Wizarding World opening day becomes Harry Potter and the Endless Line at Universal Orlando

in Featured, Islands of Adventure, Movies, Special Events, Theme Parks, Universal Orlando

harry-potter-line

With reports of guests lining up as early as midnight last night, today’s grand opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was sure to be one for the theme park history books. But after months of Universal Orlando actively advertising June 18 as the opening date for their new “theme park within a theme park,” many wonder if they were truly prepared for the immense turnout.

Responding to Universal’s announced opening day plans, thousands arrived to the Universal Orlando Resort today, hoping to not only enter the Wizarding World, but also catch a glimpse of the “public grand opening.” Harry Potter film stars were in attendance for the grand opening ceremony, but only a handful of park guests who arrived today were actually allowed in to see it. The rest of the watching crowd was comprised of invited members of the press and a couple elementary school class contest winners. Thousands of fans instead either watched on nearby screens or missed the event entirely as a result of waiting in line.

The opening moment took place at around 9:15 a.m., lasting around 10 minutes. Those watching from home found Universal’s promised live video stream going dark just as the ceremony began, missing most of the excitement. Fortunately, Universal has been replaying the event for those who didn’t see it live.


Those who have been in attendance for today’s opening were certainly in for a bit of a shock, finding out that they potentially could be waiting up to 8 hours just to enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter area of Islands of Adventure. Small crowds have been let into Hogsmeade Village periodically and reports suggest crowd control within these small groups is fantastic. Lines for two of the area’s most talked about attractions, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and the Ollivander’s Wand Shop, have been reported as only reaching up to 90 minutes, with the Wizarding World’s other rides having little to no wait at all.

But beyond the somewhat calm confines of the Wizarding World still reside thousands of fans eager to get in. With only small numbers (relatively, compared to the rest of the waiting crowd) being allowed into the area at a time, many of these dedicated fans waiting in lines that stretch clear around the park have realized this wasn’t the grand opening excitement they had shown up for. While large crowds are to be expected at any attraction grand opening, Universal’s widespread publicizing of today, June 18, as *the* date to come was essentially an open invitation for the entire world to arrive today. And it seems like they all did.


(Photo by the Orlando Sentinel depicts line of people waiting to enter the Islands of Adventure theme park wrapping clear around Universal CityWalk. The entrance to the Universal Studios park is on the right of the image.)

As can be expected, many of those who made the trek to Islands of Adventure are not pleased with the result of their journey. This morning on Twitter, @jgat wrote, “the line at guest services is huge, full of people wanting their money back.” And the complaints are likely to continue as guests continue to wait in near-record Florida heat throughout the day.

Meanwhile some technical difficulties continue at the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction. One report indicates that the ride shut down briefly once this morning, forcing guests to leave temporarily.

It was only two days ago that Universal Orlando president Bill Davis told the media, “We’ve done this before. We’ll get through it.” But was Universal truly ready to handle the thousands of fans who showed up today based on Universal’s own advertisements to come see the Wizarding World? Given that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is only one section of a much larger theme park, thousands of guests can certainly not all fit comfortably into the area at once. But no one told them that in advance.

Many of those who showed up expecting a grand opening celebration and a “theme park within a theme park” have instead been met with a seemingly endless line that might not place them into the Wizarding World until much later tonight – or perhaps not even at all today.

Some might scoff and say that Universal has done everything they can with crowd control and that they can only safely allow so many guests into the Wizarding World at once. But crowd control is not the issue. The real question is could today’s oversized crowd have been avoided? Perhaps Universal should not have publicized a single day as *the* day to be here to see the Wizarding World. Perhaps Universal should not have announced there would be a “public grand opening” this morning, only to make it viewable for a select few individuals.

Or… perhaps this is simply what should be expected from the grand opening of one of the most highly-anticipated theme park additions in history. While lines are long, and will likely continue to be long throughout the busy summer season, the wait for dedicated Harry Potter fans will most certainly be worth it, as Universal has created an immersive and detailed themed environment rivaled by few others.

So, for now, it will be up to each individual guest to decide whether it is worth waiting literally all day to spend a few hours in Hogsmeade Village and Hogwarts Castle. For some who have grown up reading Harry Potter books and watching the film series, it most certainly will. For the rest, waiting a few months to visit, after the initial crowds have subsided, is likely the better choice.

If you want to experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter now without the long lines or crowds, don’t miss our ongoing coverage of the exciting new theme park addition, including:

  • Video and photo tour of Hogsmeade Village with its shops and shows
  • Video tour through Hogwarts Castle and review of the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction
  • Wizarding World merchandise photos, list, and prices
  • John Williams conducts orchestra at Wizarding World celebrity event
  • Actor Warwick Davis conducts Hogwarts Frog Choir
  • Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and other Harry Potter film stars help open the Wizarding World
  • And much more
  • (Top photo by @LilLauren99)

    68 Comments

    1. Peter

      Very good article. I can’t believe the line is 8 hours long. Glad I’m not there 😉

    2. rodrigo

      question…when they let you in the wizarding world park..can you stay there as long as you want? i mean they are let people in in smaller groups. But if someone want to stay the day there at the stores, repeating the rides, can you do it?….also if you finish the visit to harry potter park and go to other areas (say spiderman) and want to come back to the potter parn, do you need to make the line again?

