Wizarding World of Harry Potter Expansion to Open Early
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Florida is an amazing experience for both muggles and Potter fans alike. The expansion was no surprise and the addition of a Wizarding World in California and Japan has been equally welcomed news.
As construction continues to move along, small details are dropped, rumors continue to swirl and every tidbit of information is analyzed to the point of madness. Confirmed details are very limited. In fact, Universal didn’t even confirm the expansion until May 2013. (Although, It wasn’t exactly a secret after the ‘JAWS’ ride was torn out and walls began popping up to hide construction.)
Since then, many rumors have surrounded the expansion and the concept art attached to the press release has fueled the fire. We do know about the Hogwarts Express train ride that will haul passengers from one park to another and, yes, you will have to buy a park-to-park ticket to board the train and visit each location (the original in Islands of Adventure and the new Diagonal Alley/London addition on the Studios side). It was also confirmed that “shops and an immersive themed restaurant” will be included.
The concept art also shows:
*The rumored Gringotts thrill ride complete with a fire breathing dragon sitting atop the building.
*Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes with a storefront that appears to be identical to the film’s portrayal of the shop.
*The purple triple-decker “Knight Bus” will be present in the new addition.
*Eros Fountain, which exists in London’s Piccadilly Circus, will also be featured.
*With the Hogwarts Express comes King’s Cross Station where I am sure a line of eager passengers will be waiting to travel.
Now, as far as the opening…
Initial confirmation stated “2014” and then it was narrowed down to “Summer 2014,” but Steve Burke, President and Chief Executive Officer of NBC Universal, revealed that the Diagon Alley expansion at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando will be opening Spring 2014. Burke confirmed the news to Yahoo.
“The second attraction is in the other gate and the way you get from one gate to the second gate as you take a train and the train is the Hogwarts Express. And so, the actual transition or the movement from one gate to another gate is part of the attraction which is never been done before and it’s a wonderful creative idea, that opens next spring.“
On a personal level, this makes me giddy because I am SUCH a huge Harry Potter fan. When I was first exposed to the movies I thought they were fun and had a good story that was fresh and interesting, but I didn’t get the hysteria.
Then I read the books. I instantly “got it” and found myself in the masses of those eagerly awaiting the last installment, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.’ The movies are good but the books are truly spectacular! This is where I beg you to give into the sensationalism and read the books.
Now, as far as a traveling, this is also good news for those travelers willing to wait until “off season.” I am a huge proponent of waiting until the summer is over to do my traveling to popular locations like this. The heat is intense and I am such a daisy when it comes to being too hot. The crowds are equally uncomfortable and impatient. But, if saving a buck is your goal – definitely wait until off season. Packages are usually offered and prices dip to encourage visitors to come.
With an opening in Spring, some of the “new” factor will diminish and kids return to school. So lines might be slightly more tolerable and the those die-hard fans, much like myself, who will elbow you for taking the last Chocolate Frog have come and gone. Patience always pays off!