Hogwarts Castle image

Employees at Universal Orlando were able to test drive the Wizarding World of Harry Potter's Forbidden Journey attraction yesterday, but technical problems may have dashed hopes of an imminent public soft opening.

Universal staff received an e-mail asking them to help with testing of the Wizarding World's headline attraction, which began last night. However, the ride is understood to have operated for just minutes before technical problems led to its closure. This makes a soft opening today doubtful - despite the arrival of the first visitors to have booked Universal's Harry Potter vacation packages.

According to Screamscape, those who have booked the packages will still be able to enter the Wizarding World for their exclusive breakfast at the Three Broomsticks restaurant. It is possible that Universal will seek to open the Forbidden Journey attraction to allow package guests to experience it - but the technical problems seen yesterday may put paid to this plan.

The official grand opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter will take place on June 18. It is likely that several soft opening periods will take place between now and that date - although attendees should be aware that technical problems and ride shutdowns are common occurrences during such "technical rehearsals".

Typically, Universal would complete several hours of successful testing with employees before any "soft opening" to the public, as occurred ahead of the Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit rollercoaster's soft opening at Universal Studios Florida last year. This means it is very unlikely that the Wizarding World will open to members of the general public until such testing has been completed - potentially ruling out today (Friday) as a soft opening date.

The Orlando Attractions Magazine published an account yesterday from a reader who claimed to have been among the few Universal employees who completed the ride circuit. However, the reader later contacted the magazine to claim the story was a hoax. Although the account matches known facts about the plot of the Forbidden Journey, it would have been fairly easy to construct using public information released to date and its authenticity was doubtful even prior to the retraction.

Full details of the attractions, restaurants and shops that will form part of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter can be found in TPT's recent news story.

Are you heading to Islands of Adventure in hope of being on hand for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter's soft opening? Are you a Universal employee who was present last night? Get in touch via the comments section below or confidentially via e-mail.

You can keep up to date with the latest confirmed and rumored opening dates for new attractions through Theme Park Tourist's "New Attraction Watch" section, and by signing up for our weekly newsletter.


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