      I mean, i imagine a lot of people will want to spend more than just 2 hours at the potter park. What will they do if everybody want to stay at the park? can they put a limit in the time you spend at the park?

      RO.

      1. Elizabeth

        I just got back from the Wizarding World. We got there at 5:30 am. We were the first group into the park. Waited 4 hours.

        When we were there no one was required to leave after a certain amount of time. If you leave you will have to get back into line which was wrapped through the park today.

      2. Ricky Brigante

        On a normal day, anyone will be able to spend as much time as they want in the Wizarding World and there will be no line to get in. Today was not a normal day – it was grand opening day. After this weekend, there likely won’t be a line to enter that area of the park.

        1. Kristyn

          Just went to the park yesterday…the Monday after the grand opening. Still a huge line wrapping all over the park to get in, and wait times for the forbidden journey around 2 hours.

    3. rodrigo

      i saw at the opening video that there was something falling from the sky, look like snow, or something similar….will this effect be at the park all the time? or it was only for the inauguration?

      1. Elizabeth

        They did confetti and fireworks this morning. It was just for the opening. Not a constant thing.

    4. unknowingbee

      I was there and it was horrible. We stood in line to get into the park for three hours and did not move but 10 feet. We ended up just leaving at noon. It was just aweful. They didn’t communicate anything to anyone. No one knew why we were just standing there. I assumed it was because they had reached capacity and now I see that that was correct. They were still taking peoples hard earned money and letting them walk on in just to find the end of very long.

      1. Elizabeth

        I just got back as well. The line was absolutely ridiculous. I felt bad for the people who were wrapped through the park as we were walking out. They kept asking us questions. They had no idea how long they were going to be in line or what was going on. I’m disappointed in Universal. Their lack of communication was ridiculous.

    5. Courtney

      I knew today would be absolutely crazy, so I watched the festivities from City Walk. I don’t understand why everyone rushed today? The soft opening was open for a while before…..

    6. PaulDaz

      We were there same time as alot of other folks and only after a few moments we knew it was the wrong day to come ,
      But that’s ok cos we had the rest of the park almost to ourselves, anyone with some common sense could have worked out it was the wrong day to go there but they still kept pouring in like lemmings , just typical

    7. Tom

      I can understand frustration but come on people, you have to be ridiculous to think you could just waltz right in on opening day. If you’re a diehard fan that wants to be there you would know that the park has had soft-openings for several weeks now. If you were watching the news at all you would have known that the crowds were huge by 7am. If you weren’t in line by then, you shouldn’t have left home. If you traveled a long distance, you should have went back to your hotel and waited for tomorrow or have shown up earlier. It was publicized that the garages would open at 5:30am which means Universal was expecting a large crowd. If you wanted to be in that large crowd, then you have no room to complain.

      And to “unknowingbee”. If they’re taking your money, you must’ve already waited hours in line in Citywalk to get to the gates to buy a ticket, therefore you already knew that there would be long lines.

      If you ask questions, you’ll get answers. When I went during the soft-opening, before I went in I asked, “Will Potter be open today?” and was told that it may be open for a bit but it isn’t guaranteed. I’m sure if you asked, “How long is the wait?” or better yet, “What are we in line for?” somebody could’ve answered it.

      1. Ricky Brigante

        I think everyone expected today to be crazy, and it was. What I wonder is if there is a way Universal could have made today a little more pleasant for everyone. They could have brought the Hogwarts Frog Choir out to entertain the waiting crowd. Or they could have sold Butterbeer down the line. Or, in advance of today, they could have sold day and/or time specific tickets to show up. That way thousands of people would not have all arrived at the same time. Or rather than selling such tickets, they could have handed out timed entry passes to everyone in line after scanning/verifying their tickets. That would allow the crowds to have fun in the rest of the park until it was their time to enter the Wizarding World. Any of these options, and plenty more, would have helped reduce the stress level.

        Of course, if it was Universal’s intention to attract attention by having a giant line of people, then they got what they wanted. It was certainly a spectacle to be remembered.

        1. Tom

          I don’t think Universal or anybody could have predicted the numbers that showed up on Friday. There was just no way to, unless most of the guests had pre-purchased their tickets prior to arrival. There has never been an opening of an attraction that has drawn this many people on opening day whether it be at Universal, Disney or any other park. However, if they had knowledge of the numbers (based on presales) then I’d blame them for not doing a better job, but from what I could tell it caught them off-guard.

          I do know that they had water and small breakfast/lunch that they were HANDING out to people free of charge, but those went quickly. I think the issue with selling butterbeer is that they don’t have a cart that can be wheeled around selling it. Now, they could very well have sold Pumpkin Juice in line since it’s individually bottled, however there could be a contract about how it can’t leave the Potter area or something as well. (Same with performers)

          The only thing I agree with them doing would be a “fast pass” like system that you had mentioned, where they hand out a specific time to return (like 15min apart for every 200 people or something) so that those people in line could enjoy the other parts of the park.

