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Photo TR: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter


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Everything looks great.... except for the Dueling Dragons queue. They should not have TOUCHED it at all!

 

DD queue aside, this place looks pretty interesting. I'm sure fans of the books and movies will be pleasantly surprised. All the merchandise looks cool, although the prices are straight up the wall. I also agree that it's cool how Universal put a lot of work into the details of things, even if some major ones were not taken into consideration, such as queue theming.

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Hey everyone,

I had a great day at Universal/Islands checking out Harry Potter land yesterday. I have some pictures to post when I get home, until then I'll just say that the forbidden journey is AMAZING and the whole land is just a lot of good fun!! My group and I are staying at the onsite Royal Pacific resort and when we came home last night we found a nice surprise. We got a sheet of paper saying that the hotel guests would get to come an hour early to the park (8:00) to have Harry Potter land to ourselves!!! About to head over now. This should be fun!!

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The land looks amazingly detailed, I 've read the entire series so I am not really worried about understanding the stuff though I get what others are saying. The thing I am worried about is the capacity of this land. Everything looks fairly cramped which will be an absolute nightmare on crowded sweltering Florida days. Not looking forward to that at all.

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^Your feet are inside of the vehicle, which is essentially boxed in (as you can see in the photo you posted). I'm almost positive that parks have to go through many tests to ensure a proper "reach envelope" that prevents the guest from hitting their arms or legs on anything that they shouldn't be hitting.

 

Thanks again to everyone for the comments on the report--I am definitely glad to have shared this, and I will have some more photos to post (hopefully) from Sunday's visit. Anything that I missed that you'd like me to make sure I get this time around (the only thing I won't do is take pictures in the ride itself)?

 

 

I read the post before that as well. The first time I experienced this ride, my foot did catch something on the transition from the womping willow to the next scene. After riding it again today, I noticed it was very very close on many parts but I could have easily done it again in either that same spot or another if i had fully extended my legs. I'm not very tall either. Now what it was i'm not sure, I don't think it was anything set wise, but it did frighten me the first time. The breaking of the barrier into outside interference was worrisome.

 

 

Your feet are boxed in on the sides, but you can still reach out in front of you, which is how I noticed the first time.

Edited by BBparks57
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Thanks for the great review--I loved the pictures too. I was wondering, did the floating candles look real? Could you tell how they did that effect?

 

The floating candles did look real, and how they did it was still beyond me. The only shame of it is that they replaced a very nice set of original theming in the Dragon's queue to make room for even more candles. It was a little bit of overkill in my eyes.

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Thanks for the great review--I loved the pictures too. I was wondering, did the floating candles look real? Could you tell how they did that effect?

 

The floating candles did look real, and how they did it was still beyond me. The only shame of it is that they replaced a very nice set of original theming in the Dragon's queue to make room for even more candles. It was a little bit of overkill in my eyes.

 

The Dueling Dragons queue had the best theming! I remember they had all these frozen knights in suits of armor. I was like being in a haunted house kind of, it made the wait worthwhile. Too bad candles are the only thing they added to the main queue portion...sounds kind of boring now. So did the candles look like real flames, or were they little light bulbs? Did each candle seem to move and float a bit, or were they still? I saw one pic in another forum, and it looked like each candle was hanging from a very thin black wire. It was barely visible in the photograph, I'm sure you couldn't see it in person with the dim lighting. I haven't been to IOA since 2000, I really need to go back now!

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Okay, I got the chance to ride it this morning with about a 40 minute wait. Here's my "non-HP Fan" quick wrap-up:

 

Waiting in line, I am sure part of me *didn't* want to like it, but as we passed through more and more rooms in the queue I was more and more impressed. This is hands-down the best queue I've ever been in. Each room was really well done and I was genuinely excited to see what lied ahead. By the time we got to the loading platform, I was pretty much stoked.

 

I'm sorry to say, my overall review of the ride could be summed up by the expression "meh." The screens were fuzzy and some parts went way too fast to really get a grasp on what was going on. There was one or two really good transitions from the screen sections to the "inside the building" sections, but the majority were not smooth. A lot of stuff seemed off or out of place to me, but maybe that's just because I couldn't figure out what exactly was going on. Sitting on the left edge, I could constantly see the other benches trailing behind which kind of ruined the "magic." I really don't mean to be a downer, but I'd rather ride Spiderman over this any day. The three of us that were "non-HP fans" in my group all felt the same...our one HP fan said he liked it, but thought they could've done a lot more. I honestly enjoyed the queue more than the ride itself, and will probably be avoiding riding this again for quite some time.

