Earlier this month, word leaked out that Universal was planning to build a second Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park world in the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park. Days later, we confirmed that the Jaws attraction would be closing in Universal Orlando to make way for a new attraction. And yesterday we reported a rumor from a usually good source that Amity would be replaced with an expansion of the Wizarding World which would involve Harry Potter’s London, Diagon Alley, and a Hogwarts Express train that would transport guests in between the two parks (Universal Orlando and Islands of Adventure) into “the wizarding world.” While details have still not been revealed, Universal held a press conference today to announce that Harry Potter would be coming to the Hollywood park, and that the Wizarding World would expand in Orlando. Still no details on what the expansion will entail, and what rides (new or old) the Hollywood Potter area might include — although I expect it will combine some of what is already in the Wizarding World in Orlando (definitely the Forbidden Journey ride) as well as some elements of the announced expansion (Diagon Alley? A new ride?) Read the press release after the jump.

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The Internet was a buzz on Friday with the inevitable news that Universal Studios Orlando will be closing their classic Jaws themed ride come 2012. At the time, Universal would only comment by saying the ride was being closed to “make room for an exciting, NEW, experience.” Speculation immediately began running rampant among theme park enthusiasts as to what this new experience could be and most seemed to agree that closing the Jaws ride would allow Universal to spread the hit attraction The Wizarding World of Harry Potter into Universal itself. The expansion would be a London themed location including Diagon Alley, The Leaky Cauldron, Gringotts and King’s Cross complete with Platform 9 3/4.

Adding to the debate is a recent quote by a Comcast executive that called The Wizarding World of Harry Potter a “reset mechanism” for their parks. Read more about all of this after the break. Read More »

For years, Harry Potter fans dreamed of being able to enter his world. Then, in June 2010, that dream became a reality when Universal Studios Orlando opened The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a full themed land inside the park that features Hogwarts Castle, Hogsmeade, a few major rides and more. The park has been a massive success for Universal, helping to increase their attendance by millions.

Like anything that’s successful, Hollywood is now going to steal it. In this case, though, it’s an awesome theft. Universal will reportedly announce a second Wizarding World of Harry Potter at their flagship theme park, Universal Studios Hollywood, with doors opening as early as 2015. Read more about the deal, and how exactly this Potter-themed theme park will fit into Hollywood, after the jump. Read More »

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Pictured above: The welcoming, family-friendly sights of Mordor.

Middle-earth wouldn’t be the first place I’d think of to fashion a theme park around, but that’s not stopping Universal Studios from considering the idea. They must be having a lot of success with their recently opened Wizarding World of Harry Potter, because they’re now trying to test the waters with a potential Lord of the Rings attraction, gauging reactions through email surveys. Check out the studio’s pitch after the break. Read More »

Universal Studios has released video footage from last week’s grand opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Watch it now embedded after the jump. I’ve also included a few other well-produced unofficial fan-made videos from the opening, giving you a tour of the Orlando-based Hogwarts.

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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.

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Some of the cast of the Harry Potter films (Robbie Coltrane, Emma Watson, Matthew Lewis, and James and Oliver Phelps) were given the opportunity to visit the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park at Universal’s Orlando Resort a few weeks before the officially grand opening. After the jump you can watch a video of the stars exploring the new theme park.

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Last month, Universal Studios finally announced details of the centerpiece attraction of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, “a revolutionary, 360-degree theme park experience and first-ever combination of live-action, advanced robotic technology and innovative filmmaking.”  We’ve been interested since that announcement to finally see what this attraction might look like. The answer – it looks almost exactly like the film.

Mark Woodbury, the president of Universal creative has recorded a two minute video tour of the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which will open at Universal’s Islands of Adventure on June 18th 2010. The video includes a walk-through of the Portrait Gallery, with the first ever look at Hogwart’s four founders – Godric Gryffindor, Salazar Slytherin, Helga Hufflepuff and Rowena Ravenclaw. And we also get to see the very detailed Dumbledore’s office, before heading into the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom. Watch the video embedded after the jump.

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