          Maybe they should have turned people away saying it would be crazy for them to wait, but then we’d all be writing opinions about that now wouldn’t we?

          As for marketing giving it a grand opneing date, if they didn’t we would complain about how this opening was a surprise or something. Or how we never knew when it’d be officially open because everything just says, “Summer 2010″ or something like that. They had to put a date on it, it’s just insane that everyone decided to show up on that day.

          Yes it was a mess, but do I put ALL the blame on Universal? No. I blame the people who didn’t have common sense and just kept getting in the line. If you only planned to come on one-day, you definitely came on the WRONG day. From what I gathered reading stories and tweets, those who showed up early, and were anticipating a wait, were only upset they didn’t get to see the opening gala, however they really enjoyed the land and can’t wait to go back.

        2. Phil Bagley

          Hi Ricky.
          Just wanted to say that they should have hired you for the grand opening. I was one of the fools that spent 8 hours in the line to get in. Your idea would have been the answer to a lot of sun burnt fed up people. I only want because my wife is a die hard fan and she wanted to see the “Grand Opening” We did not even know it had opened till the fireworks went off. Then it was not for another 6 hours till we got to see the park. We where lucky in way as we where lined up with a few american families who where really nice and we had quite a good time chatting with them while we waited.

          1. Ricky Brigante

            It’s unfortunate that hardly anyone got to see the opening moment. I still think they should have done it outside of the park where more people could have had a chance to witness it. I’m glad you met some nice people and finally got in though. There were a lot worse stories than yours! :)

    8. Scott

      There’s a point where I would have said “you know what, it’s just one new ride and a few shops that will be here for years…I’ll pass on today.” That point would have been about 3 seconds after looking at the line.

      Now, if I could have gotten into the rest of the park, with no entry line, and no lines at any rides… SCORE! But if this was just to get into the park, I think I would have made a bee-line for a Disney park, or the mall, or gone home and stared at a blank wall. Anything would have been a better option than standing in that madness.

      1. Ricky Brigante

        But remember that some people can’t afford to come back. This may have been their one vacation to Orlando that they have saved for months, maybe years, to afford. I’m sure if they had been told in advance that they’d be waiting in a 7 hour line, they would have rescheduled their trip for another time.

        Those who can come often can shrug today off and come back later. But not everyone has that luxury.

        1. deee

          If anyone saved for months or years to come on this one particular day and wasn’t able to stay until tomorrow, and didn’t wake up at 6 AM and get in line as a friend of mine did – she got into the WWoHP by noon – then I feel bad for them, because they didn’t make that last bit of effort to be up early and be in the line. People were still getting into the line at two and three in the afternoon, and then complaining that they didn’t get in – but they were, I have to say, fools for getting onto the line in the first place.

    9. Ross

      I am not happy with Universal as a whole. My last experiance there we paid full price or a ticket and got there at open. They “scatter” open rides at different times so we had to walk the park twice to get what we wanted. Park opened at 9 and some ET didnt open till 11:30…mind you the park closed at 6pm that day.

      Then I lost my phone on rip rocket (my fault yes) i put a claim into lost and found and they explianed that they wait till the ride is clear and search at closing..I called every morning for 4 days..on my last day I was perparing to go home and I get a call from security at the Orlando Marriot they said they had my phone. I asked how they got it and they said 4 days ago (the day I lost it) they had a huge convention go to the park and lose items on the ride…Universal said there was so much stuff they just gave the group leader EVERYTHING including my phone with all my personal information. In addtion my sim card was taken from it. We had to speak to and I am not exaggerating 8 people till someone actually took care of us..(free tickets)this IS NOT Disney by a long shot.

      1. Ricky Brigante

        Let’s not turn this article into an open forum for Universal bashing. That’s not its intent.

        I too lost a phone at Universal. It slipped out of my pocket while riding Dueling Dragons (now Dragon Challenge). I tried getting it back via their Lost & Found but ended up with nothing. But I’m not upset about it. I shouldn’t have had it in my pocket in the first place.

    10. jpokojny

      The real problem is the marketing. I live in New Jersey and all of the commercials and news shows keep referring to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter as a theme park and not a small addition to one land inside of Islands of Advenure.

      1. Ricky Brigante

        I agree. The campaign begin by calling it a “theme park within a theme park” but they dropped that after a while. Since then, they have very rarely mentioned “Islands of Adventure.” As a result, even major news organizations have referred to it as a “new Harry Potter theme park,” which certainly hasn’t helped the perception of what it really is.

    11. Sarah

      We got to the park by 6:30 AM and were in line by 7:00. By the time we got in the Harry Potter area, it was about 11 AM. To be honest, we expected that much — what we weren’t pleased with were the groups of people who waltzed along beside the line as though just passing it by, only to insinuate themselves within it pretending they were there the whole time. When you’ve been in line for four hours, you know your neighbors, and the staff were encouraging the people in line to call out the cutters and notify someone if they wouldn’t leave.

