It’s officially here. This weekend marked the grand opening of Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter, muggles everywhere have spoken: It’s a must-see.
Despite scorching temperatures in Florida, lines began outside Universal’s gates in Orlando at 6 a.m. on Friday morning, and devoted fans of Potter books and movies waited hours to step inside.
A combination of J.K. Rowling’s scrupulous efforts and the production and teamwork of both Warner Bros and Universal ensure that the park would include even the smallest details.
Fans had high expectations, but most were entranced by the zooming Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride, which is known especially for its invented and unprecedented technology, and seamless start and finish.
Looming above it all stands Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and throughout the park, novelties like Zonko’s Joke Shop, Ollivander’s Wand Shop (where a few lucky people will get wands chosen for them) and Honeydukes welcome visitors inside to experience the incredibly detailed features from the stories.
And true to the books themselves, it seems as though these tiny details are what truly makes the experience. Reviewers rave about Butterbeer – a recipe that has been concocted to taste like butterscotch and cream soda –and is served both hot and frozen to accommodate the Orlando heat, and you can walk around with a mug of it for only $2.50.
Other details include a Gringotts ATM machine (which dispenses dollars, and sadly not galleons, sickles or knuts), an audio nod to Moaning Myrtle in the men’s bathroom, and even copies of the Quibbler for sale at Dervish & Banges.
If the scenery and treats aren’t enough to pique your souvenir palate, you can always purchase a Firebolt broom stick for $300 and try your hand at Quidditch.
© Cheapflights Ltd (Photo credit: Jeff Kern)