Posted on Thursday, June 17th, 2010 by Peter Sciretta
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort kicked off its grand opening celebration on Thursday night. In attendance were Harry Potter film stars Tom Felton, Michael Gambon, Bonnie Wright, Oliver Phelps, Daniel Radcliffe, Matthew Lewis, Warwick Davis, Rupert Grint and James Phelps. Hundreds of people gathered in front of Hogwarts castle for “a spectacular display of fireworks choreographed to a special performance of music from the Harry Potter films conducted live by renowned composer John Williams.” Check out some photos after the jump.
Harry Potter film stars Tom Felton, Michael Gambon, Bonnie Wright, Oliver Phelps, Daniel Radcliffe, Matthew Lewis, Warwick Davis, Rupert Grint and James Phelps.
Guests to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter enjoy Butterbeer, a frothy drink, reminiscent of shortbread and butterscotch, served in Hogsmeade. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort is the most widely anticipated theme park entertainment experience ever created and is the only place in the world where the wonder, excitement and adventure of the Harry Potter books and films comes to life.
Within Dervish and Banges – a magical supplies and equipment shop in Hogsmeade in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort – guests can see and experience a floating Nimbus Two Thousand and a copy of The Monster Book of Monsters. Here, visitors can take home their own Triwizard apparel, Hogwarts student robes, Goblet of Fire and Triwizard Cup replicas, Quidditch equipment and even a Golden Snitch.
Guests step through a gothic archway as they begin their journey toward the Dragon Challenge attraction in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort. The queue, flanked by Triwizard Tournament flags and banners, fills with triumphant music as guests come through the champions tent and get a glimpse of the iconic Goblet of Fire and Triwizard Cup.
On Dragon Challenge, guests may choose between the Hungarian Horntail and the Chinese Fireball dragons as they embark on one of two dueling roller coasters. The “dragons” twist, loop and narrowly miss each other in this epic adventure.
As guests exit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s marquee attraction, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, they enter Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods, where they can purchase an incredible array of authentic magical items inspired by the Harry Potter books and films.
From the entrance to Hogsmeade, with the Hogwarts Express billowing steam and whistling its arrival, through each shop and attraction, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort is a one-of-a-kind, fully immersive theme park experience and the only place in the world that brings the magic of Harry Potter to life. Guests can explore some of the most significant and familiar locations from the books and films and find themselves in the heart of the excitement.
Guests experience the magnificence of Hogwarts castle as it towers above Hogsmeade at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, only at Universal Orlando Resort. Entering through the gates of Hogwarts, which are guarded by two winged boars, the breathtaking scope of the castle’s exterior indicates that guests are about to experience something truly magical. Inside the immense Hogwart’s castle are elaborate passageways and corridors. Hogwarts is also home to the thrilling, new, state-of-the-art attraction – Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – that uses ground-breaking technology to bring the magic, characters and stories of Harry Potter to life in ways never before experienced.
The Harry Potter book and film series has captured the hearts and minds of millions and now, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort is the only place in the world where the wonder, excitement and adventure of these books and films comes to life. The 20-acre area includes the village of Hogsmeade featuring Zonko’s joke shop, Honeydukes, the Three Broomsticks, the Hog’s Head pub, the Owlery and Owl Post, Ollivanders and Dervish and Banges. Just beyond Hogsmeade is Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods and three attractions that place guests right in the middle of Harry’s world: Dragon Challenge, Flight of the Hippogriff and located within Hogwarts castle, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
One step into Honeydukes sweets shop in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort and guests are transported into a world of Candyfloss, Pepper Imps and Sugar Quills. Visitors can fill up a bag with the unique-tasting Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans – from the pleasant Pear, Marshmallow and Watermelon flavours, to the unexpected Fish, Pepper and Sausage. Guests can also collect the exclusive wizard cards (all four of the Hogwarts founders), with the purchase of delectable Chocolate Frogs.
Visitors to the Ollivanders wand shop at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort will step into one of the most iconic scenes from the bestselling Harry Potter books and blockbuster feature films. With the assistance of a live actor along with amazing special effects, Ollivanders shop guests will witness an awe-inspiring moment from Harry Potter’s life – a wand will choose one of them. Visitors are also able to purchase Hero Wands (replica wands of those owned by Harry and his friends), collectible wand sets and “practice” wands for younger wizards.
As guests leave Hogsmeade and make their way towards Hogwarts, they will encounter the Triwizard Spirit Rally – two powerfully choreographed performances by students of the Durmstrang Institute and the Beauxbatons Academy of Magic. Inspired by the popular scene in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” three Durmstrang students will perform a high-energy acrobatic staff routine and four lovely ladies from Beauxbatons will captivate you with a graceful and elegant ribbon dance.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will officially grand open to the public this Friday, June 18th.