      People jumping ahead in line is not usually something worth getting het up about, but we got up at 3 AM just to make it to the park when we did, not to mention the hours standing in the heat; it was certainly not appreciated when late-comers decided they could take advantage of our punctuality.

      1. Ricky Brigante

        I’d imagine it was pretty tough for them to spot line jumpers with a line as long as today’s was. Did you bring it to Universal’s attention as requested? If so, did they remove anyone from line?

      2. leon

        We got to the park at 6:30am on opening day but was put in a holding area just before the gate. At 7am they let us move up to the gate but would not let us in unitl it opened at 9am. Meanwhile we see a lot of people being let in for some reason or another. You might be one of them and thats why you got to Harry Potter by 11am. No fair. By the time they let us in at 9 the line was already under the Hulk roller coaster. We got to the WWOHP at almost 2PM and had several arguments with people along the way who thought we jumped the line.

    12. I survived the closing. I went during the evening and got to IOA around 7:00 P.M. after surveying everyone in line I joined it around 8 when it ended around the entrance for Jurassic park river adventure, earlier it was out near Dudley.

      Once inside near 9:30 most attractions were still open and caught a performance of the spirit rally. There were obvious lines for the stores especially once the rides closed for the night (around 10:30?). The area remained open till Midnight when they requested the hundred or so of us to please leave so they can prepare for the next day.

    13. Kelley

      I was there yesterday as well. it was my best friends 25th birthday. We did not expect this many people at all. We got too Universal at 845 and stood in line for two hours just to get into the park. No one knew what was going on at all. there were two lines to get into the park. The regular entrance for IOA and then the one to Universal. The line was wrapped around the globe. Once we got in the line started at the hulk.. no one knew what was going on. Not enough employees were here to help or handle crowd control. We were wrapped in lines snaking up and down the park. it took us 5 hours from the time we got in to just reach harry potter then we had another 2 hour wait for the ride. The ride kept breaking down. it was annoying. Weather looked like it was going to thunder and lighting but it just sprinkled. The lines for food was redci. Not enough help, food or drinks. It was crazy!!! They should have limited the amount of tix sold. They said about 100,000 people showed up. not sure of that true i would love to find out how many. i feel by 8pm the lines died down and everyone got to go in. Once inside the lines to the shops and even butter beer were 1-3 hours long!!! it was worth the wait and it was fun. Thank god im an annual pass holder and can enjoy it everytime i go:) They should have spoken to DW about crowed control since DW knows best!

    14. Teena Adkins

      I was there, we were in line for 7 hours before we got into the Potter area. While some may complain me and my husband both agree it was totally worth it. While we didn’t get to see everything in the area (the line for honeydukes was 2 hours and Olivanders was 3) what we did was uttly amazing. And the new ride is beyond belief. We plan on going back early next year.

    15. Katie

      I have a hard time feeling bad for anyone, even the people who flew in and may have been saving up for a long time. It was the OPENING DAY TO ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED THEME PARK ADDITIONS IN RECENT HISTORY. Harry Potter is loved by BILLIONS OF PEOPLE WORLDWIDE. How could anyone not have realized it was going to be absolutely, freaking crazy inside Universal that day? I mean, seriously. Given that many of the celebrities were also making a brief appearance, it should have been obvious that it wasn’t a great day to go and be able to actually, y’know, MOVE AROUND the park.

      Maybe Universal didn’t handle it well, but frankly, I don’t get why some people were so outraged. Everyone knew well in advance how Universal was advertising this. It was THE day to go. And wow, what do you know? A lot of people did go. Shooooocking.

    16. Emma

      I am so amazed by the pictures of that queue!!! there really are some big HP fans to stand there for 7 hours +

      Agree that the marketing has not been helpful.. even over here in England, GMTV and BBC news are reporting about the ‘Harry Potter theme park’ 😛

    17. JKDuncan

      We went to the Grand Opening, getting there at 5:30am. We were let into the Wizarding World section at 9:30am, and were able to see the celebs riding the Flight of the Hippogriff. There were short lines for the food, drinks, and Forbidden Journey ride, and no line for the two coasters. We left by 1pm, and by then the lines for everything within the Wizarding World were getting really long.

      This was actually our third time into the Wizarding World. We went one morning to IOA and they let us in the Wizarding World for about 4 hours, and there were no waiting times for anything. Then we went to Universal for the Train concert and decided to see if the Wizarding World was open first. That was around 6pm on the 12th. They let us in and we had dinner at the Three Broomsticks before the concert.

      We knew it would be crazy at the Grand Opening and only went in hopes of seeing the celebs. We were given a different answer every time we asked a staff member what was going on. No one seemed to know when we would be let into the Wizarding World. We were told it wouldn’t be at least until 11am, but then were luckily let in at 9:30am. When we heard that the line was insanely long, we went ahead and left to give others a chance to get in. I don’t think that people should complain though because people were given plenty of chances to go into the park the last couple of weeks and everyone knows that grand openings are crazy, hectic, and super crowded. I was, however, disappointed not to see more of the celebs.

