Back in April, it was rumored that a Harry Potter attraction might be coming to Universal Studios.
Now, it’s official. Today, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. and Universal Orlando Resort announced that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will open at Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando in late 2009. [*See further update at bottom.]
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which will be the first themed environment based on the popular children’s book series by J.K. Rowling, will enable guests to visit some of the most iconic locations found in the books as well as in the blockbuster films.
Islands of Adventure’s new land is being considered a theme park within a theme park and will include the village of Hogsmeade (photo below at left) and the mysterious Forbidden Forest. Anchoring this new section of the park will be Hogwarts Castle (photo below at right), where fans will get the chance to experience some of their favorite locations both within Hogwarts and around the castle grounds.
“The plans I’ve seen look incredibly exciting, and I don’t think fans of the books or films will be disappointed,” said Rowling.
Universal’s new Harry Potter area will feature immersive rides and interactive attractions, including the debut of a state-of-the-art attraction that will bring the magic, characters, and stories of Harry Potter to life in what’s being touted as “an exciting way that guests have never before experienced.” Also, experiential shops and restaurants will enable guests to sample fare from the wizarding world’s best-known establishments.
Stuart Craig, the Academy Award-winning production designer who worked on all of the feature films, leads the creative design for the new area to ensure it remains faithful to the look and feel of the films.
“Our primary goal is to make sure this experience is an authentic extension of Harry Potter’s world as it is portrayed in the books and films,” said Craig.
The HPANA site has a partial transcript here of a Webcast with additional details of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter announcement.
*UPDATE 5/31/07 9am: Universal Studios Orlando has launched an official Web site dedicated to the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter located at www.universalorlando.com/harrypotter. Here’s are some new facts from the site:
Wizarding World of Harry Potter to open late 2009 or early 2010.
The new section of the park will be created from a portion of what is currently The Lost Continent as well as from an undeveloped area that is currently not in use.
The new environment will be comparable in size to the other islands at the Islands of Adventure park.
All of the Harry Potter books and movies will be used to create the fully immersive experience.