Tonight Universal Orlando was host to an evening event for attendees of the Orlando International Pow Wow 2010, bringing travel and media professionals together to see what Orlando has to offer.
The event took place within the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Those lucky enough to be there had the chance to walk through much of Hogsmeade Village, including its stores and restaurants, take a trip through half of the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride’s queue, and hop on the Dragon Challenge and Flight of the Hippogriff attractions.
While I was not personally in attendance for this special sneak preview, I followed all of the excitement on Twitter and summarized everything new to come out of the evening’s events…
Despite fairly prominent “NO photography” signs posted at the entrance to the Wizarding World, a few photos managed to leak out onto Twitter throughout the night. I have reposted them below, though I’ve not given credit to those who took the photos as I’d hate to get them in trouble. (If you took one of these photos and want credit or want it removed, just let me know.)
In addition to these photos, plenty of new details emerged from within the Wizarding World that are sure to excite any Harry Potter fan:
- Hogsmeade Village storefronts contain interactive elements that include the Quick Quotes Quill and plants springing to life as you pass by.
- The Ollivander’s Wand Shop experience seems to embody the concept of the wand “choosing” you. Guests work with a “shop owner” to determine which magic wand is the best fit. Guests try to cast spells that include levitating flowers or moving a ladder. If the wand is not a correct fit, special music and lighting make it clear. A gust of air confirms the right choice.
- At the Owlry, four different Harry Potter postmarks are available to choose from.
- You enter Dragon Challenge (former Dueling Dragons) through the Champion’s tent, and you catch a glimpse of the Triwizard Tournament Cup and the golden eggs from the dragon challenge. Shadows of fighting dragons are seen in the tent above the loading area.
- Street performers include girls from the Beauxbatons Academy of Magic performing a ribbon dance and guys from the Durmstrang Institute wielding staff. The Hogwarts frog choir comprises live singers with puppets who sing the “Something Wicked This Way Comes” song heard on the third Harry Potter film.
- At the Flight of the Hippogriff attraction, Guests have encountered in some form Hagrid, Fang, and Buckbeak. Before riding, you bow to a full-size moving Hippogriff.
- Apparel available for purchase includes an “I served time in Azkaban” T-shirt.
Likely, the upcoming Universal Orlando employee preview nights will also be photo restricted. Still, I imagine that plenty of new details and even a few more photos will emerge from within the Wizarding World of Harry Potter this week and in the weeks to come as we approach its June 18 grand opening date.