      1. Ricky Brigante

        You had the right idea by going to those early openings. :) But you knew of the soft openings likely by reading about them online. Not everyone pays that much attention to theme park happenings. I’m sure many of the people who showed up yesterday saw the many TV commercials that said June 18 was the grand opening and didn’t think there was any chance of getting in before then.

    18. Wild Ol' Dan

      Howdy Pards,

      The lines yesterday clearly indicate the hunger and thirst we all have to escape the commonplace…and it indicates the extent of the love people have for the World of Harry Potter. We need to remember too that a good many people showed up yesterday because that is when so many of the stars from the films were in the park.
      There are lessons to be learned here…and ideas to be sparked. Wouldn’t it be great, for instance, if Universal started showcasing one or two of the Film Stars each week? Here’s a way for all of us to express our appreciation for the wonderful legacy they have created. Imagine Lucius Malfoy week…Professor Snape week…Moaning Myrtle week.
      Mr. & Mrs. Weasley week? Meet and greets…press conferences…special ceremonies… surprises all could be built in each week’s highlighted star(s). When the stars led those first grader’s down the street of Hogsmeade yesterday…and actually rode one of the coasters with them…that had to be truly a dream come true for those kids. It was indeed magical. And that opening night ceremony a few days back with the special lights, Frog Chior concert, musical concert and fireworks…
      what if…at special times throughout the year magic like that could happen again? There are so many wonderful possibilities…
      Yes. Huge crowds showed up yesterday. Imagine that? More than a few people have read the books and seen the movies ya know? The love for
      Harry’s world is about as real as anything could possibly get. And they say that Butter Beer is really, really good.
      Adios for now. Talk to ya on down the trail.
      Wild Ol’ Dan
      (P.S. I know that not all us rabid Disney fans are old enough to remember “Black Sunday” back in the year 1955… Huge crowds, lots of problems, very long lines…on that day when Walt Disney’s Disneyland was born. Some vowed on that day never to return! But they did…again…and again…and again for nearly 55 years now and counting.)

      1. Ricky Brigante

        I think special events in the Wizarding World would be a great idea. But I doubt too many will happen. It’s tough to get celebrities to appear, especially those who reside in other countries. I do think elements of the opening night ceremony should be incorporated into daily/nightly activities.

    19. Brennyn

      Hello. My friends and I are going to the park on Friday, July 2nd. Do you think by that time the crowds will have quieted down a bit even though it is the weekend of 4th of July? I really don’t want to wait 5 hours!

      1. Ricky Brigante

        That weekend is always one of the busiest of the year at all of Orlando’s theme parks. Add to that the Wizarding World excitement and I have a feeling it will be VERY busy there. 5 hour waits to get in? Maybe not. But you can definitely expect it to be a very crowded park in general.

    20. Ashley

      I’m going there the 27th…any chance of it being a bit better?

      1. CCole2688

        I may be going Monday, but heard they are running out of supplies.

      2. Ricky Brigante

        I think you’ll find that to be a good time to go. It’s far enough away from yesterday’s grand opening to allow the first set of visitors to go home, but not close enough for the July 4th crowds to arrive yet. But it is summer and theme parks are always crowded during these months.

    21. RJB

      We stayed at the Portofino Bay and we were very disappointed in what we were sold, told and the lack of coordination and communication between the hotel and park. We were at the entrance for the early opening for hotel guests. One minute we were at the front and moving to the next area then suddenly found out that they let up to 5 thousand people in line ahead of us was very sad.

      Do not get me wrong I did like HP world and if I planned to wait in line for 7 hours I would not have paid for these hotels I would have stayed elsewhere and come to the park to be let in before the preferred hotel guests.

      All in all we trudged through the lines. Told by one of the crowd control persons that they worked in finance and were told that morning to come help. They had no clue what they were doing, she said no training and of course no answers.

      I thought it was very strange that as they let us in none of the bags were checked. They were lucky there was no riot or serious incident. I am surprised a regulatory agency does not have oversight, if one does they should be fires for allowing the park to operate the way they did. No marked lines, no serious crowd control or security, nothing to limit heat stroke or take care of the well being of the customers in line. The fans were not even on. This was clearly unprepared and very unprofessional.

      On to the castle, As I explained to my family, I do not think they were counting or controlling the crowd going into the world. What it appeared was about every 10-15 minutes they let another wave of a couple of hundred in the park. This hit home as we finally made it to the castle and saw the cramped space. Every store was packed, the walking spaces were packed.

      On to the good. My daughter and I made it to the dueling dragons, only a 5 minute wait. At this point I was pretty much done, I had seen the world and the village but the heat, hunger and the sheer crowd were taking their toll. We made it into Zonko’s thought it was to crowded to really move. What we saw for merchandise was impressive. Many of the stores seemed like they were just to small, though the appearance and feel as you walk through the gates was awesome.

