Inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Theme Park Opening

Get a sneak peak at the world built from pages of the beloved books and movies.

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Potter fans, rejoice! The much anticipated Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park opened today in Orlando. A scene from one of the rides shows the boy wizard himself, played by Daniel Radcliffe, flying high above Hogwarts.
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The park kicked off its grand opening celebration on Wednesday with help from "Harry Potter" film stars. Hundreds of people gathered in front of Hogwarts castle for a spectacular display of fireworks choreographed to a special performance of music from the "Harry Potter" films conducted live by renowned composer John Williams.
Daniel Radcliffe (right) and other stars including Rupert Grint (left) from the Harry Potter movies greeted visitors Friday at the official grand opening of Universal Orlando's new minipark.
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Radcliffe told the crowd that he and his co-stars were "all very, very, very excited to be here today. It really is incredible. What Universal Orlando has done with Harry Potter is really, really fantastic. We're all kind of very grateful that the next part of the Harry Potter legacy has been so well-done and so well-made. You're going to have an amazing time, I'm sure."
Thousands of people streamed into Universal for the park's opening day. The 20-acre park brings the Harry Potter books and movies to life with detailed reproductions of the fictitious village of Hogsmeade, the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and the steam-belching Hogwarts Express train.
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Towering over the whole park is Hogwarts, a perfect reproduction of the imposing, many-spired castle where Harry and his magician friends are students.
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Portraits line the walls of Hogwarts castle, the home of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey - the marquee attraction of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. When passing through the Portrait gallery, guests will encounter several magical talking portraits created exclusively for the park, including the four Hogwarts founders.
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The castle features classrooms easily recognizable by fans of the movies and books.
Visitors can also stroll the streets of the wizard village of Hogsmeade, complete with snowcapped, dingy rooftops and storefronts packed like row houses with shops straight from the books and movies.
And, yes, there's butterbeer! Universal worked with Potter author J.K. Rowling to perfect the recipe for fictitious (until now) drink.
The result is a sweet, thickheaded (and nonalcoholic) cream soda-like concoction, which has already proven wildly popular with the fans who bought special tickets to the park's preview.
Park guests Jillian Woodworth and Steven Hopke try out Butterbeer at the grand opening. Butterbeer mustaches will be spotted all over the park.
A clerk, right, at Ollivander's Wand Shop helps visitors pick out a magic wand.
Members of the Hogwarts Choir, holding giant toads, sing for guests.
As guests enter Hogsmeade, they will be greeted by the iconic, smoke-billowing steam engine, the Hogwarts Express, as arrives at Hogsmeade Station.
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Honeydukes sweets shop offers guests a taste of the famous Chocolate Frogs along with Candyfloss, Pepper Imps and Sugar Quills. Visitors can even get a bag of Bertie Bott's Every-Flavour Beans -- from the pleasant Pear, Marshmallow and Watermelon flavors, to the unexpected Fish, Pepper and Sausage.
Guests step through a gothic archway to begin their journey toward the Dragon Challenge ride. In the queue, flanked by Triwizard Tournament flags and banners, guests get a glimpse of the iconic Goblet of Fire and Triwizard Cup.
Inspired by the popular scene in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," four lovely ladies from Beauxbatons, another wizarding academy from the stories, will perform for guests.
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Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Tom Felton and Michael Gambon attended grand opening festivities earlier this week.
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Film stars Emma Watson, James and Oliver Phelps and Matthew Lewis were invited for a taste of butterbeer and a sneak peek of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in May.
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Radcliffe spoke with fans during the Grand Opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter on Wednesday.
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