Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey also known as The Forbidden Journey is a multi-dimensional action ride, produced first for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, in Universal Studio's Islands of Adventure, Orlando Florida and later for Universal Studios Japan in Osaka. The attraction is composed of filmed sequences, sets and animatronics, and simulated aerobatics on a robotic arm that moves freely on a track. A 3D version of this attraction opened at Universal Studios Hollywood in April 2016 as a part of their version of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
The queue for the ride enters through the base of Hogwarts castle, where guests learn through projected films that Muggles are being allowed in to the castle in order to attend a lecture on the history of magic by Professor Binns. At the headmaster's office, Dumbledore extends a warm welcome to the Muggles before telling about Binns' lecture. Later Harry, Ron, and Hermione convince the visiting Muggles to skip the lecture and follow them to the Quidditch pitch. Ron tries to perform a magic trick which goes wrong, and one of several special effects, such as falling snow, is triggered. Before continuing on, the Sorting Hat and several paintings in the next two rooms give visitors safety reminders.
The ride begins with a dousing of Floo Powder from Hermione, who asks the guests to say "Observatory" in order to successfully transport them to their desired location, and the enchanted bench flies off through the Floo Network to the Astronomy Tower. The guests then come out of the Astronomy Tower's fireplace into a set of the Observatory itself, where they look out through the open arches to the hills and lake right outside of Hogwarts' bounds. As the guests fly out of one of the Observatory's arches, the ride smoothly switches to a wrap-around projection screen and they follow Harry Potter and Ron Weasley around Hogwarts' buildings and towers to their Quidditch match. As Harry and Ron travel under a bridge, Hagrid hails the riders and asks them if they have seen a dragon. As Harry redirects the riders' attentions back to their journey, Hagrid's new pet Hungarian Horntail Dragon (which he lost, as per rumours told by the paintings and "students" alike) ironically begins to chase the riders. The bench flies out of the projection screen and into a set of the uneven bridge that runs over the valley behind Hogwarts and, after falling out of a hole in the floor of the bridge, riders encounter an audio-animatronic dragon, which breathes false fire at them.
The riders descend into a set of the Forbidden Forest, where they encounter a representation of the immense Acromantula, Aragog, who spits fake venom (water) at them. As Hermione attempts to help the riders away from the Acromantulas (using Arania Exumai) and towards the castle (encountering many spiders on the way), they run into an audio-animatronic Whomping Willow which swipes at them, conveniently knocking them onto the Quidditch pitch. The ride once again returns to a projection screen as the riders become caught up in Harry and Ron's game of Quidditch (which is tied). As Slytherin scores in Gryffindor's goal, Dementors begin to arrive at the Quidditch pitch, and Harry attempts to lead the riders away, through the structure of the Pitch, and back to the school, but their bench falls into the long-abandoned Chamber of Secrets through the cave entrance in a cliff through which Harry, Ron, Ginny, Fawkes, and Gilderoy Lockhart departed from the Chamber in the second Harry Potter instalment. The riders return to a real set as the Dementors pop out of the pipelines at them and chase them. The skeleton of the long-deceased Basilisk (killed near the climax of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) lies on the floor of the Chamber, and expels Lord Voldemort's Dark Mark into the air as the benches are drawn hazily into the mouth of Salazar Slytherin's statue.
Many Dementors emerge from the darkness while one descends and attempts to suck out the riders' souls. This effect is achieved by projecting the rider's faces onto a cloud of fog in front of the Dementor, blasting cold air towards the riders, and using a deep heart-beat played through the sub-woofers within the benches themselves. After shaking the riders out of the trance, Harry causes the Dementors to flee by using the protective Patronus charm.
After the final Dementor dwindles and while Harry casts his Patronus, the riders are thrust back into the final video dome segment, where the cliffs outside of the Chamber of Secrets begin to cave in. They fly over the Black Lake, back into Hogwarts and through the Main Hall and Moving Staircase, where they are cheered on by a series of on-screen characters from the movies, made to appear three-dimensional using the "squinching" perspective technique.
Professor Dumbledore sends everyone back through the Floo Network to the Room of Requirement, where they exit their bench. But before sending everyone back, Dumbledore warns the riders to not forget to pick up their belongings, unless they want them to be confiscated by Argus Filch.
Behind the scenes
- One must be at least 48" tall to ride this ride.
- The film is watched inside Hogwarts Castle and is the largest among the three rides in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter because participants will tour Hogwarts Castle.
- The main cast from the films shot some exclusive footage just for the ride, to serve as guide to all who participate.
- In the queue of the film, the visitor can see a lot of rooms of the castle:
- There are moving Portraits inside the castle, including the Fat Lady, a role being reprised by Dawn French.
- Visitors can see some of the set locations seen on films such as the Defence Against the Dark Arts Classroom, the Headmaster's office, The Gryffindor Common Room, The Room of Requirement, the Grand Staircase, the Greenhouses, the Dungeons and many more.
- The Sorting Hat is also seen in queue, giving safety reminders with the other paintings.
- Attendants on the ride play the role of Hogwarts students and dress in school uniforms of their House colours. They will interact in character, as if they are wizards and witches, with riders.
- Hogwarts Castle, from the exterior, is very large. Iconic rooms, such as Dumbledore's office, the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom and the Gryffindor common room are part of the queue.
- The ride has 12 scenes.
- Acromantulas are present on this ride.
- The ride features Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley, and Hermione Granger as well as Rubeus Hagrid and Draco Malfoy.
- Fred and George Weasley, Ginevra Weasley, Angelina Johnson, Neville Longbottom and Albus Dumbledore can also be seen briefly at the end.
- At the end of the ride, Dumbledore reminds the guests to pick up their belongings before leaving the castle, unless they want them confiscated by Argus Filch. Filch himself does not appear on the ride.
- This ride does not feature other Hogwarts teachers such as Minerva McGonagall, Pomona Sprout, Filius Flitwick, Severus Snape, Horace Slughorn, Sybill Trelawney, etc.
- The Forbidden Journey in Universal Studios Japan is presented in Japanese.
Notes and references