wizarding world of harry potter

Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley Artwork Roundup

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With the latest artwork release from Universal Orlando for the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley expansion, we figured we’d showcase all the exciting, incredible and amazing artwork released  for all the Wizards, Muggles and Mudbloods to enjoy! More images to come as soon as we get them!

Also, in case you live under a rock the complete details are listed after the images. Continue reading

Universal Orlando Hidden Gems: Three Broomsticks Outdoor Seating

Brad shares a quiet location to take a break and enjoy the beautiful Florida sunshine outside of the craziness that is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

TIP: Grab a Butterbeer at the Hogshead Pub inside the building, and head out the back doors to access the outdoor seating area. Another way is to go down the alleyway right beside the bathrooms past the ATM machine.

Harry Potter & The Forbidden Journey Overview

Brad, Nick and Kirby give you some of their thoughts of the most amazing ride ever created: Harry Potter & The Forbidden Journey at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. At the moment, this is the only version of the ride. Universal Studios Hollywood announced they will be building a version, and most recently Universal Studios Japan announced one as well. It will be interesting to see the similarities and differences between all 3.

TIP: Get to the park early in the day for the shortest lines and head straight for Ollivander’s Wand Shop. The line can be over 2 hours for this awesome experience. Harry Potter & The Forbidden Journey loads quickly and the line is half the attraction.

Wizarding World #3 to Open in Japan!

Today in news we heard about, but forgot to post: Harry Potter is headed to Japan (as announced on May 9.) That means the world will be home to 3 versions of the ride: Orlando, Hollywood and Osaka. We can’t wait for the arguments about which is better begin! Read below for all the magical details:

Universal Studios Japan, in partnership with Warner Bros. and Universal Parks & Resorts, announced today that they will be bringing The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Japan, marking the global expansion of this wildly popular themed entertainment experience that started at Universal Orlando Resort nearly two years ago.
The announcement was made by Glenn Gumpel, President and CEO, Universal Studios Japan; Brad Globe, President, Warner Bros. Consumer Products; and Michael Silver, President, Global Business Development, Universal Parks & Resorts; as well as James and Oliver Phelps, who played the roles of Fred and George Weasley in the Harry Potter film series. Governor of Osaka Ichiro Matsui was the guest of honor at the announcement, which also hosted more than a hundred excited fans dressed in Harry Potter attire who screamed with delight when the announcement was made.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan is the result of the creative teamwork and efforts by Universal Studios Japan in conjunction with Warner Bros., which produced and distributed the Harry Potter films, and Universal Parks & Resorts, which oversees Universal Studios theme parks, hotels and resorts throughout the world. It will be as magnificent and as impressive as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort. Just as in Orlando, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan will faithfully and authentically bring to life the stories created by J.K. Rowling in her books and captured on screen in Warner Bros.’ films.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando brought significant increases in tourism, jobs and economic benefit to the entire central Florida economy. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan is also expected to make a significant impact on tourism in both the Osaka/Kansai region and the entire country, creating thousands of new jobs and bringing economic benefits throughout Japan for decades to come.
“I was delighted to experience and enjoy the attention to detail, creativity and superb craft that went into the first Wizarding World in Orlando. I am equally delighted that the same level of expertise and enjoyment will translate to the new park in Japan,” said J.K. Rowling.
“Harry Potter, the most wonderful and amazing story of our time, is coming to Universal Studios Japan. USJ is thrilled to be chosen to make the Harry Potter experience come alive for the people of Japan. USJ is committed to being the world’s best Theme Park and by bringing this brilliant story to Japan and creating a fantastic experience is yet another validation of that commitment,” said Glenn Gumpel, President and CEO of USJ Co., Ltd. “USJ will recreate to the highest level of authenticity, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, created by Universal Studios in Orlando, which has been enjoyed and cherished by millions and millions of Universal Orlando’s guests. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – USJ’s commitment to bring the world’s best to life.”
The themed area itself will be a fully immersive environment for the entire family that brings the stories of Harry Potter to life and is faithful to the visual landscape of the films, including a majestic Hogwarts castle which will serve as the centerpiece of the land.
“Harry Potter continues to captivate generations of fans around the world and we are delighted to announce this partnership with Universal Studios Japan that will allow us to bring the magic of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Asia,” said Brad Globe, President, Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter allows fans to step into the magical world created in the books and witnessed in the films. We think this is the perfectly timed next step in bringing the magical world of Harry Potter to life for even more fans.”
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan will be similar to the spectacularly themed land at Universal Orlando Resort and will include Hogwarts castle, Hogsmeade and multiple themed attractions. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan will be created with the same commitment to authenticity and the same high level of talent and resources, including the creative leadership of Stuart Craig, Production Designer for the entire Harry Potter film series.
“The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is an entirely new level of themed entertainment that brings the stories of Harry Potter to life in incredible ways. It will forever change tourism, not only in Kansai but throughout Japan. We are thrilled to be bringing one of the most powerful themed entertainment experiences of our time to Universal Studios Japan, marking the global expansion of this incredible phenomenon, and we are confident that guests will want to return again and again to fully experience all that this fantastic environment will have to offer,” said Michael Silver, President, Global Business Development, Universal Parks & Resorts.
In June 2010, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort opened and became an instant, unprecedented hit. Since then, Warner Bros. and Universal Parks & Resorts announced that the themed area would be coming to Universal Studios Hollywood, and also that the Orlando location would be significantly expanded. No specific details on either of these plans have yet been announced.

