Call it magic.
Universal Orlando says that Hagrid, the star character of its upcoming Harry Potter-themed ride, will be the “most life-like animated figure for the most highly-themed, immersive coaster experience yet.” The attraction, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, opens June 13.
As fans of the Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling — and the films they inspired — already know, Hagrid is the lovable gamekeeper at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where boy wizard Harry and his pals attend. He’s also half-human and half-giant.
“Guests will come face-to-face with Hagrid during their journey as his hyper-realistic animated figure tries to contain his beloved Blast-Ended Skrewt,” Universal stated Monday. A blast-ended skrewt is a mythical and dangerous cross between a crab and a scorpion that can shoot fire. Hagrid, who was eventually promoted from groundskeeper to Care of Magical Creatures teacher, bred the hybrid animals.
“The gentle half-giant will guide guests through their adventure into the Forbidden Forest as they encounter some of the wizarding world’s rarest magical creatures,” Universal adds.
The Universal Creative team “spent thousands of hours creating Hagrid’s animated figure with a level of detail that has never been done before, working alongside actor Robbie Coltrane — who portrays Hagrid in the ‘Harry Potter’ film series — to develop the most advanced and realistic animated figure of its kind.”
Among the highlights, the animated figure, which stands 7 feet, 6 inches tall, can make 24 different body movements and facial expressions, mimicking Coltrane’s motions as Hagrid. A digital scan of Coltrane’s mouth was used to create Hagrid’s teeth. The figure’s costume was designed by the same team that created the character’s on-screen wardrobe. And Coltrane recorded a custom script for the Hagrid ride.
The upcoming attraction will be part of Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter themed areas, where there are already several other attractions and eateries based on the series. The ride will allow guests to “fly deep into the Forbidden Forest aboard magical motorbikes to brave the mysteries and thrills beyond the grounds of Hogwarts castle.”