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Potterwatch: Will the Forbidden Journey open today?*

By Robert Niles
Published: May 27, 2010 at 10:24 PM
Harry Potter in the Forbidden Journey. Image courtesy Universal Orlando.It's May 28, and we're on Potterwatch all day here at Theme Park Insider.

This is the first day that folks will be staying at Universal Orlando's resort hotels under the Harry Potter package that the resort began selling earlier this year. As part of the package, visitors were promised admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure.

But will that admission include a ride on the new land's signature attraction, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey?

If you are inside Islands of Adventure this weekend, use this thread to let us know if you got inside the Wizarding World and tell us what you were able to experience. The more detail, the better! And if you have photos, please e-mail the best ones to themeparkinsider @ gmail.com and I'll post them here, too. (YouTube links, too!)

*Update: Reports say... Forbidden Journey opened, then quickly closed. If you don't have a hotel pass, don't expect to get anywhere near the land, but hotel guests are getting in to the other shops and the restaurant.

Update 2: Some great (okay, totally silly) fake reports on Twitter:

"Rode Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, ride has Doc Octopus & Green Goblin trying to shoot down guests on broomsticks"

"My favorite part of the Harry Potter ride was the section where they swooped over Sleeping Beauty's Castle"

"Rode Forbidden Journey! Don't want to give it all away, but we flew over San Francisco on broomsticks!"

"I didn't understand the section of Forbidden Journey where hagrid was beating harry with his broom"

"Man, Harry Potter was so AWESOME! I especially loved when Optimus Prime came in and him and Harry fought King Kong."

And my favorite: "Rode Harry Potter, KUKA arm suspends you as giant ape tries to swat you down. Took picture in Harry Potter's hand at the exit."

More, uh, reputable reports have that there are multiple narratives in the Forbidden Journey story, including Dementors, Nagini and Voldemort, so re-rides might be rewarded with a different experience. For that day off in the future will visitors will be able to get on Forbidden journey more than once in a day, of course. ;-)

Readers' Opinions

From Eric Malone on May 28, 2010 at 4:05 AM
Personally, I'm not going to hold my breath on this one. I've heard rumors on all ends of the spectrum and I'm not sure who or what to believe anymore. But hey, stranger things have happened.
From Melissa Donahue on May 28, 2010 at 6:02 AM
I'm giddy with excitement! Yes, I'm such a theme park nerd. I can't wait for my visit this summer!
From Anthony Murphy on May 28, 2010 at 6:21 AM
They seem to be really setting themselves up for failure with this land with all this Potterwatch. I am sure that the land will be great and an improvement on IOA, but I am starting to believe it will not meet all the hype and imagination of the Universal Guests.

I know I am a bit of a downer, but I hope people are not disappointed.

From Deidre Dennis on May 28, 2010 at 6:43 AM
I read on screamscape yesterday that they started letting team members go in for "test runs" for the Forbidden Journey and there were technical problems so they stopped it. With any new attraction, I'm sure that's normal. Hopefully people will not get too frustrated and keep in mind that Universal wants to put out an attraction that is not only entertaining but safe as well.

Because of all the mania surrounding this attraction, this is part of the reason why we decided we would give it a little over a year being open before we make a trip down there. I think it's going to be bombarded and overwhelming these first several months.

From Nick Markham on May 28, 2010 at 6:53 AM
Sorry to burst anyone's bubble, but the land is on a day to day basis. So far, even cast members (or whatever they are called at Universal) have had only like 15 minutes before Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey has been shut down immediately after. And the only others being let in are those who reserved breakfast at the Three Broomsticks, but are not allowed anywhere but the restaurant.

Other than that, Universal says they will open it when it is ready, and if that is on Grand Opening day, June 18, then that will be when it is opened.

Disappointing for most, yes, but there is still a chance that it will be ready sooner than opening.

EDIT: And Anthony, from what I have heard and seen, it will not be the land that lets down guests as much as this delay of a soft-opening as most expected.

