Flight of the Hippogriff
Flight of the Hippogriff is a junior roller coaster at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter section of three theme parks – Universal Studios Japan, Universal Studios Hollywood, Islands of Adventure in Universal Orlando Resort and upcoming in Universal Studios Beijing. Designed by Universal Creative, the first installation opened at Islands of Adventure on June 18, 2010. The new ride was a redesign of an existing roller coaster known as Flying Unicorn, which the park closed in 2008 to begin its transformation. The design change was implemented to fit the new Harry Potter-themed area that was being constructed at the park. Flight of the Hippogriff is a mild alternative to the area's more extreme rides such as Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Following a successful launch, identical versions of the roller coaster were installed at Universal Studios Japan and Universal Studios Hollywood over the next several years.
Islands of Adventure
Flying Unicorn was one of the first rides to be added to Islands of Adventure after its grand opening, debuting on June 29, 2000, in the park's Lost Continent area. The ride took place in an enchanted forest, like something from a fairy tale. Various signs along the queue tell the story of a wizard who found a baby unicorn's horn, which it shed (once every thousand years). He then used the horn to create this ride. The magic from the unicorn's horn is used so that it can fly. Guests rode in carts designed to look like mechanical unicorns and travel over a track to the top of the lift before dropping through various dips and turns and being deposited at the start of the track.
Following the announcement of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter section in May 2007, both Flying Unicorn and fellow previous incarnation Dueling Dragons were shown to be in the new area, but it had not been confirmed whether they were to be closed and rethemed as of that time.
After eight years of operation, Flying Unicorn closed on July 7, 2008, to allow construction to proceed on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
On September 15, 2009, Universal officially revealed the attractions that would open in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter section, confirming that Flying Unicorn would be refurbished and rethemed into Flight of the Hippogriff.
Universal Studios Japan
Universal Studios Hollywood
Flight of the Hippogriff was also installed at Universal Studios Hollywood and opened on April 7, 2016. This is the first outdoor roller coaster at the Hollywood location.
The roller coaster's new backstory is that Hagrid is teaching young wizards how to fly a Hippogriff by using fake replicas of the creature. The queue line weaves through Hogwarts Grounds, past Hagrid's Hut and the Forest, and leads into an open canopy where Care of Magical Creatures Class is taught, and riders board the vehicle.
The roller coaster takes passengers on a test flight of the Hippogriff over the Forbidden Forest and Hagrid's Hut. Riders are instructed to bow to the Hippogriff before the ride progresses up the lift hill. The cars then travel over a track, to the top of the lift, where riders have a full aerial view of The Wizarding World, and then dropped through various dips and turns around Hogwarts Grounds before being deposited at the start of the track, where Hagrid thanks riders, who then disembark.
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