The grand opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is scheduled to open June 18th, which is now officially less than a week away. Universal has begun prep for the grand opening ceremony by adding a giant screen in the Port of Entry and another screen near the Three Broomsticks (for hotel and package guests, I assume). Ron, Fred, and George Weasly, along with Harry Potter himself have been confirmed to be at the grand opening, but don’t plan on rubbing elbows with them. Park guests will not be allowed into the area until after the grand opening ceremony (confirmed via Universal PR).
In further preparation, the gold and green wall and gates have been removed all together. In fact, the Wizarding World was open until the park closed tonight. Forbidden Journey closed at 5pm today, and the Three Broomsticks and Hogs Head closed at 7, but Hogsmeade and the Butterbeer cart remained open, along with Flight of the Hippogriff and Dragons Challenge. The night effects bring something different to the area at night. Sure, we’ve seen pictures before, but something about strolling along the streets at night gives it even more of a lovable ambiance. And as reported before, the Forbidden Journey sign lights up with fiber optics at night.
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We also bumped into Mike Aiello, who happened to be checking up on things in the area, making sure things were running smoothly. Upon asking about the rumored snow effects, amongst many of the other rumored effects, we were informed that “during this phase”, these are all the effects you will see. Also an interesting tidbit “We’re working on seasonal effects”. Love the shows and everything the area has to offer (a lot of thanks goes out to Mike)!
Billboards along 528 have changed over since our last trip to Orlando. Universal’s new slogan “Be courageous, Be outrageous, Be extraordinary” have started to appear, with a quite impressive Harry Potter billboard. The wand actually protrudes from the billboard! Driving towards it, it’s not very noticeable unless you give it a side glance. I’m really hoping it has some sort of effect at night.
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Finally, there’s a little bit of work going on in the park. It appears that Green Eggs and Ham is getting a fresh coat of paint. The whole area was blocked off and everything looked brilliant. Just past the bridge connecting Jurassic Park and the Lost Continent, new arches are being erected for Jurassic Park, to replace the (now oddly placed) old arches that have been left behind, thanks to a certain magical boy. It appears on the inside of both arches, are eye holes, like a door, or a gate will be placed there.
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If you want to see the area we would highly recommend doing it this week before Friday. Remember there is no guarantee that it will be open, but with everything being open for the past few weeks, and the walls down, it’s a pretty safe bet that you should be able to get into the area. Also, we have confirmed that guests will not be allowed entrance into the area for at least the first part of the day on the 18th. It’s going to be madhouse, hence all the screens being installed.