If you’re familiar with the Discover Universal Blog, you might have read How To: A Day in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. In that blog you’ll see I mentioned how Flight of the Hippogriff was one of my favorite roller coasters, despite the fact that I am terrified of coasters!
Today, I want to share how I ventured onto Flight of the Hippogriff in the first place. This was actually the first roller coaster I’ve been on since 2002, and I have Michelle Westfall (Hufflepuff), Katie Schmidt (Ravenclaw) and Deni Ricci (Slytherin) to thank for that. You see, when we write our blogs, we do our research. So when I wrote the blog on how to experience a day in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I brought my friends along on the adventure!
We were exiting Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, when the next ride on the list was Flight of the Hippogriff. I was fully prepared to take advantage of Child Swap, or act as the professional bag holder, when Michelle and the Caretakers of the ride encouraged and convinced me to ride it.
And how did they do that? They shared some fun facts about the ride, of course!
- Total track length is 1,100 feet long
- Top speed is 29 MPH
- Height requirement is 36 inches or 3 feet (122 cm)
Of course, while they were sharing these facts, a little boy who must have been around 4-years-old sat down in the row in front of me. He was STOKED! The ride attendant assured me this was a family-friendly roller coaster. I mustered up all my Gryffindor courage and off we went! I delightfully — and nervously — laughed for the ENTIRE ride. This is now one of my favorite rides, which is why I want to share the complete guide to Flight of the Hippogriff.
Everything in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has an immersive storyline and Flight of the Hippogriff is no different. While the village of Hogsmeade is a bright snowy village, you’ll notice a change as you walk closer to the entrance of Flight of the Hippogriff. The entrance sign is etched into the stone plinth, and as you walk through the queue, you realize you’re walking along the edge of the Forbidden Forest. This is why there are dark trees that tower overhead — and also let’s be real, this is a great break from some of those summer days in Florida.
As you keep walking, you’ll notice long green tendrils of massive pumpkins growing along the trail as Hagrid’s hut begins to peek over the horizon. If you listen closely, Hagrid’s voice warns guests that the forest is forbidden to all students and reminds everyone to stay on the path.
WHAT IS A HIPPOGRIFF?
Some of you may actually not know what a Hippogriff is, and that’s okay, because clearly a lot of the students in Harry’s third year Care of Magical Creatures class hadn’t seen one before either. A Hippogriff is half horse, half eagle. This magical creature that has the front features of a giant eagle (including its head, wings and front legs) and the back half, (mainly body, hind legs, and tail) of a horse.
Hippogriffs colorings can vary, but the one you’ll encounter has a steel-colored beak, and large, brilliantly orange eyes. The talons on their front legs are a half a foot long and look dangerously sharp. When humans approach Hippogriffs, proper etiquette must be maintained to avoid danger.
You’ll learn more about the Hippogriff etiquette from Hagrid, the professor of Care of Magical Creatures, but here are some pointers.
Hippogriffs are intensely proud creatures. An individual should maintain eye contact with at all times. It is strongly recommended that one always bow to a Hippogriff and wait for them to return the bow before approaching.
If you’re like me, you’ll want to re-watch Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for the hundredth time. Nothing will teach you to respect a Hippogriff more than seeing Draco Malfoy taunt these noble creatures.
As you approach the ride, the wicker ride carriage will appear to have the silhouette of a Hippogriff. As you’re moving there’s one view you won’t want to miss to your left! A magnificent Hippogriff is sitting gracefully in a nest waiting for the wizards and witches to show the proper etiquette, so make sure you keep eye contact and bow your head towards them. Remember, don’t break eye contact until the Hippogriff bows back.
As you continue riding uphill, be sure to enjoy the sights around you. As you hit the peak of the track, you’ll have a picturesque view of the snow-capped village of Hogsmeade. It’s not a view that you can see in pictures, so I’d recommend it for that alone. If you go at the right time, you may even catch a beautiful sunset over the cozy wizarding village.
Once you start your descent you’ll turn away from Hogsmeade and see another spectacular view of Hogwarts castle. There will be some more whimsical quick turns and loops, but don’t worry because there are no inversions or launches. Before you know it, the ride will be over and you can check this off your #WizardingWorldOrlando bucket list!
I’m so happy that I tackled my roller coaster fears that day and got to experience this ride with my Hogwarts house friends. And now, I’m looking forward to riding Flight of the Hippogriff with my little wizard someday.