Universal Orlando opens its Harry Potter land to the public
Written by Robert Niles
ORLANDO - Universal Orlando's Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened officially to the public this morning, as the stars of the Harry Potter film series greeted elementary school children and ushered them through the gate to Hogsmeade.Tweet
Overnight, Universal wrapped the entrance to the land with a giant Hogwarts admission letter, as thousands of theme park fans gathered in the park and television news helicopters hovered overhead.
At about 20 minutes after 9, the curtain dropped, and the stars of Harry Potter emerged from the Hogwarts Express.
They then came down from the stage to greet a prize-winning class of first-graders from San Antonio, Texas.
Bonnie Wright, Matthew Lewis, Tom Felton and Michael Gambon
Tom Felton, Daniel Radcliffe, Oliver Phelps and Rupert Grint
To "christen" the new land, the Weasley brothers tried to fire a rocket. And, predictably, failed.
Yet daytime fireworks soon screamed across the sky over Hogsmead anyway.
And with a flurry of confetti "snow," the land was opened to guests
At least, it opened to a few thousand early-arriving and hotel guests who'd been allowed to queue in Lost Continent and Seuss Landing during the ceremony. Tens of thousands more guests were held on the other side of the park, lining up from Jurassic Park all the way back to the Incredible Hulk Coaster. They'd have to wait for folks from the first group to exit the land before being allowed entry, as park watchers expected the Wizarding World to be packed to capacity all day.
Update: Domenik just uploaded a video:
Update 2: The size of the crowds in and around the park is insane. (Check the comments for photos.) Clearly, if you were planning to come to the park today and haven't yet, don't bother. Save it for another day, one on which you arrive early. Universal opened the parking garages at 5:30 this morning, and there were people queued on the Interstate overpass leading into the park long before then.
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