Wizards and witches young and old are thrilled about Universal Studios Orlando official Grand Opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter on June 18th, 2010.
Nearly three years in the making Universal’s Wizarding World, set in the Islands of Adventure, will feature not only shops from the Harry Potter books and movies, but also three rides.
In the Village of Hogsmeade, set against the backdrop of the iconic Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, visitors can stop by Dervish and Banges to shop for magical items like omnioculars, remembralls and pick up all the supplies they’ll need for their next Quidditch match.
Honeydukes will feature a wide array of magical sweets, including Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans, while practical jokers will find just what they need at Zonko’s joke shop which will carry every thing from Extendable Ears and Boxing Telescopes to Sneakoscopes.
At Ollivander’s wand shop, guests will get a personal interactive experience with a “wandmaker” who will help the wand choose the wizard.
More than two dozen owls will roost in the rafters of the Owl Post where guests can send letters and postcards with an official Hogsmeade postmark and buy stamps from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
After a day of wandering the village, guests can dine at the Three Broom Sticks and the adjacent Hog’s Head pub which will serve traditional British fare and drinks including Butterbeer and pumpkin juice.
One of the most anticipated rides is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey set in Hogwarts Castle. According to Universal Orlando’s website:
“As visitors venture through classrooms and corridors of Hogwarts they’ll come upon the signature ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. For the first time ever visitors will be able to soar above the castle grounds, joining Harry Potter and his friends on a thrilling adventure. Riders will come face-to-face with creatures from memorable moments in the films such as the Hungarian Horntail (dragon), a giant Acromantula (spider), Dementors and the gigantic Whomping Willow as they speed and swerve through iconic locations from Harry Potter’s world.”
The re-themed Dueling Dragons roller coaster will become the Dragon Challenge with many iconic elements from the Triwizard Tournament. For the younger wizards and witches there is the Flight of the Hippogriff just past Hagrid’s hut.
Based on series of books by author J.K. Rowling, the adventures of boy wizard Harry Potter and his pals Hermione Granger and Rob Weasley follows the trio in their efforts to defeat an evil wizard named Lord Voldemort, who killed Harry’s parents in his quest to conquer the wizarding world.
The series of seven books has hundreds of millions of copies and has been translated into 67 languages. Movies based on the first six books have been blockbuster successes for Warner Brothers. The seventh book is being made into two films; part one will be released in November 2010 and the movie series finale be released in July 2011.