Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts is considered one of the best attractions in the world. Its technology is groundbreaking, the story is fantastic, and it serves as the first 3D roller coaster in the world.
It’s located in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion in Universal Park Orlando, Diagon Alley, and is one of the park’s star attractions.
It’s based on the chaotic heist sequence in the opening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, where Harry Potter and his friends break into Gringotts Bank in search of a Horcrux.
This Wizarding World attraction first opened on July 8, 2014.
Here’s a guide to Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts.
What Kind Of Ride Is It?
The best way I can describe it is a combination of Transformers: The Ride – 3D and Revenge of the Mummy.
For most of it, you’re sitting in front of a screen while the car moves you around, reacting to what’s happening on the screen. A little bit like Star Tours or the Simpsons Ride.
However, there are roller coaster portions of the ride, which include a small drop.
But Escape From Gringotts doesn’t have many roller coaster parts and again, for the most part, you’re sitting in front of a screen while a motion base moves you around a little.
What Happens In Escape From Gringotts?
I’m going to keep as far away from spoilers as I can, but if you don’t want to know anything at all, then skip ahead to the next section.
The experience starts when you walk into Diagon Alley, which is an exact replica of the set in the movies.
Up ahead, you’ll see the curved entrance of Gringotts Bank, complete with a 60-foot statue of the dragon from Deathly Hallows Part 2 that breathes real fire every 15 minutes.
The queue takes you through an exact replica of the lobby from Gringotts bank, complete with a chandelier that holds 17,000 crystals.
You’ll be dazzled at how much this lobby looks like the one from the movie. The level of detail is insane!
The entrance hall is just incredible. The animatronic Goblins are ridiculously realistic.
Plus, the set is absolutely massive!
The next area of the queue takes you passed some of the employees’ offices. You then overhear Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Griphook in the next room discussing their plans to infiltrate Gringotts and steal a Horcrux.
The first preshow takes place in the office of a Gringotts goblin employee. Bill Weasley walks in and tells the audience that he will bring them on a tour of Gringotts.
Presumably, at this point, he doesn’t know about Harry Potter’s plans… Perhaps the funniest gag in this attraction is Bill Weasley constantly trying to convince the guests that Gringotts is perfectly safe while they’re in constant peril.
This preshow uses an impressive effect, similar to the prison cell preshow in Star Wars – Rise of the Resistance, where it combines screens with practical effects.
The second preshow is an elevator that takes you down to the underground vaults. It’s not a real elevator, but they use many special effects, like a moving floor to make it feel like one.
After the elevator, you walk up some stairs to the loading station.
Gringott’s Ride Experience
I don’t want to spoil much, so this will just be an overview.
Again, the ride is very similar to Transformers: The Ride – 3D. It’s in 3D and you move from screen to screen on a roller coaster track as monsters, as well as Harry Potter villains, attack you.
Portions of the track have a motion base, which moves the ride vehicle in accordance with what’s happening on the screen.
The ride spins you around, but it’s not enough to make you dizzy.
There are also a couple of roller coaster sections, including a small drop. There’s nothing that intense though.
You’ll witness iconic moments from The Deathly Hallows Part 2 and see some never before seen locations in Gringotts.
All of these different elements combine to make a one-of-a-kind theme park attraction that’s perfect for Harry Potter fans.
How Scary Is It?
The roller coaster section of the ride is actually fairly tame. There is one part where you tilt forward and see a huge drop ahead of you in pitch-black darkness.
However, this drop is small. Reports suggest it’s only 30 feet. If you really don’t like drops though, ask for the first row, since it’s less intense.
Other than that, the roller coaster is again very tame. It doesn’t go upside-down and the roller coaster parts are very short.
For most of the ride, you’re sitting in front of a screen while moving around a bit, much like the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man.
Some kids might get freaked out by some of the 3D effects. Some scary monsters get up in your face, but they only show up for an instant.
That’s about it really. It’s nowhere near as scary as Forbidden Journey in Islands of Adventure. In fact, the designers made sure they toned it down so younger kids could enjoy it, given some of the complaints about Forbidden Journey.
How Big is the Drop on the Gringotts Ride?
There is a vertical drop at the start of the ride but Universal has never released details of how high it is.
Estimates put the drop on the Gringotts Ride at anywhere between 30 and 50 feet.
Logically it is around the height of the final spiral staircase which leads up to the final stage of the Gringotts Line.
There also isn’t any confirmed information about what the angle of the drop is. Most estimates are somewhere between 40 and 50 degrees.
However, big the drop on the Grintoss ride is in terms of measurement, what I can say is that it is big enough to be thrilling but not big enough to be scary.
A slight spoiler alert is that it isn’t so much the sensation that you get when you experience the drop – it is the few seconds that seem like an age before you actually drop!
Is Escape From Gringotts Rough?
The ride can be a little jerky. It is a spinning roller coaster that swings you around unexpectedly. The track is smooth though.
If you can handle something like Space Mountain or Forbidden Journey, you can handle this, as those are a thousand times rougher than Escape From Gringotts.
Is Escape From Gringotts for Kids?
The height requirement for Escape From Gringotts is 42 inches, so obviously some children will not be able to experience the ride as they will not be tall enough.
However, if the question is whether it will be appropriate for kids then this is a judgment call. The ride is dark and certainly includes some scary characters.
If your child has experienced all the Harry Potter movies and books and doesn’t freak out at the scary scenes then this Wizarding World ride will be a lot of fun. However, if they are still on the early movies and haven’t encountered a dementor yet, you are probably best to wait until they are a little more resilient!
Remember that you can use Child Swap if your child doesn’t want to ride or doesn’t meet the height requirement. Let the Cast Member know as the ride entrance and then you can stand in line together, but one of you will get a Child Switch pass so that you can go in the Express Lane.
This can work well if you are traveling as a family and one of the kids doesn’t want to ride. If you have an older child they can ride twice as they will be able to experience the ride with each parent.
Does Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts Have a Single Rider Line?
Yes. The Gringotts ride does have a single rider line. If you are the only one in your party to experience the ride then it is well worth using the Single Rider line as it will cut down your wait time considerably.
Gringotts is also part of the Express Pass system. If you want to cut down your wait times in line at the Universal Orlando Parks this is always something to consider purchasing.
Is It The Best Harry Potter Ride?
This ultimately comes down to personal preference.
Personally, I think Escape From Gringotts is one of the weaker ones. It’s amazing, but it relies too much on screens and 3D effects.
In my opinion, practical sets and effects are always better than screens. There are lots of scenes where you’re just staring at a screen. It would’ve been much more impressive if they had built more practical sets.
Still, this ride is a lot of fun and there are some effects that will make your jaw drop. There are many who say it’s their favorite and it’s easy to see why.
What’s The Best Seat on Gringotts?
Roller coaster enthusiasts know that the back row is usually the best row on a roller coaster because it gives you more air time.
The problem is though, on this attraction you want the best view of the action.
So what’s the best seat on Gringotts?
The ride vehicle consists of six rows. It has two separate cars linked together, each consisting of three rows.
The two cars spin independently of each other and orientate you towards the action.
That means the fourth row gives you a good view of the action because when it spins in another direction, you don’t have the front car in the way.
Plus, it’s pretty far in the back, making the drop much more fun.
So if you want the best experience, go for the fourth row.
If you want the most thrilling experience though, ask for the back.