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Wizarding World of Harry Potter Has Soft Open; Images, Video From Inside Appearing Online (Updated)

Fan Events
Posted by: Edward
May 28, 2010, 03:00 PM

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park at Universal Orlando opened its doors this morning for a "soft opening" for those individuals who purchased vacations packages back in February with the opening date of May 28.  The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that special Wizarding World package holders were able "to experience the new attraction, which had a two-hour preview Friday morning for customer who purchased a special Harry Potter package at Universal Orlando Resort hotels."  The report continues, noting that 'by early afternoon, everyday guests were allowed on the Dueling Dragons coaster. Entry continues to be through temporary construction walls that wind through the future Hogsmeade village. It provided a closer look at the shops and Hogwarts castle but no access. The coaster will be rechristened as Dragon Challenge and will have a new entry via Hogsmeade.' has a first hand report from inside this morning's soft open online, which contains a slew of photos from inside the park, along with a video.  Among the many details furnished by the site, the report relates:
To see the world found by the Potter films (and books) recreated in real life is breathtaking. I’m sure all the anticipation of getting inside fueled my excitement, but when I finally stepped into Hogsmeade Village, my eyes were wide open (despite being only on 4 hours of sleep) and I could not stop smiling.  
While the rest of Islands of Adventure does an adequate job of transporting guests to another world, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is truly immersive. Not only does it make you forget about the real world, it makes you forget you’re even in a theme park. Around every corner guests will find something to laugh at, a smiling face to talk with (in character), and… plenty to spend money on.  
Ollivander’s Wand Shop is the highlight of all of the shop-based experiences. It is not required to pass through the shop to buy a wand. You can simply enter through the Owlry or Dervish & Banges and get one. But if you skip Ollivander’s, you’re missing a wonderfully magical show. The technology employed in the show is rather simple. A few moving items here, a few lights and sounds there. But it all pulls together, combined with some choice music and acting, to give everyone in the room warm and fuzzies. It is true that around 20-25 people are let in at once and only 1 out of that group is chosen to try out a magic wand as part of the show. But no one else seemed to mind. I certainly didn’t. It’s great fun to see what happens. The wait will be long at first, but it will be worth it.
Dueling Dragons has been one of my favorite roller coasters for a long time. Now that it is Dragon Challenge, the queue has a much more comprehensive story that leads up to the thrilling ride. Flight of the Hippogriff is a huge improvement over its former Flying Unicorn identity. While the Hagrid-based story didn’t totally come across for me (all you get is a few scattered audio cues from Hagrid), the animatronic Hippogriff at the base of the coaster’s lift hill is a wonderful touch. Moreover, the ride offers incredible views of Hogsmeade Village and Hogwarts Castle. It’s a short ride, but should be enjoyed for the visuals if nothing else.
Update:  The InsidetheMagic walkthough video is now available in our Video Galleries right here.

Update 2: Thanks to both InsidetheMagic and Attractions Magazine, we have an abundance of images from on the ground in the Wizarding World for you in our Image Galleries.

Stay close to Leaky throughout the day for all the latest.  If you were on hand at the park this morning, please do let us know at

Also, PotterCast will be doing a live podcast from Orlando, Florida this Saturday, May 29 at 6pm at the      Cricketers Arms on International Dr. In the Festival Bay Mall.  Full event info can be found on our Facebook Event page.

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580 Points

Wow! I can’t believe that the park has been opened, well for the sneak peakers! Those Lucky Ducks!

Posted by Rosie016 on May 28, 2010, 03:21 PM report to moderator
84 Points

Yeah they are luck ducks!

Posted by Heather Staples on May 28, 2010, 03:29 PM report to moderator
277 Points

Sweet! I wanna go so bad.

Posted by Potions_TA on May 28, 2010, 03:54 PM report to moderator
461 Points

ahhh im so excited to go

Posted by LilLadySnape on May 28, 2010, 04:17 PM report to moderator
264 Points

I did not think that honeydukes would have muggle candy most of the wizarding world never heard of gummie rings or other muggle candy this is kind of weird. And what up the the butterbeer stand it is a very good idea because that and pumpkin juice will be the drink of choice but I do not rember that in the books or the movies. But all in all it looks really fun and I can not wait to go.

Posted by Roseann on May 28, 2010, 04:19 PM report to moderator
696 Points

I’m going to make my family go… or else…

Posted by Nwrosey on May 28, 2010, 04:28 PM report to moderator
1980 Points

omg i cant wait. but you cant really get a wand? its justa show?

Posted by floridianhp*ROAR* on May 28, 2010, 04:37 PM report to moderator
1980 Points

omg i cant wait. but you cant really get a wand? its justa show?

Posted by floridianhp*ROAR* on May 28, 2010, 04:37 PM report to moderator
112 Points

Lucky. I want to go so bad.

Posted by Hermione Granger -Weasley on May 28, 2010, 05:00 PM report to moderator
3703 Points

I’m a little disappointed that only one person out of the group will be able to have the experience of having the wand choose you. Otherwise, everything is AMAZING. I cannot wait to go!

Posted by Christine on May 28, 2010, 05:22 PM report to moderator
302 Points

WAIT… not everyone can get a wand the special way?? Dang. Can we still buy them normally?! I’m confused.

Posted by BellatrixInPink *ROAR* on May 28, 2010, 05:28 PM report to moderator
4852 Points

They are so lucky! I just wish everyone could have the experience in Ollivander’s.

Posted by #1 Witch ROAR! on May 28, 2010, 05:52 PM report to moderator
1740 Points

I wish I was one of those lucky people inside the Wizarding World…….but on the bright side we know that’s it’s a sucess!

125 Points

How exciting. I really want to go there.
Aww only one person to get a wand at ollivanders…

Posted by Rodinius Black on May 28, 2010, 06:59 PM report to moderator
80450 Points

I am going there next month…

Posted by Won_Two on May 28, 2010, 07:30 PM report to moderator
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