James Rao

Published: March 25, 2010 at 8:21 AM

May 2011: Universal, SeaWorld, and Busch Gardens Tampa. Saving my pennies now.

Published: March 25, 2010 at 8:27 AM

I've been disappointed just recently upon learning that the Hogwart's "ride" is just another movie with moveable chairs. I had hoped for an honest-to-God "dark ride," given the seemingly humongous size of the show building. But now that I understand it to be just a swooping "bench" with movie footage all around, my enthusiasm for the whole project has gone sour. I would also have liked to have seen more attractions concentrated in the Harry Potter land - but that seems to be the theme park trend these days, lots of windowdressing, not enough substance. Just once, I'd like to see something on the scale of Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion or even Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye attempted again. These days, it all 3D movies and boring motion simulators.

Published: March 25, 2010 at 8:33 AM

Already booked a weekend two weeks before! Hoping for a soft opening when we are there.
Brandon Mendoza

Published: March 25, 2010 at 8:34 AM

Generally, I like to wait until a ride has been established for a bit as it's just like any technological product... they gotta work out any kinks that they may have missed.
TH Creative

Published: March 25, 2010 at 8:34 AM


Only 3% are going on June 18th?!


That's when I am going. And based on the results of this survey I will apparently be the ONLY one there! I'll have the whole place to myself!

Woo Hoo!

Published: March 25, 2010 at 8:46 AM

Let me see. 100 people entered their vote in this poll. So if we consider that the annual base of visitors to Universal (say 6 million) than on the 18th June 120.000 people would show up (2% of 6 million)

(okay 7% is not interested, so 100.000 people)

Conclusion, you would be alone with 99.999 others :-)

TH Creative

Published: March 25, 2010 at 8:50 AM

I don't think Forbidden Journey is a "movie with moveable chairs."
Anthony Murphy

Published: March 25, 2010 at 8:54 AM

Going to California this year so its a no go for me!

Either way, I would have made the soft opening at best if our annual trip was to Flordia

Mark Migliaccio

Published: March 25, 2010 at 9:05 AM

well, i already have a trip planned to universal for the end of august, so it looks like i'll be there late summer. Sounds like it'll be fun.
Brian L

Published: March 25, 2010 at 9:14 AM

HHN is when I'll make my trip. Going to be interesting to see if the insanely light crowds I experienced last October will still hold up. Can't wait.
Kathy Barr

Published: March 25, 2010 at 9:54 AM

I'm disappointed about the opening date. Is June considered spring??? I thought for sure it would open sometime before May. My family and I are arriving the last week before Memorial day. I thought for sure they would of open Harry Potter then. Oh well maybe in another 2 years when we can save money for it :(
TH Creative

Published: March 25, 2010 at 9:57 AM

Ms. Barr,

This year the first day of summer 2010 is June 21, So yeah it's in the spring.

Tyler Bell

Published: March 25, 2010 at 10:24 AM

I live in Orlando,hopefully Im there one of the days it has a soft opening,or I may go the openining day.HP&tFBJ is a new style robocoaster that moves on track,it is not a moveable bench.
Kathy Barr

Published: March 25, 2010 at 10:26 AM

Well pardon me, June to me is summertime, but Thanks anyway for the info. It still disappointing about the opening date anyway.

Published: March 25, 2010 at 10:32 AM

Gutted!!! I miss the opening by a month. Still, on the plus side, I would think that a lot of people will hold off going until it opens so the lines should be shorter
Sylvain Comeau

Published: March 25, 2010 at 10:41 AM

Sounds amazing, but a one hour attraction? I thought Ellen's Energy Adventure was long. Make sure not to drink too much water before going in!
TH Creative, this is a highly anticipated opening in June. The place will be absolutely mobbed. Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you're not at the park at least an hour before rope drop, expect horrific wait times...
To the poster who complained about 3D attractions...I sympathize, but look at how awesome Spider-Man is. Forbidden Journey could be even more impressive. And from what I hear, it wasn't less expensive to create than a dark ride with AAs. They are doing it this way because 3D has much more limitless potential, when it comes to creating new experiences.
Joshua Counsil

Published: March 25, 2010 at 11:01 AM

Strangely, what excited me most about this update was that John Williams is composing the score.


Robert Niles

Published: March 25, 2010 at 11:19 AM

Essentially, what you have here is a walk-through attraction leading up to a movie-based dark ride on a moving Kuka robot arm.

The use of a walk-through before the ride should help reduce guest frustration with the inevitable long wait for something this popular. Visitors will be able to "see something" and begin the attraction experience before they are loaded onto ride units. The use of pre-shows and themed queues to establish story is smart strategy that I love to see theme parks employ.

Unfortunately, the trend toward ride reservation systems moved parks away from developing themed queues in recent years. While those systems can be nice for the folks who figure out how to use them, I do enjoy the more deliberate pace of attractions that offer a narrative introduction, as well.

