Last week, we were able to post some pictures of the construction that’s happening over at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the upcoming new attraction at Universal Studios Orlando. Those pictures showed the level of artistry Universal is committed to bringing visitors, making them feel like they are truly in one of the Harry Potter books.

The Universal Studios theme park is pulling out all the stops to drum up some support for this new attraction and even took out an ad during this year’s Super Bowl to promote it.

This is a major (although smart) gamble by the theme park, because in the current economy, visitors just aren’t willing to shell out all their money just to come to Florida and visit a new attraction. It’s cheaper for me because I live 2.5 hours away and can make a day trip out of it, but people that live out of town have to pay for flights, hotels and meals.

What Universal is banking on, however, are all the Harry Potter fans who have purchased one of the 400 million copies of the book sold worldwide, and some of the moviegoers who helped the Harry Potter movie franchise amass a staggering $5.4 billion in box office receipts. If they can just get a fraction of those two markets to visit this Wizarding World, they will be doing very well financially.

A Hippogriff Stands Guard

Today, we have a first ever look at details for the new ride inside of The Wizarding World, entitled,  “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.” We also have a video and some pictures of  the inside of Hogwarts castle. Other rides inside the Harry Potter world will include “Flight of the Hippogriff” and “Dragon Challenge.”

Enjoy the video below then read the description of what visitors can expect (including an hour-long ride time):

Continue to featured locations of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey…

Your Journey Begins in the Room of Requirement

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 and a close encounter with the Whomping Willow, only to 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.

Dumbeldore's Office

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, such as the four founders of Hogwarts. Guests will even get a glimpse of the Sorting Hat.

Hagrid's hut

Continue to Forbidden Journey Quick Facts…

All Aboard the Hogsmeade Express

The Innovation

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter 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 the first-ever combination of live-action, advanced robotic technology and innovative filmmaking – specially designed and developed for this brand-new adventure.

Said Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative:

“We have created an entirely new way to place our guests into the heart of one of the most compelling stories of our time…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 cohesively achieved until now. In some cases, technology had to be invented to offer the highest level of guest experience.   The combination of pioneering, state-of-the-art technology, innovative film making 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.

Portraits of past Wizards hang in the Dungeon Passageway

“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  (You may also catch a glimpse of Fred and George Weasley, Ginny Weasley and Neville Longbottom).

Well, there you have it Harry Potter fans. I would suggest you break out your favorite wand (if you don’t have one, then go check out your favorite wand) and make your reservations because the The Wizarding World of Harry Potter officially opens on June 18th, 2010,  at Universal Studios Orlando.

I think they need to open a hotel themed around staying at the Hogwarts Castle. What do you think? Bought your tickets and made your travel arrangements yet?

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