 

Other random observations..

--I thought the loose article bin was the most genius I've seen...conveniently located in your seat back, the min-cubbie is on a hinge that, went closed, folds completely flat with the back of your chair.

--A friend of mine had ridden the last week and they had made him rubber band his flip flops to his feet at that time, but not today.

--I feel SO sorry for the employees that work in HP Land. Most were wearing dress shirts with ties and a sweater vest over top, with full length pants....in 90+ degree weather! There were also a couple that had the dress shirt, tie, sweater vest combo with a full on cloak/trenchcoat thing on top. EEK!

--Frozen Butterbeer is really good!

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I really can't wait to check this out when I go to Orlando at the end of next month. It looks really awesome and with the level of detail and theming, Universal may just have out-Disney'd Disney with this land.

 

I didn't read any of the books until just before the first movie came out in 2001. The movie looked interesting to me, so I decided to finally give the books ago after holding out for so long. I was hooked. The books are actually very well-written and appeal to more than just kids. Plus as the series goes on, the books get darker and darker and not so much for the kiddies as the earlier books. The same goes for the movies. I'm not totally obsessed geeky fangirl dorky over the series, but I definitely enjoyed the books and the movies. But I understand some people just don't care for it and that's fine. I personally don't get what the big deal about Lord of the Rings is and have no desire to read those books or see those movies. Same with Twilight. Couldn't pay me enough.

 

I am upset the queue for Dueling Dragons/Dragon Challenge got changed so much. It was probably one of my favorite themed queues ever.

 

And really, not serving soda in the land isn't the end of the world. You can buy soda elsewhere at the park if that's what you absolutely have to have. I don't like butterscotch anything, so I'll be passing up the Butterbeer, but the Pumpkin Juice sounds awesome (I love pumpkin flavored stuff... I practically live on Starbucks' pumpkin spice latte, pumpkin bread & pumpkin donuts at Dunkin Donuts from September through Christmas). And I can't wait to get a wand at Olivander's (just for sh*ts & giggles). I saw they have Fawkes the phoenix plushies! Awesome! I may have to get one of those.

 

*EDIT: Ok I just saw what the board did when I spelled out LOTR. LMAO!

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Firstly, wow, I can't believe that so many people are being snobs about 'kids' books when they are quite obviously the best literature available - I've spent the afternoon with my Godson and the Gruffalo!

 

Harry Potter has never been a kids story - the hero is fighting someone who tried to kill him when he was a baby but just managed to scar his face instead. Yes, definitely kids stories (and to the person who brought up fairy tales - they were stories written for parents to tell their children to scare lessons into them - don't lie, don't go with strangers etc)

I'm over there in mid-August for 4 weeks and am looking forward to it. Yes, I've read all the books and seen all the films but to me it's finally something new to do while I'm over there.

So what if you don't know anything about it - I know very little about Marvel Comics except that Spiderman is a fag and the films generally suck but love the Hulk Coaster and Dr Doom's Fear Fall - and the Spiderman ride is possibly the most over-hyped ride I've ever been on (but usually ride that just before Dudley Do-Right so the bad taste is taken away pretty soon)

 

What I see is a totally themed area - where they have looked at the little details - no soda because they have butterbeer and pumpkin juice which is fine, if I want soda I'll get some at Jurassic Park - and by immersing everyone in this only adds to the experience.

 

Great TR, the photos are great and just make me wish the next 10 weeks away until I get over there.

And to anyone who hasn't seen the Harry Potter films I say this. Have you watched any of the Spiderman films? Iron Man? Because these are the real kids films and you do yourself and the Harry Potter film a great disservice by comparing them to these pieces of celluliod crap. HP films have casts full of classically trained and legitimate award winning actors - Spiderman had the mtv award for best kiss.

Do the Math. And roll on August 16th.

