Here we are, the day after the grand opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood. It's been a long strange epic journey and one that we will certainly never forget.
So today we bring you what will probably be our last Universal Studios Hollywood update for awhile as we hope we haven't over saturated you with all things Potter. =)
Written by Gregg Condon
Back at Wizarding World for the grand opening!!
Lots of excited fans waiting to get in and be the first
Wands at the ready!!
Video of the opening, a walk-through of Hogsmeade and an exclusive interview with Arthur Weasley and Luna Lovegood. =)
(Note: as a fan of the movies and books I'm ashamed that I couldn't think of Luna's name during the interview ... a testament to how tired I was as she is one of my favorite characters from the series)
And they're off!!
All of the talent from the films were amazing all week
Some of the creative team with the Phelps brothers
Inside Hogsmeade on opening day
They were filming stuff all morning with Warwick Davis, he is such a cool guy. After he passed us for about the 5th time I asked if he was stalking us. ;)
Shortly after opening the line for Forbidden Journey jumped to 3 hours
Luna Lovegood and Arthur Weasley Cosplayers. Absolutely perfect.
Potter is definitely a family affair ...
Wait times in the park at about 9:30am
The timed entry program worked to perfection
So a few notes about opening day as there was a LOT of online chatter about the crowds, or later in the day, the lack of them.
We have to remember that unlike Florida the main audience for Universal Studios Hollywood is locals. This means AP's. This is the same problem that Disneyland has and has had to come to grips with. First issue, only the highest 2 tiers of AP's were available yesterday.
Secondly, on Tuesday the park sent out releases to all media outlets (us included) saying that Online Tickets were sold out for the day. What that number was is anybody's guess. But we think the park severely underestimated the amount of people who would show up to buy day-of tickets.
The world has changed, most people like to buy things online before they go to a theme park, the movies, etc. The age range of people who would go to Potter on the first day are these people.
Third, it was a Thursday, in April, just after Spring Break.
Lastly, it's one day. The park is fine, the addition is fine, it's still going to be popular and there are crazy days coming.
This is all a learning process for Universal Studios Hollywood. They have NEVER had anything even remotely close to this. And after all the issues with crowds on the first day of Fast and Furious last year it's hard to blame them for playing opening day of Wizarding World a bit conservatively.
At the end of the day everybody had an amazing day and it turned into a nice opening for hard-core fans of Potter.
We anticipate crowds coming, the timed entry works, they proved that yesterday. So if you do go expect it to be busy.
Since we aren't planning on being at the park for awhile we figured we'd take a look around the rest of the park on opening day.
The Studio Cafe is now open, looks great. Interesting to note, even though the park opened at 6:30 for many guests, many of the other restaurants in the park had their normal opening times of 10:30 and even 11:00. Again, learning process.
Not much going on where Stage 28 was.
Ratchet and Clank movie?
"You're a Wizard Norman"
(H/T to GreatAmericanCoasters on Instagram for that awesome comment)
Pretty sure F&F wasn't always green ... right?
And one last look at Wizarding World on opening day. Good times.
And there it is, with that our coverage of Wizarding World Hollywood's construction and opening has come to an end. Wow. It's been an amazing 2 1/2 years of coverage for us.
So many people to thank but we'd be totally remiss if we didn't send a HUGE thanks to Universal Studios Hollywood and their INCREDIBLE PR staff who have earned a few days off after a crazy week of premieres.
Thank you all for reading, we hope you've enjoyed all the coverage.