      I was ready to leave but was over ruled for an attempt to go to the castle. As this was the only new ride, we were aware of, and it was the castle I expected the walk and wait would be unbearable. When we got to the castle the sign said 60 minute wait, I am not sure they have any clue about the wait time or even changed the sign. The line moved really quickly and as we made our way through the castle some of the steam of the issues and problems from the day began to leave us as we were finally beginning to be amazed. We loved the castle, the effects, the whole aura. Within 30 minutes, yes the line moves very quickly, we were on the ride. I cannot say enough good about the castle and the ride so I will simply say when it is time go and enjoy.

      With a framed marauders map from my daughter in hand we started to leave the park, surprisingly content and happy. As we settled down for dinner we discussed the days events, the lines, the wait, the castle. We all agreed that though doing a 7 hour wait was not our choice or plan we were very happy we did it in the end and are all looking forward to seeing the park again, though hopefully it is a little less crowded next time.

    22. Jen

      I was one of the people that lined up at 12:30.
      There were like 10 people there and they kicked us out at 1:30.
      That was so bulls***!
      Because we were one of the first people there!
      I was so disappointed with how they did everything.
      They did keep everyone safe, which was good.
      But annual passholders didn’t get s***.
      And it wasn’t fair that “VIP” people got to be apart of something earlier in the day, when they did stuff for them the past two nights.
      What was the point of the actors being there if we couldn’t even get near them?

      1. BECKY

        for the safety of guests, employees and so they can clean and get ready, did you REALLY expect them to let people stay overnight in line? not to mention that people would have probably arrived the previous day, done a park, stayed and got in again the next day even though they only paid for parking once. it was well known that they were opening the parking garages at 5:30am which means that they were closing it at some point. and even if you didn’t know about the opening time, there are still hours posted for parking garage closing, and city walk closing. did you call universal and ask if they were allowing people to camp out? how is it bulls*** that you assumed wrongly? i do agree with you on one point, and that’s that they should have done a passholder night or something. but even that may be something to come.

      2. Ricky Brigante

        I agree that more could and/or should have been done for annual passholders and longtime fans of the Universal Orlando Resort. Given that there were a couple of weeks of soft openings for hotel guests (and some lucky park day guests), there was certainly an opportunity for at least a sign-up period with a limited number of annual passholders allowed in each day or night. That would have avoided a mass rush of people but would have also given regulars the opportunity to enjoy it first.

        Likewise, it definitely struck me as strange that the “public grand opening” on the morning of June 18 was not held for the public to see. I can understand not wanting thousands of people all trying to rush to the Wizarding World entrance, as there isn’t much room there, but they certainly could have had a special opening moment somewhere outside of the park, possibly on one of CityWalk’s large stages.

    23. Scott

      I have one question that I may be missing and / or haven’t seen talked about yet. What were the lines in the rest of the park like? I mean, could I have gone on Spiderman 35 times in a row with no wait? Could I have ridden the Mummy all day with no delay?

      Or was everything just as backed up as WWOHP?

      1. Dana

        Line @ Spiderman @ approximately 2pm on the opening day was 85 minutes on the sign. There were tons of people in line for WWOHP, and many that abandoned the effort when seeing the line wrap around the park 4 people thick. The park itself was crowded. Line for water at some of the booths was at times 20-30 minutes.

    24. Jonas

      So how was the lines Saturday? Better?
      Cant find any information. Going on Tuesday, and I want to know when to get there… Cant even find when the parking garage opens on tuesday on Universals site….

      1. Dominique

        We’re going to the park Wednesday; If you hear any information let me know, please!

        We sorta plan on arriveing to the park roughly at 8:00a.m. the park it self opens at 9:00a.m.

        1. Ricky Brigante

          It seems that right now arriving at noon will get you into the area just as fast as arriving at 9 a.m. The crowds are still very heavy in the morning but as the day goes on, everyone disburses and eventually there are no longer lines to get into the Wizarding World area. By nightfall, crowds thin and the lines are much, much smaller.

    25. Dominique

      I’m going to Florida, Tuesday [22nd] and going to Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Wednesday.
      If anyone goes Sunday, Mon., or Tues let me know how the crowd and lines are!

    26. Scott

      I’ve seen a tweet or two go by saying that getting into the area has not been an issue today, but the lines inside the area are long.

    27. charlie

      We unfortunately booked our trip to Orlando at the beginning of February when they were still advertising the opening for spring (March), therefore we were really annoyed that the only day we could go to the park was the opening day. We arrived at 8am but we didn’t get into the park until after 10am and the queue for the harry potter park was already right to the entrance of the park. We joined the queue but after standing in line for 7 hours admitted defeat and left the park – luckily we got a refund as otherwise that would have been a very expensive waste of one of our holiday days!!

      Universal could quite clearly imagine the numbers that would arrive as just look at the books and films – they oversold the park to make headlines and sacrificed health and safety and the customers enjoyment.

      They also made us queue for hours to get in and then opened up another entrance allowing people who had not waited for hours the chance to get in ahead! A lot of booing and swearing ensued and people were collapsing due to heat exhaustion – the queue for the medics was almost as long as the one for the rides!

