Wizarding World of Harry Potter set to open this spring at Islands of Adventure

Posted Tuesday, September 15, 2009 12:04 PM | Contributed by Jeff

[Ed. note: The following is an unedited press release. -J]

Universal Orlando Resort, together with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, today revealed first-ever details about the incredible scope of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Universal also announced that the highly anticipated land will open in spring 2010.

Inspired by J.K. Rowling’s compelling stories and characters – and faithful to the visual landscapes of the films – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure will provide visitors with a one-of-a-kind experience complete with multiple attractions, shops and a signature eating establishment. This completely immersive environment will transcend generations and bring the wonder and magic of the amazingly detailed Harry Potter books and films to life.

The expectations of Harry Potter fans are high and Universal Orlando Resort is collaborating closely with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and the Warner Bros. Harry Potter brand team to ensure that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be an experience of a lifetime. The Harry Potter films’ production designer, Stuart Craig and art director, Alan Gilmore, in cooperation with a corps of artisans from Universal Creative are working daily to construct the most authentic Harry Potter experience possible. Guests will be able to sip Butterbeer in Three Broomsticks, buy Extendable Ears at Zonko’s and experience a state-of-the-art attraction that brings the stories of Harry Potter to life in a way never before imagined.

“All of the action and adventures of Harry Potter’s world will come to life here at Universal Orlando Resort,” said Tom Williams, chairman and CEO, Universal Parks and Resorts. “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be unlike any other experience on earth and we can’t wait to see the looks on our guests’ faces as they enter this rich environment.”

“Harry Potter continues to spark the imaginations of fans of all ages and we really have seen the anticipation continue to build for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” added Brad Globe, President, Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “We are excited to share with fans a first glimpse into the truly enchanted world we are bringing to life with all of our partners at Universal Orlando Resort.”

From the front archway of Hogsmeade to the immensity of Hogwarts castle, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will feature the locations listed below:

  • At the entrance of Hogsmeade, billowing steam and an iconic whistle signal the arrival of the Hogwarts Express into Hogsmeade station
  • Across the way is Zonko’s, a joke shop with a collection of tricks and jokes, including Extendable Ears, Boxing Telescopes and Sneakoscopes
  • Honeydukes is next door and full of treats like Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans
  • The Three Broomsticks and adjacent Hog’s Head pub will feature traditional British fare and drinks including Butterbeer and pumpkin juice
  • Across from the Three Broomsticks is The Owlery, where owls roost and await their next delivery
  • The Owl Post sends letters with a certified Hogsmeade postmark and sells official stamps from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Ollivanders wand shop is an incredible interactive experience where the wand chooses the wizard
  • Completing Hogsmeade is Dervish and Banges, the magical instruments and equipment shop featuring Quidditch equipment, Triwizard apparel, Spectrespecs and Remembralls
  • The first attraction, Dragon Challenge, features a twin high-speed roller coaster with many iconic elements from the Triwizard Tournament
  • Next is Flight of the Hippogriff, a family coaster simulating a Hippogriff training flight over the grounds of Hogwarts castle
  • Located in Hogwarts castle, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is a thrilling new state-of-the-art attraction that uses entirely new technology to bring the magic, characters and stories of Harry Potter to life in ways never before experienced
  • Before exiting back into Hogsmeade, Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods is full of Ministry of Magic and magical creatures merchandise, Omnioculars, and even remote control Golden Snitches

“This Universal Creative and Warner Bros. team shares an incredible passion and commitment to making this destination an exceptionally immersive environment that will touch the lives of our guests,” said Mark Woodbury, President, Universal Creative.

“The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is yet another way that fans will be able to experience and enjoy Harry Potter for many years to come,” said Diane Nelson, President of Warner Premiere, who is also responsible for overseeing the Harry Potter brand team worldwide. “The power of this brand speaks for itself, as the enthusiasm of our dedicated fans around the world continues to grow even stronger as we move into the future.”

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009 1:01 PM

It sounds good on the surface but let's get real: other than the one new dark ride all you have is two rethemed existing rides and shopping.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 1:20 PM

I'm interested to see how far they go with the theming throughout the entire area along the midway and such.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 2:09 PM

I wouldn't count out a strong theme as irrelevant. I'll never forget the first time I walked into Jurassic Park and was totally blown away. To this day, the theme is the attraction. If you can filter out sweaty tourists in wife-beaters and tiny shorts, it's gonna be so like you're in the book. :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 2:44 PM

I have seen one Harry Potter movie, nor read any books, but....that area of IOA was the least exciting to me. The 'focus theming' on HP surely will hit a home run. The old area was tired, and needed a facelift.

