In a press statement released yesterday, Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. Consumer products revealed “first ever details about the incredible scope of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.” Actor Tom Felton, who plays Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter film franchise, was on hand in Orlando for the big reveal, stating “Universal has given me the great honor in revealing to the world that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be opening it’s gates Spring 2010.”
According to the press release:
“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 (TWWoHP) 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 establishments. 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 new land will be part of the Islands of Adventure theme park, located between Jurassic Park and the remaining Lost Continent island. TWWoHP will apparently be replacing most of the Lost Continent island, with the exception of Mythos, winner of the Best Theme Park Restaurant several times by Theme Park Insider, and the attraction Poseidon’s Fury.
Rumors have been flying for months regarding the mysterious new Potter-themed land. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the announcement “confirmed some previous reports about the expansion that’s expected to cost more than $200 million but left much of Universal’s planned magic still in the dark.” While there wasn’t much new information regarding the only new major attraction, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Universal has given us Potterheads plenty of details and tidbits to wet our palettes!
Universal Orlando released two new videos to accentuate some of the highlights of TWWoHP.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Featuring Actors Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Marauders Map-Style Concept Art and Layout
Fun Fact: The Marauders’ Map of the park was designed by the same people who designed the Marauders’ Map in the movie. Cool!
Walking from The Lost Continent island, guests will enter TWWoHP through the front archway of Hogsmeade, and will be greeted with recreations of the most famous and iconic elements from the beloved book series. TWWoHP 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.
So, it appears that the already existing rides in The Lost Continent will be simply re-themed to go along with the Potter-verse – Duleing Dragons becomes Dragon Challenge (guests can choose between the Hungarian Horntail and the Chinese Fireball dragons) and The Flying Unicorn becomes Flight of the Hippogriff. Still shrouded in mystery and speculation, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, is “something totally new, totally different, and an experience unlike anything anyone’s ever done,” asserts Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative. He calls it a “full-immersion, visceral, compelling experience.” Paul Daurio, show producer of TWWoHP adds, “As you enter Hogwarts Castle, you find those iconic rooms such as the Gryffindor Common Room, which everybody for years has wanted to have the opportunity to travel inside Hogwarts and see what it was like to be in those hallowed halls,” he said. “Then you are swept up into a journey that really captures the greatest stories, the greatest characters, and the greatest experiences from the books and films.”
This major attraction is rumored to be the first of its kind – guests will sit in seats suspended from Kuka robotic arms that can swivel and swoop in multiple directions, while advancing on an indoor track though a dark-ride type setting.
Check out this video – one of Kuka’s Robocoasters in action!
That looks quite intense! No height restrictions have been announced as of yet for The Forbidden Journey, so we can assume for now that if Universal is targeting families with young children, the ride will probably be milder than the Robocoaster portrayed in this video. And, like stated above, instead of a stationary arm, the robotic arm in this attraction is rumored to be moving along a track, while spinning and swooping. Awesome!
In closing, Woodbury emphasizes, “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.”
Be sure to check our blog regularly for updated news and information regarding all of the major theme parks and attractions Orlando has to offer!
For tickets and information, please visit The Official Ticket Center, or call us toll-free at 1-877-406-4836!