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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal
There has been much anticipation and speculation about the forthcoming ‘Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ which is due to open at Universal in the not too distant future, and it will be the first themed environment based on JK Rowlings’ most popular books. It is expected to be a theme park within a theme park, but Universal is still keeping things tightly to their chests.
The whole area which is to be the setting for Hogwart’s Castle, is being kept well screened from the public. The new attraction will be found in part of what is currently called ‘The Lost Continent’, as well as in an undeveloped area which is not currently in use. It will be bigger than the other islands, covering an area of approximately 20 acres. The dragons from the entrance of ‘Duelling Dragons’ have already been removed, in preparation for this new attraction.
Luckily there are a few snippets of news from spies and devotees of Harry Potter, who are eagerly awaiting the opening, and who take every opportunity to speculate on what it is to be like. As many people have suspected, it would seem likely that a big ride will be placed inside the massive Hogwart’s Castle, which will dominate the whole area. It would appear that the ride system is already on site, but locked away in a massive warehouse – heavily guarded from prying eyes, of course! According to one source, the huge castle structure will be about 200 ft high, making it higher than the castle at Magic Kingdom, which is 189 ft high.
However, one disappointing piece of news is that this much anticipated attraction, which was supposed to open in 2009, will now be unlikely to be completed until 2010. The most likely time for its opening is for it to coincide with the release of the ‘Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows’ movie.
It has to be said that, with little official information from Universal (despite there being a designated website), all that really exists is speculation. However, it is felt that there will undoubtedly be Hogsmeade Village. This will probably be an attraction for shoppers, as well as offering a variety of food outlets. There may be sweet shops and wizarding restaurants. We might even be able to purchase Berty Bott’s Every Flavoured Beans and Chocolate Frogs!
Universal Studios is using fake snow built into the roofs to create the right atmosphere, and there may also be a Forbidden Forest, which might contain some scary adventures which could be enjoyed by teenagers. JK Rowling is reported to have said that there will be an attraction specifically for younger children, too, so it will be great to have an attraction which all the family can enjoy. It is a huge coup for Warner Brothers, and should be very successful.
The design of the attraction is being led by the Academy Award-winning production designer, Stuart Craig, who worked on all the feature films. He has said that the aim will be to make sure this experience is ‘an authentic extension of Harry Potter’s world as it is portrayed in the books and films. ’
We certainly can’t wait to see what Universal have in store.
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