Dragon Challenge Coaster at Universal’s Islands of Adventure to Close in September 2017

Dragon Challenge coaster at The WIzarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade at Universal Orlando.

Universal Orlando has announced the thrill ride Dragon Challenge at Universal’s Islands of Adventure will be closing in September 2017 to make way for a new Harry Potter-themed attraction.

The coaster was originally known as Dueling Dragons, and was one of the main attractions when Islands of Adventure opened in May 1999.

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New Thrill Ride Announced for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando

The WIzarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade at Universal Orlando.

Today, Universal Orlando announced a “new generation of a thrill ride” will be coming to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at the theme park.

Located in the Hogsmeade section of Universal’s Islands of Adventure, the new thrill ride will take you deeper into J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, where you will encounter some of your favorite characters and creatures.

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Universal Orlando to Live Stream from A Celebration of Harry Potter This Weekend

This weekend, A Celebration of Harry Potter is being held at the Universal Orlando Resort, featuring celebrities from the films, and panels for fans to enjoy.

Celebration of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando

Even better, Universal has announced they will be live streaming three of the panels for Harry Potter fans who can’t be in attendance.

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Universal Orlando Announces Details for 3rd Annual Celebration of Harry Potter #HPCelebration

Universal Orlando announced details this week for their popular Celebration of Harry Potter event, which returns to the theme park January 29-31, 2016.

Celebration of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando

Now in its third year, this special event hosted by Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. Consumer Products allows fans to celebrate all of Harry’s adventures, from the beloved books to the feature films and more.

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley Celebrates Its First Anniversary at Universal Orlando

Happy first anniversary to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando, which opened one year ago on July 8, 2014.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley

An extension on the popular The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley not only offered all new Potter experiences, but introduced Hogwarts Express, which connects the two Potter worlds.

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Universal Orlando Starts Offering Hot Butterbeer

hot Butterbeer at Universal OrlandoButterbeer is served several ways at Universal Orlando – cold, frozen, and even as an ice cream flavor. Now, just in time for the colder Florida weather, the theme park is offering the flavor as a hot beverage.

That’s right, you can now order hot Butterbeer at both sections of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

In Diagon Alley at Universal Studios, it will be served at Leaky Cauldron, The Hopping Pot, and The Fountain of Fair Fortune. In Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure, it will be available at Three Broomsticks and Hog’s Head Pub. It will be served year-round.

Since the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade in June 2010, millions of Butterbeers have been sold each year at Universal Orlando. I’m sure this new hot version will help increase those numbers.

Universal Orlando Announces July 8 Opening Date for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley

One of the most asked questions of the Orlando summer – “When will The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley open?” – finally has an answer: July 8.

Universal Orlando made the announcement in a morning press conference.

This date is later than many fans originally thought, but purchasers of special Universal Vacations packages are guaranteed admission to Diagon Alley, even if their travel dates fall before July 8. There will also be soft openings at random times prior to the official opening day.

Once open, fans with a 2-park pass will be able to travel between Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade via the Hogwarts Express train. How fun will that be – you never have to leave the HP realm the entire day, if you don’t want to.

Are you looking forward to the opening of Diagon Alley? It’s only a few weeks away.

Universal Orlando Reveals Details of Diagon Alley Food and Beverage Options

 

Leaky Cauldron - Beef, Lamb & Guinness Stew

One of the most anticipated openings in Orlando this summer is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, and this week Universal Orlando released details of the new area’s food and beverage offerings.

The signature restaurant is the Leaky Cauldron, which I’m told looks just like it does in the films – it even has a huge cauldron sitting in the middle of the restaurant. At the Leaky Cauldron, you’ll be able to enjoy British fare like:

  • Bangers and Mash (traditional roasted sausages with creamy mashed potatoes)
  • Toad in the Hole (traditional sausage baked into a Yorkshire pudding and served with onion gravy)
  • Cottage Pie (a savory combination of meat and vegetables in a potato crust)
  • Fisherman’s Pie (salmon, shrimp and cod baked together under a potato crust)
  • Beef, Lamb & Guinness Stew (served in a bread bowl)

Leaky Cauldron -Ploughman’s
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The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon Comes to Universal Orlando June 2014 @FallonTonight

The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon will be taping new shows on location at Universal Orlando in June

We have big news to reveal, as it was announced late yesterday that The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon will be taping new shows on location at Universal Orlando in June!

The show will be taping June 16-18, 2014, and some of the guests already announced include Jennifer Lopez, Pitbull, and Tracy Morgan.

Even more exciting is the shows will offer a first look at the brand new The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley attraction at Universal Studios park, as well as the Hogwarts Express train that will connect the two sides of the Harry Potter attraction.

