How does the Harry Potter ride at Universal Studios actually work?


via Wikimedia Commons

An inside look at one of the stations of the popular ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.


Universal Studios Hollywood is a popular amusement park located in Universal City, California. However, one thing that differentiates it from other theme parks is that it is a filming studio. Universal Studios owns some of the world’s most famous movies, including Jaws, Kung Fu Panda, ET, Jurassic Park, and Harry Potter.

While Universal Studios Hollywood has a bunch of roller coasters, their rides are not like any other roller coaster. Universal Studios has found a way to make its attractions fun for everyone. None of the rides at Universal Studios are particularly scary. The rides there focus more on using a virtual instead of a real-life track. This can be best demonstrated in the Harry Potter ride.

The ride starts with one sitting in a 4-person cart, which can hold up to 1102 pounds. The cart has two joints right under it- one controls how far up or how far down the cart is, and the other controls the cart’s rotation. The cart can go up to 9 feet up! There is also an audio speaker right above the rider’s head, and the cart is attached to 4 heavy-duty tires.

When one enters the ride, they will notice a screen. Even though it does not look like it, the screen moves with them during the ride. Believe it or not, the screen has its own track that it moves on. On one section of the ride, the rider interacts with moving figures. These figures are attached to an arm similar to the one on which the riders are placed, but sadly, the figures do not move with you. They do, in fact, get REALLY close to the rider, though. Anybody that rides this coaster for the first time would exclaim how scary it was. Some of these figures are spiders and dementors. Each cart has a detection system, which has yet to be used, but when the cart detects a collision, every cart stops. The employees are told to go through the set and check what the problem is.

In conclusion, the amount of technology on the Harry Potter ride is amazing. It is sure to impress any engineer. This ride took about five years to be made, and it cost Universal Studios 500 million dollars to create. It was all worth it, though, because this ride is one of the most popular in California and the world.