Harry Potter theme park ride

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Universal has announced details of its new Harry Potter attraction, including an opening date.
  • Walt Disney World ticket prices have gone up again.
  • The family of a boy who suffered an injury on Universal’s E.T. ride is suing.
  • The Indiana Jones stunt show is getting an update.
  • And more!

Yes, Disney had all the fun last week when it announced details and an opening date for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. This week, Universal had some news of its own for its new Harry Potter attraction, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Attraction. (And isn’t that a mouthful.) Aided by, among others, Draco Malfoy himself (AKA actor Tom Felton), Universal Orlando announced that the attraction, opening June 13, will offer two distinct experiences for guests.

If you know anything about Hagrid, you know he loves his motorbike; you can either ride in the motorbike or its sidecar as you soar through the forests near Hogwarts. And this time, it’s a real forest you’re riding through, with 1,200 live trees. The coaster attraction sounds like a lot of fun, and will arguably be an easier experience on opening day than the eventual arrival of Galaxy’s Edge in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

star wars galaxy's edge details

But speaking of Star Wars, you might have heard that Galaxy’s Edge is opening at Disneyland on May 31, and at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on August 29. And you might know all the details, but you may still be hungry for more. If so, you’re hopefully already booking your trip to the Windy City, for the Star Wars Celebration event in Chicago in mid-April. Specifically, on April 13, you can attend a Galaxy’s Edge panel titled “Bringing Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to Life” with Disney Imagineers and Lucasfilm team members. They’ll talk about the new land, how it came to be, and there will no doubt be some surprises. (And hey, it’s not like they have details about Episode IX to announce, so I’m sure the panel will be the sole source of excitement that week.)

Indiana Jones Stunt Show

Let’s shift to another Lucasfilm theme-park story, focusing on the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This live stunt show is often a lot of fun, as you get to see how real actors and sets can come together to create versions of the stunts in the Indiana Jones trilogy. (There are only three Indiana Jones films, as we all know. *ahem*) But with Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary on the way, this show is going under renovations soon, purportedly to overhaul its entire framing. Now, the show leans into the old “working movie studio” premise of the theme park, but it’ll be updated. As long as it comes back, a renovation is more than welcome.

ET The Extra Terrestrial Ride

Here’s some unpleasant news, related very tangentially to another Steven Spielberg-directed film that inspired a theme-park attraction. After an 11-year old Brazilian boy got his foot and leg crushed in the E.T. attraction at Universal Orlando, his family has sued and is seeking at least $15,000 in damages from the corporation. The details in the story are pretty gruesome, as the boy got his foot stuck between the ride vehicle and an offloading area at the end of the ride, breaking multiple bones in his toes, foot, and leg. Considering that this attraction only has a 34-inch height requirement, it’s kind of insane that this injury could happen.

disney world fastpass magicband

Finally, it’s that time of year again: the time of year when Walt Disney World raises its ticket prices. There are, of course, a few wrinkles. Some tickets, like the Park Hopper Plus (otherwise known as the ticket where you can hop from park to park, and also go to the Disney water parks), haven’t gone up. But if you’re planning on visiting Disney at Christmas, the price for a Christmas week ticket has gone up $30 to $159. And (because there’s an “and”), parking prices have gone up too, to as much as $50 a day for preferred parking. So…y’know, start saving. You’ll need to take out a second mortgage to visit, soon enough.

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