A video tour of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, live from Orlando!

I'm in Orlando for the grand opening of Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure theme park. There's a heat wave on in Central Florida, and it's an oppressively humid 95 degrees, but you wouldn't know it from the snow on the roof at Hogsmeade. The new theme park addition is a pitch-perfect evocation of the Hollywood version of the beloved J.K. Rowling book series.



The grand opening isn't until Friday, but guests are being welcomed for the area's "soft opening." On Thursday, there will be appearances by Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry, as well as other film stars Rupert Grint, Tom Felton, and Michael Gambon. Will the elusive J.K. also show? Speculation has it so.

Already fans are exclaiming that Disney has nothing on Universal anymore, and that Mickey's rival has is winning the arms race of total immersion, intricate detailing, and masterful ride technology. That would be true if you compare Harryland with Disney's American properties, but I wouldn't be as quick to make a blanket statement: Tokyo DisneySea is every bit as complicated and stunning as Wizarding World.

With such elaborate whimsy has a price, but tourists are happy to pay it. As you can see, they're stuffing the place despite the weather, splitting their time between ogling and shopping. They are sucking up the Harry Potter-themed souvenirs for the chance to feel like they're part of their favorite movies.Keep coming back all week for more on the festivities here in Orlando.

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