According To The Mayor Of Orlando, Wizarding World Of Harry Potter Expansion To Open In 2014

Afternoon Thrill Seekers,

If your state had “accidently” introduced a law that had annoyed wwhp expansionevery English speaking Country that provides you with tourism what’s the best way to get them back on side?

How about letting it slip that Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion is due to open in 2014! Well that’s exactly what Orlando City Major, Buddy Dyer, did during his state of address on Wednesday.

Buddy said;

This summer [Universal Orlando Resort] will open the new Transformers 3-D ride, followed by the opening next year of a new resort hotel and the expansion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Well as you can imagine this was quite a statement and soon his words spread around the theme park industry like Harry chasing a snitch (insert better Harry Potter reference if required).

So what did Universal have to say about this breaking news? Orlando based media outlet WESH contacted Universal and a spokesman said;

I don’t read the Mayor’s words the same as you. All we have announced is that there will be a significant expansion of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Anything else is your own speculation.

Hmm not the best comeback I’ve ever heard, but with the release of The Transformers Ride 3d this year I’m sure Universal wont be happy with this distraction .

Seem’s pretty strong evidence that perhaps Universal may be gearing up to a mammoth 2014!!!

regards,

Jamie

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Universal’s Wizarding World Of Harry Potter Serves It’s 5 Millionth Butterbeer

It’s almost bedtime Thrill Seekers but I just heard the news that Universal Orlando has confirmed they have just served their 5 Millionth Butterbeer at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Butterbeer for all you muggles out there, is the popular non alcholic drink favoured by Wizards in J.K. Rowlings Harry Potter series. When Universal Orlando first got cracking on building the Wizarding World of Harry Potter they put together a creative team purely to design and replicate Butterbeer, J.K. Rowling herself had final say on the taste which is reminiscent of shortbread and sweet butterscotch.

The recipe is a closely guarded secret although some of us have had a go at replicating it and has proved so successful that recently Universal Orlando had to open a 4th Butterbeer serving location to meet demand!

To mark this special occasion Universal treated a 1000 guests to the wizards drink while at the same time perhaps setting a new Guinness World record for “Butterbeer moustaches”. 🙂

Rick Florell, senior vice president of revenue sales and the man who oversaw the making of Butterbeer said

We created an authentic taste experience for our guests to complement all of the immersive experiences The Wizarding World of Harry Potter would offer them. We new we had created something that tasted great and would be popular but have been surprised by just how popular.

Mmmm I can almost taste one now…

good night,

Jamie

NEW Harry Potter Film In The Works!!!

Good evening Thrill Seekers,

OMG!!! Mass hysteria!!!  A new Harry Potter film is in the works!!! *scream and shriek*

Rumor has it that a mini movie has been commissioned for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park in Orlando. The Universal Studio’s owned theme park has been doing great business since its launch in 2010 and the Daily Mail reports that the 9th Potter movie will only be available at Universals Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Florida.

Actors including Helena Bonham Carter who played Belatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter movies (who is said to be reprising her role) have already shot scenes at the Warner Brothers owned studios  in Hertfordshire.

I can’t seem to find any information regarding the plot but a “source” told The Sun newspaper

The cast have really enjoyed getting back together – they are so tight-knit. The shooting schedule is nowhere near as long as the films, so though filming has been intense, the stars have enjoyed being able to pop in and out.

I emailed Universal Orlando for a quote but at present haven’t heard back… no news is good news though?

I’ll keep you posted if I hear anymore.

Regards,

Jamie

 

Recipe For Butterbeer Cookies Harry Potter Style

Hi Thrill Seekers,

Are you missing the Wizarding World? Are you suffering from Post-Potter Blues?

Well if the answer is yes, perhaps these Butterbeer cookies can help!

Butterbeer Sugar Cookies 

3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar (packed)
2 sticks butter
1 egg
1 tsp butter flavoring
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, set aside.

Cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg, butter flavoring, and vanilla; mix until well-blended.

Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl, especially the bottom. (The dough will be quite thick…you may need to knead in stray bits of flour from the bottom of the bowl by hand.)

Roll on a floured surface to about 1/4″ and cut into shapes. Place on parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 9-12 minutes, depending on the size of your cutter. Let sit a few minutes on the sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Butterbeer Glaze
{This will cover 12 cookies…and I STRONGLY recommend doubling the recipe as you might want to put this in a shot glass and drink it straight.}

2/3 cup butterscotch chips (I used Guittard)
1/8 cup evaporated milk
1 TBSP light corn syrup
pinch coarse salt

Place all of the ingredients in a glass or metal bowl and heat over a pot of simmering water (or a double boiler).  Stir occasionally, until melted and smooth.

Put the cooled cookies on a wire rack on a baking sheet.  Pour the glaze over the cookies and spread with an offset spatula.  If using the fondant house crests, place these on the wet glaze to adhere.

How yummy do these look?

If you do make them, please feel free to share the results on the Orlando Attraction Tickets facebook page.

regards,

Jamie

Harry Potter studio tour with intricate models of Hogworts!

Hi Everyone,

So you love Harry Potter but you can get to Orlando this year. Dont panic, there does seem to be an alternitive solution that may temparily feed your Potter based cravings.

On the 31st of March a 150,000 square foot museum in Leaversden near Watford junction will be showcasing an intricate scale model of the Hogwarts castle from the Harry Potter films.

Stuart Craig, production manager, unveils a model of Hogwarts castle

The design and special effects employed in the Harry Potter films will go down as a benchmark in British filmmaking. So it stands as a great testament to the wizarding academy of Hogwarts, a turreted gothic castle, that the films’ Art Department have named this model as their “jewel”.

This 1:24 scale model, with details taken from the original sets at Alnwick Castle and Durham Cathedral, will be the final trump card played at the end of Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, which opens this month.

Jose Granell, model supervisor

It took 86 artists and crew members to construct the first version which was then rebuilt and altered many times for the next seven films.

The work was so extensive that if one was to add all the man hours that have gone into building and reworking the model, it would come to over 74 years.

All the doors are hinged, real plants are used for landscaping and miniature birds are housed in the Owlery.

The model, which sits at nearly 50 feet in diameter, has over 2,500 fibre optic lights that simulate lanterns and torches and even gave the illusion of students passing through hallways in the films.

To show off the lighting to full effect a day-to-night cycle will take place every 4 minutes so visitors can experience the changing atmosphere at the castle.

The attraction will contain some of the most iconic Harry Potter film series sets including the Great Hall, Dumbledore’s office, the Ministry of Magic, Harry Potter’s famous cupboard under the stairs, 4 Privet Drive, Gryffindor common room, the boys’ dormitory, the Potion’s classroom, Professor Umbridge’s office, the Weasley kitchen, the Hogwarts bridge and others still to be announced.

The whole thing looks pretty amazing and should be enough to tide over manic Potter fans until they can get themselves over to the Wizarding World or Harry Potter at Universal Orlando. If you are one of the lucky ones that gets to go and see this amazing exhibition please take a couple of pics and send them into us 🙂

Cheers

Frank


Universal Studios Confirms Wizarding World Of Harry Potter For Los Angeles

So we all knew it was going to happen, but yesterday Universal Studios confirmed that the next Wizarding World of Harry Potter will open in Los Angeles at Universal Hollywood.

No actual opening date was touted but insiders believe 2015 is a realistic time scale.

Universal Studios Hollywood’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter will mirror the Orlando version and will include the flagship ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey dark ride, and will be housed in a large-scale recreation of Hogwarts Castle. At present its has not been confirmed if other parts of the Florida version , such as its Hogsmeade Village and Olivanders, will be included.

Where the Wizarding World will be situated within Universal Studios Hollywood is also yet to be confirmed. The company will need to find room for the new land on the site, either by removing existing attractions or by expanding into the studio’s backlot area.

