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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Wednesday, September 16, 2009 4:40 PM

Jeff said:
Here's the Webcast they felt was too important to let too many people see it live. (Note the social media fail... you can't embed it.)

You can't embed it easily, but you can download it:
http://www.universalorlando.com/harrypotter/WWOHP_Webcast_Consumer.flv

Anyway, there was a story about this announcement on Morning Edition this morning:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112864636

...and it really does sound like the KUKA Robocoaster platform is involved.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


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Wednesday, September 16, 2009 6:50 PM
Kenmei's avatar

Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans are made by Jelly Belly. You can already purchase them. At Halloween last year an office prankster (who'll remain unnamed) put a bowl of them in our office kitchen next to a bag of regular Jelly Bellys. It was fun to watch people's reactions...I mean you can image the reaction when we ate them! (phew!...almost blew my cover!)

I was unfortunate enough to get the dirt, grass, and yes the ever coveted VOMIT flavored. Mmmm. The rest are good though. =) They make the chocolate frogs already too. Yeah, I'm a Potter fan.

Really excited about this! My husband and I were thinking of going to Florida next year anyway. Maybe I'll have to make a diversion after our trip to Boston and head down to IOA!

Last edited by Kenmei, Wednesday, September 16, 2009 6:50 PM

Watch out for flying maps!

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009 6:55 PM

Well, Southwest DOES fly out of Machester, NH, Hartford, CT, and Providence, RI. You might be able to get a cheap non-stop fare to Orlando.


Coaster Junkie from NH
I drive in & out of Boston, so I ride coasters to relax!

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009 11:21 PM
LostKause's avatar

The only disappointment that I am feeling is the lack of new rides. I could have sworn that their were more in the first announcement. I know for sure that their was a train ride in the initial announcement. Maybe they are saving them for some kind of "phase two".


Sometimes Orlando flights leave my local airport, in Charleston, WV, for between $29 and $49!

And I have an Aunt and my best friend living in Orlando, so no hotel for me!

I am so there!

Last edited by LostKause, Wednesday, September 16, 2009 11:23 PM
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Thursday, September 17, 2009 7:40 AM
Kenmei's avatar

Ugh, Southwest. Flea market of the skies. ;) I jest. I just hate the no assigned seating. I fly a lot for other reasons but I just haaaaate no assigned seating. But hey for THAT price, I'd suck it up and deal!

Yeah I sort of wish there were more rides as well, and call me crazy but I am shocked that there is no Quidditch themed ride! I figured they'd be all over that like white on rice.


Watch out for flying maps!

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Thursday, September 17, 2009 12:26 PM

So will "Spiderman" finally be dethroned as the best dark ride by a new attraction?

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Thursday, September 17, 2009 3:44 PM

I am excited by this and think this is a great addition to the lost continent and will be a better fit for the park in whole. Harry Potter is a great franchise and should be a goldmine for IOA. Seeing at the scope of the work being done for HP (which I love), I am jealous at the same time that Disney has not shown nearly the same devotion to a franchise that is near and dear to my heart. I always felt the Star Tours doesn't even touch what a theme park could do with Star Wars. At least give a Mos Eisley cantina restaruant. anyways.....gotta go down to FL to see HP. IOA is still one of me most favorite parks.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009 4:00 PM
eightdotthree's avatar

I hope the new dark is more than something off the shelf but I have a feeling it will be unremarkable.


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Thursday, September 17, 2009 4:08 PM

I believe Star Tours is going to be updated.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009 4:32 PM

I only pray Lucas isn't involved in the 'update'....


My author website: mgrantroberts.com

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Thursday, September 17, 2009 5:10 PM

I read that but it appears its more of a film update them a real revamp of the area. Agian...I have always feal the Star Wars area should be more grand like what IOA did with Marvel, JP and now HP. There sure is enough material to draw off of. Anyways....Can't wait for HP. (had to keep on topic ;))

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Thursday, September 17, 2009 6:57 PM

Star Wars is such a rich universe it could easily be the theme for an entire park.


My author website: mgrantroberts.com

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Thursday, September 17, 2009 7:18 PM
rollergator's avatar

eightdotthree said:
I hope the new dark is more than something off the shelf but I have a feeling it will be unremarkable.

Paula says "under-promise and over-deliver". With what's been promised for the new ride, I'm wondering if anything made on Earth could surpass the expectations.

On another IoA front, kinda bummed to lose the Flying Unicorn theming. It was uber-sweet (even if a little "girlie").... :)


You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

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Thursday, September 17, 2009 7:23 PM

The HP dark ride in my opinion will be either one of two things:
-Everything they promised and more
-Maintenance nightmare that never really operates as it was intended to

On one hand you have the string of Universal attractions that have pushed the limit of new and exciting (Spiderman, JP River Adventure, Mummy, MIB, T2, Back to the Future, ET, Jaws, Earthquake, King Kong) and Rowlings commitment to excellence when it comes to the HP universe but ont the other hand you have the new ride at the other Universal park which has been a boondoggle. I for one am hoping and betting that this ride will be the former.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009 10:08 PM
LostKause's avatar

And would probably be very successful, if ever made, Smith.

I loved Unicorn's theme too, gator.

I have no doubt that Universal's ride designers are going to present an awesome HP darkride! When it comes to darkrides, what have they ever failed at?


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Friday, September 18, 2009 8:28 AM

Even Cat in the Hat is awesome!

I have high hopes for the dark ride as well, to me the possibilities are endless. I love the idea of the robo-arm moving from scene to scene lifting the riders to thrilling angles and vantage points- kind of a step beyond rides like Spiderman and DarKastle. Everyone will want to get on it, too, so balancing the thrill factor might be a challenge. As we've seen, those robot arms can be programmed from mild to really wild.

I wonder when they intend to reveal those details?

As for Star Tours, I agree that a lot more could be made of the Star Wars franchise- if not an entire park then at least a highly themed area. The possibilities there are more than endless too. And the fan base? I can't think of much else that would be a bigger draw.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010 2:04 PM
rollergator's avatar

Super Bowl ad for Wizarding World has a preview available online:

http://www.attractionsmagazine.com/blog/2010/02/02/an-early-look-at-the-full-wizarding-world-of-harry-potter-super-bowl-ad/

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Thursday, March 4, 2010 7:02 PM
Timber-Rider's avatar

I have a question. Is this new dueling coaster just Dueling Dragons with a Harry Potter theme? or is this something new?

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Thursday, March 4, 2010 7:06 PM
rollergator's avatar

^It's DD dressed up differently...just like Flying Unicorn, it is coming back with a new name and theme.

And now, for the first time, I'm left wondering which of my friends will get either zero, two, or three new credits at IoA... LOL! ;)

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Friday, March 5, 2010 9:53 AM
eightdotthree's avatar

Caught a shot of the entrance with the train on the Today show this morning and it looked awesome.

Would love some more info for the new ride but at this point I am thinking about just letting it be a surprise.


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