Universal Orlando announced on Thursday the opening date of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – JUNE 18 and provided new details on the park’s major rides.
For those fans willing to spend the money, there is an opportunity to visit the park a bit earlier. A special Wizarding World park and hotel package has been available for purchase since mid-February. The reservation start date was listed as May 28, and Universal spokespeople said those who already purchased those packages and made travel arrangements will be treated to exactly what they paid for, which means they will be getting into the park a full 22 days before the general public. Universal said those special packages will remain available until they have been sold out.
The Potter theme park will offer guests a tour of Hogwarts Castle, a visit to Ollivander’s wand shop and the chance to drink some real-life butter beer. Guests to the park will be greeted by the iconic whistle that announces the arrival of the Hogwarts Express into Hogsmeade Station. At the Hog’s Head pub, in the recreated Hogsmeade village, Fire-Whiskey and pumpkin juice will be on offer, along with traditional British food fare.
The other long-awaited reveal Universal unveiled was information about its biggest attraction in the park: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Housed inside Hogwarts Castle, Forbidden Journey is not ready to be ridden yet, and the attraction is still heavily under construction. The entire experience will take about an hour, creative director Thierry Coup said, though he felt it’s impossible to tell how long you’re on the ride.
A second ride, Dragon Challenge, an intense dual roller coaster, will provide guests with a view of the Goblet of Fire and the Triwizard Cup. Guests will choose their dragon and ride through what the website calls “an intense aerial chase” in which the dragons seem to twist, loop and nearly collide.
Flight of the Hippogriff is described as a family-orientated ride that replicates a Hippogriff – the half-horse, half-eagle beast from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – training flight over Hogwarts castle.
Four-night packages, which include an on-site hotel room, park tickets and various amenities, start at $645 per adult or $1,548 for a family of four.