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And to anyone who hasn't seen the Harry Potter films I say this. Have you watched any of the Spiderman films? Iron Man? Because these are the real kids films and you do yourself and the Harry Potter film a great disservice by comparing them to these pieces of celluliod crap. HP films have casts full of classically trained and legitimate award winning actors - Spiderman had the mtv award for best kiss.

Do the Math. And roll on August 16th.

 

Spiderman had Willam Dafoe, Alfred Molina, Thomas Hayden Church, Iron Man had Robert Downey Jr, Jeff Bridges, Gwenyth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Samuel L Jackson, and Mickey Rourke. All these actors have won awards and some of them are considered some of the best in the world.

 

Harry Potter is a family movie, it's not any more high art than any superhero movie. Get over yourself.

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So I understand that hotel guests get into Harry Potter World an hour early. My question is will those privileges be awarded the day you check out of the hotel? EX: checking into Royal Pacific, on Wednesday, checking out Thursday and going to the parks. Will this work?

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I stayed at Royal pacific last weekend with some friends, we checked in on friday, and checked out on Saturday. We were granted the early entrance to the park on saturday, and our cards were valid fast passes the whole day. So yes, to answer your question. Unless they changed the rule this passed week which seems very unlikely.

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And to anyone who hasn't seen the Harry Potter films I say this. Have you watched any of the Spiderman films? Iron Man? Because these are the real kids films and you do yourself and the Harry Potter film a great disservice by comparing them to these pieces of celluliod crap. HP films have casts full of classically trained and legitimate award winning actors - Spiderman had the mtv award for best kiss.

Do the Math. And roll on August 16th.

 

Spiderman had Willam Dafoe, Alfred Molina, Thomas Hayden Church, Iron Man had Robert Downey Jr, Jeff Bridges, Gwenyth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Samuel L Jackson, and Mickey Rourke. All these actors have won awards and some of them are considered some of the best in the world.

 

Harry Potter is a family movie, it's not any more high art than any superhero movie. Get over yourself.

 

I had a good laugh at this one... I agree with Wes, you absolutely cannot say that the HP movies are anything relative to 'award-winning'... I actually enjoyed Spiderman 1 & 2 more so than any of the HP films, and I would consider myself a fan of the book series.

 

So I understand that hotel guests get into Harry Potter World an hour early. My question is will those privileges be awarded the day you check out of the hotel? EX: checking into Royal Pacific, on Wednesday, checking out Thursday and going to the parks. Will this work?

 

Your hotel 'privileges' work from the day you check in until the parks close on the day you check out. This includes the Xpress Pass and I am assuming the Harry Potter early entrance. To confirm, I would simply call the hotel and ask.

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Did you think the report was over? I've got another seven pages written to share...

 

In all seriousness, I did return to the Wizarding World today, and I've got a follow up report (with another 100 photos) to share based on said visit.

 

Today (and much of this week) the Wizarding World opened with the park and remained open for most of its hours. The construction walls preventing access to the area from both entrances are now completely gone, meaning that the openings are essentially here to stay, at least in theory. You could hypothetically walk the area now even if no specific attractions are open as there are no walls to stop you, but I have a strong feeling that the area will remain open from now on.

 

Surprisingly enough, the area while not busy in the early morning, did get busy in the afternoon yet the land barely wavered. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey had a maximum wait of 35 minutes at the busiest time of day, and save for one brief stop, the ride ran without hitch for our entire stay. It seems that the ride's operations team has really nailed their loading, dispatch and unloading procedures to streamline the process, thus shortening wait times in every way. We waited in the normal line twice, both times waiting no more than ten minutes before we boarded our Enchanted Benches. Also a great feature, the single rider line led us directly into the pre-loading room, making each wait no more than five minutes. We rode Forbidden Journey five times during our day, and each time, I noticed some new detail, effect or show system that impressed me even further. Here are some more spoilerly details that have come up since today's visit...

 

As was rumored early on, the ride's movie screens (save for the entry and exit chimney screens) actually follow you on a unique turntable. Riders would expect that the vehicle is stopped to keep up with the screen, but the screen actually works to keep up with your bench. If you get a chance (after you've ridden a few times), take a look to your right as each of your "screen stops" finish up, and you'll see the screens rotate away back behind the set. It is a pretty genius system that proves to be efficient and convincing.

