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Vote of the week: Will you visit Universal Orlando's Harry Potter theme park land in 2010?

By Robert Niles
Published: January 15, 2010 at 7:51 AM
This is the time of year when I like to start looking ahead to all the new attractions that will debuting at theme parks around the country this year. But this year, really, there's one new attraction that sucking all the attention from everything else:

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal's Islands of Adventure

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal's Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida.

The Kuka robot-arm-driven dark ride through Hogwart's Castle (and, via Floo Network elsewhere in the Wizarding World) promises to be most unique ride system debuting this year, not to mention being the first U.S. attraction based upon the biggest book-and-movie franchise in the world this decade. Obviously interest is high, not just among the regular theme park fans and Harry Potter devotees. This is one of those occasional theme park openings that draws attention from folks who don't normally pay much attention to theme parks.

Which provides a huge opportunity for Universal Orlando to win new customers and build market share. (Universal's already raising some ticket prices, in an effort to ensure visitors stay longer than just a day or two this year.)

But as we wait for Universal to reach out to the general public, what about the industry's most loyal fans? What about you? Are you planning to make a trip to Universal Orlando this year?

That's our vote of the week:

Tell us why, or why not, in the comments. And, as always, thank you for reading Theme Park Insider!

Readers' Opinions

From Steve Ward on January 15, 2010 at 8:18 AM
im skipping this year as i have been to orlando for the past 2 years as my main holiday. So most likely 2011.
Plus if there are any major issues with any attractions they should have been ironed out by then too
From 69.242.146.172 on January 15, 2010 at 8:26 AM
I will not be returning to Orlando this year because I still am disappointed in Universal Orlando from the way they handled HRRR last year. We planned our trip the second week of August, because I am well aware of issues with new ride systems/technology delaying the opening of new attractions. We stayed on site for a week, enjoyed many of the upscale restaurants offered, and then was repayed by watching an employee only dress rehearsal during regular park hours on the coaster. I felt that it was inconsiderate to all patrons who had been watching the test runs all week long. The coaster had an official soft opening the day after we left Orlando.

The entire family had a blast @ Universal, Busch Gardens, SeaWorld, and Animal Kingdom but we will give them a chance to get the kinks worked out before we give up another week of our time along with a month of salary.

From 65.201.156.98 on January 15, 2010 at 8:30 AM
I would love to go, but because of finances, I will have to go another year. My son is 4 now, so another year or so will probably be more enjoyable for both of us. I do expect to read some great trip reports though!
From Bob Miller on January 15, 2010 at 8:54 AM
I agree with Steve, as I wrote in another thread, Zachary and I won't be going back down to Florida until 2011. Even when we do get there, I'm not sure we'll rush up to Universal to see HP.

This past summer, we did get the 7 day ticket on line, but opted to only go for 2 days, since we'd finished both parks in that time. I have gotten annual passes in the past, and went down for 2 summers in a row, but I can't do that anymore. So price wise, with their new increase, I'm not in any hurry to go there just to see Harry, even though we like the books and movies.

On a side question to Robert, any word on the cast members coming for the opening?

From Tiffany Alfonso on January 15, 2010 at 8:54 AM
Definitely, definitely, and definitely again! Muetti is a big HP fanatic and we have bought out Annual Power Passes to visit UO to see that land!
From Roger Sage on January 15, 2010 at 9:10 AM
I defenatley am. My family and I always make a yearly trip to Orlando, but mainly stay at WDW. We've been to Universal a couple of times, and it's great, we've just been holding out going there the past couple of years so we can be there when the Wizarding World opens. I'm excited to see if The Forrbidden Journey makes a better ride than Spiderman, or at least rivals it.
From Brian Emery on January 15, 2010 at 9:48 AM
I had to vote Yes because it’s a loaded question… I was going to visit Universal even if they did not have HP….
From 171.159.194.11 on January 15, 2010 at 10:03 AM
We are visiting Disney in March and had planned to make the trip to Universal, but the news of the price hike, made me change my mind. I agree they needed to raise the price, but 70%, that was way too much. I rather spend the whole week at Disney where everything is already paid for.
From Melissa Donahue on January 15, 2010 at 11:33 AM
My husband and I are going in late June. Talk about timing -- we decided to purchase our $99 park tickets on a Sunday evening. The very next morning, I read the news about the price increase. How's that for pure luck! I just hope the new ride is operational by then.
From Jack Curley on January 15, 2010 at 12:41 PM
I have absolutely zero interest in anything Potter. I may be going to Orlando this year, and I may even get talked into going to IOA, but I don't need ride anything in the section where all the bespectacled fanboys and fangirls will be worshiping.
From Joshua Counsil on January 15, 2010 at 1:10 PM
Gotta agree with the anonymous poster. After that HRRR incident last August, I felt I was treated like a filthy mudblood.
From 99.155.70.13 on January 15, 2010 at 1:51 PM
I'd love to, but being that I'm not a huge Potter fan, I'd rather wait and enjoy at my own pace rather than having to put up with the crowds of fans it's sure to draw.

That, and I already have my vacation planned for this year - Vegas.

