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Originally published July 9, 2014 at 2:15 PM | Page modified July 10, 2014 at 10:08 AM

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5-hour wait for new Harry Potter ride

New Diagon Alley section, including ”Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts” roller-coaster ride with special effects, opens at Universal Orlando theme park


Associated Press

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ORLANDO, Fla. — You might need a magic wand to get on the new Harry Potter ride at Universal Orlando Resort.

For a second day in a row, visitors waited up to five hours to get on the ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, located in the new Diagon Alley section of Universal Studios. A day earlier, on the first day Diagon Alley was open to the public, visitors waited for as long as seven hours.

A sign at the entrance to the 3-D ride at midday Wednesday said the wait would be 300 minutes.

“We’re not going to wait,” said Eric Poudrier after snapping a photo of the wait time. He was visiting with his girlfriend and 2-year-old daughter from Montreal.

Tammy Clark and her 11-year-old son, Ethan, also decided to skip the ride after seeing the line.

“It’s a five-hour wait,” said Clark, of Bridgeport, W.Va. “You won’t be able to see anything else.”

Juan Sigler, his wife Susy and their two children, Samantha and Steven, arrived at the park after 7 a.m., got in line and didn’t exit the ride until well after noon. But they said it was worth a five-hour wait since they felt immersed in Harry Potter’s world.

“It has great special effects and you see the central characters,” said Susy Sigler, of Pembroke Pines, Fla.

The ride is the centerpiece of the new Harry Potter section. It combines a roller-coaster ride with 3-D projections featuring characters from the Harry Potter books and movies. The rest of Diagon Alley consists of seven detail-heavy shops selling merchandise such as wizard robes and interactive wands that allow visitors to perform wizard tricks throughout the section.

Honeymooners David and Jennifer O’Neill spent their second day in Diagon Alley but skipped the ride since Jennifer isn’t a fan of roller coasters. Dressed in wizard robes, they wandered through the shops of Diagon Alley purchasing wizard wands and other merchandise.

“It’s fantastic! It’s like being in Diagon Alley,” said Jennifer O’Neill, of Dallas. “We walked in and it was so surreal.”

Universal spokesman Tom Schroder said the park doesn’t disclose attendance figures but “we are very pleased with the results we’re seeing.” Park workers were trying to accommodate the crowds by giving visitors a ticket with a time to return if they found the wait too long on a first attempt, he said.



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