From Robert Niles on May 28, 2010 at 7:41 AM
If hotel guests who booked the Harry Potter package don't get access to the whole thing, including Forbidden Journey, I can't imagine that those guests wouldn't be demanding some sort of refund or compensation.
From Sara M on May 28, 2010 at 7:44 AM
I'm booked for the 9th through the HP package so I'm hoping most of the legistics are sorted out by then. I understand forbidden journey having failures but if they dont let me at least wander about i will be quite upset!
From Marc Ricketts on May 28, 2010 at 11:15 AM
This is why we're going as late in the summer as we could.
From Jason Read on May 28, 2010 at 11:21 AM
Any confirmation if those staying in Uni hotels who did NOT specifically book a Harry Potter package are getting in?
From TH Creative on May 28, 2010 at 11:57 AM
BREAKING: Guests are reporting that the best part of the new Potter attraction is the scene where Harry shoots the hippos.
From TH Creative on May 28, 2010 at 12:08 PM
The Frog Chorus is BEYOND GENIUS!
From Jason Read on May 28, 2010 at 8:26 PM
Got our Harry Potter preview info at check in... Will share thoughts afterwards tomorrow.
From Daniel Binder on May 29, 2010 at 8:20 AM
Saw a post over at another site:

"FLallday spoke to a family who rode FJ today before it broke down.

Their non-spoiler review was "Forbidden Journey was everybody's favorite ride. Said it was a mix of Soarin, Spiderman, Dragons, & Simpsons. Doesn't go upside down. Capacity sucks, so go early if you wanna ride FJ. It's not in 3D, but it feels just like it. Lots of animatronics. Dad said it was scary!"

I can see the ride a little bit now. A track similar to Spiderman with the live props as well, ride vehicle motions like the Simpsons/BTTF/Spidey, and the Quidditch scene being as realistic as the feeling one gets on Soaring. I'm hoping the Dragons element doesn't just refer to a AA dragon, but actual roller coaster elements.

If Universal is able to work out all the kinks on this ride, this one has the makings of a doozy. Spiderman just may have been surpassed, and if that's the case, Islands of Adventure now has the two greatest rides ever created, both in the same park, along with two great water rides and two world-class roller coasters. It'll be right up there again in the running for the best park in the world.

From Jason Read on May 29, 2010 at 1:06 PM
WWoHP is pretty amazingly detailed-- lots of references to the movies and fun kinetics around the whole area (owl popping out on the 1/2 hour, wizards chess pieces battling in a store window, sheet music whipping around an upstairs music room). Capacity (as most expected) is definitely going to be an issue, the quaintness that defines the area is also it's biggest hurdle.

HPatFJ-- continues to be troublesome (brokedown while I was in line) but the queue is amazing, particularly the talking portraits. I don't know if the area is completely landscaped yet but they need a few large trees (or something) to hide the large unthemed portioned of the gigantic show building.

Hippogriff-- never rode it in it's original incantation but the theming is well done including the Buckbeak animatronic and Hagrid's hut (including the sound of growling Fang)

Dragon Challenge -- wish they had done at least a minor update to the ride vechicles and finally made the effort to conceal backstage equipment. The new queue is much better lit and is very well done (though the original was excellent also). Best parts of the queue are the TriWizard Cup, the floating candles from the films, and some great views of Hogsmeade and Hogwarts on the way in.

Food -- Three Broomsticks had the exquisite detail found in the entire area but as they were only serving breakfast for the preview we skipped it. I can't wait to come back when the fish and chips are being served. The menus are done in the same style as the newspapers from "Prisoner"... very clever. The Butterbeer is not something I expected to like as I'm not into sweets, but was very pleasently surprised. Cream soda-y with a carbonation that helps cut the sweetness ($8.50 in a souvinir glass)

Wand Shop-- very fun little performance, the theming is superb and kids will love this (there were lots of operations people about timing the display and counting guest numbers). You exit into the gift shop where you can purchase a ~$30 wand (I had to ask as there aren't any prices on boxes). What happened to the MagiQuest-like features? Was that just fan speculation? I was really looking forward to that as it would have been brilliant.

I'll be back tomorrow to hopefully ride FJ and try the pumpkin juice. Pics can be seen on my blog at http://lee181.blogspot.com (crappy iPhone quality-- sorry!)

From Jason Read on May 29, 2010 at 1:24 PM
Just met a local who was on "Potter Watch" yesterday and booked a night at the Portofino JUST to preview WWoHP! Bummer FJ was down. Guess that means it's open to all hotel guests.
From 189.216.58.189 on May 30, 2010 at 12:54 PM
Do you think that if I go on June 17 I might have chance to ride the forbidden journey if I arrive early in the morning??
From Robert Niles on May 30, 2010 at 1:57 PM
June 17 is the one day when I'd guess you have zero chance of getting in of you are not a hotel guest with a confirmed Harry Potter package. That's the media event day.

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