Harry Potter’s creator J.K. Rowling, who has  final approval of the designs for the new land and anything Potter related, said of the deal:

“I am delighted that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has been so popular with fans since the opening in Orlando last year and I am sure that the teams at Universal and Warner Bros. will bring their expertise and attention to detail to Hollywood to make this new experience equally as exciting.”

Ron Meyer, Universal Studios’ President, said:

“This is an incredible moment for Universal Studios and the millions of guests who visit our theme parks. The Harry Potter stories are some of the most powerful of our time and we are honored to expand our Orlando experience and bring The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Hollywood, forever changing family tourism in Los Angeles.”

For more information on visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter visit Orlando Attraction Tickets

Wizarding World of Harry Potter Expands To Universal Hollywood

We all thought it would happen but its finally been confirmed that the Harry Potter Theme Park, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be duplicated for the Universal Studios in Los Angeles.

The Harry Potter attraction which opened in Orlando in 2010, has helped attendance at Universal Orlando’s Islands of adventure jump by 40%, Comcast executive vice president Steve Burke said in September.

Rumours are still circulating stating that Los Angeles wont be the last Wizarding World of Harry Potter land to open and further Harry Potter Theme Parks could open in Japan and Singapore.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter Review

A review of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
My family and I recently visited Central Florida for the 10th time. We own a villa on Westhaven. This time my husband, eldest daughter Lindsey, her boyfriend James and myself were joined for a few days by our American friends from Pennsylvania Rick, Kelly and their 14 year old son Alex. Alex and I had a play date of long standing – to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure. We were all looking forward to going as both Lindsey and I have read all the books and everyone has seen the films – Rick and Alex had had a Harry Potter film marathon in preparation for the visit to get Rick up to speed and we’d looked at info on the web. Plus we’d see the castle under construction on our last visit 18 months previously.
People said we should get there early and not go on a weekend as locals with Annual Passes tend to go then and it makes Islands of Adventure extra busy. So we decided to go on a Monday while American children were still in school. We were a little dismayed to learn that the park was opening at 8.00am as we have a 30 minute drive from the villa and you need to allow time to walk through City Walk to the park. So we decided that we had to be on the road by 6.45am. It wasn’t too bad as we were still waking early having not fully adjusted to American time and it was nice and cool.
We arrived at the rope at 7.40am and were quite surprised that people were going in – we found out that Universal hotel guests can enter the park at 7.00am. However, the crowd was not very big and we were walked around the park by staff at about 7.50 to the entrance to the HP section. We were told not to run but we have to confess to speed walking along with everyone else!!
We joined the queue for The Forbidden Journey. All bags etc need to be placed in a locker prior to joining the queue. Be advised to do this ride first as it gets really really busy – also if you buy a wand ($30) this will not fit in the locker and you can’t take it on the ride. The queue winds around the greenhouse and then into the castle. There was no queue once we were inside which meant that we walked through quite fast which was a pity as there was was so much to see – the attention to detail is brilliant. I wanted to stop and look at the portraits and there’s a hologram presentation with HarryRon and Hermione which is really good plus Dumbledore who tells you what’s happening too.  The ride itself is a very clever simulator. You sit on a bench type seat with overhead restraints which divide you from the 3 others on your bench so you can’t see each other. It’s not a typical simulator pod thing like The Simpsons or Star Tours or even Spiderman. The bench is attached to an arm so it can swing and tilt as you fly after Harry and the others on your adventure. If you really don’t like queueing, you could do the ride by joining the single rider line as you don’t see your friends when riding anyway and the single rider line moves very fast. You meet many characters from the film on the journey including Malfoy, Hagrid, the dragon, the dementors and the spiders!! We all really enjoyed it and thought it was very clever. I am prone to motion  sickness and it did make me feel a little dizzy but definitely worth it!
We then queued for Olivanders Wand Shop – this was another 45 minute wait. We sent Nigel, Rick and Kelly off to get butter beer from the carts – this took about 30 minutes and we fund out from the people behind us in the queue that it’s a lot quicker to get it in The Hogs Head Pub. Butter beer comes in 2 varieties – soda and slush. The soda is very very sweet and clear with a head on it. The slush is more creamy with a head on it. It’s kind of butterscotchy. We all preferred the slush and really enjoyed it. If you buy a souvenir cup then you can use this later for any soda for 79c – you can also take it to Universal (as we did the next day) with the same deal which we thought was good value.
There is a 5 minute presentation in Olivanders which is fun. Lindsey was picked to be the young wizard shopping for a wand – much to her surprise as she’s 23!! Won’t tell you any more as it will spoil it. You then go into the shop which is fun as they have an owl post section. There’s a marauder map and a very vicious book that bites! From here we went across the street to the sweet shop. The chocolate frogs are enormous and very good. There are the different flavoured beans and lots of other goodies. The queue to pay at the till was enormous but we found another till at the back to the shop (end furthest away from the castle) with no queue.  The joke shop is also fun with the sneakascope and the extending ear!!  We then left the shops and headed over to the Howarts Express for a photo with the very friendly guard. It was about 10.15am at this point and we caught the clock tower chiming the quarter hour which is fun to see.
Then it was off to do Dragon Challenge. This was formerly Duelling Dragons which has a new name and has had a slight makeover. Short queue. It does a couple of 360o turns, corkscrews etc and 2 coasters race each other – good fun. It’s worth having a look at the Ford Anglia and Hagrid’s cottage at the end of the ride.
Can’t report on the Hypogriff coaster as it’s more for weenies which we are not. Again it’s a remake of a coaster that was there already with a new  hypogriffe front put on it.
As we were leaving through Jurassic Park – the only way into the HP section – we were told that if we wished to return we would need a card with a time slot on it.  The queue to go into the section was huge, the queue for The Forbidden Journey was over 2 hours and over an hour for Olivanders. Would I queue 2 hours for Forbidden Journey –  guess I would have because that was the purpose of us going to I of A but would I have been pleased – no, would it have been worth it – personally I don’t think any ride is worth a 2 hour wait.
So to sum up here are my tips:

1. Arrive at park before opening time (currently opening at 8.00am) Allow time to park car and walk through City Walk to park.
2. Ride the Forbidden Journey first – don’t forget you have to put all bags etc into a locker.
3. Queue for Ollivanders Wand Shop next. Send someone to get Butter beer -it’s quicker to get it from the Hogshead Pub than from the carts.If you buy a souvenir cup you can have this refilled as many times as you wish with regular sodas both in I of A and in Universal on any day you are there.
4. In sweet shop don’t pay at front till (nearest castle entrance) in a huge queue – there are 2 more tills at the rear of the shop.
5. Have photo in front of Hogwarts Express with friendly guard.
6. Watch clock tower on quarters past and to the hour!!
7. Go to Dragons and Hyppogrif (Latter is for children and young at heart)
8. Look at queue for Forbidden Journey which will probably be around 2 hours and breathe a sigh of relief that you are not in it.
9. Leave HP section of park, resist any urge to return later unless in the evening!!!

Wizarding World of Harry Potter To Go Worldwide?

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has been nothing short of a phenomenal success for Universal Orlando, not only has it helped close the gap on Disney but has helped revitalised the Theme Park industry with reports of Disney speaking to James Cameron regardin a possible Avatar tie up.

So it comes as no surprise that Universal are considering taking Potter global, and copying the Harry Potter Theme Park in their other parks.

Ron Meyer, Head of NBC’s Universal movie and theme park unit admitted other parks would indeed get the Harry Potter treatment but would not be drawn in to specifics.

For me the obvious choices are Universal Hollywood and Universal Japan.

You can purchase tickets for the Wizarding World of Harry Potterin Orlando by visiting www.orlandoattractiontickets.co.uk, tickets offering entry include Universal 2-Park Bonus Tickets, Universal 3-Park Bonus Ticket, Flex Ticket and Flex Ticket Plus.

Quidditch – just what are the rules anyway?

Ever wondered exactly what the rules of Quidditch are from the Harry Potter films? Well, wonder no more because below is a quick run down of the how to play;

Rules

The official rules of Quidditch are partially described in Quidditch Through the Ages. They are said to have been laid down in 1750 by the Department of Magical Games and Sports. Some of the more common rules are as follows:

  • Players must not stray over the boundary lines of the pitch, although they may fly as high as desired. The Quaffle must be surrendered to the opposition if any player leaves the boundary. Quidditch matches in the Harry Potter films, however, show players often deliberately flying over the boundary lines and even around the spectator towers.
  • time out may be called at any time by a team Captain. It may be extended to two hours if a game has already lasted for more than twelve hours. Failure to return to the pitch afterward disqualifies the offending team.
  • The referee can impose penalties if a foul occurs. A single Chaser from the fouled team takes a penalty shot by flying from the central circle towards the scoring area. The opposing team’s Keeper may attempt to block this shot, but no other player may interfere, much like a penalty shot in ice hockey.
  • Contact is allowed, but a player may not grasp another’s broomstick or any part of his or her body. (Draco Malfoy breaks this rule in Prisoner of Azkaban by grabbing Harry’s broomtail to stop him from seizing the Snitch.)
  • No substitution of a player is allowed, even if one is too badly hurt to continue (rare exceptions may be made when the game continues for a great length of time, and players become too fatigued to continue).
  • Players may take their wands onto the pitch, but they must not be used on or against any players, any player’s broomstick, the referee, any of the four balls, or the spectators. (The right to carry wands at all times was granted during the height of wizard and witch persecution by Muggles, according to Quidditch Through the Ages).

Fouls

Rowling writes that there are 700 Quidditch fouls listed in the Department of Magical Games and Sports records, but most of these fouls are not open to the public, owing to the Department’s supposed fear the wizards/witches who read the list of fouls “might get ideas”. It is claimed that all 700 occurred during the very first Quidditch World Cup. Apparently, most are now impossible to commit as there is a ban on using wands against an opponent (imposed in 1538). The most common of those fouls which are described are enumerated below:

  • Blagging: No player may seize any part of an opponent’s broom to slow or hinder the player. (Draco Malfoy commits this foul in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, thus preventing Harry from seizing the Snitch.)
  • Blatching: No player may fly with the intent to collide. (Substitute Slytherin seeker Harper breaks this rule when he collides into Harry after insulting the latter’s friend, and Gryffindor Keeper, Ronald Weasley. This occurs in the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.)
  • Blurting: No player may lock broom handles with the intent to steer an opponent off course.
  • Bumphing: Beaters must not hit Bludgers towards spectators (although Harry jokingly orders one of his Beaters to send one at Zacharias Smith in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince), or the Keeper, unless the Quaffle is within the scoring area. (In the first film, however, Marcus Flint, a Chaser, commits this foul with a Beater’s bat, and Madam Hooch penalises him for it.)
  • Cobbing: Players must not make excessive use of their elbows against opponents. (Marcus Flint, the Slytherin Chaser, commits this foul against the Gryffindor Chaser, Angelina Johnson, in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban).
  • Flacking: Keepers must not defend the posts from behind by punching Quaffles out of the hoops – goals must be defended from the front.
  • Haversacking: Chasers must not still be in contact with the Quaffle as it passes through a hoop (the Quaffle must be thrown through).
  • Quaffle-pocking: Chasers must not tamper with the Quaffle in any way.
  • Snitchnip: No player other than the Seeker may touch or catch the Golden Snitch.
  • Stooging: No more than one Chaser is allowed in the scoring area at any one time. (However, game play in Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup and the fan-made Q3D permit this behaviour.)

Well now you know the rules there’s no excuse not to have a game or two…just be careful on those broomsticks 😉

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More Quidditch info