Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter to open in Spring 2010, webcast confirms
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal's Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida will open in "Spring 2010," Harry Potter co-star Tom Felton announced today in a live press webcast.
Felton, who plays Draco Malfoy in the popular movie series based on J.K. Rowling's best-selling books, was welcomed on to the webcast set by Universal Creative president Mark Woodbury, who hosted the webcast.
"I'm not usually welcomed in the Gryffindor common room," Felton cracked as he entered the crimson-and-gold set.
Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) in Universal's Gryffindor Common Room
Woodbury described some highlights of the new land during the half-hour webcast. He began by introducing the official map of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, created by the same team that devised the Marauders' Map for the "Prisoner of Azkaban" film.
Map of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Visitors will enter the land through the village gates of Hogsmeade, where they will see Hogsmeade Station and the Hogwarts Express to their right. On the left will be Zonko's joke shop and Honeydukes candy store, which both will be themed merchandise locations, selling items from the books and movies, as well as park-specific Potter-themed items.
Down the street on the left, visitors will find The Three Broomsticks restaurant and Hog's Head Pub, which will be restaurants, serving Harry Potter-themed fare, including Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice.
Across the street stands the Owlery and Owl Post, which will be a working post office, offering Hogsmeade post marks on sent items. Next to that will be Ollivander's, another merchandise location where "the wand chooses you," in an undescribed "interactive experience." There'll be a Dervish and Banges merchadise shop, as well.
That leaves the attractions. Woodbury confirmed that there would be three: Dragon Challenge (a rethemed Dueling Dragons), Flight of the Hippogriff, a family coaster set amid a Care of Magical Creatures class led by Hagrid (this is rumored to be the Flying Unicorn coaster, rethemed) and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, the centerpiece new attraction located within Hogwarts Castle.
Concept art from Universal of the Forbidden Journey entrance
Woodbury did not provide details on Forbidden Journey, except to confirm that it is not a roller coaster. However, it's been widely leaked that the ride will be a indoor track ride, where visitors will travel via "Floo Network" on Kuka robot arms, mounted on an elevated track, through iconic scenes from the Harry Potter stories. It was confirmed that visitors will walk through the Gryffindor common room on their way into the ride, and the ride's blueprints show the queue area proceeding through the Great Hall, as well.
Will Wizarding World of Harry Potter meet its opening date? Which scenes will make the cut for the Forbidden Journey ride? What's on the menu at the Three Broomsticks? And will the Ollivander wands trigger any interactive experiences outside the shop? Questions remain as fans anticipate the land's opening next year.
Update: Here is the video fly-over of the new land that Universal played during the webcast. It's an overview of the map, with close-ups of Hogsmeade, followed by Dragon Challenge, Flight of the Hippogriff and then Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
I hope they've done some renovating to Dueling Dragons. It will work well with the theme. We may actually have to go back to Universal just to see what they do. We weren't very impressed our first time, which was in mid January 5-6 years ago. Too cold to go on the water rides. That may have made a difference.
Great write up Robert. Looking forward to opening day. That wand thing sounds familiar, I think there is a company that is already using that technology. Magiquest is the company. I looked it up.
So only one ride is actually new?
Is it just me, or is this new "island" not as extensive as it is being made out to be. The Dueling Dragons being retrofitted to the new island combined with the lost unicorn (that's going to HP as well, right?). That leaves basically one "new" ride for the island along with some shops and restaurants. Don't get me wrong, I am still psyched for it. But is it just me or does it not seem like a lot? Or maybe there are still some suprises left to be discovered?
The webcast was press-only today, although Universal is promoting that it will be linked from the
I am really hoping for some extraordinary theming and elements of surprise, because, as Scott mentioned, very little is new in the ride department.
Although there is only one new ride, i think there is something more to the wand thing. I heard something like magi-quest, where you get your wand and have to find the different stations around the world and complete the quest. (i wonder if Hagrids magical creature class is a part of it?)
From an operational stand-point, I think that three rides are fine, though they are rumored to add a fourth after the final movie runs (in 2012/3?) What the land could use, though, is a high-capacity show - something that pulls people off the street 500-1,000+ at a time.
Perhaps a boat ride with scenes of Harry, Ron and Hermione fighting Voldemort ... and hippos.
I love the idea of the post office. That's a very brilliant addition and I think people will really like it.
Maybe I should watch the films again.
I think a great show would be a Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom or something like that, kind of a "how-to" of spells. Or something with Quiddich, which seems to be what the "World" is missing, there were no Quiddich references at all!
Part 18 is when the hippos show up. It RAWKS!
i think that universal should contract warrick davis to reprise his role everyday at the parks. He could be outside hogwarts cueing people and explaining safety procedures
For a new ride, how about a simulator ride like The Simpsons Ride using the flying car they rode to Hogwarts? No new technology would be needed, but the chance to recreate that scene from the film, with visitors being able to feel like they are in the out-of-control flying car, could be a real crowd pleaser.
From the webcast, it does indeed look like WWOHP will be a beautiful and immersive new land. Amazing. However, I am in agreement with some other posts in that it looks like an awful lot of work for one new ride and a variation on the MagiQuest system. The new restaurant should be interesting, but it is just replacing one that was pretty darn good already (Enchanted Oak Tavern). Some of the shops might be cool, if the items for sale are imaginative re-creations of the Harry Potter world available only at the park. The Owlery and Owl Post also have merit, but I hope, as others have said, that Universal did leave some room for future growth. If so, I agree with Audra that a Defense Against the Dark Arts special effects show would be excellent.
A lot of time, money, and energy spent on essentially ONE new attraction. However, there seem to be no shortage of places to eat and spend your money on Harry Potter related junk. Very disappointing from the theme park of the 21st century.
I am very underwhelmed by this addition!!!!
^^I felt the same way, at first. But after closely watching the video, and considering just how amazing the new "E" Ticket attraction could potentially be, I am now of the opinion that theme park fans will NOT be disappointed. Honestly, the immersion factor alone should be worth the price of admission! Traveling to the WWOHP should be a singular experience, a one-of-a-kind journey, if you will. Something hard to find at most parks these days.
OOO James. Nice dig there. :)
James, how immersed can you be when the place will be jam packed with people and you are waiting in lines hours long for the few attractions in the park??? Or wait almost as long to get something to eat???
I'm seriously thinking Poseidons Fury could easily be changed into a HP attraction in the next few years.
I wouldn't worry about crowds, Anonymous Poster 22.214.171.124, I am used to visits to the Magic Kingdom where the average attendance is 45k peeps a day. If I can feel the immersion there, I can feel it anywhere!
I can think of a LOT more rides, interactive areas, and HP experiences. It should be it's OWN theme park, not a branch of one.
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