Preview the ‘Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ Now via Augmented Reality

Today, Universal Orlando Resort and USA TODAY, the nation’s top-selling print newspaper, partnered to provide the first-ever augmented reality map of the world’s most highly anticipated theme park experience – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort.  With just a computer, webcam and the newspaper, you can make this one-of-a-kind experience appear before your eyes.

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‘Ollivanders Wand Shop’ Will Deliver Interactive, Magical Experience at Wizard World of Harry Potter

Visitors to the Ollivanders wand shop at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando will step into one of the most iconic scenes from the bestselling Harry Potter books and blockbuster feature films. With the assistance of a live actor, along with amazing special effects, guests of Ollivanders will get to experience the same type of magical moment Harry had in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” when a wand ”chooses them.”

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Photo: Hogwarts Castle at Universal Studios Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter

We have just received this photo of Hogwarts Castle in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter from Universal Studios Orlando.

Although still very much a work in progress, the magnificence of Hogwarts castle is beginning to take shape above Hogsmeade as work continues on The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Hogwarts will be the home of a thrilling, new, state-of-the-art attraction – Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – that uses ground-breaking technology to bring the magic, characters and stories of Harry Potter to life in ways never before experienced. Set to open in Spring 2010 only at Universal Orlando Resort, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will feature multiple themed attractions, shops and a restaurant.

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Universal Orlando Celebrates 15th Annual Mardi Gras Event; Special Offers for Florida Residents

On February 6, Universal Orlando Resort will kick off its 15th year of Mardi Gras – the biggest and most authentic Mardi Gras celebration outside of New Orleans.  Guests will experience the spirit of Bourbon St. in the heart of Universal Studios, with festivities including live concerts by artists like Flo Rida, Sheryl Crow and Chicago, authentic Cajun cuisine, a spectacular parade and tons of beads.

With a combined total of more than half a billion records sold worldwide, this year’s Mardi Gras lineup features an eclectic mix of 13 of the biggest names in music.  From hip-hop to pop, country to rock, and R&B to disco, there will be something for everyone.  Along with Flo Rida, Sheryl Crow and Chicago, Mardi Gras guests will enjoy live performances by headliners like “The Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin, country sensation Dierks Bentley, hip-hop artist Akon, multi-platinum selling rock band 3 Doors Down and the No. 1 selling American band of all time, Beach Boys.

In addition to seeing top-name talent perform on the main stage, guests can also visit Universal’s very own “French Quarter” – a replica of the New Orleans’ famed district – and groove to the authentic bayou sounds of bands directly from New Orleans.

To commemorate this special year, guests will enjoy a heritage-themed Mardi Gras parade featuring new colorful renditions of floats from past year’s events.  Universal worked with New Orleans-based Blaine Kern Artists, Inc. to incorporate new elements into some of the most memorable floats in the event’s history. The twelve vibrant floats will cruise the streets of Universal Studios during the festivities, filled with riders tossing beads by the handful to excited park guests.

Guests will also enjoy the aroma and taste of authentic Cajun cuisine – such as jambalaya, gumbo, beignets and king cake – along with hundreds of costumed characters and stilt walkers dancing and mingling in the streets.  Party-goers will also enjoy Universal Studios’ most popular attractions, including the all-new Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit – a radically-innovative roller coaster that combines hit music, first-ever maneuvers and highly-sophisticated audio and video for a one-of-a-kind ride experience.

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Universal Orlando to Host Biggest Holiday Celebration in Event History; Special FL Resident Offer

HAPPY WHO-LIDAYS - This holiday season, the beloved Dr. Seuss classic 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas!' is brought to life in Grinchmas at Universal's Islands of AdventureORLANDO, Fla. (November 18, 2009) – Universal Orlando Resort will soon kick off the largest Holidays celebration in the event’s history, featuring more entertainment than ever before. This year, Universal Orlando adds a brand-new Holiday Concert Series, featuring three chart-topping holiday musical acts – Mannheim Steamroller, Chris Isaak and Natalie Cole – to the already beloved Grinchmas celebration and the Macy’s Holiday Parade.

Holiday celebrations at Universal Orlando Resort begin Dec. 5 and run through Jan. 1, and all entertainment is included in the price of regular admission.  Mannheim Steamroller – the iconic holiday music masters who have sold more than 30 million albums worldwide – performs at Universal Studios on Dec. 5.  Chris Isaak performs on Dec. 12 and Natalie Cole performs on Dec. 19.  Each concert begins at 7:00 p.m.

The Macy’s Holiday Parade at Universal Studios features the world-renowned balloons and floats from Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.  At Islands of Adventure, the popular Dr. Seuss book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” is brought to life in Grinchmas, a live stage show featuring an original recorded musical score by Mannheim Steamroller.

The celebration continues at the three on-site hotels at Universal Orlando– Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel and Loews Royal Pacific Resort – all of which will glisten with holiday decorations.  Hotel guests will be immersed in the spirit of the season with tree-lighting ceremonies, special musical performances, holiday “dive-in” movie presentations and holiday dining events.

