The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

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[edit] Background

"The plans I've seen look incredibly exciting, and I don't think fans of the books or films will be disappointed." —J. K. Rowling [1]

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a themed land that replaced the Merlin Woods portion of the Lost Continent region of Universal's Islands of Adventure, part of the Universal Orlando Resort. The 20-acre area includes attractions, restaurants, and shops themed around a recreation of Hogwarts Castle and Hogsmeade Village. [2]

  • On May 30th, 2007, the plans for the Harry Potter-themed area were announced during a joint press conference with Warner Bros. and Universal. [3]
  • On September 15th, 2009, during a press conference featuring Tom Felton, Universal revealed the official names of the three main park rides.
  • On March 25th, 2010, the grand opening date was announced.
  • On May 20th, 2010, Matthew Lewis, Emma Watson, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, and Robbie Coltrane had a tour of the area. [4]
  • On May 28th, 2010, Universal began letting park guests preview the area.
  • On June 16th, 2010, a celebration was held with the Orlando Philharmonic performing music from the Harry Potter series led by composer John Williams. The Frog Choir sang Double Trouble conducted by Warwick Davis. Actors Bonnie Wright, Matthew Lewis, Tom Felton, Michael Gambon, James Phelps, and Oliver Phelps arrived on the Knight Bus. Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint arrived in the Flying Ford Anglia.
  • On June 18th, 2010, Daniel Radcliffe and the cast in attendance officially welcomed the first group of guests into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. [5]
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has been estimated to cost at least $265 million.
  • The actor Johnpaul Castrianni that portrayed a death eater in HBP and deathly hallows parts 1 and 2 has been seen around the shops of hogsmeade village

[edit] Park Features

  • At the entrance of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter there is a recreation of Hogsmeade Station featuring the Hogwarts Express and the Conductor who welcomes guests to Hogsmeade
  • Students from the Beauxbatons Academy of Magic and Durmstrang Institute have a performance similar to the one seen in the film version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. called the "Triwizard Spirit Rally" on the grounds of Hogwarts. It is hosted by a Hogwarts Prefect.
  • Over 600 items have been created to be sold in the Wizarding World based on products from the Harry Potter series.
  • Foods and drinks that appeared in the books and films (like Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice) are also available. [6]
  • Students from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Frog Choir perform songs from the Harry Potter films with large frogs croaking out the bass line. Music is done in the style of Toxic Audio.
  • There is a Gringotts themed Automated Teller Machine.
  • The voice of Moaning Myrtle can be heard speaking to guests in the Hogsmeade Washrooms.
  • A moving poster of Sirius Black can be seen outside The Three Broomsticks.
  • The four founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft Wizadry inside: Godric Gryffindor, Salazar Slytherin, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Helga Hufflepuff

[edit] Holidays at Hogwarts

The Winter Holiday is a well-described and well-celebrated occasion in the Harry Potter books. As such, many expected The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park at Universal Orlando to add some Holiday cheer for this time of year (plus, it goes well with that snow).

Holiday decor Start to appearing in December of 2010 in the park. Many storefronts and their interiors have wreaths and garland:

  • Decor on Zonkos' storefront [7]
  • A wreath outside Honeydukes [8]
  • Garland on a big light fixture inside The Three Broomsticks [9]
  • Wreaths outside Dervish and Banges [10]
  • Decor inside Dervish and Banges [11]
  • Wreath and Garland outside the Owl Post [12]

As Warner Brothers and J.K. Rowling have a heavy hand in the ongoing development of the park, it's worth noting that these decorations were specifically approved by WB and Jo.

In 2010 there was one thing missing: a Christmas tree. Universal employees where told a Christmas was in development, but J.K. Rowling and Warner Brothers approved it a tad too late for it to appear this season. They said to expect one next year.

[edit] Rides and Attractions

See also Attractions

There are several rides and attractions at the park which relate to the Harry Potter series.

  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey- This ride is the park's main attractions. Guests have the chance to walk through a replica of Hogwarts castle and experience many of the locations seen in the films. From there they get on the ride to encounter things like dementors, The Whomping Willow and The Chamber of Secrets.
  • Flight of the Hippogriff- Inspired by the events of The Prisoner of Azkaban and the Hippogriff Buckbeak, The Flight of the Hippogriff ride gives guests a chance to 'fly' with Buckbeak. It is a family ride which also includes a replica of Hagrid's hut at the enterance.
  • Dragon Challenge- Guests get a chance to choose between two dragons and 'race' in this fast paced ride. In the queue, there are several replicas from the movie including The Goblet of Fire and the golden eggs.
  • Ollivander's Wand Shop- Guests have the chance to experience a trip to Ollivander's wand shop. One person is chosen from the group of 20 allowed in the store at a time and gets to try several wands until they find the right one. By waving wands, the person causes several negative effects until they find the right wand.

[edit] Shops

See also Shops

The park has recreated several shops from Hogsmeade for the village as well as several other related stores.

  • Ollivander's Wand Shop- Situated next to the attraction of the same name, this store gives you the chance to buy the wand that 'chose you' in the attraction. It also gives other guests to buy different wands that are replicas from the series.
  • Honeydukes- A replica of the Hogsmeade store which sells sweets and candy seen in the films plus more.
  • Zonko's Joke Shop- Another replica of the Hogsmeade store that sells a variety of products involving jokes and tricks.
  • Dervish and Banges- A shop which sells quidditch supplies, Triwizard apparal and other movie replicas.
  • Filch's Emporium of Confiscated Goods- This store sells a variety of movie replicas, Hogwarts clothing and various other merchandise.
  • Owl Post- A place where you can send letters with a Hogsmeade stamp to anywhere around the world.

[edit] Food and Drink

See also Food Drinks

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has two main areas for food and drink, the Three Broomsticks which serves different Harry Potter themed meals including fish and chips, shepard's pie and potato leek Soup and the Hogs Head pub which serves several different types of alcoholic beverages.

Although the Three Broomsticks and the Hogs Head are the main attractions for food and drink, you may also purchase candy from the Honey-dukes sweet shop. The Butterbeer cart serves Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice, both of which are based off of the drinks of the same names in the Harry Potter books. Butterbeer comes in two different types, regular and frozen. Despite the name Butterbeer is non-alcoholic.

[edit] Gifts and Treats

See also Gifts Treats

[edit] Reception

[edit] References

[edit] External links