 

Also notable, the dementor's soul-sucking fog illusion has a few unique modes to work for all situations. If the camera for the ride misses the vehicle or is not working during that trip, the system actually uses a set of skulls to project on the fog, masking the effect with a screen that the general guest would thing were the normal thing. If your bench is one or more riders short, the screen will magnify the faces of the riders captured to take up the full projection space, which is also a nice touch.

 

The first encounter with the real life dementor still scares the heck out of me, partially because of the fantastically surprising motion that is made in conjunction with its arrival.

 

Ollivander's had about a twenty minute wait today, and some new garbage bins with discreet rings attached have made their way to the surrounding corridor where guests have made makeshift lines while waiting for the show. It looks as if Universal could use these to set up a switchback system of sorts, but that also prove to be an issue, considering that this same corridor serves as the main exit path for riders of Dragon Challenge.

 

Interestingly enough, Art Director Alan Gilmore (responsible for the films as well as much of the design on the Wizarding World) could be seen walking around the inside of the Three Broomsticks today (presumably admiring his work). Aside from this, much work has gone into setting up stages and lighting pieces for the grand opening taking place this Friday.

 

Today we also had lunch in the Three Broomsticks for the first time. The menu offers items like chicken, ribs, fish and chips and sheppard's pie, all of which are meant to be cooked in the English style of cooking. I ordered the chicken and rib combo (which was strangely cheaper than it was just to buy the chicken platter). With my chicken and ribs (both of which were generous portions) came roasted potations and a full cobb of corn, which was pretty good for theme park food. I also tried a new drink, Pumpkin Fizz, which is literally a carbonated version of Pumpkin Juice. Being a fan of the latter, I loved the new one, noting that it serves as a decent concession considering Rowling's strict no-soda rule. We finished the meal with a Chocolate Trifle which was essentially a chocolate mouse shot for two, also infused with strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Every piece of the meal was extremely tasty, and for the price, the amount of food given was more than fair.

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Here's the mirror from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone...

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Detail is always nice.

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Darn it! The Mandrake Falls joke was all I had.

 

Guess I'll fall back on the movie with a favorite quote of mine...

 

"I wanted to be a ping pong champion!"

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The main portrait room.

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Dumbledore's Pensieve. Sadly enough, it has no memories for you to dip your face in.

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Bench photo! My expecto just patronum'd!

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Another one for good measure...

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Hogwarts in the RAW!

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Wondering where I got these photos?

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Oddly enough, there is a clearly open pathway (with no signage to lead people away) into this little opening...

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Coming in 2011: PottDer Fallinfast.

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I'm guessing they won't be doing walking tours up here anytime soon.

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I feel like I like I've spoiled a perfectly good castle.

 

1 down--Disneyland to go!

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At night, fibre-optics illuminate the ride's name over the stone writing.

 

Kind of like Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

 

Oh, wait...

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Had enough castle photos?

 

 

Because I'm nowhere near done.

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Time for some Index lovin'.

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Flight of the Wickergriff is certainly a fun ride.

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"You don't deserve to wear that uniform."

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Opening prep.

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They plan to have the Balrog and the Chernabog as a part of the opening day festivities, hence the large stage.

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Really? I couldn't tell.

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Not getting old yet.

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I'm guessing this is the Ministry's headquarters for the event.

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A look back at Hogsmeade...

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Ring, ring. Hello?

 

Ring, ring. Hello???

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The test seats for Dragon Challenge have been moved to the entrance of the attraction as of this week.

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If you can get the golden egg, I'll sing Doctor Worm at my next American Idol Experience audition.

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Erik's just mad that they didn't replace Dueling Dragons with a copy of Great Bear.

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The new queue does have a few good photo spots though.

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I'm not quite sure, but I believe that is a Entei pictured.

 

Gosh, I hate Pokemon.

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The cobra roll has some bite to it. I'll let my comment's teeth sink in a little bit. Tooth.

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There's more to Indiana than just a Goblet of Fire!

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Another look at the Triwizard Cup.

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Chumba, wumba, goblety goo...

This change isn't fair,

It's sad but its true.

Chumba, wumba, goblety gee...

When this new theme is lame as can be.

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Who needs theming when you have floating candles? I'm getting them for my ceiling after I pull all of my expensive Star Wars posters off of the wall.

