Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Breaking: New Diagon Alley/Hogwarts Express Details

Good afternoon, true believers! I'm here after completing a survey which Universal Orlando had just sent me asking my opinions on some things pertaining to both Diagon Alley and the Hogwarts Express. First of all, the survey says the planned opening for the land will be summer 2014, which whittles the original and nebulous "2014" down a little bit. Many have theorized it will open in June like its predecessor, and now that looks likely. Also, the survey confirms the rumors that Gringotts will indeed be a 3D attraction. It also says it will be likely that a 2 park ticket will be required to ride the Hogwarts Express(which is confirmed to have different shows each way), but more on that later.
Moving on from there, it is also confirmed that there will be different set ups for Hogwarts Express disembarking depending on the crowd levels in the park. When it is crowded, the exiting guests will be required to exit into the London Waterfront, where they will queue with the rest of the guests wanting to get into Diagon Alley/Hogsmede respectively. However, on less crowded days, they will be allowed to enter directly into the land.
From there Uni asked questions about ticketing, including increasing blackout dates for the Power Pass, and asked what would be a more fitting name for it if they did.
They also asked as a non-Floridian AP holder whether or not giving me the option to pay monthly to renew my AP as well as giving me a 30% discount on last years price would increase my chances of renewing for the 2014 year...which I obviously said it would!

To wrap up the survey, they asked a series of situations revolving around the Hogwarts Express, which really seemed to be the focus of the survey. It mixed and matched ticketing situations, prices, wait times, roundtip/one-way trip, and unlimited/limited ride scenarios and asked which would be the most appealing to me. This leads me to believe Universal has still not completely set themselves on a two park ticket being required to ride the Hogwarts Express and are still hammering out the details.

Well, that's all I've got for you today, everyone. Make sure you follow @Parkscope for up to the minute details as they come in!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

World of Avatar


Quick history: FOX & Disney entered an exclusive deal to bring Avatar and sequels to Disney parks. FOX forced Disney's hand in an announcement, threatening to announce it themselves at their quarterly results in order to pep up a weak financial quarter. Disney announced in the project in 2011 before WDI or parks & resorts was informed. If Disney had it's wish, they would have waited for months, if not years before an announcement. 

That's that. Now for some updates. Some of this is already public knowledge, some of this is new. I have pulled it all together for this post.

1.) There will be two rides, a D ticket dark ride, and an E ticket trill ride.

2.) The E ticket ride's name is believe to be themed to the flight of passage scene from Avatar.

3.) It is believed that the E ticket thrill ride will use the Vekoma's Pandora's Box ride system (I hope the irony of that name doesn't escape you.)

4.) The ride system has, and the new E ticket is presumed to have, the ability to incorporate film and practical sets. This will line up with the 'next generation of Soarin' rumors.

5.) Several outside companies have been contacted about helping with the attractions. While I cannot confirm which attraction, I know a project was shopped around to several interactive media companies. My assumption it is for the E ticket ride will feature some interactive elements, probably in the film segments.

6.) The land's current name is Pandora: World of Avatar.

Hopefully more will be announced by Disney soon.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

WWoHP - Diagon Alley is officially announced!

Well, Universal dropped a bomb on us this morning and announced the second phase of WWoHP! Full press release is below. Including high resolution art work!


‘London’ and Diagon Alley Will Come to Life at Universal Orlando in 2014

World’s First Centrally Themed, Multi-Park Experience

ORLANDO, Fla. (May 8, 2013) – Building on the global phenomenon that is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. Entertainment today announced an expansion of historic proportion with the entirely new themed environment, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.

Scheduled to open in 2014, the world’s first centrally themed, multi-park experience expands The Wizarding World of Harry Potter across both Universal Orlando theme parks and allows Universal’s creative team to bring an unparalleled vision to this unique project.  The new area will bring to life some of the experiences and places found in and around London in the Harry Potter books and films, offering brand-new adventures for fans and theme park guests from around the world.

Diagon Alley and ‘London’ will be located within the Universal Studios Florida theme park, which is adjacent to Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park, where guests now experience Hogwarts and Hogsmeade.  The new area within Universal Studios will be just as expansive, immersive and authentic as the existing themed environment.

And – just like in the books and films – guests will be able to travel between ‘London’ and Hogsmeade aboard the Hogwarts Express.

Work on the new area is already underway.  When complete, it will feature shops, a restaurant and an innovative, marquee attraction based on Gringotts bank – all directly inspired by the fiction and films.

More details on The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will be released over time.

To bring Diagon Alley and ‘London’ to life, Universal’s creative team is working closely with Warner Bros. and the production design team from the Harry Potter films – just as it did for Hogwarts and Hogsmeade.

"I'm so pleased that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has proved so popular to date, and I'm sure that the attention to detail in creating the new Diagon Alley area will make this an even better experience," said J.K. Rowling.

“We are continuing the journey and adding an entirely new level of adventure,” said Tom Williams, Chairman of Universal Parks & Resorts.  “And we are bringing the same drive, commitment, enthusiasm and innovation to this project as we did to the first.”

“We are thrilled to offer the legions of fans the opportunity to embark on this new journey and experience Diagon Alley as it was brought to life in the books and films,” said Brad Globe, president, Warner Bros. Consumer Products.

“Our vision is to create two amazing theme park experiences that combine into one, complete, magical journey,” said Alice Norsworthy, executive vice president, marketing and sales for Universal Orlando Resort.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade opened at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in June 2010 as a fully immersive Harry Potter themed environment - bringing to life the bestselling books by J.K. Rowling and the blockbuster feature films from Warner Bros.  Since that time, it has become a global phenomenon, entertaining millions of people from around the world.

Visitors to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter are swept into the adventures of Harry Potter.  They can tour Hogwarts castle, shop in Hogsmeade and dine at the Three Broomsticks.  They can soar above Hogwarts with Harry, be chosen by a wand at Ollivanders, sample Butterbeer and much more.

About the Harry Potter Series
Harry Potter continues to be a global phenomenon. Each of the seven books by author J.K. Rowling has broken sales records, with the series to date having sold over 450 million copies worldwide and translated into more than 70 languages.  The Harry Potter films, produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, have grossed more than $7.7 billion to date worldwide at the box office, making Harry Potter the largest-grossing film franchise in history.


About Universal Orlando Resort
There are many ways to enjoy your Orlando vacation, but there is only one place where vacation becomes adventure:  Universal Orlando Resort.  It is a unique destination featuring two theme parks, Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, three magnificently themed on-site hotels and a nighttime entertainment complex.  It’s the only Orlando destination where you are not just entertained – you become part of the most exhilarating entertainment ever created. You can soar above Hogwarts with Harry Potter, swing above the streets with Spider-Man, battle aliens alongside Agent J, and help Shrek save Princess Fiona in Shrek 4-D.  Now open:  the new, heart-warming and hilarious Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride.  And coming soon: Transformers The Ride-3D.
Universal Orlando Resort is part of NBCUniversal, a Comcast company.

About Warner Bros. Entertainment
Warner Bros. Entertainment is a global leader in all forms of entertainment and their related businesses across all current and emerging media and platforms.  A Time Warner Company, the fully integrated, broad-based studio is home to one of the most successful collections of brands in the world and stands at the forefront of every aspect of the entertainment industry from feature film, television and home entertainment production and worldwide distribution to DVD, digital distribution, animation, comic books, video games, product and brand licensing, international cinemas and broadcasting.

HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR.

(c) Universal Orlando Resort 2013. All rights reserved.