Do You Believe in Magic?

Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Dumbledore, and Voldemort are all names that you have heard for the last decade, at the very least!  Whether or not you have read the Harry Potter book series by J.K. Rowling or seen the Warner Bros. films, you can’t deny the worldwide phenomenon of this franchise.  Indeed, there has been so much Potter passion that it even inspired a theme park.  If you think about it, that is quite an accomplishment.  After all, how many movies or books have received an entire theme park all to themselves?

As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and neither was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  In fact, the idea for a Harry Potter themed attraction had been brewing in the minds of Universal Studios team members since the early 2000s.  The only snag was that Time Warner held the franchise rights at that time and they put them to use by creating the Harry Potter Movie Magic Experience in Australia in 2001.  This small scale indoor attraction offered visitors a tour of some of the locations from the early films.  Being short lived, this attraction closed after two years.  A gap of time passed with no word of a Harry Potter attraction, much to the fans’ utter chagrin.  But in 2007, Universal announced the joyous news that the green light had been given to develop a Harry Potter park, which would be a 20 acre addition to the Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando, Florida.  To the delight of Potter fans, they would soon be able to visit the world of Hogwarts and other beloved places!

In January 2008, the magic began to stir as construction on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter began.  A devoted team of workers labored tirelessly, rearranging several rides and attractions in the Islands of Adventure theme park, to make way for all things Harry Potter.  After two and a half years of diligent dedication, this labor of love was completed.  The park opened in June 2010 with two opening ceremonies.  The first ceremony was on June 16, 2010 and was attended by the best of the best, including the films’ cast and crew, J.K. Rowling, Universal Parks officials, and John Williams (composer of the first three Harry Potter films).  The second ceremony was held on June 18, 2010 and signified the official opening to the public.  This was an exciting event and fans got a surprise when cast members from the films joined the mix of festivities.  The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was fully embraced by fans and general public visitors alike and it has been said that every detail of this world was masterfully crafted.

Harry Potter School Sweater w/ Tie:

Harry Potter School Sweater

Now, let’s examine the attractions of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  For the roller coaster fans out there, there is the Dragon Challenge, which has two tracks that overlap and intertwine with each other.  This ride pays tribute to the “Triwizard Tournament”, in which Harry and his friends must duel with a dragon in the fourth book.  For another roller coaster option, there is the steel coaster The Flight of the Hippogriff.  Inspired by the third book in which Harry flies on a hippogriff, this ride features a wicker replica of a hippogriff and Professor Hagrid’s hut is passed, as he prepares to teach a lesson on meeting this unique creature.  One of the other favorite attractions is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which takes visitors on a simulated tour of Hogwarts Castle and its surrounding areas.  Visitors interact with characters along the way and are able to view props from the films.  When going to the outside castle grounds, this is accomplished by simulated flight and animatronics.  In addition to the main rides, there are also shops, restaurants, and tourist attractions that are re-creations of various locations from the book series.

Harry Potter Cloak of Invisibility:

Harry Potter Cloak of Invisibility

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter remains alive and well, drawing in new and returning visitors who just can’t seem to get enough of the magical world.  On a note of interest, Hollywood will be getting its own Wizarding World at Universal Studios and an expansion has been announced for the Orlando park (although very little detail has been given).  If you get a chance to visit the theme park, consider dressing in your Potter finest like so many of the fans love to do!  See our Harry Potter costumes at:

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