Is Universal Planning A New Harry Potter Wand Ride?
Image courtesy of the US Patent and Trademark Office
One of the biggest things to hit the theme park world has clearly been The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The original area and attraction opened at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure in 2010, and has been breaking records, and drawing fans and casual tourists alike ever since. In 2014, Universal took the story a little further, by incorporating the mythical Hogwarts Express as a ride into the Diagon Alley area. For the first time in theme park history, guests were able to extend the story as they rode between parks.
How does Universal plan on topping what it did with Diagon Alley, and bring the story to life in a much larger way? If recent patent applications are any hint, they’re going to put the magic in your hands. Literally.
The Orlando Business Journal has discovered a patent application that was filed earlier this year for a new system that could allow guests to control the ride, as well as certain aspects of the ride itself, allowing it to operate much like a video game. The ride would be controlled by a device that would activate certain parts of the game. While the application doesn’t specifically say it’s for a “Harry Potter” ride, it does use verbage like “wand” and “freezing spells”.
If that doesn’t scream “Harry Potter,” then we don’t know what else does. The ride would be similar to current shooting games, but where it will differ is that shooting games allow riders to just get a score. The new system could theoretically mean getting a score, but it could also mean changing the entire outcome of the ride. Imagine you face down an enemy, and instead of getting a “freezing spell” they hit you with “disarming spell”, which would render your wand useless.
Instead of going on through the rest of the ride, you are defeated and your ride is over. Or, you’re trying to help break into the Ministry of Magic, and you encounter Death Eaters. You could go through a series of motions and different possible endings.
While nothing has been announced, and the patent application has yet to be approved, this actually ties into what has been rumored to be the next phase of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando. Specifically, it ties into long-standing rumors that the Ministry of Magic could be on the way to the park. It also ties into another ride vehicle application that the company has also filed. The ride vehicle would be an omni-mover type car, and would have the capability to use outside controls to interact with the surroundings. Kind of sounds like it was made for this new wand control.
In the rumored new attraction, guests would be given a guided tour of the Ministry, and be given distinct instructions on areas to keep out of. Naturally, being a Harry Potter ride, things go horribly wrong and you are brought face to face with Death Eaters trying to steal secrets from the Ministry. You are given a wand, and instructed on how to use it. You are then thrust into battle and must defend Harry and the rest of the gang, as well as yourselves. At one point the ride was rumored to have a theme of a “Muggle Defense” class, and taught certain people how to use wands.
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Quite frankly, we think Universal has only shown a small amount of what it is actually capable of with a “Harry Potter” attraction. With this new system, we could be in for all new wands that you can not only purchase, but take and use on the attraction with you. In fact, that was one of the original rumored plans of the Wizarding World, that you would be able to not only interact with some of the scenery in the park, but also the rides themselves. It looks like, thanks to this new patent, we might finally be seeing some movement on that dream.
Please keep in mind that none of this has been announced by Universal, so until it does, this isn’t happening yet. Besides, this isn’t the only application that the technology could be used for. The system is being described as a “video game ride,” which is fascinating, since Universal also has a deal with Nintendo to create rides based on their video games! We could be seeing a lot of different attractions with different “choose your own” elements. There’s even one scenario where the ride is the main character, and you’re just a support member. We definitely can’t wait to see what the future will hold with this new tech!
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