Universal’s creative team is making a clear break from its recent attractions by emphasizing all the animatronics going into its new “Harry Potter”-themed roller coaster, including one of Hogwarts gamekeeper and professor Hagrid.
The new animatronic will be part of Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. It’s one of several figures in the ride, alongside those depicting Wizarding World creatures like Fluffy the three-headed dog.
“The 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,” Universal said in a press release.
The animatronic hinges on the attention to detail. According to Universal, the figure will stand 7 feet 6 inches tall — the precise proportions of Hagrid in the films — and be capable of “24 different body movements and facial expressions.”
Coltrane recorded new voice work for the attraction and a digital scan of his mouth was used to create Hagrid’s teeth. The figure’s costume was made by the same designers who developed Hagrid’s wardrobe in the films.
“Hagrid is such an iconic character and an integral part of the Harry Potter franchise, so we were excited to develop a truly innovative and authentic animated figure to bring him to life for this experience,” Universal Creative senior vice president Thierry Coup said in a statement. “We worked tirelessly to make sure Hagrid’s full essence was captured with the utmost attention to detail for our guests to feel completely immersed in this all-new adventure.”
The oft-repeated criticism that Universal attractions rely too heavily on screens rather than practical effects has rung true in recent years. The last two rides added to Universal Orlando — Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon and Fast & Furious: Supercharged — haven’t featured any animatronics.
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is set to open June 13 at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
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