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Erik prepares to shoot fire from his red eyes, scaring the Hungarian Horntail into throwing his arms up in defeat.

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Can we get there via Stargate? If so, I'm bringing Richard Dean Anderson along, and especially not Kurt Russell. Just sayin'.

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"You are mine now. You belong to me!"

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A new cart was out selling (unadvertised) lemon ice. They were even offering samples and they were delicious.

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You can buy the Firebolt (pictured left) for $300 or the Nimbus 2001 (picture right) for $250.

 

For that price, they better fly for real.

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I need the extra space to store my brain mass and hot air.

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Additional theming in the Owl Post...

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Fire Dragon lives!!!

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Dervish and Banges is Hogsmeade's main merchandise shop.

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I'm so down!

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Another clever, albeit simple window display in the Wizarding World of Windows and Crooked Chimneys.

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Is Weedosorus legal in Hogsmeade?

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Window display details...

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Even in the Wizarding World, the best way of cleaning up a mess is with the Sham Wow. Vince is an elf anyways.

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A picture of the animated Howler in the Owl Post window display.

Edited by jedimaster1227
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(Continued)

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You have 5 seconds after the Howler's message is delivered before it self destructs.

 

Now Anthony Hopkins will tell you where to pick up an Australian pilot, a thief and Ving Rhames (who now prefers to wear Gucci shoes).

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Prepare for more window details...

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Gillyweed was featured in the fourth book/movie. As if the name doesn't give it away, swallowing it gives you gills.

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Shrooms and a Hidden Mandrake. Hidden Mickeys have nothing on Hidden Mandrakes!

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Three layers of photo fun in one!

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I want to grow my own Mandrake!

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Long after Keyboard Cat has passed away, Measuring Tape Cat will keep on rockin'.

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Even the fake storefronts have filled interiors, which is good to see.

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Two things to note:

 

1. The building is filled with wand boxes, as can be seen in the windows.

 

2. Ollivander's has a butterbeer mustache.

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I don't know what The Magic Neep is, but if its anything like the Closet Organizer, I want one!

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Just in case the castle wasn't a clear enough sign for you.

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I didn't get stuck in this test seat!

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Three clicks!

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More castle photos incoming...

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If it stays like this, I may move here.

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How many times have you seen this shot?

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Feedback: Do everything like you did today. You were doing incredibly!

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Hippogriff guidelines. How not to ride a wicker basket.

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"Empty train go woosh!"

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Another great shot of Hogwarts!

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Slightly edgy. Slightly redundant.

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A look at the front car, minus the blur.

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Hehe.

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Sold!

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I neglected to cover the Hogwarts Express in the previous update, so now it gets some love!

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They knew 27 was my lucky number so they reversed it and included it on the front of the train. By that same token, it was in 1995 that first annual pass for a theme park was purchased. I made history that year.

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Before you drop this thing into Clayton Ravine, you need to get the Delorean off of the transfer track and set it up in front of the locomotive.

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Respected.

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No more construction walls!

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Not anymore.

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An Nyong Hi Ka Ship Sio.

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It looks like they are ready to add the area to the list.

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A giant screen has been set up at the entrance of the park in preparation for the grand opening.

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Fin.

 

At least for this visit.

Edited by jedimaster1227
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For the record I was frowning at the new Dueling/Dragon's Challenge entrance.

 

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Just in case you forgot what the original entrance looked like.

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This is the New entrance. It should be noted that the ride is still awesome.

Edited by Erik Johnson
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Thanks for the 2nd report! I am just more and more excited for this. I was so anti-Harry Potter when it first came out, laughing at people that went to the movies and read the book. Then one night my roommates were watching the first movie and I loved it. I guess what I am saying is that I can kind of understand how people don't really like it but I am glad to see many non-fans enjoying it. This has remotivated me to visit IOA.

 

How is the ride as far as motion sickness is concerned? I get sooooo dizzy on Spiderman and probably won't ride it again after feeling horrible the last couple of times.

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Awesome report Adam! The only thing I like about the new Dragons entrance is that it appears to be a lot closer to the ride...it looks cool in that photo right above.

 

But I really want to know what Buttebeer tastes like! When I visit in less than a month I don't want to spend all my money and not like it

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