HP Wand prototypes, Art of Animation details & more!

Howdy Howdy Howdy- The other night I had the most INCREDIBLE experience I have had since arriving. I made the realization that our next door neighbour here in Davenport is an INCREDIBLE artisan to say the very least. Now I knew Brian was creating some pretty impressive stuff currently for the Art of Animation Resort at Walt Disney World but as I found out during a cocktail party, he is involved with SO MUCH MORE! Continue reading

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter goes Hollywood…and expands in Orlando

Major updates for Harry Potter fans. Universal Studios Hollywood is expected to announce a major Harry Potter attraction/expansion similar to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida. They are holding a media event tomorrow to officially announce the project. In addition, we also hear of the possible expansion of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando. Read on for details.

First, the Universal Studios Hollywood News from the Los Angeles Times:

“Harry Potter is making his Los Angeles debut on Tuesday. Executives from Universal Studios and Warner Bros. will unveil and for the first time publicly discuss their plans to build the Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood at a late-morning news conference.Universal announced the event, stating in an email that it would be “hosting a Butterbeer toast to celebrate a very special announcement.” People close to the matter but not authorized to discuss the event beforehand confirmed it would be the unveiling of plans to duplicate the massively successful Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction from Universal Studios Orlando at the L.A. theme park. Top executives from Warner Bros., which made the “Potter” films and controls licensing rights to author J.K. Rowling’s books about the boy wizard, will be in attendance along with those from Universal. They will include the leaders of both companies: Warner Chairman Barry Meyer and Universal President Ron Meyer (no relation). In addition, demonstrating the significance of what will likely be a huge investment in building the Potter-themed rides and shops, along with the longer-term boost to tourism, California Gov. Jerry Brown will be in attendance.The Orlando Wizarding World of Harry Potter has brought in more than 7 million people in its first year and was the main driver in a 36% increase at Universal’s park there in the first three months of 2011. The attraction isn’t expected to open at Universal’s Los Angeles location — right next to its film and television studio in Universal City — until 2015 at the earliest.”

The Hogwarts Express Station

Now to the juicy Orlando details:

The second item of Harry Potter news are the rumours about the expansion for the original Wizarding World at Universal Orlando which is located in Islands of Adventure. We’ve heard from multiple reliable sources that the reason the JAWS Ride and entire Amity section of Universal Studios Florida is being closed is to prepare for a Phase 2 expansion of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The concept here will be that you can visit London, Diagon Alley, Gringott’s Bank and The original Ollivanders Wand Shop before boarding the Hogwarts Express to the existing themed side of Islands of Adventure. These are wild rumours, but with the sucess the park has seen with the first Phase, we’re sure they are rusing to get the expansion built and ready to open as soon as possible. We’ll keep you posted as we find out more!
What do you think about possible copycat attractions in Hollwood? And how do you feel about JAWS being replaced with more magic from the realm of Harry Potter?

5 reasons we love Universal Orlando

While Walt Disney World is the main attraction for many visitors to Orlando, and we agree that it’s a great place to visit, many people forget about the other awesome resort just up the road from the Mouse, Universal Orlando. With 2 parks, 3 resorts and tons of great dining and shopping experiences, we think Universal is pretty awesome. Here are 5 reasons why we love Universal Orlando Resort:

1. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

There is no experience on the planet that is better than this fantastic, magical, immersive themed environment. If you only visit one area of the entire Universal Orlando Resort, make this your stop. From the magic of Hogsmeade Village, to the delectable taste of Butterbeer, nothing is more exciting than actually experiencing the locations from the films. The star attraction, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Joruney, will leave you speechless. The lineup for this ride is just as good as the ride itself. I mean, you get to walk to halls of Hogwarts! Make sure to visit Ollivander’s to pick your want, or if you’re lucky it will pick you! And take a little treat home for your friends by grabbing a bottle of Pumpkin Juice for them to try. Sadly, Butterbeer is not sold in bottles, so they’ll have to visit to taste it themselves.

