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Ride / Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

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"His journey is now yours."

Harry: Don't worry, we haven't lost anyone yet.
Ron: Yeah. Not this week, anyway!

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is a simulator/dark ride hybrid that serves as the centerpiece attraction to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade at the Universal Studios parks.

In the attraction, Dumbledore is giving Muggles (the guests) a tour of the Hogwarts grounds, along with treating them to a long lecture about the history of Hogwarts. Thinking that would be too boring for the visitors, Harry, Ron, and Hermione decide to instead make their visit a bit more exciting by sneaking them out to a Quidditch game, via an enchanted flying bench. From there, things get sidetracked as chaos ensues in the form of a dragon, giant spiders, the Whomping Willow, and Dementors.

The ride first opened at Universal's Islands of Adventure on June 18, 2010. Its massive success prompted a duplicate to be constructed at Universal Studios Japan, which opened on July 15, 2014. Two years later, Universal Studios Hollywood finally received their own clone of the ride (that opened on April 7, 2016) after it spent a long period of time in Development Hell. A fourth version eventually followed at Universal Studios Beijing, opening with the rest of the park on September 20, 2021. The three duplicates of the attraction feature some minor differences to their original Orlando counterpart, such as having a much more overwhelming Dementor sequence. Also unlike Orlando, Japan and Hollywood's version of the attraction was presented in 3-D, but due to negative guest receptionnote  it was later removed.

Tropes shown in Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey include:

  • Adapted Out: Much of the Hogwarts staff is not seen, but most notably Professor Snape. This is because Alan Rickman turned down the offer to appear in the ride, as he didn't want to always be associated with the character. invoked (Not that he wasn't in the end, mind you.)
  • Alternate Continuity: Does not appear to really fit within the timeline of the films (or books), resulting in it usually being viewed as this.
    • If it was to hypothetically take place in the series, it would be sometime during Order of the Phoenix. Even then, Professor Umbridge wouldn’t have allowed Muggles into Hogwarts. She would’ve either been temporarily absent or somehow unaware of any of this.
  • Audience Participation Failure: Hermione tells guests to say "Observatory" for the Floo Powder to work its magic in getting them there, but one can't be sure if they're either too taken in by the scenery or too busy getting strapped in to listen.
  • Big "NO!": Harry lets one out as he, the riders, and the Dementors are sent plummeting into the Chamber of Secrets.
  • Butt-Monkey: The riders themselves are in this position, getting tossed into numerous dangerous situations where they would've been killed had it not been for the heroes coming to the rescue.
  • Captain Obvious:
    • When the riders are being attacked by the spiders in the Forbidden Forest and Hermione shows up:
    Hermione: The forest isn't safe! Hold on tight!
    • When Harry defeats the Dementors and accidentally causes the cave to start collapsing:
    Harry: Keep close and follow me! It's caving in! Watch out! Let's get out, quick!
  • Chase Scene: After Harry accidentally causes a cave to start collapsing, he quickly leads the riders out while dodging falling rocks and other debris.
  • Continuity Snarl: The Chamber of Secrets is in ruins when seen on the ride, yet is almost perfectly intact in Part 2 of the Deathly Hallows.
    • Hagrid owns a dragon note . It is made very clear in the franchise that owning a dragon is very illegal, which the portrait of Salazar Slytherin lampshades at one point during the queue. note 
  • Continuity Nod: The skeleton of the Basilisk is seen.
  • Demoted to Extra: Virtually everyone except the main trio, but since this is a five-or-so minute theme park ride it is understandable.
  • Developer's Foresight: During the brief period of time that the attraction was in 3-D, the ride's 3-D glasses were specially designed to resemble the Quidditch goggles that the characters use.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: if Voldemort isn't behind the dementor attack, (since the Dark Lord himself never appears, this is an easy interpretation) then they show up for literally no other reason than to menace the riders because apparently they just felt like it.
  • Excuse Plot: The plot here isn't really important, as the ride is more about the celebration of characters, creatures, and moments from the series. Even then, the plot doesn't really make any sense.
  • Fake Interactivity: At the start of the ride, Hermione tells the guests to say "Observatory" as she tosses floo powder on them. Even if the riders don't say it, they'll still be teleported there anyway.
  • Forced Perspective: Done on the Hogwarts castle facade, in order to make it appear much larger than it actually is.
  • Foreshadowing: At the beginning of the ride, Hagrid asks the riders if they've seen a dragon that's gotten loose. Seconds later, the riders sure see the dragon, alright. The dragon is also brought up several times in the queue by multiple characters.
  • From Bad to Worse: The riders go from an encounter with the Hungarian Horntail, to being in the middle of Aragog's spider army, to narrowly being crushed by the Whomping Willow, and finally to ending up face-to-face with the Dementors. All within a span of four minutes.
  • Fun-Hating Confiscating Adult: Hilariously taken a step further with Mr. Filch, as here he is shown as having his own gift shop at the end of the ride comprised entirely of merchandise that was confiscated from the students.
  • For the Evulz: Arguably why Voldemort sends the Dementors in to kill the riders. There's really not much he could gain from this, other than possibly making Dumbledore and Harry look bad.
  • Jump Scare:
    • The dementors supply this quite well.
    • Before this, you get a giant spider right in your face. Which drools on you.
  • Just in Time: When it seems all hope is lost and the riders are screwed, Harry comes in and blasts away the Dementors, along with leading said riders out of the cave.
  • Let's Get Out of Here: After blasting the Dementors away, Harry shouts to the guests, "Let's get out, quick!", as the cave around them begins to collapse.
  • The Man Behind the Man: It's implied that the Dementors were sent in by Voldemort.
  • Man on Fire: Subverted. The Hungarian Horntail breathes fire note  onto one of the riders, and yet this causes no harm that the characters notice.
  • Matte Shot: In the Observatory, the "outside view" from the window is just a matte painting.
  • Mood Whiplash: You go from a rather horrifying scene where your soul gets nearly sucked out to a scene where everyone is joyfully celebrating in less than a minute.
  • Mr. Exposition: Dumbledore proudly serves this role in the queue line.
  • "No Talking or Phones" Warning: An animatronic Sorting Hat gives this spiel (in rhyme) just before the guests reach the loading station.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: All of Hogwarts first being at a Quidditch game, and then being in the Great Hall to celebrate merely a minute or-so later. Again, Excuse Plot.
  • Paddleball Shot: The 3-D version of the ride had a few of these, such as the Hungarian Horntail breathing fire right towards the vehicle and the Golden Snitch flying in front of the riders' faces. However, these shots are a bit awkward now, seeing as how the 3-D was removed from the attraction.
  • Protective Charm: A throwaway line in Dumbledore's office mentions how the riders have had numerous protective spells placed upon them. This is the in universe justification for why they're able to No-Sell dragon fire, acromantula poison, and the Whomping Willow's attacks. The only thing the riders aren't safe from are the Dementors, requiring Harry to step in.
  • Scenery Porn: The queue line through Hogwarts may be one of the greatest theme park ride examples of this. Even those who can't ride suggest going through the queue just to experience it.
  • Skipping School: Played with, as the ride's plot involves the main trio sneaking the guests out of a lecture on the history of Hogwarts, because they feel the guests deserve to see something more exciting.
  • Your Soul Is Mine!: Dementors attempt this on guests, but it's averted thanks to Harry.