Monday, July 14, 2014

Escape from Gringotts Layout and Ride Details

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride opened at Universal Studios Florida to massive praise, frequent breakdowns, and seven hour plus wait times. Not a lot of details have been released by Universal about this amazing attraction so I thought I would try to shed some light on a few things. So, ya know, spoiler alert.

Escape from Gringotts Ride Details

escape from gringotts cars

For Escape from Gringotts, Universal took their Men in Black/Cat in the Hat ride vehicle (RV) and stuck it on an Intamin manufactured roller coaster track. This means the vehicles are connected to a power source most of the way because the cars can spin 360 degrees (a controlled spin). It seems there is only one section of track towards the beginning of the ride where gravity is in control. The rest of the ride the RVs are pushed along by rubber kicker tires. Here's a clear picture taken during an evacuation of the coaster track with the pusher tires. Also notice how high up the people sit in comparison to the rails - tall enough to fit the hardware the spins the seats around.

There is a unique track element that takes you into the first drop: a teeter-totter like track that tilts down at a forty degree angle before releasing the trains into a dark tunnel. It works the same way as the Gravity Max tilt coaster only not as steep.

Escape from Gringotts uses a combination of physical sets plus projection screens. Edge blending and brighter projectors allows almost 360 degree screens where individual scenes can last as long as 40 seconds instead of just ten. 

Here's a CAD concept rendering followed by the real thing (notice the tires):

Pictured below is the Escape from Gringotts layout diagram:

escape from gringotts layout

You may want to watch this on mute but it's the best video I've seen that shows the motion of the RVs.

Escape from Gringotts FAQ

I'm seeing a lot of the same questions asked over and over on YouTube and other articles so here are the answers to those frequently asked questions:

Q: Does Escape from Gringotts go upside down?
A: No

Q: Is there a singles rider line?
A: Yes

Q: Is there an Express Pass line?
A: Not at this time (maybe in the future)

Q: How many drops are there? How big are the drops?
A: There is really only one major drop on the ride where gravity is in full control and it's only about 3 stories in height. Basically, the height you climb the stairs to get to the loading platform is the height of the biggest drop.

Q: Is Escape from Gringotts in 2D or 3D?
A: Riders wear 3D glasses.

Q: Are there any audio-anamtronics (AAs) during the ride?
A: During the ride, no, there are no AAs but there are several throughout the detailed queue.

Q: Is Harry Potter seen in the attraction?
A: Yes, but he is a CGI character.

Q: What is the height requirement?
A: 42 inches

Q: How many trains are there?
A: There are 9 trains (two cars per train, 12 passengers per car).

Q: How fast does Escape from Gringotts go?
A: Universal has not released any official ride details. My guess is between 20-30mph max. The forward motion combined with the spinning motion in tight quarters makes the ride feel faster than it actually is.

Final Thoughts

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts is a new type of high-tech thrill ride combining roller coaster type elements with simulator and dark rides. If you have any questions to had to the FAQ please comment below!

Want to know the story behind the "other" Harry Potter ride? Check out Secrets of the Forbidden Journey to learn how robotic arms on track make you feel like you're flying with Harry Potter!