In an earlier post we talked a lot about Diagon Alley but we purposely left out Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts. Our thoughts were that there was so much going on in Diagon Alley and in Gringotts that they needed their own post. Well today it’s all about Gringotts!
When the ride officially opened over the summer of 2014 one of the biggest complaints we had heard about was the especially long wait times. We were not excited to spend hours in line to get on the ride but we really wanted to see it! Since we went in October we had high hopes that the wait times would die down a little bit. We also got early access to Diagon Alley because we had booked a Harry Potter vacation and we were staying on Universal property at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort.
On our first day we immediately headed into Universal Studios and walked straight back to Diagon Alley. Our intentions were to try and get on the ride before the park opened to the general public. This turned out to be one of our greatest ideas of all time. We ended up only waiting about 15 minutes in line. The only downside to not waiting long was our inability to take everything in. There was so much to see that it was almost impossible to stop and get pictures considering people behind us were also trying to get on the ride. (If this was our biggest problem it must be safe to assume we did very well!)
The interior of the bank is absolutely beautiful. It is adorned with giant chandeliers and marble columns. We also can’t forget about the bankers (Goblins) hard at work. They continue crunching their numbers as you meander through the queue lines. They occasionally stop to stare you down and then continue with their work. The detail that went into creating them must have generated some hard work because they looked great. There is even one that will actually talk to you as you wait in line. The experience was so much fun!
The exterior of Gringotts is just as fabulous as the interior. The facade ties into the whole Diagon Alley theme. What’s even more amazing is the fire breathing dragon guarding the entrance to the bank. Hearing the dragon growl and then breathe fire was a lot of fun!
Before you get on the ride you have your picture taken. The picture is a fun way to incorporate your visit to The Wizarding World into some great keepsakes. The only thing we found to be difficult about this was after your ride is over you proceed to the exit where you can purchase the photo. We found this challenging because there are a limited amount of places to actually view and purchase your photos. It was a giant cluster of people meandering almost aimlessly around. Universal could certainly change this around a bit to make the viewing and purchasing go much more smoothly.
The ride itself was great. Riders essentially travel through the bank to the area of the vaults while being attacked by Bellatrix and the always frightening Voldemort. The experience of the ride was great but we must admit that we enjoyed The Forbidden Journey (located in Hogsmeade) far more than this ride. They aren’t exactly the same type of ride but we just found that The Forbidden Journey was more thrilling. They both offer their own great experiences and we would love to hear which ride is your favorite!