I dio agree with Jeff on Jurassic Park. Its literally a jungle on the walkways, and JP: the ride is a magnificent job on theming, from the q-line pre-show, to the river, and into the building and final drop.

Not sure what to make of the Dinosaur that tinkles on itself on the trail. Maybe Harry Potter can put a happy spell on that guy.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 2:56 PM

Mamoosh said:
It sounds good on the surface but let's get real: other than the one new dark ride all you have is two rethemed existing rides and shopping.

I had written almost the exact same thing, then deleted instead of posting because it just sounded too depressing... ;)

OTOH, this new dark ride might be as good as....DarKastle? Seriously, there is going to be a LOT of great theming, and it will look fantastic I'm sure...but attractions-wise, there's not much substance.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 2:58 PM

If the new dark ride is in fact using the Robocoaster platform, something I've been skeptical since the first time I had seen it, what, nine year ago, and it works, it could be something special.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 3:00 PM

Which area did they retheme anyway?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 3:02 PM

The area where Dueling Dragons is.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 3:07 PM

Plus the previously unused area behind Burger Digs up through the plot where Flying Unicorn is.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 3:23 PM

I've no doubt the area will look fabulous and be a huge hit with families...I just hope mom and dad have brought a big wad of cash, lol. Of the 12 items on the list, 7 are stores or attractions masquerading as a store (the wand picks the wizard...for a cost!) Imagine the temper-tantrums when little Joey or Melissa are told, "No, you can't have a magic wand, mail a letter to grandma, buy a set of extendable ears, a bag of Bernie's Beans, Omniculars, have a cup of Pumpkin Juice or a pair of Rememberalls."*

*One item from each store.

Last edited by Mamoosh, Tuesday, September 15, 2009 3:24 PM
Tuesday, September 15, 2009 3:27 PM

^"Attractions masquerading as a store"...

From a business perspective, that is pure unadulterated GENIUS... :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 3:35 PM

Oh...I completely agree!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 3:45 PM

Very interesting.

Are they gonna have an area for druggies as well? I think it's called "Harry's a Pothead and the Sorcer's Stoned"

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 4:19 PM

Jeff said:
If you can filter out sweaty tourists in wife-beaters and tiny shorts, it's gonna be so like you're in the book. :)

Crazy.. I google imaged that phrase and got a perfect description.

I admit im not a total HP dork, but Im looking foward to walking through there. It was mostly walls when I was there in August and the entrance to Dueling Dragons was basically at the Jurassic Park sign and made an even long walk to DD even longer..

One thing I did notice and perhaps its due to most of the construction walls, was the lack of views you have for DD. I always enjoyed having the cool vantage points for photos of the two coasters "meeting". I hope that isnt sacrificed too much for the sake of HP buildings.

Last edited by ridemcoaster, Tuesday, September 15, 2009 4:20 PM
Tuesday, September 15, 2009 4:31 PM

Hopman joked: Are they gonna have an area for druggies as well? I think it's called "Harry's a Pothead and the Sorcer's Stoned"

The area for adults will be Harry Squatted on the Sorcerer's Bone ;)

(there I go, crossing that line again!)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 4:34 PM

So far from the line it appears as a dot ;)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 4:37 PM

I wonder what butterbeer will actually taste like? I like butter bugers lol. I also wonder if they will have Jelly beans that taste like snot. Chocolate frogs sound good in the winter. Since only a little was revealed today, could there be a response waiting in the wings to have future expansions of the area? I wonder if they will have bird of prey show in the owlery? The announcement leaves me with more questions than answer, but has my intrest even more than before.

Last edited by Talonstruck, Tuesday, September 15, 2009 4:37 PM
Tuesday, September 15, 2009 4:39 PM

Wow, I've never felt more out of touch than reading this press release and subsequent comments.

I suppose once I finally make it back to IOA, I'll have to watch the movies real quick beforehand so I have some point of reference for what I'm experiencing.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 4:42 PM

Agreed Gonch.. Wife has seen all movies and read all books.. I never made it past opening credits of first movie before I decided to take a $9 nap in the theater..

All are in my netflix queue as we speak..


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