Friday, April 23, 2010

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter -- Official Opening Date!

Get ready, muggles and magic folk alike -- Universal Resort Orlando has finally announced the official opening date for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The big day is June 18, 2010. That's right! Just in time for the big summer travel season, Universal will open the doors to their highly-anticipated new Island, based entirely on the works and world of J. K. Rowling.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter shares Island space with The Lost Continent but is an entirely new creation. Visitors will walk the streets of Hogsmeade Village, enjoy a butterbeer (already reputed to be delicious!) at The Three Broomsticks or The Hog's Head, grab some pumpkin pasties and chocolate frogs at Honeydukes Sweets Shop, and more. Check out all the magical ephemera in Dumbledore's office. Take a wander through the Griffindor common room. Find your wand at Ollivander's. The attention to detail is said to be extreme and exquisite, with much of it having been designed with input from Rowling herself.

Hogwarts Castle stands tall over the Wizarding World, drawing you to the park's centerpiece -- a magical flight with Ron, Hermione and Harry himself. The ride combines state-of-the-art animatronics and robotics with 360-degree immerse filming technology so you can experience the full effect of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. And they say waiting in line for the ride is half the fun, thanks to a whole lot of that detail I mentioned earlier. The queue takes you through some of the most iconic locations from the beloved book series, including Dumbledore's office, the Griffindor Common Room, the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, even the castle dungeons. There are also two outdoor coasters -- Dragon Encounter (for your chance at the TriWizard Cup) and Flight of the Hippogriff (right by Hagrid's hut). This will be THE summer experience for book lovers, theme park-goers, and ride aficionados alike. There is nothing like it anywhere else and the level of detail and layered experience all but guarantees plenty of return visits. This is a definite for any Orlando vacation but if you want to hit it on or close to opening day, book now -- Universal's special packages are already selling out fast!


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