By Robert Niles: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal's Islands of Adventure will open - officially - on June 18, just making Universal's announced deadline of "Spring 2010."
No word yet on a soft opening in advance of that date, though a Universal spokesperson told the Orlando Sentinel
that people who bought Harry Potter packages starting as early as May 28 would get the access they were promised.
Universal also confirmed details about the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
, which will take place in Hogwarts Castle. The queue will be part of the attraction (and so, no Universal Express access, at least initially) and begin the dungeons of the castle.
Universal confirmed that you are Muggles for this one, and will see talking portraits, the Gryffindor Common Room, Dumbledore's office,a qudditch match, dementors and the Forbidden Forest. You'll ride on "enchanted benches" (i.e. the Kuka robot arm) and get the safety spiel for the ride in the Gryffindor Common Room.
More details in a video and text press release from Universal:
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 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:
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 & mdash;and the future of theme park entertainment.
- 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.
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 thenever-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
- You may also catch a glimpse of Fred and George Weasley, Ginny Weasley and Neville Longbottom