      I will be returning to Islands of adventure, but I am really disappointed that 5 years of planning resulted in something that a toddler could have organised better!

      1. BECKY

        WOW you got a refund? you’re lucky. first of all, they didn’t “oversell” the park. you have to take into account passholders who universal has no idea when they are going to come into the park. and i could be wrong, just because you purchased a one day pass, it’s not date specific. so they can only estimate how many people are going to attend. they let so many in because the park was not at it’s capacity. wwohp was, therefore why they were letting people in, in waves. but the rest of the park was not at capacity so they had every right to let more people in. when you buy a pass, it allows you to use the whole park. there is no seperate ticket to wwohp. therefore i think it’s very generous of universal to give people refunds even though they had every chance to use the tickets for other attractions. for those who were collapsing of heat exhaustion, that’s their own fault. if they were with other people, they could have left the line to get water or cool off. there were no rules against taking turns leaving with other members of your party waiting. thus you could have ridden other attractions in the 7 hour wait. if you went alone, you should have prepared better and brought your own water, or made friends with your neighbors and have them save your spot. as for this being the ONLY day you could go, that’s your fault too. you made an assumption of when the park would be opened. the ONLY legitimate complaint i’ve seen is of the hotel guest who said they let non hotel guests in first. that also raises some questions. were you in the right line? did you “ask” if you were in the right line? did you show up the extra hour early? or did you show up at the time that they were letting regular guests in and expect to be allowed in early. did you check with the hotel to find out when early entry for hotel guests would be? the only way that i see anyone having any right to complain is if they paid for the harry potter package for that day and were not allowed in early after showing up at their designated time. as for not being able to get close to the actors…. does anyone else think that it’s ridiculous that people actually expected to be able to meet the actors? thousands of people to meet the young actors sounds a little crazy to me. it would be unsafe as people would be rushing even more and stampeding to meet them. think of the safety concerns. i do understand though that it was a little unfair to let media in after having two events plus many previews. this was supposed to be a “public” opening. media should have been left at a minimum. but other than that, everyone who’s complaining, i see no fault on universal’s part. i’m sure this is the unpopular opinion but oh well. and for those who are wondering, i did not go since i had the priveledge of going the week before. but i expected the crowds to be crazy and planned accordingly.

        1. Dana

          @ Becky – just curious if you were there? I agree with you on many of your topics, but I disagree with you not seeing any other faults with Universal, which leads me to believe you weren’t there.
          I agree – no estimate available regarding the tickets, just no way to know.
          I partially agree with the refund. I don’t think the word “generous” is apt. Depending on when the person asked for the refund – 2 scenarios I could see a refund for: You get through the gates waiting the hour & a half see the huge line & hear of 8 hour wait times just to get to WWOHP, you go wait in the hour long line for guest services – you get your money back. If you got in line for WWHOP and waited your 8 hours in line and then they turned you away b/c the park had to close – you get your money back or free ticket to come back if applicable.
          I do not agree with your heat exhaustion issue. I live in FL, I know this heat, and come prepared. Many of the people that came to opening day were tourists, not knowing what the FL sun will do to you in a very short time. (For example: Mid-western sun is just not the same). Sure, I expected lines, but I also expected to BUY water. Doesn’t matter if bringing it was cheaper. I didn’t want to carry a bag amongst all those people. When we were waiting to get into IOA for an hour and a half packed like sardines, there was no water, there was no leaving the line to go get water from Cinnabun, as if you left the line you could not get back to where ever your family was. Think rock concert in the middle of the sweltering sun, and you are trying to get to the stage. Not available. This is the time where all the people were passing out, where people were asking neighbors for water to help a stranger so she didn’t pass out. The guy tried to help but the people in-between the water and the lady wouldn’t pass the water forward, they shouted, “Why don’t you go back there and get it yourself?” to a tourist that barely spoke english that was just trying to help.
          Now I’m all for accountability – lady about to pass out needs to get out of the crowd & make the decision to come back another day cause she just can’t take it, but I also understand the pressures of trying to stick it out; family, transportation, vacation limitations.
          The fault of Universal here is lack of communication and execution. They easily could have had people in City Walk selling water. The airbrush kiosk was open, and they were not doing any business. Bring them a pallet of water, and make some money. Once inside the park, I did leave the line to buy water, I waited almost 30 minutes in that line. Unacceptable in Florida’s heat, and while tourists don’t necessarily know how to prepare, Universal certainly did. I will be surprised if a legal issue didn’t arise because of the lack of available hydration causing medical issues. At some point, someone higher up would have been able to view the staggering amount of people on their property smashed together and know they needed more resources. Good management would have identified a safety issue quickly and addressed the issue appropriately. This was not the operation of effective management.
          The accusatory questions regarding the people’s expectations entering the park also leads me to believe you weren’t there. NO one seemed to know what they were doing. They were not prepared for this crowd, bottom line. The communication to the masses was nonexistent, and the time frames employees on the front line were providing were inaccurate. The signage regarding the event was even incorrect.
          All that being said, most people I ran into (besides the jerks that wouldn’t pass the H2O) were pleasant and friendly despite the lines and the heat. Most people said all the waiting was well worth it. I, however, was so exhausted of the waiting once we got into the WWOHP park didn’t have the energy to wait another hour or so for Butterbeer. Lucky me, I have a pass… It’s all about expectations, unfortunately without clear communication, expectations can get a bit skewed, causing confusion and anger. Universal should take accountability for that. Now that opening day is over I hope they have corrected their opportunities, and made a much smoother experience for the crowds that seem to continue to arrive.
          The day was an enormous success for Universal, were their opportunities, yes. Will the company get better about the issues?
          “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.

