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Universal Orlando opens the Wizarding World for free to Harry Potter movie fans

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Published: July 14, 2011 at 11:42 PM

Universal Orlando had a surprise for Harry Potter fans early Friday morning. Islands of Adventure admitted everyone who watched the midnight premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two at CityWalk to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for two hours after the show.

Hey, I'd suggested that Universal make the premiere a hard-ticket event and that the resort was missing out by not doing something special. Well, Universal did something special all right. If you were there, tell us about it in the comments.

UPDATE: Got a text that Forbidden Journey and Dragon Challenge were not open during the special event.

UPDATE 2: Here's Universal's promotional video of the event:

Readers' Opinions

From Eric Malone on July 15, 2011 at 12:31 AM
Well, that's a bummer. No Forbidden Journey OR Dragon's Challenge? What's the point even opening it up? Were the stores even open? ;)
From 72.189.215.22 on July 15, 2011 at 1:40 AM
It was awesome! It was wonderful seeing Harry Potter fanatics everywhere and, really, there is nothing quite like the Hogwarts castleblit up at night. This was a fantastic surprise for people who get to go to the park all the time and for first time guests.
From 24.110.96.136 on July 15, 2011 at 7:00 AM
The stores were open, Olivander's Wand Experience was opened, Flying Hippogriff was open. They had a castle tour/walkthrough but no ride, and can't do Dragon Challenge after a certain time of night due to noise restrictions. The Three Broomsticks was closed but Hogs Head was serving Butterbeer. It was a terrific end to the evening (morning?)!
From Caroline Davis on July 15, 2011 at 7:56 AM
Hope you all got a butterbeer and soaked in the magic. What a lovely surprise. I'm so jealous!
From James Rao on July 15, 2011 at 9:49 AM
FYI - The final installment of the HP franchise blasted through the previous midnight record ($30m) by scoring almost $44m last night. Wow!
From Rod Whitenack on July 15, 2011 at 10:35 AM
I hate to be a cynic about this, but clearly Universal saw a chance to sell a bunch of extra Butterbeer that night, and were happy to let an audience full of fans in free for a couple of hours, but damn if they were going to give away a ride on their big attraction! You can come back tomorrow and pay for that privilege. It's a cool gesture, but really, is it going to break their bank to let these fans ride the Forbidden Journey in a two hour block?
From 174.107.187.21 on July 15, 2011 at 11:42 AM
Despite not letting folks ride Forbidden, I still think it's overall a really cool move on Universal's part. They still had to pay the staff to be there, etc. so kudos. Wish I could have been there!
From Robert Niles on July 15, 2011 at 2:46 PM
CityWalk was showing HP7-2 on all 20 screens last night. What's the overall capacity of the theaters? What's the hourly capacity of FJ? Would it even have been possible to get all the moviegoers on FJ by 5am if it had been running?
From Phil B. on July 15, 2011 at 3:27 PM
Supposedly there was in the area of 3000+ people that were invited to WWoHP after the film ended. According to the math, Forbidden Journey, if running properly, I would say conservatively can put through 2500 an hour. Should have been enough time for everybody to get at least one ride in. Special passes could have been handed out in the theater to ensure one ride per guest so everybody had a chance to ride.

I won't really knock Universal for the lack of FJ. Honestly, they didn't have to do anything. It was a really great gesture on their part for the fans, helps to build up good faith in the Universal Resorts Product, and is a great PR move to boot. Pretty much a win for all involved. Kudos to Universal for out-Disneying Disney.....again.

From 66.214.196.192 on July 16, 2011 at 1:17 AM
Good PR stunt...and they didn't even have to open the main two attractions. I wonder how long the line for the Hippograf was and what the capacity of it is?
From 184.95.56.186 on July 16, 2011 at 1:45 AM
I know this sounds dumb, but if you have a day pass into Islands of Adventure, is there an extra charge for WWOHP??
From Robert Niles on July 16, 2011 at 7:15 AM
No, you don't. It's part of the park, and the admission price.
From N B on July 16, 2011 at 7:12 PM
Hey guys, I am currently at the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Studios. We saw HP7 Part 2 at the Cineplex last night.... It is Harry Potter mania this week. We didn't plan to be here when the movie was released, it just sort of worked out that way.

We arrived on the 12th and bought our tickets for the movie the night we arrived, most shows were sold out but there was a few tickets for the 9:20PM show on the 15th. We arrived an hour early to find a pretty good line for theater 18 already there.

We managed to get great seats (dead center in the middle of the row and screen center as well). It was insane when the key moments in the movie happened, I had never seen anything like it.....

Now on to the park.... Apparently, a lot of people planned to be here for the movie launch so they could experience the WWOHP durig the day and see the movie while on vacation. We got up the first and second day we were here to get into IOA early as we wanted to get our money's worth and ride Forbidden Journey as much as we could. We mnaged to get on the ride in 10 minutes or less both days and we jumped right in line for the Olivanders wand show on the second day.

We waited around 30 minutes in line before entering. It is something you only need to do once, but it is a must see if you are a Potter fan. We bought wands for our daughters and the Gringott's dragon for the little one. We also shopped at Honeydukes and ate breakfast at the Three Broomsticks. We had everything sent to our room so we didn't have to put it in lockers for the rest of the day.

I have to say, for the first couple hours after the park opens, the rest of the park outside WWOHP is a ghost town. My girls got to ride the Pteradon Flyers twice in less than ten minutes... that is the only ride other than Forbidden Journey & Rip Ride Rockit that doesn't have Universal Express.

We have now stayed at all 3 Universal Hotels, so I will write up something when I get back home. I have some really cool stories to tell about the hospitality and treatment we have received since we have been here. This has been the best trip to Universal by far....

From Marc Ricketts on July 17, 2011 at 9:25 AM
FJ could've certainly hosted more guests than Olivander's. I just thought of the Rocket Rods-almost fun while nearly pointless.

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