Thursday, June 24, 2010

NOW OPEN! The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort



ORLANDO, Fla. (June 18, 2010) - The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort celebrates its grand opening today with help from Harry Potter film actors Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Tom Felton, James and Oliver Phelps, Matthew Lewis, Bonnie Wright, Michael Gambon, Warwick Davis and thousands of excited fans - officially becoming the only place in the world where the adventures of Harry Potter come to life.

More than five years in the making, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has become the most highly anticipated entertainment experience of 2010. The Harry Potter books and films have captured the hearts and minds of millions - and now, guests can experience the adventure first-hand at Universal Orlando Resort. The spectacularly themed area, inspired by J.K. Rowling's compelling stories and characters, features multiple themed attractions, shops and a restaurant - all faithful to the books and films.

Visitors to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be swept into the adventures of Harry Potter. They will tour Hogwarts castle, shop in Hogsmeade and dine in the Three Broomsticks. Other adventures will allow them to fly with Harry, ride on a dragon, sample Butterbeer, eat exploding sweets - and experience all the magic and adventure of the Harry Potter books and films.

"We have created a special place unlike anywhere else in the world," said Tom Williams, chairman and CEO for Universal Parks and Resorts. "The adventures of Harry Potter are among the most popular of our time - and we are bringing them to life. We will put our guests in the middle of a Harry Potter adventure. They will feel as if they are in the movies with Harry and his friends."

"I said right at the beginning, either we do it right or we don't do it at all," said J.K. Rowling, author of the widely successful Harry Potter series. "The teams at Universal and Warner Bros. have done it right, so I am so happy."

The heart of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is Hogwarts castle - visible from everywhere within Islands of Adventure. And within the castle is what may be the most exhilarating theme park attraction ever created: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. This all-new adventure combines a powerful storyline with spectacular new technology so effectively guests will be completely immersed in the experience. The ride will take guests on a journey where they will travel by Floo Network, soar over Hogwarts, narrowly escape a dragon attack, have a close encounter with the Whomping Willow, get pulled into a Quidditch match and more.

AND, guests can experience the mischief of Zonko's, the magic of Ollivanders, the scrumptious delights of the Three Broomsticks and Hog's Head pub or buy their very own Marauder's Map at Filch's Emporium of Confiscated Goods. They can mail letters from Hogsmeade at the Owl Post, buy Hogwarts school robes at Dervish and Banges or rest under the rafters of the Owlery. Visitors can brave a Hungarian Horntail or a Chinese Fireball on the dueling roller coasters of Dragon Challenge or learn a few tips from Hagrid before taking a training flight on Flight of the Hippogriff.

"I remember when I was shooting the films when I was younger and I absolutely wished this world could be real and that I could be a part of it," said Daniel Radcliffe, who portrays Harry Potter in the film series. "It's amazing that people will finally get to do that and realize everything they've seen on screen."

"Today's grand opening is the culmination of our firm commitment to create the most authentic Harry Potter experience possible," said Brad Globe, President, Warner Bros. Consumer Products. "We've enlisted the best possible partner in Universal Orlando Resort and we are proud to say that the result has fully captured the magical worlds detailed in both the books and the films."
Universal Orlando Resort

There are many ways to enjoy your Orlando vacation - but there is only one Universal Orlando Resort. It is a completely separate destination featuring two theme parks, three magnificently themed on-site hotels and a nighttime entertainment complex. It's the only Orlando destination where you are not just entertained - you are 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. You can be courageous, be outrageous - and be extraordinary.

Warner Bros. Consumer Products

Warner Bros. Consumer Products, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, is one of the leading licensing and retail merchandising organizations in the world.

Harry Potter continues to be a global phenomenon. The series of books by author J.K. Rowling has been translated into 69 languages with more than 400 million copies sold in over 200 territories around the world. The films, produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, have grossed more than $5.4 billion at the box office worldwide, making Harry Potter the largest-grossing film franchise in history.

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


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Busch Garden's - Walkabout Way

Busch Gardens Tampa recently announced that a new area dedicated to Australian animals will is now open. Walkabout Way features kangaroos and wallabies and you’ll have the chance to pet and feed them, too!
The new area is located in the park’s Bird Gardens. There, you’ll meander down a sidewalk with kangaroos on either side of you behind a wooden fence, and wallabies potentially hopping right along your pathway.

Throughout the day, you can also hand-feed the animals. There will be scheduled feedings a few times each day. For $5, you get a cup of food and can have the animals feeding right out of your hand. But note, the area is for ages 5 and older. In addition to the roos and wallabies, Walkabout Way will also include other Australian species, including magpie geese and Australian black swans. There’s also the Kookaburra’s Nest, a free-flight aviary in Walkabout Way that will feature -- what else --kookaburras!
An education station there offers up-close encounters with the park’s animal ambassadors, ranging from Australian parrots, a tawny frogmouth, cockatoos, among other exotic animals that share an important message of conservation.

Walkabout Way is included in park admission, and expands the array of animal encounters Busch Gardens offers.