Published: March 25, 2010 at 12:05 PM

I do not believe it will just be a swaying bench in a movie, it was reported that warning signs in the que warn against "pushed, pulled, dropped, lifted, stopped, turned around"

Published: March 25, 2010 at 12:12 PM

I couldn't agree more that June 18 is not spring, in fact I am so upset I started a facebook group, I am hoping if enough people join they may do a "soft" opening in April for folks like me and my whole family who planned an April vacation last year just for this! My group is called JUNE 18TH IS NOT SPRING,VACATION RUINED, THANKS UNIVERSAL STUDIOS FLORIDA
- even if they refuse to soft open at least we can vent :)
Manny Barron

Published: March 25, 2010 at 1:07 PM

How do soft openings work? More than likely I will be in orlando in early june before the 18th. So is the ride only open for part of the day? will we see the "final" version of the ride? Obviously i'm excited for this land and since I've never been to a soft opening i would like to know how they work for big attractions like this.

Published: March 25, 2010 at 3:00 PM

Can't believe it's so late!!! We're going from 4th-14th of July, luckily I've planned a whole day for just the Harry Potter attractions and a whole day for the rest of IOA. The ride sounds like a dream come true for me and my family though, but I'll be majorly disappointed if Neville Longbottom isn't on the ride at all!

I'm just scared Dragon Challenge/Duelling Dragons wait times are going to be really, really high because I want to ride both sides.

I think the actual ride portion is not going to be an hour, and therefore a lot of that time is almost like themed queues, but I'd imagine they'll be at least an hours wait to even get into the hour long 'ride experience'. Bad news for people with small children...

Robert Niles

Published: March 25, 2010 at 3:05 PM

You'll see a final version of the ride, if you get in. Typically in soft openings, the ride opens first to employees, then to passholders, then to the general public. At first, it's for a few hours at a time, but as days pass, the attraction moves toward normal operation, opening and closing with the park.

The early admission for hotel guests will be running by May 28. I suspect that the ride will be open for the public by then, but that the queue might be cut early in the afternoon or evening.

I also would expect the area to close a day or two in advance of a media event in order to prepare for that. So June 16 or 17 could be bad days to plan to get in on a soft open, unless you have one of the hotel packages.

Joshua Counsil

Published: March 25, 2010 at 3:18 PM

June 18 is in the spring in the Northwestern hemisphere.


Manny Barron

Published: March 25, 2010 at 3:57 PM

Thanks a lot, Robert. I'll stay tuned in for more info.

Published: March 25, 2010 at 4:34 PM

Is going to be open at last. Is it me or Universal really did a poor job this last year? I remember that at the beginning they've said WWofHP would open January 2010. Which came and went and the Hollywood RRRC which just wouldn't open.

I remember planing a trip to see Hollywood RRRC and Manta but didn't do it, cause Universal didn't finished in time. June 18 Spring or Summer seems a little too late again, what i really hope it's that all works since it seems like it took them sometime to get Hollywood RRRC working right at first.

At least in me and my Family they lost clients this past year. It just wasn't enough new stuff to go. I think a lot of people delayed there trips. So i don't think these year there would be many empty days around IOA. I think, Horror Nights ,June 18 those not matter, cause ill bet a lot of people delayed there trips. I think ill be pack.

I love Universal but this last year i felt plenty of disappointment.

Published: March 25, 2010 at 7:46 PM

I booked with Universal vacations last month and got the Harry Potter Experience for the May 28th 'opening'. I called today and was told I would have access to all the HP attractions but the general public my have restricted access.

Published: March 25, 2010 at 9:41 PM

I think Universal is handling this very very well. Yeah I don’t like the June 18th date anymore than the next guy but at least this time around then seem to be airing on the side of caution after the HRRR fiasco. I think with the June 18th date Universal is ensuring that they won’t have any delay issues to deal with this time around. I will be there in June. Originally we had planned to go June 16th and 17th but after the news today it looks like we will have to extend things one more day to make sure we get to experience the full Harry Potter extravaganza.

Finally, anyone who thinks that the forbidden Journey will be anything less than extraordinary I pity you. To quote Seth Meyers and Amy Poller form SNL ……”really” “Just another movie with moving Chairs….Really” You think Universal would sink this much time and money into a movie with moving chairs……….”really”

Robert Niles

Published: March 25, 2010 at 10:19 PM

FTW. Congratulations!
Pyra Dong

Published: March 26, 2010 at 10:42 AM

This is my time to pull out all my Universal Studios friend employee cards. "Oooo remember me? Yea we used to be friends! You still work at Universal Studios? Awesome! Well... you know how when new attractions come to Universal Studios there are soft openings...?"

I'm SURE there will be "soft" openings-- but USO would NEVER divulge a time when those start. It's the secret test runs or else EVERYONE would be trying to get on that new experience

Published: March 26, 2010 at 10:02 PM

I can't think of anything I'd like to do less than be whipped around on a kuka arm. Sounds like a recipe for vomiting. I'm really disappointed in the rides for Harry Potter. I was hoping for someplace that would enjoyable for the whole family. I would have liked a much better mix of thrill rides, kids rides, and rides that would appeal to any age. I wish Disney had gotten this project -- they do attractions for the WHOLE family so much better.

Published: March 30, 2010 at 4:52 AM

We are in Orlando from 21st May - 4th June. How do we get to go to the soft opening.