Rider calls 911 during shut down on Harry Potter ride at Universal Orlando

Posted Tuesday, July 27, 2010 11:58 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Officials with the Orlando Fire Department said a capacity crowd of 132 parkgoers were aboard the Harry Potter ride at Universal Orlando when it malfunctioned on Friday. Whether it was a computer glitch or some other type of problem, representatives from Universal Orlando would only say it was a stoppage they consider rare and harmless. A guest called 911, when the stuck ride left her in an awkward position. Firefighters assisted park staff to get those aboard the ride to safety.

Read more and see video from WESH/Orlando.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010 12:58 AM

There is an auto-spiel that plays, although I don't remember exactly what it says. The ride also tends to be terribly out of sync for the next few minutes.


Original BlueStreak64

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010 6:59 AM

Given that everyone has cell phones these days and that most guests tend to think they're in eminent danger anytime a ride does something unusual, I'm surprised these things don't happen more often. You'd think the fire departments would check with the parks before responding to a call from a guest like that.


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Wednesday, July 28, 2010 3:04 PM
janfrederick's avatar

Well, I'd imagine legally they need to respond if they get a call. But I see your point.


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Wednesday, July 28, 2010 8:41 PM

So exactly what is Harry Potter The Ride? Is it a coaster? indiana/dinosaur type ride? I mean why all the panic?


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Thursday, July 29, 2010 12:20 AM

That's part of the problem. The ride is a four-passenger seating assembly mounted on the end of a Kuka robotic arm, which is mounted on a dark ride car chassis. The car moves through a dark ride in the usual way, but the ride vehicle is able to be thrown around by the robotic arm in a programmed fashion.

Apart from that, Universal isn't talking. In fact, that's more than they are saying about the ride, but thanks to drawings and photos that have come out, we now know that much.

Well, because Universal isn't talking, and because a relatively small number of people have actually ridden the thing, that mystery just adds to the confusion experienced by the riders who have never experienced anything of this kind ever before. I mean we know this is a disorienting ride because the 911 caller thought she was upside-down, which the park says the ride doesn't even do!

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


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Thursday, July 29, 2010 12:39 AM
rollergator's avatar

^Really? I mean, maybe my definition of upside-down is different than theirs? Well, it certainly SEEMED to have an "overbanked turn" (in a mannner of speaking) with, I'm guessing here....about 130-140*. You never complete an inversion it's true, but I felt more upside-downy than I did in MF's overbanks. Of course, with all the effects and the motion of the base - thanks Dave for the technical explanation, always indebted for those! - I could easily see someone thinking they were in fact "upside-down".

I remember one really disorienting breakdown on Spiderman, we "landed sideways" when the projection/vehicle combination went wonky. It's very believable to me that someone could experience a breakdown on FJ and be disoriented enough to honestly report something that wasn't so. I mean, we've all ridden a Vekoma Madhouse or the equivalent, right? ;)

Last edited by rollergator, Thursday, July 29, 2010 12:40 AM
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Thursday, July 29, 2010 1:56 AM
Jeff's avatar

You mean you don't really go up ten stories in Spiderman? Way to ruin it for me!


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Thursday, July 29, 2010 5:54 AM

Rideman said:

"Apart from that, Universal isn't talking. In fact, that's more than they are saying about the ride, but thanks to drawings and photos that have come out, we now know that much."

So where are these drawings and photos?


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Thursday, July 29, 2010 1:11 PM

Not everything posted to this site is a wild rumor...

(for starters, anyway...)

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____
/XXXXX\ /XXX\ /XXXX\_ /X\ /XXXXX\ /X\ /X\ /XXXXX
_/XXXXXXX\__/XXXXX\/XXXXXXXX\_/XXX\_/XXXXXXX\__/XXX\_/XXX\_/\_/XXXXXX

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Thursday, July 29, 2010 1:22 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

Here is a video of an earlier version of the arm (static, 2 seater install) and what it can do.

Last edited by Tekwardo, Thursday, July 29, 2010 1:24 PM

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Thursday, July 29, 2010 1:23 PM
rollergator's avatar

Jeff said:
You mean you don't really go up ten stories in Spiderman?

I never said that! ;)

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Thursday, July 29, 2010 11:03 PM
eightdotthree's avatar

I was on the ride during the soft opening and it went down. They have an automatic message that goes out from a British woman saying that the ride is having trouble and will be up and running shortly and to remain seated, etc. The scene we were in kept looping. I could see how someone might panic if they were stuck in an awkward position.


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