          1. Ricky Brigante

            Thanks for the insight into the opening day’s activities. It seems that many echo your thoughts that Universal wasn’t necessarily doing everything they could to ensure the comfort of each one of the thousands in line, but at the same time everyone who showed up likely should or could have been more prepared. The hot Florida affects people differently. Some can handle it. Others pass out. Others just get really, really agitated. Unfortunately, it’s the latter that ruins situations like this when the two former types of people are just trying to get by. When there are many thousands of people all waiting with no control over the situation, some bad feelings are inevitable, regardless of how well Universal did or did not handle the situation.

            It’s good to hear that refunds are being given out on a case-by-case basis and that’s really all Universal can offer.

            With all that said, I still believe that Universal could have done more to cut down the line by offering some kind of pass with a return time – but that would have reduced their “wow” factor in the eyes of everyone watching from afar. After all, if you’re sitting at home and you see that thousands of people are lining up for hours, you’ll likely think that it must be pretty amazing… and then you might book a trip. And more business is Universal’s end goal.

    28. matt

      I too am curious about the actual opening time of the parking garage. I’m going next monday but can’t find anywhere what time the garage opens. Good luck to all. Sounds like were gonna need it!

      1. Im planing to go to island of adventure on tuesday of this week but i wasnt planing on doing the whole harry potter thing. So i just wanted to know if i to will get cuaght up in huge lines to get in the park and for other rides and attractions.

        1. Ricky Brigante

          There are still regular summertime crowds, so you can expect many lines to be long. You can always check Islands of Adventure’s wait times here:
          http://66.77.171.132/MobileWeb/IOA_WaitTimes.aspx

        2. Dana

          I did go again yesterday, but I took the advice of someone posting here! I had a GREAT time! We arrived @ 2:30pm & there was NO line to get into the WWOHP part. The line for the Castle said 120 minutes, but we made it into the castle within 60 minutes. (There were a few times the announcement came on that said the ride was down for maintenance.) There was a 10-20 minute wait for the other 2 coasters. The line into the owl post was about 60 minutes, the 3 broomsticks for dinner was also 40 minutes. (They were offering people to skip the line if you wanted to eat outside on the patio.) We got our butterbeer with dinner, and for my refill I got to skip the line. The line into Zonko’s was only about 10 minutes, but this about 30 minutes before park closing. We were able to do everything we wanted to, I will be back to ride through the castle again! It was fantastic, and you really feel like you are in the movie if you immerse yourself! They have sold out of some of the merchandise, but we will be back for it later once they restock! They have also added more water kiosks throughout the park, so Universal has learned a bit from opening day. If you notice the water sold in WWOHP is sold in ML instead of ounces! Very nice attention to detail!

      2. Ricky Brigante

        I believe the Universal Orlando parking garages normally open at 7:30 a.m.

    29. oh and im also not sure at what time i should get to the park
      if anyone has any information please tell me thanx

    30. Valerie

      What about the persons who have the Express Pass Ticket, will it be possible for them for not making too much line? There are attractions in Harry Potter that are included on this Express Pass Ticket.

      1. Ricky Brigante

        I’m not sure about the current availability of Express access. There is a single rider line that enables you to skip the majority of the queue and they have allowed space for an Express line within the Forbidden Journey ride.

    31. Leah

      I am from Minnesota and we went to the Harry Potter theme park on Sunday morning. We waited in line about 2 hours and they gave us a red ticket that you had to have to get in. When we were there it was crowed that was expected. I am a huge Harry Potter fan and was sort of disapoited by the theme park. I did not want to go on any of the rides but to get into the castal you had to wait in line even if you did not want to go on the ride. They should of had 2 different ways to get into the castal. There was snow on everything which was not the main part of the movie. There were also tones of other stuff but it is to long to list.

    32. I think the actual opening was fabulous. My only concern is meeting expectations with some guests thinking this was going to be a full blown theme park. As an attraction, everyone should be satisfied with the results of physical product.

    33. June Meredith

      I was there on the opening day!! What a crazy day! Unfortunately, Universal Studio didn’t plan this well. People were very hot in the sun with no water or food. We can’t step out of the line to get anything unless you have more then one person in your party. Cause once you leave the line, they won’t let you back on….. waited for 9 long hours before we get to see Hogsmead.

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