Universal Orlando Plans New ‘Harry Potter’ Ride, Massive Expansion

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An empty Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Orlando Florida

Credit: Universal Orlando Resort

Universal Orlando Resort is home to many thrilling and iconic attractions.

One of its standout lands that draw millions of people to the vacation destination each year is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, an enchanting realm that brings J.K. Rowling’s beloved series to life. From the iconic Hogwarts Castle to the immersive Diagon Alley, visitors can explore Hogsmeade village, experience the adrenaline-pumping Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, or hop on the Hogwarts Express connecting both sections of the Wizarding World.

Wizarding World of 'Harry Potter' Hogsmeade at Universal Orlando
Credit: Universal Orlando Resort

For thrill-seekers, The Incredible Hulk Coaster is a must-ride experience. This high-speed roller coaster propels passengers through loops and twists with incredible force. Another heart-pounding option is Jurassic Park River Adventure, where guests embark on a boat ride through a prehistoric world, only to encounter a spine-tingling encounter with a life-sized T-Rex.

Thrills meet movie magic in Transformers: The Ride 3D, an immersive attraction that combines cutting-edge technology with a gripping storyline. Equally captivating is Revenge of the Mummy, a roller coaster that plunges riders into a world of ancient curses and supernatural forces.

Visitors seeking a dose of nostalgia can head to E.T. Adventure, a gentle ride that lets guests join E.T. on an intergalactic adventure. Despicable Me Minion Mayhem brings the hilarity of the Minions to life in a 3D simulator ride, perfect for all ages.

Universal Orlando Resort also caters to fans of pop culture with attractions like The Simpsons Ride, where guests join the Simpson family on a chaotic adventure through Krustyland. The resort’s entertainment district, Universal CityWalk, offers an array of dining, shopping, and entertainment options, making it a vibrant hub even after the parks close.

The outside of E.T. Adventure Ride, which features the iconic outline of E.T. riding on the bike past the moon.
Credit: Universal Orlando Resort

Families can also enjoy the whimsical Seuss Landing, a Dr. Seuss-themed area featuring attractions like The Cat in the Hat and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.

With all of this already available, Universal Orlando is just getting started. Here’s a look at the latest expansion plans for Universal Studios Orlando.

The All-New Minion Land is now open at Universal Orlando

Universal Studios Florida officially opened Minion Land a few weeks ago. The new land is home to many immersive activities and offerings, including the all-new Villain-Con Minion Blast.

Here’s a look at the offerings of Minion Land:

Villain-Con Minion Blast: Immerse yourself in an attraction that merges immersive sets, interactive game-based technology, and an original storyline. Test your villainous skills to determine if you have what it takes to join the Vicious 6, a notorious group of supervillains from Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022). This is the first Universal Orlando attraction to integrate a connected gameplay experience via The Official Universal Orlando Resort App. Sync your blaster with the app and elevate your game, track scores, take on special missions, and unlock evil perks for more points and digital collectibles.

Minion Cafe: Discover an immersive dining experience at Illumination’s Minion Cafe, featuring three themed areas designed after beloved Minions Kevin, Stuart, Bob, and Otto: the Kitchen, the Breakroom, and the Dining Room. Enjoy inventive fare inspired by characters and staples from the Minions franchise, and dine on the outdoor patio overlooking the fun of Minion Land. An express window offers a limited menu for those craving a quick bite before returning to the mayhem.

Signage for the all new Illumination Minion Land now open at Universal Orlando Resort
Credit: Inside The Magic

Bake My Day: Adorned with a giant pink cupcake, Bake My Day is a whimsical bakery and retail space offering Minion-themed sweet treats like cupcakes, macarons, and s’mores. Exclusive Minion-inspired merchandise, including apparel, plush toys, drinkware, and accessories, are also available here.

Evil Stuff: Embark on your villainous transformation with a visit to this unique retail store, offering a range of Villain-Con and Minions merchandise to suit your “evil” aspirations.

Illumination Theater: Amidst Minion Land, find murals and photo opportunities featuring popular characters from Illumination films. Engage with beloved characters like the Minions, Gru, Margo, Edith, Agnes, Rosita, Gunter, and Johnny at the Illumination Theater.

Pop-A-Nana: Satisfy your popcorn cravings with sweet and savory flavors, including a special banana option, inspired by the Minions’ fondness for bananas. Fun popcorn buckets, like the Disco Minion, are also on offer.

Freeze Ray Pops: Chill out with frozen treats at Freeze Ray Pops, featuring vibrant creations inspired by Gru, the Minions, and Vector.

Villain-Con Minion Blast facade at Universal Orlando Resort
Credit: Emmanuel Detres

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem: Dive into one of the most heartwarming and comedic theme park experiences ever created. Join the Minions for mayhem and laughter in a simulator attraction that transforms guests into Minions. A fan favorite, this ride is a must-see while exploring all that Minion Land has to offer.

“We are thrilled to officially welcome our guests to the all-new Minion Land,” Karen Irwin, President & COO of Universal Orlando Resort, said of the land’s opening. “This immersive and captivating new addition to our destination was brought to life in a partnership with our colleagues at Illumination and puts our guests into the heart, and villainous minds, of this diabolically fun franchise. This rich new environment has so much for all our guests to enjoy.”

With Minion Land now open, Universal Orlando is focusing on other major construction projects, including major expansions and changes.

