are perfectly free to wait around for an hour for a decent spot. For people like myself who can’t stand doing nothing for that long just to watch fireworks, FP+ is a Godsend. Yes please let me show up 20 minutes before and still have a decent spot! You can use your FP+ on some decorated roller coaster.

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        I agree that Fantasyland at Disney has more attractions than The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I personally am a HUGE Harry Potter fan, and I’m really looking forward to visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in April.
        Although Fantasyland has more attractions, it is more for a younger age group. Sure, Fantasyland is great for the whole family, but younger kids prefer Fantasyland than Harry Potter. Kids 10 and up would most likely prefer Harry Potter than Fantasyland. No offense, I do think that Fantasyland is fun, though.

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          It’s funny, this is one of those weird things where kids grow up and come back to things. When I was 6, I would have rather gone to fantasyland. When I was 12, I would have much preferred Harry Potter. Now I’m 23 and I want to visit them both! So I think age has very little to do with it overall, it’s just different experiences for different types of people. Fantasyland has always been a bit girly too, with its focus on princesses – though it’s nice to see them breaking away from that with the Mine Train. Harry Potter is great for all genders, though I wish there was a bit more to do there. Even with this expansion it still feels like a bit of a half day park, most of which will be queuing since you can’t skip queues with FP.

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        Off topic: I highly recommend you eat at the Be Our Guest restaurant. The food is delicious and the restaurant is more like an attraction than just a place to eat. I hope you have a fabulous honeymoon!

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      I agree. Plus they have done some other things I don’t approve for children, nor careing adults.

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    Jeff Lynch

    I think after this opens Disney is going to have to close one or more of its parks because no one will want to go there. I think Hollywood studios will have to close. People will all be thinking that Disney is junk now in comparison.

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      Not a chance. The online community of Disney skeptics represents a miniscule part of Disney’s potential market. You’re forgetting families with small kids who will not even reach the height limit for the attractions at Universal for one thing. And just because people will be going to Universal more regularly doesn’t mean they can’t go to Disney parks as well. A vast majority of people will still be attending Disney parks regularly.

      Why is it that every time Universal announces anything, the hysteria-junkies have to spoil it by pointing fingers at Disney?

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      Attendance at Universal is improving rapidly, and good for them. But seriously? In 2012, Universal Studios Orlando had an attendance of 6.2 million. Hollywood Studios, the lowest attended themepark at WDW, had 9.9 million, which is about 2 million more than Islands of Adventure. WDW has 4 of the top 8 themeparks in the world, including #1, Magic Kingdom at 17.5 million. (the other 4 spots all belong to other Disney parks, FYI… IOA ranks #10, just above DCA by 200,000 people)

      Harry Potter hasn’t caused WDW to fail. It’s given people a reason to GO TO UNIVERSAL AT ALL. Disney isn’t freaking out because they’re losing to Universal. They’re just freaking out because people are spending a day or two at Universal. Universal has been, and always will be, an also-ran.

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        Jeff Lynch

        I predict that by this time next year that Universal will overtake Hollywood Studios, so for the first time ever a Disney park will be lower than Universal in Orlando. And then in two years, Universal will surpass both DHS and DAK. So Universal will keep building more Harry Potter attractions, get rid of the last of the junky Lost Continent, build Kong and more Jurassic Park, and put something really cool like Lord of the Rings where Toon Lagoon is now and two of Disney’s parks will have to close for major remodeling to compete.

        Face it. Disney is going down the tubes and pretty soon it will be the K-Mart of amusement parks. I am sad to say it but it is true.

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        Can you quote some sources Cory Gross? I happen to know your point is valid but your numbers are extremely off.

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    I’m really getting excited for this!

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    I went with my family to Orlando in February, and had a great time. The thing is that Magic Kingdom has a lot of potential I guess, but it really felt like it was a money making machine. The park is the villain in its own adventure. There was no magic in the air. It also felt like they let people in way beyond capacity…
    Universal was a much more pleasant experience. The crowd was reasonable, and the rides were fun. Wait time was also acceptable. We bought a ‘one day two park’ ticket because we wanted to do both Harry Potter and Simpsons. Admittedly there wasn’t time to try everything we wanted, but great time was had by all. Just wish they had opened the Hogwarts express…

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      You’ve never gone there during Orlando’s schools spring break, have you??? – I did, and never again!!!

      I was at Magic Kingdom on SATURDAY, crowded but managable – I got to ride all the rides I chose to – I then made the mistake of going to IOA for Harry Potter on TUESDAY, and I almost died of claustrophobia – You couldn’t take two steps without running into someone or being run over by someone else – Universal has no concept on crowd management, just let them all in and get their money –

      After standing in line to get our tickets, then standing in line to get in the park, we were invited to stand in a 90-minute line for the priviledge of entering Hogsmeade, only to stand in another 120-minute line to actually ride Forbidden Journey – My sister was so traumatized by the whole thing, she won’t go near Forbidden Journey again – They opened the gate and ran the line around the back of the building, where no one was monitoring what was going on – people smoking, drinking, cussing loudly, jumping the line, piling trash everywhere – it was just horrible from start to finish – We were finally lucky enough to get to ride Forbidden Journey, then twice on Dragon Challenge, and then we went home – We had spent most of the day in one line or another, and the only other ride we wanted to do was Jurassic Park, but it was having technical issues – Before HP we did get to do Spiderman, but that was it for our day –

      I have spent more time than I probably should at both Universal and Disney, and if it weren’t for Harry Potter I would probably never have gone to Universal in the first place, but if I absolutely had to choose one, it would be Disney all the way

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    Wild Ol' Dan Blasius

    I think it will be very important for Universal to explain the decision to put the evil, depressing Democrats on the Hogwarts Express. This will be just as depressing in the Wizarding World as it is in Washington. Oh wait, I’m sorry it’s Dementors that will be on the train…that’s better…much better…and far less depressing. I’m one of the millions of rabid Harry Potter fans eagerly awaiting the opening of Diagon Alley and the expansion of Honeydukes in Hogsmeade. And, yes, I’m eagerly awaiting a ride or two on the Hogwarts Express as long as there will be no Democrats…only Dementors.
    I love Disney too, but normal folks can’t afford it anymore…their hotels are only for the very, very rich people who are willing to pay those prices just to stay away from not so rich families…oh how I miss the days when Walt was still around. He sure wouldn’t be chargin’$5.00 for a single cookie! Money was never his primary goal…his goal was happiness for all who visited…for all who came to this happy place. He wanted his parks to be a source of joy and inspiration for all who visited…and he remembered being a not so rich farm boy from the mid-west…today Elias would have to mortgage the farm just to visit Walt Disney World.

  6. Avatar

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