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Universal Orlando Releases Video Sneak Peek of Goblins from Escape from Gringotts Ride

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

It’s getting closer to the opening date of the new Diagon Alley section of Universal Studios, so Universal Orlando has released a short teaser video of the inside of Gringotts Bank, as well as concept art for load area of the ride.

These animatronic goblins populate the bank inside the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts attraction that will be the centerpiece of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Diagon Alley.

According to Universal, more details will be released May 13, 2014.

Take a look at the video and let us know what you think:

Universal Orlando Releases New Details About Hogwarts Express at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Hogwarts Express

This week, Universal Orlando released new details about the Hogwarts Express train that will connect the two areas of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter with each other.

The train will shuttle guests between the new Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida and Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure, but it will also be a heavily themed experience that Potter fans will love.

The Hogwarts Express experience combines powerful storytelling, live special effects, lifelike animation and state-of-the-art technology to take riders on the journey of a lifetime. Guests will enjoy two completely different experiences depending on whether they’re traveling to Hogsmeade or London (Diagon Alley).

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Universal Orlando Raises Their Ticket Prices Again Effective February 26, 2014

Universal Orlando raises their ticket prices again three days after Walt Disney World raises theirs.

Universal Orlando LogoEffective today, February 26, a one-day, one-park adult ticket is $96 plus tax, up from $92. A one-day, two-park adult ticket went from $128 to $136.

The price for a children’s a one-day, one-park ticket jumped from $86 to $90. A one-day, two-park children’s ticket went from $122 to $130

Planning on staying longer? Multi-day tickets have also increased. For a two-day, one-park adult ticket, it’s now $155.99, up from $146.99. A two-day, two-park ticket jumped from $166.99 to $195.99 – an almost $30 increase.

This summer, Universal Orlando will open The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at the Universal Studios Florida park, which will be connected to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure by the Hogwarts Express train.

Visitors must have a two-park pass to be able to ride the train from one park’s Potter land to another, and since guests will probably need more than one day to see both Potter lands, that extra $30 is going to add up to big revenue for Universal.

So this news leaves only SeaWorld Orlando as the last of the big Orlando theme parks to raise their prices. Any bets on when that will happen?

What do you think of Universal’s ticket increase?

Universal Orlando Unveils New Details For The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley

In an online webcast yesterday morning, Universal Orlando revealed more details on the new The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley attraction that will be opening this summer.

Diagon Alley will be located within Universal Orlando’s other theme park, Universal Studios, and will create new experiences based on the signature areas of London, Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley.

The main thrill ride in Diagon Alley will be called Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, and it will place riders in the middle of an incredible adventure as they navigate their way through the perils of the Gringotts vaults. Universal says this will be a multi-sensory, multi-dimensional ride. Sounds incredible!

As Diagon Alley in the books/movies is a bustling wizarding hub, there will be plenty of themed shops, including:

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A Celebration of Harry Potter Returns to Universal Orlando January 2014

A Celebration of Harry Potter

Harry Potter fans from around the world will convene at Universal Orlando for A Celebration of Harry Potter January 24-26, 2014.

Headlining the event will be actors James Phelps and Oliver Phelps who played Fred and George Weasley, and actress Evanna Lynch who played Lovegood in the eight Harry Potter films.

Others from the Potter universe scheduled to appear are artist Kazu Kibuishi, who re-imagined the HP book covers, and HP film graphic artists Eduardo Lima and Miraphora Mina of MinaLima.

There will be a variety of panels at the event, ranging from guest Q&A’s to a Dueling Demonstration & Wand Combat Masterclass with Paul Harris, who choreographed the battle scene in “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.”

There will also be a preview of Diagon Alley, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion set to open at Universal Studios Florida in Spring 2014.

The VIP vacation package is sold out, but the three-day celebration is still open to any parkgoer with admission, on a first come, first serve basis. There is a Florida resident 3-day park to park ticket on sale, which offers savings over the price at the gate.

For more information, go to universalorlando.com/celebration.

Universal Orlando Celebrates Five Millionth Butterbeer Served

On Wednesday, December 12, 2012, Universal Orlando celebrated the five-millionth serving of Butterbeer to its guests.

The incredibly popular beverage is sold within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, since it comes from the HP books. It was first served to guests in June 2010.

The recipe for the non-alcoholic drink is a closely held secret – but the taste is reminiscent of shortbread and butterscotch and the beverage is served cold or frozen.

To mark the moment, Universal Orlando gave away one thousand Butterbeers to guests, including these young fans who sported “Butterbeer mustaches” after taking a sip.

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[Photo courtesy Universal Orlando Resort]

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