It’s been in the planning stages for three years and has had a budget of over $200 million dollars. Rabid fans have been waiting frantically for just as long and today their wait is over. Flocks of people made their way into Islands of Adventure in hopes of finally getting their first glimpse of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
While most were sleeping in the wee hours of the morning, crowds were starting to gather as Universal Orlando announced that they would open the gates to their parking garage at 5:30 a.m. One of our contributors, Horror Nights Collector (visit his site here) was there and gives us a small account.
From Horror Nights Collector:
“People started gathering outside the gates of Islands of Adventure at midnight, even though the park had closed at 10p.m. Security asked those people to leave around 2 a.m. I arrived at around 6 a.m. to find a line of over a thousand people at the gates to IOA. Anticipating huge crowds Universal opened the gates just after 6:30 a.m. and allowed guests to file in. Surprisingly they had many rides open as team members were standing in front of Spiderman shouting that there was no wait. Sadly, that would be the case most of the day as no one seemed to care about anything but the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. No one was allowed into the area until around 10:30, after the Today show and the stars had cleared out. As predicted, no one was able to meet and greet with the stars and there were no autographs to be had. There were screens in front of the park to watch the festivities that Universal was supposed to stream live online.
After the opening ceremony, the line was instantly at 8 hours to get into the Wizarding World, and if you weren’t inside the park they were holding the line in City Walk and pulsing people in. At 1p.m. the line just to get into the park was said to be at 4 hours. Once inside the Wizarding World the lines were long, but not unmanageable. Most everything that you had been free to roam in and out of during soft openings (such as Zonko’s Joke Shop) now had queue ropes in front of them. The biggest surprise was that Ollivanders had only a 25 minute wait. As expected Forbidden Journey had around a two hour wait, while the single riders line was at only 20 minutes. Overall Universal did a great job with handling the crowds.”
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If you’ve been following the #potterwatch trend on Twitter, then you may have seen reports saying that fights had broken out due to people cutting in line. Universal said that everyone who came to see the Wizarding World would be allowed to do so. Tempers did flair, again on Twitter, as people were disappointed that they were not able to see the stars and that the line to get in was so long.The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is now open to the general public for daily operation, and if you do not get a chance to see it one day, it will be open the next day.