Insiders have speculated about the closure of Dragon Challenge at Islands of Adventure for years, and now Universal Orlando made it official: the twin looping coasters at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter will run for the final time on September 4, before being replaced by an all new highly-themed Harry Potter coaster in 2019. [Read more…]
Our ride along series returns to Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Dragon Challenge is two separate but intertwined roller coasters at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The Chinese Fireball dragon races along the red track. The Hungarian Horntail darts along the blue track. Here’s a view of Hogwarts Castle that we’ve never been able to share before. [Read more…]
After a couple of incidents, the Dragon Challenge “dueling” coaster (formerly known as Dueling Dragons) located in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park will no longer duel. [Read more…]
A new 2010 Universal Orlando brochure found at universalorlandovacations.com features a map of both their theme parks and a listing of the rides and dining locations. What’s most interesting are the previously unreleased height requirements for the rides in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
The Flight of the Hippogriff ride is set at 36 inches, which is expected because when the ride was known as The Flying Unicorn, it was also 36 inches. And Dragon Challenge is also the same as it was when it was Dueling Dragons at 54 inches.
But the brand new Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride is set at 48 inches. While this doesn’t confirm Forbidden Journey will be a roller coaster, it’s a good bet it will be a very thrilling ride. The ongoing rumor is that guests will ride on the end of a robot arm. The whole arm could also move along a track, similar to a roller coaster.
Also of note is that the Three Broomsticks restaurant is listed as counter, not table service.
The Blu-ray and two-disc edition DVD of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” was released today. A special Wizarding World of Harry Potter sneak peek feature on the extras disc reveals a few more details for the new land at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
The video features various Universal and Warner Brothers executives, along with many of the cast from the movies talking about the Wizarding World, set to open next spring. The cast included are Daniel Radcliffe (Harry), Rupert Grint (Ron), Emma Watson (Hermione), Michael Gambon (Dumbledore), Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid), Tom Felton (Draco) and Matthew Lewis (Neville). All told how they can’t wait to visit the park.
Here are some of the new details:
• From the Three Broomsticks restaurant you’ll be able to cross over into Hog’s Head pub where you’ll experience a hog’s head growling and sniffling.
• You’ll be able to buy a butterbeer, which looks just like a real beer with the froth on top, but it’ll be non-alcoholic. J.K. Rowling was at a butterbeer tasting and loved it. Steve Jayson, executive chef with Universal Parks and Resorts said, “The flavor of this is great, real comforting, nice and smooth going down – and you get a mustache.”
• In Honeyduke’s Sweetshop you’ll be able to buy Chocolate Frogs, Every Flavor Beans, Cauldron Cakes and Treacle Fudge.
• Ollivander’s Wand Shop will be an exact replica from the film.
• To get to the Dragon Challenge ride (high speed roller coaster), you’ll walk through Champion’s Tent and see various artifacts such as the Goblet of Fire.
• The Flight of the Hippogriff ride (family friendly coaster) will center around The Care of Magical Creatures Class. Hagrid will give instructions on how to properly behave and approach a hippogriff. You’ll need to keep eye contact, bow and it will bow back. Then you can get on the ride.
• Hogwart’s Castle will feature the queue to the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride. The queue will feature a lot of moving portraits and will take you by or through the Defense of the Dark Arts room, the Common Room and the Great Hall.
• Daniel Radcliffe (Harry) described the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride as a condensed form of the chaos of Harry’s life. Emma Watson (Hermione) described it as the best moments from all the films.
• The actors filmed scenes specially for the new ride in the summer of 2008. A movie clapboard reveals the name of the filming as “Strongarm.” Some have speculated that refers to Universal’s partnership with RoboCoaster Ltd. and that Forbidden Journey guests will ride on some sort of robot arm, such as the one featured in the new Sum of All Thrills ride at Epcot.
• The ride will feature a life-size Whomping Willow tree and the large spiders from the movies will make an appearance.
Here’s a preview of the video included with the newly released movie.
Be sure to get your copy of the Winter 2010 issue of “Orlando Attractions Magazine” to read a full feature story on the Wizarding World.
While I was at Universal’s Islands of Adventure yesterday shooting some photos for our upcoming Winter issue (Which will feature a full story on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.), I figured I’d bring you some updated construction photos. The top photo show Hogwarts Castle as seen from the front of the park.
In our last update we brought you a peek at the Hogwarts Express train at the entrance to the Wizarding World. They now have the train covered up with a large plastic sheet.
The view of Hogsmeade Village from the entrance to Dueling Dragons (pictured in the background). Dueling Dragons will become Dragon Challenge by the time the World opens.
In a webcast on Sept. 15, 2009, Universal Orlando revealed a few more details about the upcoming Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion of their Islands of Adventure theme park.
The Wizarding World has been announced to be opening in Spring 2010.
The formerly-rumored attraction names were confirmed to be true and the following details and concept art were shown.
Virtual computer-generated fly-through of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and interviews with actors Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson:
At the entrance of Hogsmeade, billowing steam and an iconic whistle signal the arrival of the Hogwarts Express into Hogsmeade station.
Across the way is Zonko’s, a joke shop with a collection of tricks and jokes, including Extendable Ears, Boxing Telescopes and Sneakoscopes. [Read more…]