2. Margaritaville at Citywalk

Nothing sets me in a better mood than sitting on the patio listening to Jimmy Buffet and sipping a carefully concocted margarita. The food here is great and you never know what impromptu entertainment will be taking place both inside and out front. Make sure to visit the inside portion of the bar to experience the hurricanes that happen every once in a while. They also have a massive Margaritaville Store where you can buy almost anything with the famous brand stamped upon it. My favourite being the Margaritaville Blender that comes in many variations, or the shot chiller that’s sure to be a hit at any gathering hoping to get to paradise.

3. Rockin special events year round

From the magic of Grinchmas at Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Macy’s Holiday Parade, to the yearly Mardi Gras celebrations, there is always something exciting happening at the resort. Universal Orlando knows how to party, and they get great bands to play at their special events (such as Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Smash Mouth for New Years), plus most are included with park admission. Even Citywalk has awesome events all the time. The Ellen Degeneres Show tapes their once a year, and random dance parties break out at Citywalk. Pretty awesome!

4. Halloween Horror Nights

We know this is an event, but it’s so grand it deserves a mention for itself. This is the biggest and best Halloween event in North America. Each year during the Halloween season, they bring terrifying mazes, scare zones and shows to the resort. Each year has a brand new theme and new attractions. It’s not recommended for children, and personally we agree. If you’re looking for a legendary night out, or just need a little liquid courage to make it through the mazes, they have booze EVERYWHERE. In the lines, scattered through the park, and even shot girls dressed as nurses! The only place they don’t seem to have booze is in the bathrooms. Ok, so we like to party hard at this event. But even if you don’t drink, it’s our favourite event of the year because it’s just so cool to see the resort transform into such a different atmosphere.

5. It’s not Disney

Don’t get us wrong, we love Walt Disney World. It’s just sometimes, you can get tired of the magic and make belief of the place. I repeat, we still love Disney. Heck, some of us have worked for the Mouse. But Universal has a different atmosphere, it’s more adult oriented, which gives them license to be a bit more risque (Beetlejuice’s Rocking Roll Grave Yard Revue, for example.) and it’s just different than Disney. You can have a few drinks, hear some off colour humour and not worry about destroying the dreams of a 5-year-old by doing so. Universal is the place to visit if you’re looking for something that’s just as great as Walt Disney World, but isn’t a blatant wannabe.

So, what are your reasons for loving Universal Orlando? Leave a comment below and let us know!

 
 
 
 
 

The Duel is Over at Universal's Dragon Challenge

The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that the the popular twin-tracked rollercoaster Dragon Challenge will no longer be dueling its two coaster trains, and this time it’s permanent.

In the 10 years before The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the ride was called Dueling Dragons and featured two intertwined tracks that allowed the cars to race and give a thrilling experience to riders. While the name changed to Dragon Challenge and the themeing tweaked a bit with the re-theming of the area to fit Harry Potter, the ride system itself stayed the same. Over the summer, there were two incidents in which riders were injured by flying objects, with the proximity of the ride cars to each other being blamed as the culprit. As a precaution, Universal started dispatching trains out of sync so they would not match up along the track. It’s interesting that in over 10 years, only two recent incidents have led to this major change. The Sentinel also adds “Records show that Universal has reported five injuries involving the attraction during the past decade, including reports of chest pain, back pain and groin pain; vomiting; shortness of breath; and numbness in one arm. But none of the incidents involved a rider being struck by a loose object.” This is one of the best rollercoasters in the world and it’s sad to see this change. They have decided to stagger the launch of the trains so they will no longer have the near misses they once had. The worst part of this change is that the ride was intentionally designed by Bolliger & Mabillard to have 3 near misses throughout the run. What a lot of people are unaware of is that before the Harry Potter expansion happened, if you stood infront of the entrance to the ride at a specific spot on the ground, it gave you a perfect view of the 3 misses. The best feature of the ride was when you roll along full speed right at the other train, only to be swept upward into a loop, coming within inches of the other trains passengers feet. The chain lifts are even designed to change speed based on the weight of the ride trains so that the trains meet at the precise spots for the effect each time. At the end of the day, safety is top priority for Universal Orlando, and if this is the easiest way to prevent further incidents, so be it.

Some friends and I at the old entrance of Dueling Dragons