Today marks the grand opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a $250 million mini-theme park tucked into Universal Orlando Resort, and at least one actual British person, Tom Leonard of the Telegraph, was on hand to shake his head at the daftness of it all. He does admit that, “while it has failed dismally to recreate the British weather,” the engineers concocted a fantastic Hogsmeade knockoff, fake snow and all.
Indeed, there’s so much loving detail here that “it is more an exhibit than a conventional theme park.” The only new ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, is a fantastic special-effects extravaganza, “but unfortunately it is the sequel to Harry Potter and the Queue of Fire.” Employees privately confess they expect 5-hour lines for the 5-minute ride. “For Potter fans who have persevered through 4,224 pages, this may be a cinch. Just leave the wool robes at home.”