Riders of size not welcome on Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park ride

When it comes to overweight guests, none of the magic spells or potions in the world are enough to make them fit in the flagship ride at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

The ride, “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” is one of the most modern theme park rides in the world, and our very own Leigh Caldwell described it as “not childs play”.

In fact, when she got a very early sneak peek at the ride back in May, she noted that “If you’re a plus-sized person, it’s fairly likely that you’re not going to fit in the ride cars.”

She was right, because one Harry Potter fanatic said he was “quite disappointed” when ride operators told him his 265-pound frame was too much for the ride safety harness.

Other Universal rides have some modified seats for larger passengers, but in the world of Muggles and Butterbeer, fatties are apparently not invited to share in the fun.

Ride operators are now performing “random” screenings, asking passengers to sit in a test seat in order to kick them out of the line before they actually arrive at the ride itself. As embarrassing as this is, it sure beats trying to strap yourself into a seat and realizing the safety bar won’t go down all the way.

Of course, the main reason for actions like this is to keep riders safe – seats and restraints are designed with a certain size in mind, and the last thing a park wants is to be in the news when an overweight passenger becomes stuck, or worse. And no, unlike on the airlines, buying two tickets won’t solve this problem.

Neville Longbottom has words for London mayor: Harry Potter belongs in Florida!

At this morning’s press conference for the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, actor Matthew Lewis, who plays the ever-important Neville Longbottom in the movie series, was asked what he thought about Boris Johnson’s recent dig at Orlando. The London mayor complained that the theme park for Harry Potter, as a British property, ought to be in Britain.

Lewis doesn’t think much of Johnson’s media diatribe. And he’s an Englishman, by the way.

Win an exclusive Wizarding World of Harry Potter magic wand!

On Friday, the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens it doors to the public. As part of the opening celebration, we received a gorgeous boxed wand, along with a few other goodies.

To celebrate the opening, we are giving one lucky reader the chance to win the wand – you’ll need to be a die-hard Harry Potter fan, because this is a very special limited edition prize.

To enter, just tell us in the comments how thrilled you are that the park is finally open – it could be a one word shout-out, or a long essay on how long you waited to finally be able to visit the new park.

To enter, simply leave a comment answering the question posted above.

  • The comment must be left before Thursday June 24 2010 at 5:00 PM Eastern Time.
  • You may enter only once.
  • One Prize Winner will be randomly selected to receive a special edition Wizarding World of Harry Potter magic wand box set.
  • Open to legal residents of the 50 United States, and the District of Columbia who are 18 and older.
  • The total value of the prize is approximately $50.
  • Click here for the complete official rules of this giveaway.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter open for guests tomorrow

It has taken several years to complete – but the Wizarding World of Harry Potter will open its gates to guests tomorrow, June 18. During the past couple of days, the park has hosted members of the press, as well as a few lucky Potter fans for a soft opening.

At last nights grand opening celebration, Harry Potter film stars Michael Gambon, Bonnie Wright, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint were up on stage accompanied by renowned composer John Williams.

To learn more about this amazing new theme park, and the attractions it offers, head on over to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter site.

[Image credit: Universal Orlando Resort]

London mayor rails against Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s Florida location

London’s mayor wants a piece of the Harry Potter pie.

With the Wizarding World of Harry Potter set to open at Universal Orlando next week, Boris Johnson is appealing to British children and their “Potter-fiend parents” to writ to Potter movie studio Warner Bros, Universal and Potter author J.K. Rowling to “bring Harry home to Britain.”

In a column in the London Telegraph, Johnson points out that the teen wizard is British. His Wizarding World is inextricably linked to London. And Johnson knows “somewhere that’s even better than Orlando at looking like London – and that is London.”

He makes a valid point. But the way he makes it is so… British.

Why, oh why, would anyone come to Florida to scamper through “the Styrofoam turrets of Hogwarts” and see “vast latex-covered Hagrids rolling bonhomiously down the street?”

Perhaps because they can walk the streets of Hogsmeade in November without an overcoat and galoshes?

“I want you to know that I have nothing against Orlando, though you are, of course, far more likely to get shot or robbed there than in London,” Johnson writes.


The mayor rails against the idea that the British would allow Americans to make money off a British invention. Of course, there’s no mention that they already left it to the American film industry to make the movies the Wizarding World is based on.

For what it’s worth, a Harry Potter attraction is coming to London in 2012. Warner Bros announced last month that it has bought Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire — the filming location for all of the Harry Potter movies — and will open a Potter-themed tour attraction there that can accommodate up to 5,000 visitors a day.