A wide shot of the Hulk Coaster and Suess Landing inside of Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort
Credit: Universal Orlando Resort

DreamWorks Land opening in 2024 at Universal Orlando

In the upcoming year, Universal Orlando Resort is set to introduce an entirely new themed land that will immerse visitors in the world of DreamWorks Animation‘s beloved animated characters. As guests step into this innovative land, they’ll find themselves enveloped in a world of vibrant colors, captivating sights, and enchanting sounds.

The experience promises to be a playground for the imagination, offering opportunities to engage with favorite characters like Gabby from Gabby’s Dollhouse. Exploring the themed interactive play spaces and attractions, guests will have the chance to witness iconic franchises like Shrek, Trolls, and Kung Fu Panda come to life in the most creatively enjoyable ways.

For now, Universal Studios Orlando has not announced anything other than the fact that they’ll open the land in 2024.

However, we can glean from certain permits, patents, and trademarks what some of the land will look like when it’s finished. Universal recently filed Trademarks for “Trollercoaster” and “DreamWorks Land.”

The Woody Woodpecker Nuthouse Coaster is expected to be transformed into the Trollercoaster. There is also expected to be a playground dedicated to Shrek’s Swamp and an interactive animated meet and greet with Po from Kung Fu Panda.

Universal Islands of Adventure
Credit: Universal

Universal’s Islands of Adventure expansion

Once Universal has opened DreamWorks land, the next major expansion will likely be adjacent with another major project, which we’ll get to in just a second. However, we can say it will take place at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

Universal has closed down Poseidon’s Fury permanently, but there have been no other confirmations on what is next for the space where the attraction once was located. The building is blocked off to the public, and no current records indicate that anything major has started in terms of erecting a new attraction.

Some believe that this is because a complete overhaul is set to come to the Lost Continent. If this does happen, it’s very likely that Universal will wait until Epic Universe– its brand new theme park that we’ll get to below– opens. However, others believe the projects will work hand in hand and could open around the same timeframe.

Poseidon's Fury
Credit: Universal

As far as what could go in the place of Poseidon’s Fury? There are several different trains of thought.

Some insiders speculate that Universal Orlando may choose to expand Jurassic Park or the Wizarding World of Harry Potter into the Lost Continent. Other strong rumors point to a Legend of Zelda attraction coming to the space, though this hasn’t been confirmed at this time.

As for how long it could be before something of this nature opens, no one quite knows yet. Many insiders expect it to be a 2026 opening, but there are others who believe it could be open in 2025. For now, we’ll have to wait and see how it unfolds.

Massive Wizarding World expansion at Epic Universe

Even if a Wizarding World expansion does not happen at Islands of Adventure, there is a major expansion set to occur in just a couple of years at Epic Universe.

Epic Universe is set to include a variety of dining, shopping, and entertainment options, creating a well-rounded and engaging experience for visitors. Universal Orlando Resort’s existing transportation infrastructure was planned to be extended to accommodate the new park, making it convenient for guests to explore all the offerings across the resort.

Guests Shopping in Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World at Universal Orlando Resort
Credit: Universal

Though the Hogwarts Express won’t be available to take guests to the new Wizarding World land, it still should be a fun one to explore. Strong rumors indicate that this land will feature the Ministry of Magic, but it’s unclear if it will be set in the time when Fantastic Beasts occurs, or if it is set in the canon of the Harry Potter films.

There are some insiders who still believe the dark ride, which will be the anchor attraction, will see Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), and Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) all reprise their roles– perhaps with de-aging technology– but nothing has been confirmed.

In addition, there is technology in place to attempt to make the attraction– as well as the whole land— stand out and continue with Universal’s impressive immersive renditions of the Wizarding World.

“Rumors say that the large round atrium will feature a fountain in the center with Wizarding statues that will be 20 feet tall, surrounded by towering office windows in a section of the building that is more than 5-stories tall,” a report from Orlando Parkstop says. “One interpretation of these plans could have the area behind the atrium, which is set-back a bit, as a sort of large screen, extending our view infinitely. Perhaps acting like the giant LED screen from Bourne Stuntacular, this theorized set extension could also be a way to incorporate the paper airplane-shaped inter-office memos that fly overhead in the films.”

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure in action
Credit: Universal

Other major attractions being built at Epic Universe

Things don’t stop with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, either.

The biggest construction project happening at Universal Orlando Resort right now is none other than Epic Universe. In addition to the Wizarding World expansion, here’s a look at the expected lands for the new theme park:

  • How To Train Your Dragon Land
  • Universal Classic Monsters land
  • A Central Hub that will be space-themed
  • Multiple new hotels, including one hotel that will be located at the back of the theme park
Universal's Epic Universe
Credit: Universal Orlando

Overall, the expected breakdown of attractions that will be available in the new theme park will include four dark rides, four roller coasters (originally thought to be three), two flat rides, one water ride, three shows, and five interactive areas.

Though Universal has only confirmed SUPER NINTENDO WORLD, we have a good idea of what the theme park will look like when it opens, and the good news is that there is room for even more expansion in the future.

There have been rumors that Epic Universe could have its own version of Universal CityWalk in the future, but that hasn’t been confirmed and will not be in Phase 1.

Universal Studio Orlando rotating globe
Credit: Universal Studios Orlando

Just with these lands listed above, Epic Universe will become the largest Universal theme park in the world when it opens in the summer of 2025.

Inside the Magic will have much more about Epic Universe in the coming months and years as we move closer to its major opening.

What do you think of the progress Universal Orlando Resort is making? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments below!

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