From Frank Forrester on January 15, 2010 at 1:54 PM
I will be going, but not just for that. I had the worst luck with the HRRR coaster last year as I went to Orlando 3 times last year and everytime I went it wasn't open. I went in April and late June and they still hadn't opened it yet and when I went again in December it was closed the entire week I was there. Hopefully I will be able to ride it when I go this year.
From Amanda Jenkins on January 15, 2010 at 3:40 PM
I don't plan on going to Universal this year. Origninally, I had planned on going with my husband and leave our sons behind for a quick trip. The more that I think about it, the more I want to wait and see what the reactions are from everyone. Part of me feels it may be a bit of a letdown from what we are all expecting. I was really excited when first hearing that Universal was doing this. Now after HRRR, I'm a little hesitant to get my hopes up. I think I will wait another year or two before visiting. My kids will be taller and able to ride more and hopefully all the kinks will be fixed.
From 166.214.192.17 on January 15, 2010 at 3:56 PM
I'm actually making an effort to go to IOA before Harry Potter land opens officially. I'm hoping to miss some of the crowds since Harry Potter is not big on my list of things to do. I'm hoping everyone else will wait until the land is open to go and I will have a nice day at the park without a crowd (although there will still be more people than I wanted). If I were Cartman I'd by the park and not let anyone else in.... using the you can't come here method.
From James Rao on January 15, 2010 at 5:48 PM
I am very happy to announce that I will indeed be heading to Orlando in 2010! However, I totally agree with previous posters and suspect that Harry Potter will not yet be ready for prime time when I visit. So, instead I booked a 9-day trip to WDW and will be spending the entire vacation completely immersed in everything Disney (I may make a two-day jaunt down to BGT as well).

I should note that I plan to vacation at Universal Orlando (and SeaWorld) in May of 2011 once the Wizarding World is completely done and working properly. Sorry, Universal, I love you with all my heart, but I just don't trust you after last year's RRR debacle!

From Sylvain Comeau on January 15, 2010 at 4:35 PM
If not 2010, I'll be going in '11 for sure. Looking forward to the new coaster, too, haven't done that one, yet.
From George McClelland on January 15, 2010 at 6:03 PM
Skipping this year because of the hefty price increase.

Usually hit Universal at least once a year, but with smaller increases across the board, and now a recent doubling in price - I'm looking at heading elsewhere. Especially since it's really just one new attraction.

From James Rao on January 15, 2010 at 7:05 PM
One new ride, but several new attractions. However, I understand your point. If you are not a Potter fan, you probably are not too interested in shopping for wands or drinking some butterbeer.
From 24.90.249.214 on January 15, 2010 at 9:13 PM
No I would love to ride it but it is just to much money to get there
From Anthony Murphy on January 15, 2010 at 9:34 PM
2011 for me!
From 24.46.190.96 on January 16, 2010 at 3:03 PM
We are going in February, but I am not sure if the attraction will be ready. If it is, we will definitely go!
From Emily G on January 16, 2010 at 3:40 PM
I was only in Orlando in November 2009 and before that in June 2007 so another trip so soon would be a little too costly also too soon for me to return. There are so many other places in the world including in America I would like to see. I was however very disappointed it hadn't opened on my last visit, as when I booked my trip over 18 months in advance there was a possibility it would have been. I would love to see it and may do at some point in the future. In the meantime I will be interested to read the reviews and info on here.
From tony barker on January 16, 2010 at 4:10 PM
Well, as far as I am concerned, I am 40 in 2011 (yay) so my birthday will be spent at Universal - planning on a 4 week villa stay in the area, so I can completely chill from work, enjoy Harry Potter, Rockit, Manta, Aquatica and HHN21 (hoping it will be a special one).

As for the trip, gives me more time to save up and, more importantly work out who is going to dog sit for that long ..... !!!

From 68.202.167.193 on January 16, 2010 at 11:37 PM
They are now hiring for ride attendants...
From Bruce Lane on January 16, 2010 at 11:58 PM
Nope. No interest, got other things on tap.

Happy travels to those who will be going, though.

From Robert OGrosky on January 17, 2010 at 12:15 PM
I also will not be visiting, though im looking forward to the new coaster at PKD.
Im not a big potter fan, and while I believe the theming will be nice im underwhelmed that the only true addition is one new ride. I think they should have added at least 2 top notch attractions to make this new area worth a special visit. The one benefit will be less people at the start of the day will go to Hulk/Spiderman so these rides will have shorter lines as everyone heads to potter.
From 193.82.145.106 on January 18, 2010 at 3:32 AM
No, we have booked to go in February thinking it would have all been finished by then.
From 216.64.80.82 on January 18, 2010 at 9:44 AM
I'm not planning to go in 2010, it will be a zoo.

On another note, I heard that they are having to hire from the outside because they didn't get enough employees willing to transfer to HP from the inside. Gee, I wonder why? Massive crowds, impatient and probably rude people, all for the magnificent wage of $7.53 hour? I am rushing to apply, not.

From 71.236.238.35 on January 18, 2010 at 12:27 PM
We went in late August 09, and don't plan on going back untill at least '11. Dueling dragons is our familie's favorite coaster, so we got our fill before the retheming and resulting long lines that Potter-world will bring in. We are big fans of the books, not so much the movies, so we are interested in seeing it, but not enough to fight the initial crowds.
From 173.6.71.99 on January 19, 2010 at 7:21 PM
yes! harry potter is not just a ride, it has rides, shows and attractions! im not A huge harry potter fan either but i visit universal all the time and it looks really cool, its huge! so yes, and universal is way more state of the art and up to date than disney, everyone should go to universal unless you have little kids that like the big mouse...and about the price increase, disney is still way more, trust me i live in orlando.

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