Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Universal Studios Hollywood to Open 2016, Plus the Knight Bus Arrives
Potter enthusiasts rejoiced as construction began on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in January 2008. The addition to the Orlando park has been extremely well received. In 2010, attendance was up by nearly 35%. By December of 2011, an expansion was announced for the existing world along with construction of a second “world” to be located at Universal’s sister location in California.
The JAWS ride was demolished and construction began quickly. As I rode the Dragon Challenge in November of 2012, I attempted to try and focus on the construction happening behind the walls erected around the area for hints of what was to come. Over time rumors were confirmed and debunked; most recently Universal released several new details and even gave hungry guests a few tastes of what was to come. Check out New Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley Expansion Details and Sneak Peek of Diagon Alley Wizarding World of Harry Potter Leaky Cauldron Menu for more info.
The Gibson Amphitheatre was demolished and the Curious George playground removed to make way for the highly anticipated addition. Officials have stated the park will be “very similar” to the current area in Orlando with a clone of the Forbidden Journey ride to be located inside Hogwarts. Currently, the bones of Hogwarts and Hogsmeade are slowly rising. A recent press release didn’t have too many details, but confirmed the park is due to open in 2016…
“2016 will be a magical year for Universal Studios Hollywood as the theme park’s epic transformation becomes fully realized with the highly-anticipated arrival of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Inspired by the magical world created by J.K. Rowling and brought to life in the Warner Bros. films, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” at Universal Studios Hollywood will be a fully immersive land designed for the entire family that brings the Harry Potter fiction and films to life with impeccable detail and authenticity. Similar to the dynamic Universal Orlando Resort themed land that opened in 2010, the Hollywood experience will be faithful to the visual landscape of the fiction and films, including Hogwarts castle that will serve as the iconic focal point of the impressively themed environment. “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” is a collaboration between J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros. Entertainment and Universal Parks and Resorts. “
As the Summer 2014 opening date for the expanded area of Orlando’s Wizarding World, construction is progressing extremely well. Muggles have even spotted the Knight Bus!
It was initially spotted on a few Florida highways before settling inside the walls of Diagon Alley. It’s rumored to be just a photo-op, but executives have teased that there will be some sort of interactive entertainment feature. I am deducing it has something to do with the shrunken heads that were featured in ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban‘ thanks to a casting call Universal had made requesting talent with a Jamaican accent.
[Images Via: Orlando Sentinel, twitter, SnitchSeeker.com]