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Monday, June 21, 2010

Wizarding World of Harry Potter Opens

It’s finally here! The grand opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando! Stars of the Harry Potter film series greeted elementary school children and ushered them through the gate to Hogsmeade on Friday morning.

For its special debut Universal wrapped the entrance to the land with a giant Hogwarts admission letter, as thousands of park fans gathered in the park and television news helicopters hovered overhead. At about 9:20 the curtains dropped, and much to the audience’s delight and surprise, the stars of Harry Potter emerged from the Hogwart’s Express. The cast greeted a prize-winning class of first-graders from San Antonio, Texas before the entrance to the attraction was officially opened. The class won the Today Show’s Harry Potter contest and couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the grand opening.

In honor of this historical event, Universal set off daytime fireworks over Hogsmead and with a furry of confetti snow the land was opened to guests. Well sort of. A few thousand early-arriving guests were allowed to queue in Lost Continent and Seuss Landing during the ceremony while tens of thousands of anxious guests were held over on the other side of the park, lining up from Jurassic Park all the way back to the Incredible Hulk Coaster. The tens of thousands of guests had to patiently wait for the first crowd to leave the land before they’re journey could begin.

“It’s absolutely jampacked,” said Robert Niles, editor of “The entire Islands of Adventure theme park and City Walk are just one long queue to get into Harry Potter. The number of people here for this is clearly in the tens of thousands. These are passionate fans.”

On Wednesday evening the Orlando theme park held a special celebrity-filled ceremony commemorating the attraction in Islands of Adventure.

Author J.K Rowling was in attendance as Warrick Davis, Professor Flitwick for the Harry Potter films, started the program by conducting Universal Orlando’s “Frog Choir.” Academy-Award winning composer John Williams was welcomed with an uproarious applause as he took the stage with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. Williams led the musicians in two numbers from his Harry Potter scores.

Fans from all over the world are expected to flock to the magical land in the coming months. And already one of the signature attractions within the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is expected to be thrilling. The Forbidden Journey is a twisting, tilting dark ride through and around Hogwarts castle where audiences will get an in-depth feel of what it was really like in the castle. It’s definitely not an attraction to miss. Where else can the world of Harry Potter come alive as it does in Universal Studios?

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