On June 18th the gates will open to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - a "theme park within a theme park" located at Universal's Island of Adventure in Orlando, Florida.
Ultimately, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is modeled after the sets and pieces from the film franchise, but with so much more included! As a part of the main attraction, located inside Hogwarts castle is a ride called "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey." As you saw in our report from Orlando, special footage has been shot especially for this ride with Dan Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, & Emma Watson in their original roles! They convince you to skip History of Magic and if you choose to, your adventure begins!
Report 1: RG.net and the Forbidden Journey Queue!
In only seeing the queue experience (aka waiting in line) of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, it was hard to believe that there’s more. And by more, I mean the actual ride. Literally, just standing in line is an attraction within itself. What we can say, and what you’ll find on all other sites, is not too much about the ride portion of the experience. Because 1, we didn’t see it, and 2, it seems like the hype will not do it justice until you experience it personally. Oh and 3, it's not done!
BUT! With all that said, the queue experience may easily be the most exciting wait you’ll ever have for anything Harry Potter related, or just any theme park ride in general! Now, again, we didn’t get to the see or experience the ride portion of this attraction, but if the queue experience provides any indication, the ride has to be above and beyond expectations. The queue experiences alone goes beyond the hype of this attraction.
Now, on to what we all want to know about. Rupert first appears in the Defense Against the Dark Arts room with Dan Radcliffe & Emma Watson as the trio convince us muggles to skip the lesson and go check out Quidditch with them. They sneak in under the invisibility cloak, Ron & Hermione bickering of course, and Ron warns us that Professor Binns will be a complete bore. The trio get into a banter, Ron creates snow when he flicks his wand in describing how Hermione's knows a lot of spells, Harry confirms Professor Binns is boring, and since it wouldn’t be Harry Potter without a few quips from Ron, we get: “They’re muggles Hermione, not morons” and “She’s barking, but she’s brilliant!”, which gets Ron a sweet look from Hermione. Smooth move, wonder if he had referenced 12 Fail-Safe Ways To Charm Witches for that one? As the trio snuck out, we continued onto the Gryffindor common room and will see Ron again during the ride portion of this experience.
Report 2: RG.net has lunch in Hogsmeade!
We were not given any indication of price points, but I expect many visitors to the Wizarding World planning their second visits to include a budget JUST for butterbeer. Now, I'm no food critic, so the most I can say about what we tasted is everything was fantastic and utterly delicious!
We had the privilege of trying butterbeer (frozen and not-frozen), pumpkin juice, strawberry & peanut butter ice cream, desserts that will be exclusive to Honeydukes, and a 'Great Feast' option that had us all channeling Ron in film 1...licking fingers, chicken hanging out of our mouths, and excitedly choosing the next option to pile our plates with.
Ric Florrel, Senior Vice President of Food and Merchandise, and Stephen Jayson, the head chef were there to present us our meal and drinks with great enthusiasm for our reactions of what were being treated to. We had well over an hour to fill our stomachs to the brim with beverages & a lunch that had our mouths watering each time trays were refilled and fresh pumpkin juice was offered. Don't worry...the food is absolutely delicious and hearty. Fish & chips was definitely my favorite. British cuisine at its absolute best.
Personally, I could drink butterbeer all day. Frozen, it's just unreal and not-frozen transport you straight into the films. But anticipating the heat and exhaustion from all the excitement of the park, pumpkin juice may be the beverage of choice to cool down and relax. Butterbeer will be the drink of choice to pair with the 'Great Feast' and/or Fish & Chips, culminating with a massive scoop of Strawberry & Peanut Butter ice cream. Mmmmm...is June 18th, yet?
Be sure to keep an eye on this page as we'll be continuously adding to it report updates, more photos, and content that will certainly keep you excited during the wait for June 18th (or your first visit to the park if it isn't for the opening) !
Below you will find links to more photography and video of the park & attractions! Also available - Complete Official Press Release
Below are two videos which give a behind-the-scenes look at filming for footage to be used on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey!