ORLANDO — With news that the Harry Potter The Forbidden Journey at Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure theme park will be opening June 18, 2010, I could not help but plan to stop by to see if I could get a peek at this new interactive play zone.
My first glimpse of it all was, however, Hogwarts, rising majestically in the distance as I crossed the bridge over 495, leading me to all the fun that is Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.
Yes, the World of Harry Potter is materializing amongst the palm trees with striking resemblance to what we have seen in the films. As Ron might say, “It’s dead on, Harry.”
Entering the park, making ones way through Dr. Seuss land and the incredible Seussical that revolves merrily, past adventure land and there the crooked chimneys and snow covered roofs of Hogs Mead peaking out from behind the plywood privacy walls.
There is not a lot to see but knowing Universal Studios Florida theme park and how they build things itis easy to see that they have truly recreated the town of Hogsmeade and it is sure to be filled with recognizable shops, eateries and entertainments.
But the grail of this world is Hogwarts castle and there it sits for all to see. And it is imposingly large. Information from Universal tells us that it will take an hour to move through the queue, filled with props, film clips and fun.
Part of that queue includes walking through the greenhouse. the Oxford Corridor and on to the Hall of Portraits where the four founders of Hogwarts, Rowena Ravenclaw, Helga Hufflepuff, Godric Gryffyndor and Salazar Slytherin, come alive to talk to the guests.
Promised adventures include meeting Headmaster Dumbledore, who will welcome us, muggles that we are to tour the school, starting with a Defense against the Dark Arts class lecture with Professor Binns.
Suddenly Harry, Hermione and Ron are there to whisk you off to a Quidditch match on what promises to be an incredible 3-D film journey.
It is enough to make you, well giddy – and wanting to find a way in.
In the meantime, there is plenty at both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure to keep you playing, laughing and flying through the air on a number of thrill rides like The Incredible Hulk Coaster, Doctor Doom’s Fearfall, Dueling Dragons and their newest ride, the Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket which, I have to admit with sadness, was not working.
But it looks incredible and I can’t wait to get back. The ride is extremely long, running from the front of the park, alongside the Hard Rock Café all the way back, past the green where its turn is visible between Ghostbusters New York set.
And the hairpin drop looks to takes ones breath away.
As the original Universal Studios theme park, there are plenty of semi-new thrills to enjoy. A perennial favorite of ours continues to be The Simpsons ride which has been authentically recreated to bring you to the town of Springfield and Krustyland Amusement park.
The Mummy continues the excitement as one of the fastest thrill dark rides – again, leaving my heart and lungs behind as I screamed with an abrupt about face.
And as always, enjoying crusty J. Jonas Jameson and Spidey to defeat the sinister syndicate once again.
Knowing how well these rides are done only further heightens my anticipation for Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey. How far away is June 18th?
Congratulations to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure for adding recycling cans to the property! Now to get people to use them.