Which One’s Better? Disney’s TRON or Universal’s Hagrid?

in Disney, Theme Parks, Walt Disney World

(R-L) Disney's Tron VERSUS Universal's Hagrid

Credit: Inside the Magic

Two very different yet similarly loved mounted bike-style roller coasters grace the grounds of two very different yet similarly loved theme parks based in Orlando, Florida.

Disney World and Universal Studios are longtime rivaling Resorts/theme parks in Central Florida that easily beat out other area contenders like SeaWorld in Orlando and Busch Gardens in Tampa. Each boasts memorable experiences and whimsical attractions to boot. And because roller coasters are among the top-rated rides at any theme park, it goes without saying that the offerings at both Disney and Universal exceed all standards of exceptionality. This is especially true of an already-unique roller coaster that assumes an unconventional bike-style format, like TRON Lightcycle/Run at Disney World and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Universal Studios.

The question remains about which coaster is better—Disney’s TRON Cycle or “that Hagrid ride” at Universal Studios? But the answer may be subjective based on personal perception. Therefore, to help you form your own opinion, we at Inside the Magic are providing this information guide of sorts, highlighting the unique components and standout features of each one.

Related: ‘TRON’ Coaster Has Life-Threatening Error

A Bit of Background

Some people may wonder, “Where is TRON in Disney World?” To answer the question, you’ll find it in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom Park. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is rightfully based within the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, on location at Universal Islands of Adventure. Both coasters are still considered newcomers to their respective scenes, with Universal’s Hagrid having opened back in June 2019 and Disney World’s TRON having premiered this past spring, 2023. While the Hagrid coaster presents an all-new, never-before-seen concept, Disney World’s TRON largely follows the model introduced in Shanghai Disney’s TRON Lightcycle Power Run in 2016.

Shanghai's TRON attraction
Credit: Disney

Related: INSIDE Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Storyline

Both attractions feature a plotted storyline to accompany the riding experience. The story for TRON the ride is a follow-up to the events of Tron: Legacy (2010)—the TRON sequel to the first film Tron (1982). Computer-savvy Sam Flynn and Quorra, the Isomorphic Algorithm, are now working to establish permanent gateways to promote interaction between programs and humans. Therefore riders, alternately known as “users,” must first be digitized to transcend into the World of TRON.

Digitized image for TRON
Credit: Disney

The theme for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is very different indeed. For this experience, muggle riders get to accompany Hagrid on an adventure to the edge of the Forbidden Forest via the same high-speed motorbike he rode when we were first introduced to the characters of Hagrid and Harry (as a baby) in the first Harry Potter installment. Thanks to a little magic, the motorbike has been duplicated, and now there’s room for everyone to ride!

The surrounding scenery used in both attractions is top-notch. TRON relies primarily on lights, sounds, and digital components, allowing riders a truly transcending locked-in experience and a full-fledged immersion into the presented plot. Hagrid combines a storytelling narrative in tandem with props, awe-inspiring callouts, and the roller coaster thrill factor, of course. Another interesting tidbit is that the coaster includes over 1,200 live trees—giving it an even more authentic forest-like feel.

Ride through live trees about Hagrid
Credit: MuggleNet

Related: Universal Guest Claims Attraction Is Ruined After Maintenance

The Pre-Ride Experience

Each attraction also presents an all-encompassing pre-ride experience to help engage riders into the featured storylines. Unlike some Disney World attractions, TRON does not deliver an extensive preshow before the main event. However, Guests are first led into a small queue room where they are “digitized” into the World of TRON. You get to watch an impressive screen effect reveal the changes as they occur, but this is the extent.

The preshow at TRON
Credit: Disney

Hagrid’s pre-ride experience is a little more involved and does come with an entertaining preshow. Robbie Coltrane, who played Hagrid from Harry Potter (the film franchise), and Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley) reprise their respective roles for the preshow, giving Guests a little insight into the journey ahead and the magic behind how everyone can ride along on their very own singular motorbike simultaneously.

Preshow at Hagrid's
Credit: Inside the Magic

Related: Universal Orlando Resort Releases Statement on ‘Harry Potter’ Actor’s Death

Roller Coaster Types

As mentioned, TRON and Hagrid are steel-launched coasters with a novel mounted bike format. This means Guests straddle their seats and position themselves as if preparing for a bike ride rather than being seated in a traditional car with safety straps and handlebars over their laps.

TRON Lightcycle/Run was manufactured by Vekoma and designed by Walt Disney Imagineering. It features a linear induced motor (LIM) launch. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure was manufactured by Intamin and designed by Universal Creative. Similarly, it relies on a linear synchronous motor (LSM) launch.

Signage for TRON
Credit: D23

How Big Are They?

Disney’s TRON coaster reaches a maximum zenith of 78.1 feet tall (23.8 meters) and boasts a track length spanning 3,169 feet (966.0 meters). Universal’s Hagrid coaster stands at 65 feet tall (20 meters) with a track length of 5,053 feet (1,540 meters). The height requirement for how tall you need to be to ride TRON is the same for how tall you need to be to ride Hagrid—48 inches (122 centimeters).

Hagrid coaster in progress
Credit: Discover Universal

What’s the Speed?

Both coasters are comparable in speed, with TRON taking the lead a little with a maximum speed of 59.3 mph (95.4 km/h). Hagrid clocks in at 50 mph (80 km/h). Of course, these metrics must be evaluated in conjunction with all other specs, including the aforementioned track size for each experience as well as each one’s overall runtime. TRON, for instance, is circa two minutes long. With a shorter track and a higher speed, some may feel that the experience is over before they can enjoy it. The runtime for Hagrid is closer to three minutes, meaning that the longer track and slower speed leaves a little more to enjoy.

Riders aboard TRON
Credit: D23

Related: Honest Review: TRON: Lightcycle/Run

Seating

We previously mentioned ride durations and whether or not TRON’s higher speed, shorter track, and total runtime weaken its fun factor. But perhaps TRON should be briefer, given the questionability about the comfort of its seating. As most folks know by now, TRON’s seats aren’t exactly friendly for heavier body types. Even those who aren’t heavy per se have commented on the uncomfortable back restraints and forward positioning one must contort into. There are limited alternative seats in the back row that are a little more accommodating to larger riders, though. Hagrid’s, however, seems to be mutually agreeable to most body types.

Alternate seating for TRON
Credit: Disney Dining

The seating model TRON follows is a seven-train, seven-car setup in which riders are arranged two across in a single row. This makes for 14 riders per train. Except for the aforementioned back option, all seating is presented as a motorbike setup. Hagrid’s follows a 12-train, seven-car setup, with riders arranged two across in a single row. In this case, not all rides are the actual bikes, as every neighboring seat is the primary bike’s sidecar. Like TRON, 14 Guests may ride at a given time.

Frontal view of seating on Hagrid's
Credit: The Sun (UK)

Related: Will You Fit on TRON Lightcycle / Run? The Answer May Not Be So Simple

Popularity

Last but not least, it’s time to address the obvious—the popularity of both attractions. TRON currently ranks among the most in-demand new riding experiences throughout Disney World, right up there with Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Hagrid’s, likewise, is a top-rated attraction in Universal Studios. Which one is considered more popular varies Guest-to-Guest, Park-to-Park, but it’s safe to say that they are comparable for the most part. Although, I’ve personally heard slightly more positive feedback on Hagrid than TRON.

A side-by-side comparison of both these popular rides.

Have you ridden TRON Lightcycle/Run and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure for yourself? Which one do you prefer? Let us know in the comments.

in Disney, Theme Parks, Walt Disney World

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