Muggles across the country can now experience the world of Harry Potter with the opening of Universal Hollywood’s own version of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Crowds camped overnight Wednesday in anticipation of the grand opening for the third Wizarding World of Harry Potter on Thursday. Pictures quickly flooded Twitter showing crowds winding from in the park, through Universal Plaza, potentially even to the beginning of Citywalk in anticipation of opening day.
The opening ceremony was highlighted, like most other Harry Potter events at Universal parks, with speeches from Universal representatives and the cast from the films. Or at least the ones that could be convinced to show up for something like this.
It was pretty standard stuff as opening ceremonies go, but the Periscope stream gave a good view of all the fun being had at a godawful hour in the morning. Seriously, who wants to be at a park at 6am? Luckily, you didn’t have to be there to see all the fanfare; these pictures from Touring Plans on Twitter capture the biggest moment of the ceremony for all to see.
Tickets for opening day were completely sold out, and the crowds forced USH to use a virtual queue system to manage crowd levels in the Potterverse. Anyone who’s visited Orlando’s Wizarding World (or even Japan’s) knows just how small the area can be; so this was probably a smart idea.
— Inside the Magic (@InsideTheMagic) April 7, 2016
While wait times for the Forbidden Journey never posted much higher than 180 minutes throughout the day (an almost normal figure on some days at the other Wizarding Worlds), I would chalk that up to crowd management rather than lack of interest in the rides.
Overall, it looked like the day was a success for the park and something they desperately need as a first step to revitalize the property. I have no interest in seeing the West Coast version of what I have just an hour away (sans Diagon Alley and with even more crowds); but it is nice to know that some crowds may be pulled away from Universal Orlando. I’m always ready for shorter wait times for Butterbeer™.
If you want even more WWoHP information, check out this video of the opening ceremonies from USH.