Vote of the week: When will the Wizarding World of Harry Potter open?
By Robert NilesUniversal Orlando's announcement Thursday that it is now selling travel packages to see its much-anticipated Wizarding World of Harry Potter starting May 28... but that May 28 isn't the opening date for the new land... raises the question:
Published: February 19, 2010 at 1:14 AM
When will the Wizarding World of Harry Potter open at Universal's Islands of Adventure?
Obviously, it will be open sometime before May 28. (I can't imagine Universal risking PR disaster as well as massive "make good" expenses by committing to the May 28 date if it were not certain the land would be ready by then.) And given the buzz coming out of Orlando now - contractors wrapping up work, new employees being hired - an opening could come weeks before the May 28 deadline.
And yet, all Universal's committed to is... "Spring 2010."
But there is a hint out there, a clue that might provide a bookend to the May 28 "latest possible opening" date.
It's been widely reported online that Dueling Dragons will be closed between Feb. 27 and March 16. This is the roller coaster that will be rethemed to Dragon Challenge in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Now, if that report is accurate, that means that Dragon Challenge would be opening on March 17, correct? I mean, Universal wouldn't take the ride down for rehab then reopen it as Dueling Dragons again, would it? What would be the point of that?
So if that rumor is correct, then we're talking Dragon Challenge being open on March 17. That, then, would be the "earliest possible opening" date for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Before people get their hopes up, let me say that I could see Universal opening the Harry Potter land in stages, with the highlight attraction, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (the robocoaster dark ride inside Hogwarts Castle), opening last. But when would that be? While I can see the land opening in stages, I can't see taking two and a half months between opening Dragon Challenge and Forbidden Journey.
That said, Universal could do what Disney often does and run the ride for several weeks before doing a press event and declaring it officially "open" on the 27th or 28th. But given the secrecy around Forbidden Journey, and the fact that details will be published widely online within minutes of the first iPhone-carrying riders getting off the thing, I can't imagine that Universal wouldn't want to get the press coverage going pretty quickly after the ride was operational.
If I had to bet on this... well, I wouldn't. But I would throw this open to Theme Park Insider readers to take a guess, as a vote of the week. :-)
The dates given are the Fridays between March 17 and May 28. And by "open," let's say that we mean that Forbidden Journey is open to park visitors (not just employees or invited guests) when the rest of the park opens in the morning. Please explain your guess, in the comments.
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