Universal's Harry Potter park to include Hogwarts

Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:34pm EDT
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By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - Creators of the highly anticipated Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando revealed some details of three major Potter-themed attractions on Tuesday, including a "Forbidden Journey" ride set in the iconic Hogwart's Castle.

"(It is) brand new, extremely exciting, never been done, never been seen before. I can't say big enough words. It's going to be absolutely mind-blowing," said Alan Gilmore, the project's supervising art director and art director on two Harry Potter films.

Paul Daurio, show producer for the Wizarding World, said the attraction "couldn't be further from a roller coaster."

The 20-acre "park within a park" is due to open next spring. In a Webcast, descriptions of the attractions were generalized, and questions submitted via the Internet about ticket price and the effect on park attendance were ignored.

The Webcast included a short animated video but no actual photography of the park.

Mark Woodbury, head of Universal Creative, said Wizarding World scenery, attractions and souvenirs were faithful to British author J.K. Rowlings' seven-book Harry Potter series.

Woodbury said visitors would be able to sample butter beer and pumpkin juice at the Three Broomsticks Restaurant, relax in the Owlery and be fitted for a magical wand in Ollivander's Wand Shop, all of which are familiar to Potter fans.

Major attractions include the Dragon Challenge, a high-speed ride described as "definitely for the brave." It is based on the Triwizard Tournament, a fictional 13th century contest between students of the three most prestigious magical schools of Europe.   Continued...