The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Universal Studios Orlando has finally announced the date of the public grand opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter — June 18th 2010.

Universal has also finally released the details of the centerpiece attraction, 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.” After the jump you will also find the full press release, along with new high resolution photos from the experience. I’ve also included the previously released concept images, incase you missed them.

The new attraction, located “deep within Hogwarts castle”, has an official description:

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey draws you into the excitement and chaos of Harry’s life. As you venture through Hogwarts castle, you meet Harry, Ron and Hermione who convince you to skip a planned lecture and follow them. Upon taking their advice, you travel by Floo powder, and begin the adventure as you soar over Hogwarts, narrowly escape a dragon attack, have a close encounter with the Whomping Willow, get pulled into a Quidditch match and more.

But it isn’t just a ride, but a non guided walking tour experience that could last over an hour, taking you through 12 different scenes.

You journey through iconic locations taken from the films and take in the extraordinary detail of each scene. They include: Dumbledore’s office: Here, you meet the Headmaster as he welcomes you to Hogwarts, Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom: Where you first meet Harry, Ron and Hermione, Gryffindor common room: You meet three additional characters who prepare you for your journey, Room of Requirement: Here, with hundreds of floating candles above, you take your seat on an enchanted bench and begin the Forbidden Journey, Other locations: In addition, guests will pass through the Dungeon passageway and hallways of Hogwarts where they will have the chance to see hundreds of wizard portraits from the films, including several magical talking portraits created exclusively for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, including the four founders of Hogwarts. Guests will even get a glimpse of the Sorting Hat.

Here are some photos:

MTV has a good write up of their experience exploring Hogwarts. Here is the official press release:

GRAND OPENING OF THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER AT UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT SET FOR JUNE 18

Universal Orlando Also Unveils Details for the Highly Anticipated New Attraction::: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 25, 2010) – One of the most widely anticipated theme park entertainment experiences ever created – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort – is set for a public grand opening on June 18.

Today, Universal Orlando Resort also revealed details about what is expected to be one the most exciting theme park experiences ever created: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. It will be one of three themed attractions within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, including Flight of the Hippogriff and Dragon Challenge.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is the heart of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This all new adventure combines a powerful storyline with spectacular new technology so effectively that guests will be completely immersed in the experience.

And as they live their adventure, guests will feel things no one has ever felt inside a theme park attraction, move in ways no one has ever moved, experience film like no one else ever has, explore vast sets punctuated by amazing special effects – and have an adventure only possible in Harry Potter’s world.

The new attraction lies deep within Hogwarts castle, a majestic structure that towers over The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – the only place in the world where the wonder, excitement and adventure of the Harry Potter books and films comes to life.

The Adventure

Imagine…

…meeting Harry, Ron and Hermione as if they were in person

…soaring over Hogwarts castle with Harry

…being swept into a Quidditch match

…feeling the chilling effect of a Dementor

…exploring your favorite places inside Hogwarts castle

…living adventures you’ve only been able to imagine – until now.

The Story

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey draws you into the excitement and chaos of Harry’s life. As you venture through Hogwarts castle, you meet Harry, Ron and Hermione who convince you to skip a planned lecture and follow them. Upon taking their advice, you travel by Floo powder, and begin the adventure as you soar over Hogwarts, narrowly escape a dragon attack, have a close encounter with the Whomping Willow, get pulled into a Quidditch match and more.

“Guests will experience firsthand a completely new adventure featuring the iconic characters, amazing creatures and recognizable locations they’ve only read in the books or seen in the films,” said Thierry Coup, creative director for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

The Location

The Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey experience starts as soon as you walk through the gates of Hogwarts. Within the towering Hogwarts castle, you explore a truly magical place. You journey through iconic locations taken from the films and take in the extraordinary detail of each scene. They include:

· Dumbledore’s office: Here, you meet the Headmaster as he welcomes you to Hogwarts

· Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom: Where you first meet Harry, Ron and Hermione

· Gryffindor common room: You meet three additional characters who prepare you for your journey

· Room of Requirement: Here, with hundreds of floating candles above, you take your seat on an enchanted bench and begin the Forbidden Journey

· Other locations: In addition, guests will pass through the Dungeon passageway and hallways of Hogwarts where they will have the chance to see hundreds of wizard portraits from the films, including several magical talking portraits created exclusively for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, including the four founders of Hogwarts. Guests will even get a glimpse of the Sorting Hat.

The Innovation

This is more than just an attraction and it is unlike any theme park experience ever created. It’s a revolutionary, 360-degree theme park experience and first-ever combination of live-action, advanced robotic technology and innovative filmmaking – specially designed and developed for this brand-new adventure.

“We have created an entirely new way to place our guests into the heart of one of the most compelling stories of our time,” said Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative. “What we have done will forever change the theme park attraction experience.”

The attraction’s newly created ride system envelops guests in filmed action scenes and moves those scenes with them as they travel through the ride, allowing more time in the center of the adventure and with their favorite characters. This fusion of robotic technology and filmed scenes has never been achieved until now. In some cases, technology had to be invented to achieve the highest level of guest experience. The combination of pioneering, state-of-the-art technology, innovative filmmaking and surprises around every corner make this attraction the embodiment of the Harry Potter book and film series—and the future of theme park entertainment.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Quick Facts

* Storyline: As you venture through Hogwarts, you meet Harry, Ron and Hermione, who convince you to skip a planned lecture and follow them. Upon taking their advice you travel by Floo powder, and begin your adventure as you soar over Hogwarts, narrowly escape a dragon attack, have a close encounter with the Whomping Willow, get pulled into a Quidditch match and more.
* First-ever combination of advanced robotic ride system technology with innovative, immersive filmmaking
* Award-winning composer John Williams oversaw the creation of the attraction’s score

* The queue includes the following Harry Potter book and film elements: Headmaster Dumbledore’s office, Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, Gryffindor common room, Room of Requirement, and the greenhouse; talking portraits including the Fat Lady and the never-before-seen four founders: Godric Gryffindor, Salazar Slytherin, Helga Hufflepuff and Rowena Ravenclaw; the Sorting Hat, the One-Eyed Witch statue and the Mirror of Erised

* Duration of ride: The full attraction experience, including the queue, takes about an hour
* Number of scenes in the attraction: 12
* Characters (featuring Harry Potter film talent): Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Albus Dumbledore, Rubeus Hagrid and Draco Malfoy
o You may also catch a glimpse of Fred and George Weasley, Ginny Weasley and Neville Longbottom

For the latest news about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, visit www.UniversalOrlando.com.

Universal Orlando Resort

There are many ways to enjoy your Orlando vacation – but there is only one Universal Orlando Resort. It is a completely separate destination featuring two theme parks, three magnificently themed on-site hotels and a nighttime entertainment complex. It’s the only Orlando destination where you are not just entertained – you are part of the most exhilarating entertainment ever created. You can soar above Hogwarts with Harry Potter, swing above the streets with Spider-Man, battle aliens alongside Agent J, and help Shrek save Princess Fiona in Shrek 4-D. You can be courageous, be outrageous – and be extraordinary.

Warner Bros. Consumer Products

Warner Bros. Consumer Products, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, is one of the leading licensing and retail merchandising organizations in the world.

Harry Potter continues to be a global phenomenon. The series of books by author J.K. Rowling has been translated into 68 languages with more than 400 million copies sold in over 200 territories around the world. The films, produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, have grossed more than $5.4 billion at the box office worldwide, making Harry Potter the largest-grossing film franchise in history.

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