The Grand Opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (WWoHP) is fast approaching, with June 18th being just over a month away. This past week, we ventured to Islands of Adventure at the Universal Orlando Resort to check out the construction progress. The attention to detail within Hogsmeade Village is utterly magical, and uber Potterheads are sure to be awed the moment they pass under the impressive archway.
Check out our photo update:
A closer look at Hogwarts Castle. The new attraction, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, will be housed within the castle, as well as an elaborate queue line, which will take guests through iconic scenes of the books.
The entrance into the WWoHP, coming from The Lost Continent, will have guests walking under an elaborate archway into Hogsmeade Village. If you peak over the temporary wall, you can get a good look at the Hogwarts Express, immediately to the left of the entrance.
The sign hanging from the archway says “Please Respect the Spell Limits” – one of those little details guests will enjoy discovering as they walk into the magical world of Harry Potter. Notice the snow-capped buildings in the background – Hogsmeade will no doubt look like the winter wonderland depicted in the third movie installment, Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azkaban.
Walking across the bridge that currently takes guests from The Lost Continent into Jurassic Park, we got a good look at the back side of The Leaky Cauldron restaurant, which replaced The Enchanted Oak Tavern. It looks as though there may be a covered outdoor seating area, facing the lake.
There has not been word yet as to whether the bridge will remain once the park opens – my guess would be probably not, given that throughout the rest of the park, guests must walk through each “island” to get to the next one. On the other hand, maybe WWoHP will prove to be over-crowded, so the extra walking space may be necessary for guests wanting to avoid the crazyness which will be WWoHP for the next few months.
Another shot of the backside of The Leaky Cauldron – check out that attention to detail! I love the crooked chimney on the roof. The books emphasize that buildings within the magical world, like Gringotts at Diagon Alley or the Weasley’s House, The Burrow, always seem to be slanting and have crooked design elements. It’s as if magic is holding them together!
Looks like workers are still adding last-minute touches to the building facades. You can tell a lot of effort has been put into making the buildings look aged, as if they’ve been there for decades, as opposed to a few months. Little bits of snow have also been added on to portions of the buildings to go along with the winter feel.
A shot of Hogwarts Castle upon first entering Jurassic Park – this is near where the Dueling Dragons queue starts. As we all know, Dueling Dragons will become The Dragon Challenge once WWoHP opens – a reference to the first challenge from the Triwizard Tournament from the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
A closer shot of the castle. I believe this long window-filled portion represents The Great Hall, where the students and professors eat all of their meals. As far as I know, we have not received confirmation that The Great Hall will be one of the areas guests will get to walk through or see. There have certainly not been any photos released. I just read an in-depth review and sneek preview written by MuggleNet.com staff member Eric, and he does not mention seeing The Great Hall during his tour. Only time will tell!
Another shot of Hogsmeade, this one taken from Jurassic Park. It looks as though there will be another archway entrance, leading from the back of WWoHP and into Jurassic Park. Once again, take note of the slanting chimneys and snowy details.
Another vantage point of the Hogwarts Castle. It is almost unbelievable how much of an exact replica this is of the movie version of the castle. I can’t stop looking at it!
This is one of my favorite shots and probably my favorite element of the Hogwarts Castle at WWoHP. The Headmaster’s Office is located within this tower (though I would imagine the office guests will walk through during the queue for the ride will not be located in this area.. haha), and I love the way the turrets jut out. Once again, excellent attention to detail!
A wide shot of the castle – notice The Great Hall on the left, with the courtyard directly below. It looks like the clock tower is also present on the right, if you’ll notice the circular white shape. We can also se the Headmaster’s Office in this shot, and the rocky cliff the castle rests upon. If I didn’t know any better, I could easily think this was a screen shot from one of the films. So excited!!! 🙂
WWoHP opens June 18th at Islands of Adventure. WWoHP will be included with general park admission (at least for now… knocks on wood!) and with your purchase of Discount Islands of Adventure Tickets. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit our website or Kissimmee Location, The Official Ticket Center. You may also call us toll-free at 1-877-406-4836.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be the best thing to come to Orlando in a very long time. Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure will pull big $$$ for a long time to come.