Magic Comes to Life at Universal's The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Despite a lack of sleep, an exhaustive whirlwind tour of the two Universal Orlando theme parks, plus an action-packed schedule of activities, I am still filled with giddiness and enthusiasm in my reporting on the unveiling of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. And I am not alone.
Today marked the grand opening to the public of this fantasy world come to life — and it was marked by sheer pandemonium. Not only were the films' biggest stars, Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) on hand to kick off the opening, so were multiple thousands of fans. So many in fact, there were lines upon lines upon lines to get in to the park.
We were fortunate to be staying on site at the one of the three resort hotels, so we were close enough to feel the electricity, excitement and exhaustion of the vast numbers of people who waited (some TEN hours) to get in to experience the new Potter-themed section at Universal's Islands of Adventure.
Universal staff and execs had anticipated huge crowds, but they were at capacity long before the scheduled opening of the park at 9am, which was a major media event, with film and press crew from around the globe. There was a helicopter hovering over Hogwarts castle the entire day - which really lent to the surreal nature of the entire process.
While we as media were given unlimited access to both parks the past three days, it was IMPOSSIBLE to experience the WWoHP park today other than as a distant observer. There were fans lined up to get into Ollivander's Wand Shop who waited several hours to experience an amazingly intimate scene designed to give fans their own magical moment. We were able to capture this special event on film during the gala event on Wednesday.
To get a brief glimpse of what you can expect during a visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, watch the above video as one lucky lady becomes acquainted with her very own wand.