Universal Studios Hollywood has removed the 3-D special effect from its Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride only eight months after the attraction opened as the centerpiece of the park's most expensive expansion.
The Harry Potter dark ride, a complex combination of 3-D video images projected on wraparound screens and animatronic characters, is similar to the Forbidden Journey attraction at Universal's Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Fla. But the Florida version doesn't have the 3-D effect, one of the souped-up elements touted at the April opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Over the weekend, park workers stopped distributing 3-D glasses to guests and reverted the projected videos in the ride to standard 2-D images.
Theme park officials were tight-lipped about the change, releasing this brief statement: "We continually evaluate our theme park ride experiences, and enabling our guests to enjoy Forbidden Journey without the use of 3-D is one example of how we are assessing various opportunities."
Theme park experts and fans speculate that the 3-D effect may have been removed because — when combined with the moving seats — too many riders became nauseated.
Jonathan Green, managing editor for InsideUniversal.net, a website that reports on developments in the theme park, said he took family members on the ride before and after the 3-D glasses were removed and found that they enjoyed the attraction more without the glasses.
"I know a lot of people weren't able to handle the ride with the 3-D," he said.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is the featured attraction at the $500-million expansion that opened in April, part of Universal Studios Hollywood's efforts to complete with its biggest rival, Disneyland.
When the ride first opened, reports circulated on social media that some guests experienced motion sickness, although park officials said they had not received an unusually high number of complaints of nausea from riders.
Visual 3-D effects have been in use for years in other Universal Studios attractions, such as Despicable Me, Minion Mayhem, Transformers the Ride: 3D and King Kong 360: 3D. But the Harry Potter ride tries to give riders the sensation of flying by lifting and tilting the seats dramatically as they watch moving 3-D scenery on a wraparound screen.
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