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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Written by: Matterbug

The smell of popcorn and cotton candy. The screaming from above. The themed music blaring. The… Death Eaters?

Universal Studios recently announced a deal with Warner Bros to create an expansive Harry Potter themed park inside their Islands of Adventure complex. Named “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter”, the area will cover over 20 acres of the Islands of Adventure.

Some details about the project have already been released. There will be three major areas related to the books. The first will be Hogsmeade Village, where Harry and his classmates occasionally get to explore while at Hogwarts. Speaking of Hogwarts, a replica will be created for guests to visit. Finally, a Forbidden Forest themed area will be created.

By the looks of a topic created on the subject, many PPT Harry Potter fans are already very excited for Universal’s plans.

One such fan, Fiddelysquat, has been a fan of the Harry Potter series for years and cannot wait for the park to open.

“The idea of being able to immerse myself in a world I wish was real is wonderful. It would be fun to be surrounded by magic when we live in such ordinary times,” Fiddelysquat explained.

Another PPT Harry Potter fan, Drake Redcrest, is also excited, but wants to make sure the books are done justice.

“I think it's a pretty good idea, and if it was executed properly, the park could be really original as opposed to the traditional themepark rides/attractions/etc,” she said,

An opening date for the park is currently set at sometime in 2009. Some wonder if interest will still be there for a Harry Potter park as the last book in the series was released last month.

However, Both Fiddelysquat and Drake Redcrest feel that there will still be plenty of desire for the new theme park.

“If we take Star Wars as an example, it came out thirty years ago, and it still had fanboys by the time Episode I came out. Since Harry Potter is more accessible to kids, a whole new group of kids, who are too young to read them now, could be interested in the books by 2009,” Drake Redcrest predicted.

Fiddelysquat agrees and brings up other projects that have maintained excitement long after they finished.

“Harry Potter has become an institution. Its fandom isn't going to keel over and die any time soon. Why do people still buy replicas of Aragorn's ring? Why do people still wear Rocky Horror T-shirts? Something this popular and beloved won't be abandoned once it's over,” she argued.

Others worry that a theme park (and other Harry Potter themed products and projects) act to cheapen the books JK Rowling has created. Our two fans disagree.

“I'm not one of those people who has a hissy fit every time they make products of something I like. My enjoyment of the books and my appreciation for the movies are separate from one another. I don't see how this would be any different,” Fiddelysquat said.

Drake Redcrest sees practical uses of the park for Harry Potter fans.

“If people think it cheapens the book, it's not like anyone's forcing them to go, and the park could bring even more people into the fandom. Plus, the park would be a great place for fan meetups and conventions,” Drake Redcrest explained.

Both would love to be able to make a trip to see the park someday.

“If I happen to be in Florida I'd definitely go out of my way to see it,” Fiddelysquat said.

Drake Redcrest would probably wait for the fuss to level before making the trip.

“Maybe not as soon as it opens, but a year or so later, once everything has died down a bit, I definitely would. I feel like I have an obligation to do it, as a fan,” she proclaimed.

The biggest fear of many fans is that the park will not be up to the high quality such a project deserves. Both members have some suggestions on what they would like to see included in such a park.

Drake Redcrest would love to see an interactive Diagon and Knockturn Alley where users could experience the same shops and places that Harry Does in the book.

Fiddelysquat has a long list of ideas for Universal. These include, like before, a replica of Diagon Alley, an interactive Hogwarts where guests could take “classes”, a water slide themed after the hidden tunnels in the Slytherin lair, a Quidditch themed ride, a laser tag type game with wands instead of guns, a broomstick ride like the swinging rides at carnivals, a museum of props from the movies, a giant hedge maze like the one from the final task in Goblet of Fire, a Gringott’s bank roller coaster, a “menagerie” of magical animatronic creatures, and a thestral roller coaster.

No matter what is included in the park, PPT’s Harry Potter fans are sure to have a lot to be excited about even after reading the last page of JK’s final book.

Matterbug is actually an extra in the 9'th Harry Potter movie, soon to be released on DVD.

Paul currently as a contract to start building the theme park after he finishes editing this issue.


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