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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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2062 Points

I am determined to make it to this park eventually!!

Posted by Alice Weasley{Weasley's Queen} [ROAR!] on May 28, 2010, 07:55 PM report to moderator
3157 Points

Reading that gave me the goosebumps. I want to go there now!!

Posted by Little Light ^HISS^ on May 28, 2010, 09:26 PM report to moderator
1985 Points

Those people are sooo lucky!

Posted by jhangelgurl (ITC!) on May 28, 2010, 10:08 PM report to moderator
1730 Points

The pics and movies are fabulous….next best thing to being there. I have no idea when I will be able to get there, so until that time, any pictures or videos are a welcome bonus! Thanks!

Posted by SproutMdme (OoM4,GS,CW) on May 28, 2010, 10:13 PM report to moderator
176 Points

“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.”

Major disappointment there…I’m gonna cheat and go in more than once. I want a wand to choose me :(

Posted by Leo_Lovegood on May 28, 2010, 10:13 PM report to moderator
5389 Points

how i really envy the lucky guys

Posted by Azaad Potter The Chosen One [ROAR] on May 28, 2010, 10:37 PM report to moderator
78 Points

From what I understand, 25 people are allowed into the shop to buy a wand. Of those 25, 1 person will be picked to have a wand choose them as part of the show. I am sure you can still buy a wand, but it won’t be the magical experience (for you), unless you are the 1 person of your group chosen for the show.

Posted by jimmalou78 on May 29, 2010, 12:55 AM report to moderator
879 Points

MAN! I really want to go! I think I’m going to wait until the holiday season, but I dunno if I can stand it!

Posted by deadtree ♥WBM♥ on May 29, 2010, 04:40 AM report to moderator
206 Points

Opening day is coming so quickly. My friends at Universal say it’s going to be a huge event!!!

Posted by Runwild101 (Robby) on May 29, 2010, 12:02 PM report to moderator
1466 Points

OH! I really really want to go!

Posted by Jacket on May 29, 2010, 01:44 PM report to moderator
1373 Points

I desperately want to go there!!!! I’ll work hard all the summer and try to visit it in September. I’m sure this experience is worth all the hard work! :)

Posted by Pollytomat on May 29, 2010, 02:18 PM report to moderator
3271 Points

AWESOME video!! WOW!

Posted by Half-Blood Princess66[ROAR!] on May 29, 2010, 03:05 PM report to moderator
1317 Points

Be there in September!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by hewy on May 29, 2010, 07:00 PM report to moderator
3048 Points

I wish that I were there to see it for myself but do hope that everyone else has enjoyed it.

Posted by Kirk on May 30, 2010, 09:55 AM report to moderator
3006 Points

WOW. that’s all I can say .Just WOW.

Posted by muggle..andproudofit =:) on May 30, 2010, 11:58 AM report to moderator
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