More on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

June 12, 2007 at 11:13 pm | Posted in Harry Potter | Leave a comment

Jim Hill Media has more details on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando. I’d consider it all rumor for now, but it’s still incredibly fascinating. I thought that the Harry Potter area would be a new part of Islands of Adventure, but apparently the plan is to convert the Lost Continent area of the park.

A lot of people aren’t familiar with Islands of Adventure, so here’s some background. (Full disclosure: I think it’s the best theme park ever.) It has five main areas: Seuss Landing, Marvel Superhero Island, Cartoon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, and the Lost Continent. Seuss Landing is the kiddie area. Marvel Superhero Island has The Hulk, an amazing roller coaster, and Spider-Man, which is quite simply the coolest ride ever. No description can do it justice, but it’s an indoor 4-D ride that’s completely exhilarating. Cartoon Lagoon has the best log flume ever and river rapids. It’s fun to run around Jurassic Park because they blare that John Williams music, and it’s got a great dinosaur-themed Splash Mountain-type water ride.

The Lost Continent is a great world, but as you can tell by its wimpy name, it doesn’t have a good theme. Everything fantasy-ish is there: the eatery is at the base of a giant gnarled tree, there’s a Poseidon walkthrough attraction, and a stupid Sinbad-themed show. It’s also got another amazing roller coaster called Dueling Dragons. It’s two suspended intertwined coasters, and it’s tons of fun. The waiting area is in a castle, and the interior has to be seen to be believed. There’s moving stained-glass windows, skeletons, frozen knights suspended in air — fantastic. But what does that have to do with Sinbad next door? Not much. While the nostalgic part of me is sad that the area will get revamped, it is really desperate for a unifying theme, and this will enable Universal to get the Harry Potter area done quicker and more cheaply. The stupid Sinbad show will give way to a Weasley flying car ride, and if it’s anything like the Spider-Man ride, it’ll be a huge success. The dragons coaster is a perfect fit with the Triwizard Tournament, so that’s a good move.

But what of Hogwarts Castle? I assume they’re going to redo the Dueling Dragons castle, but it’s not big enough to be Hogwarts. In the concept drawing, it looks like they’ll build Hogwarts from scratch, but I wonder if that’s really the case. I’d also like to see one more attraction planned for the area, maybe Knight Bus-themed. Whatever happens, I’m sure Universal will do an amazing job.

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