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Motown Comes to O-Town for CityWalk-wide New Year’s Eve Celebration at Universal Studios Orlando

Guests can bid an exciting farewell to 2009 while rocking into 2010 at Universal CityWalk. Tickets are on sale now for one of Orlando’s hottest New Year’s Eve parties – featuring live performances by Rock and Roll Hall of Famers The Temptations and The Four Tops.

Tickets are on sale now for one of Orlando’s hottest New Year’s Eve parties – featuring live performances by Rock and Roll Hall of Famers The Temptations and The Four Tops. The Temptations and The Four Tops are two of the most popular R&B/soul groups of all time. Both have sold tens of millions of albums worldwide. Some of The Temptations’ most popular hits include “My Girl,” “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone;” The Four Tops are known for such hit songs as “Baby I Need Your Loving,” “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” and “Reach Out I’ll Be There.”

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Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hi-Res Concept Art Photo Gallery

(L-R) Jamie Lee Curtis, Andy Fickman (Director), Sigourney Weaver Ph: Mark Fellman ©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Yesterday, we brought you details of the Universal Orlando’s plans to debut the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter in spring 2010. Today we are pleased to bring you the following gallery of concept art for the new theme park area based on the JK Rowling series. All images © 2009 Universal Orlando Resort. All Rights Reserved.

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Universal Orlando Reveals Details on The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Opening Spring 2010

ORLANDO, Fla. (September 15, 2009) – Universal Orlando Resort, together with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, today revealed first-ever details about the incredible scope of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Universal also announced that the highly anticipated land will open in spring 2010.

Inspired by J.K. Rowling’s compelling stories and characters – and faithful to the visual landscapes of the films – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure will provide visitors with a one-of-a-kind experience complete with multiple attractions, shops and a signature eating establishment.   This completely immersive environment will transcend generations and bring the wonder and magic of the amazingly detailed Harry Potter books and films to life.

The expectations of Harry Potter fans are high and Universal Orlando Resort is collaborating closely with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and the Warner Bros. Harry Potter brand team to ensure that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be an experience of a lifetime.  The Harry Potter films’ production designer, Stuart Craig and art director, Alan Gilmore, in cooperation with a corps of artisans from Universal Creative are working daily to construct the most authentic Harry Potter experience possible.  Guests will be able to sip Butterbeer in Three Broomsticks, buy Extendable Ears at Zonko’s and experience a state-of-the-art attraction that brings the stories of Harry Potter to life in a way never before imagined.

“All of the action and adventures of Harry Potter’s world will come to life here at Universal Orlando Resort,” said Tom Williams, chairman and CEO, Universal Parks and Resorts.  “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be unlike any other experience on earth and we can’t wait to see the looks on our guests’ faces as they enter this rich environment.”

“Harry Potter continues to spark the imaginations of fans of all ages and we really have seen the anticipation continue to build for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” added Brad Globe, President, Warner Bros. Consumer Products.  “We are excited to share with fans a first glimpse into the truly enchanted world we are bringing to life with all of our partners at Universal Orlando Resort.”

From the front archway of Hogsmeade to the immensity of Hogwarts castle, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will feature the locations listed below:

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Universal Studios Orlando Announces Details for 2009 ‘Rock the Universe’ Event

Orlando, Fla. – Universal Studios Florida will become Orlando’s hottest spot for Christian rock and entertainment as Rock the Universe 2009 takes center stage on September 11 and 12.  Tickets are on sale now for guests to experience an action-packed weekend of fun and fellowship – complete with live performances by 14 mega-talented artists, testimonies by celebrity guest speakers and thrilling rides and attractions.  Plus, for the first time, guests who purchase the “Rock Your Weekend” ticket can experience more music than ever before with access to bonus Sunday concerts.

With a combined total of more than 65 GMA Dove Awards, this year’s Rock the Universe lineup includes some of Christian music’s most talented artists.  Guests will enjoy the uplifting sounds of musicians such as MSN 2006 Artist of the Year David Crowder Band, 17-time Christian Singles Billboard chart-topper Jeremy Camp, multi-platinum selling band Casting Crowns and three-time Grammy Award winner Third Day.

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Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando Honors ‘Pinktober’ Campaign with the Bangles, Pink Sheets and More

Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando rocks out for a cure this fall, when the worldwide ‘PINKTOBER’ campaign is celebrated at Velvet Sessions, the hotel’s monthly rock ‘n’ roll cocktail party and lobby concert.  The Bangles, one of the most popular all-female bands in American history, will perform in the lobby on Thursday, September 24 to kick off the month-long initiative that raises awareness and money for breast cancer research.

“This event brings together great music for a great cause and now more than ever, people are looking for ways they can help make a difference,” says Hard Rock Hotel General Manager Carlton Hudson.  “We will even light the hotel’s guitar fountain and the front drive in pink on the night of the Bangles event, as a visual reminder of Hard Rock’s commitment to love all and serve all in the fight against breast cancer.”

The Bangles will perform top hits “Walk Like an Egyptian,” “Manic Monday,” “Hazy Shade of Winter,” “Eternal Flame” and more.  The Velvet Sessions event is only the beginning.  From late September through October, select rooms at Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando will be outfitted with pink sheets, pink pillow cases and pink duvet covers.  Each night the room is rented during the campaign, the hotel will donate 25% of room revenues to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

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