Universal Studios theme park Islands of Adventure in Orlando, FL is preparing for the launch of their newest park attraction titled The Wizarding World of Harry Potter which is set to open to the public in Spring 2010. Here are a few newly released artist renderings of what is in store when the real life Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry opens to the public:
It was brought to life spectacularly on the big screen. But from next spring, Harry Potter fans will get to experience a full-size version of his magical world as a vast new area is opened at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida. The new attraction – named the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – will feature an array of rides, with a centrepiece which includes a lavish recreation of Hogwarts Castle. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey will take guests through scenes and rooms from the blockbuster movies with the turreted building made to look 700 feet tall. Pottermaniacs will enter the ‘Wizarding World’ through a station archway named after Hogsmeade, the magical village near Hogwarts. A plume of steam and a train whistle will sound the arrival of the Hogwarts Express. Other rides include the ‘Dragon Challenge,’ a twin high-speed roller coaster themed after the ‘Triwizard Tournament’. There will also be a family roller coaster aclled ‘Flight of the Hippogriff,’ named after a creature with an eagle’s head and a horse’s body. Every shop and restaurant is Potter-themed. Honeydukes sells chocolate frogs and ‘Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans,’ Ollivander’s peddles magic wands, Zonko’s joke shop has Sneakoscopes, and the British restaurant Three Broomsticks pours Butterbeer. At The Owl Post, guests can send letters with a certified Hogsmeade postmark. Magical instruments and equipment are available at Dervish and Banges, including everything needed to play Quidditch – a game like soccer played on flying broomsticks. ‘Along those journeys they’re going to be swept up into the greatest parts of the movies and the books. We’ve pushed every technology available to us to give guests a theme park experience unlike any they’ve had before,’ said Paul Daurio, producer of the Potter area. Art and set directors from the films, including Oscar-winning production designer Stuart Craig and art director Alan Gilmore, were hired to translate the movies into the park. Rowling, known for carefully guarding the Potter franchise, hasn’t yet been to Orlando, but the design team has made several trips to London for consultations with the author. ‘The interesting thing about Harry Potter is that the stories are so rich in themselves, so deep,’ said Universal Creative President Mark Woodbury. ‘There wasn’t so much difficulty of creating the look, it was, ‘How do you execute at a level of authenticity that is unquestionable?” There could even be new footage of Potter stars shot on actual sets from ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ and ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.’ A Universal spokesman declined comment on the issue, but the company was explicitly granted those privileges in its 2007 licensing agreement with Warner Brothers, according to the contract filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The Potter area will be Universal’s third big-ticket addition in three years … The Potter park is sure to prove popular not just with American fans but also with visitors from Britain, Potter’s home and the largest source of international tourism to Orlando, with about 1 million arrivals a year. ‘It couldn’t have come at a better time,’ said Danielle Saba Courtenay, spokeswoman for the Orlando Convention and Visitors Bureau. ‘There is such an affinity for the characters, particularly in the United Kingdom, and we do expect that the pent-up demand and having such a strong name will drive traffic to the area. ‘It’s such a huge worldwide brand, and the only place in the world you’re going to be able to experience it is in Orlando,’ she said.
Oh man, if the actual park is even half as cool as it looks/sounds then this attraction is going to be a HUGE draw for fans. I understand that a real life version of Ollivander’s Magic Wand Shoppe will be included where the wands available for sale there will choose their owners. OMG, how fun!! After the jump, check out a few more artist rendering photos of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter …
I am not gonna lie … when this attraction opens in Orlando, FL next year … I’m deffo gonna visit. David and I have been talking about a theme park visit to Florida so I’m gonna make sure we visit to see this attraction. How many of y’all will I see there next year?
UPDATE: Pink reader Kendra pointed me in the direction of this virtual tour of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter:
OMG! It looks so cool!! We love, yes?