The Wizarding World of Harry Potter officially opened in the Islands of Adventure theme park on June 18, 2010. The Harry Potter-themed area saw attendance at Islands of Adventure rise by as much as 36% in 2010. According to Jason Garcia of the Orlando Sentinel, this saw resort executives pondering "when to expand Wizarding World and how to keep business balanced between Islands and Universal Studios Florida". In April 2011, Brady MacDonald of the Los Angeles Times speculated that an expansion of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter would see attractions such as Diagon Alley and a Gringotts-themed dark ride replace Islands of Adventure's Lost Continent themed area.
On December 6, 2011, Universal Parks & Resorts announced that they would be expanding The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The expansion was described as "significant" by officials. The announcement came just four days after Universal Studios Florida announced that they would be closing their Jaws attraction on January 2, 2012. Demolition of the Jaws ride and the surrounding Amity area began almost immediately after its closure. After the site was levelled, work began on land reclamation as well as the construction of a series of buildings including a large show building for the Gringotts ride.
Further details about the expansion of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter were announced on May 8, 2013. Officials confirmed that the expansion would predominantly be set in the adjacent Universal Studios Florida theme park and would feature attractions themed after Diagon Alley and London. On January 23, 2014, officials announced the name of the flagship attraction would be named Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. On July 8, 2014, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts opened alongside other attractions in the newly added Diagon Alley section.
Ride experience EditHarry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts is a steel roller coaster with a track length of 600 metres (2,000 ft). The ride encompasses motion based vehicles, detailed sets, physical effects, and 3D projection screens similar to those used in Transformers: The Ride and The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man.
The ride takes you through the vaults of Gringotts as you face several Harry Potter characters throughout the experience that culminates in coming face to face with The Dark Lord.
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts features many of the main characters of the film series, which were reprised by their respective actors, except for Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson:
- Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange
- Jon Key as Bogrod
- Domhnall Gleeson as Bill Weasley
- Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter (likeness and archive audio)
- Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley
- Emma Watson as Hermione Granger (likeness and archive audio)
- Warwick Davis as Griphook
- Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort