Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

P. 1436: Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure news
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Re: Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Postby jedimaster1227 » Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:41 am

^The land has survived just fine during the ride's annual refurbishment each year the park has been open, so I doubt that they'd be installed purely to help the land. Realistically this is more a move motivated my revenue. Those games generate a lot more revenue than most people realize (this was explained to us at Bob's Space Racers during the TPR Industry Tour) and their continued placement is an ongoing effort for most parks in Orlando.

That being said, if the quality of theming behind this games is on par with the amazing games from Bob's Space Racers over at The Simpsons Ride, I'll be totally fine seeing them here.
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Re: Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Postby Totopez » Thu May 02, 2013 5:06 am

It seems official now that the new Transformers ride will premiere on June 20. The big ad on Fairwinds Credit Union tower in Orlando says so, according to OrlandoInformer.
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Re: Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Postby Jew » Thu May 02, 2013 3:13 pm

Soft opening started about a month before the official grand opening at USH, so we'll see if they follow that same schedule!
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Re: Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Postby jedimaster1227 » Wed May 08, 2013 6:35 am

Universal Orlando has released their official press release detailing The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley!

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.


2013-05-07-DiagonAlley1.jpg

https://www.facebook.com/UniversalOrlandoResort

THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES: THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER – DIAGON ALLEY IS COMING TO UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT.

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.”


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-hill/a-huffington-post-exclusi_1_b_3233177.html

Ever since The Wizarding World of Harry Potter first opened at Universal's Islands of Adventure back in June of 2010, thousands of people have entered Hogsmeade and -- after spotting that stationary version of the Hogwarts Express (which was parked at the entrance of this theme park land as a photo op) -- exclaimed: "Oh, wouldn't it wonderful if we could climb aboard that train and actually go someplace like London or Diagon Alley."

Well, as you can see by this exclusive piece of concept art, starting in the Summer of 2014, that dream will finally become a reality. Building on the success of Hogsmeade, Hogwarts Castle and the award-winning "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" attraction, Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. Entertainment today announced an expansion of historic proportion with the addition of an entirely new themed environment, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley.

According to Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative (i.e. the division of Universal Parks & Resorts that develops rides, shows & attractions for their theme parks), it was only weeks after The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade opened that Universal & Warner Bros. officials first began toying with the idea of bumping out the borders of this super-popular theme park land.

"Given the strong response that we got from our Guests as well as from Harry Potter fans, we knew that we had done something truly special in bringing to life this great body of fiction with such a high level of detail and authenticity," Woodbury explained. "But even so, we knew that there were other great Harry Potter-related tales to tell. That there were stories, characters and experiences that we just hadn't been able to fit into Hogsmeade & Hogwarts Castle."

"So we then began to wonder: Given that we had these two great theme parks sitting right next to each other, could we maybe turn that to our storytelling advantage?," Mark continued. "By placing Diagon Alley & London at Universal Studios Florida and Hogsmeade & Hogwarts at Islands of Adventure, could we maybe use the distance between these two theme parks as a way to echo the natural geographic separation that the readers find between Hogwarts & Diagon Alley in J.K. Rowling's own stories?"

Now you have to understand that no one has ever attempted to do something quite this bold & ambitious at an entertainment destination resort before. Taking a world-renown intellectual property like Harry Potter and then creating two separate lands set in different theme parks that are then connected by a transportation system. With all three of these elements then coming together to tell one single immersive story on an epic scale. But that's exactly what Universal Orlando & Warner Bros. Entertainment are planning on doing with Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley and the Hogwarts Express.

So was Woodbury and his team ever daunted by this challenge? More to the point, what did Ms. Rowling have to say when Universal Orlando & Warner Bros. Entertainment officials told her that they were planning on building the world's first centrally themed, multi-park experience around the characters that she'd created?

"Those meetings are fascinating and wonderful opportunities to have, to be able to talk and collaborate directly with J K Rowling and the Warner Bros. film-makers. This was a big idea. And everybody immediately saw that when we initially laid it all out. And the fact that we wanted to continue to tell the Harry Potter story, the places that we had chosen to develop -- Diagon Alley & London & Gringotts & Hogwarts Express -- were really big ideas and bold moves, I think that the ambition behind that was very much appreciated," Mark stated.

So with steel already rising up at the Diagon Alley construction site and tracks for the Hogwarts Express already being laid backstage at Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure, is Woodbury worried that -- what with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade now considered (by many in the themed entertainment business, anyway) to be the absolute gold standard when it comes to successfully translating an IP to a theme park setting -- that Guest expectations for this Potter expansion project might be hard to meet?

"As we went into this project, the folks at Universal Orlando & Warner Bros. Entertainment set the bar very high and we weren't about to compromise. We knew that London & Diagon Alley & the Hogwarts Express had to be equal to and better than Hogsmeade & Hogwarts Castle in every way and at every level. And that's exactly how we approached this expansion project right from the get-go," Mark said.

"Our goal here is to fully immerse people into the Harry Potter stories. So the architecture plays a big role in that. And starting with the London area, which is totally authentic and recreates & captures the essence of the iconographic parts of the fiction in that space, we went big," Woodbury continued. "And then we find our way into Diagon Alley in much the same way you do in the books and movies. And that's a totally different environment that gives Guests an even deeper immersion into the world of Harry Potter. And those buildings are big as well. Four and five stories-tall in some places."

And though Mark -- in addition to the rest of the team at Universal Orlando & Warner Bros. Entertainment -- are now being somewhat close-mouthed about which shops & restaurants Harry Potter fans can expect to find as they wander through the streets of Diagon Alley next year, Woodbury did admit that he had one specific aspect of this expansion project that he was most looking forward to seeing UOR Guests experience.

"After teasing people with that static version of the Hogwarts Express in Hogsmeade, we're now going to give them the opportunity to climb aboard that train and go on an actual journey. And we're not going to do the usual theme park thing, where you get on an attraction that promises to take you on a journey, but then when you exit your ride vehicle, you're actually back in the exact same spot where you began that ride," Mark enthused. "After people climb aboard the Hogwarts Express at Universal Orlando Resort next year, as they exit that train, they're going to find themselves in an entirely different environment, in a completely different place. Whether they've journeyed from London to Hogsmeade or visa versa. And we've made sure that even your train trip aboard the Hogwarts Express will be part of the ambitious immersive storytelling experience that we're trying to create for our Guests with this Potter expansion."

This is why -- for the past year or so -- Woodbury has gotten a kick out of going over to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade and then listening in as people talk out loud about how they wish they could climb aboard that stationary version of the Hogwarts Express and then go visit some other spot in the Pottersphere.

"When I hear Universal Orlando Guests say things like that, I just smile and think about how we're working on that right now," Mark concluded. "How focused we are on creating the next great place for Harry Potter fans to go visit."
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Last edited by jedimaster1227 on Wed May 08, 2013 8:00 am.
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Re: Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Postby ernierocker » Wed May 08, 2013 6:48 am

^Worst kept secret ever.
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Re: Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Postby chargersmichael » Wed May 08, 2013 6:49 am

This is just amazing and it is opening next year too! Step up your game disney...you are going to lose next year to univeral
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Re: Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Postby necoastergp » Wed May 08, 2013 6:58 am

Terribly kept "secret" just as the unannounced Simpson's land, but it looks awesome. I can't wait to visit a construction free UOR in the near future.
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Re: Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Postby televisedconfession » Wed May 08, 2013 7:05 am

To be fair, I know a lot of pretty big 'casual' Harry Potter fans who knew nothing of the sort, just that a new Potter land was coming. So to a lot of people who aren't following this on a regular basis, this is news. But yes, this was a pretty dead give-away.
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Re: Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Postby SharkTums » Wed May 08, 2013 7:06 am

Still waiting on details of what they're going to do about tickets. All hopper tickets? Special Potter Ticket? Will their be a new entrance ticket area where the train drops off on both sides?

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Re: Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Postby RCT3Bross » Wed May 08, 2013 7:09 am

I'm having trouble with big articles like these. So here is what I get, would someone be nice enough to tell me if I get it or if I'm wrong.
They already have Hogwards and Hogsmeade within Ilse of adventure and now are expending with London and Diagon ally in the other park, and plan to do something unique by connecting the two themed area's in both parks and connect them with a form of transportation (which I guess would be a train.). Is that it?
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