Yesterday, June 18, marked the 5th anniversary of the public opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade. Since the very first day of opening and in the last five years since, the park has proven hugely popular with guests and has seen a number of exciting additions and expansions.
Although the park was officially opened on the 18th, the cast of the Harry Potter films along with JK Rowling, media guests and Universal cast members were treated to a special sneak preview 2 days before. Media guests were summoned to the event by owl post and given their own light up wand on arrival – two of just hundreds of magical touches which made the event sparkle!
Photo: Universal Studios Florida
Stars from the films, including Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Michael Gambon were there to cut the ribbon and test out the brand new attractions two days later. Flagship rides included family rollercoaster, Flight of the Hippogriff which takes you on a journey over the Forbidden Forest and past Hagrid’s Hut, and Dragon Challenge with interlocking corkscrew tracks. Some lucky first visitors were able to ride the attractions with their favourite Harry Potter characters – a truly unforgettable experience for any Potter fan!
Since the grand opening 5 years ago, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has seen some incredible new additions. Just under a year ago, the Hogsmeade attraction was joined by The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, which opened at Universal Studios Florida and is connected to Hogsmeade via a replica of the Hogwarts Express. Two brand new rides joined the park at this time: Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts rollercoaster and the fully functioning recreation of the Hogwarts Express train. Escape from Gringotts is a steel rollercoaster set in the main bank of the Wizarding World at Diagon Alley and also incorporates 3D projection screens for a fully immersive ride experience.
Of course any die hard Potter fan knows that Diagon Alley is not about the rides – it’s about the shops! Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes and Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour among many other of the book's classic locations can be found selling their wizarding wares – it’s the perfect placed to purchase a chocolate frog or 10 to take home to your family!
Anyone got a spare portkey lying around that we can use to take us over? Bit of Floo powder? How about a multi-day pass to Universal Orlando Resort? Magic, eh?