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The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter comes to Universal Orlando

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Published: May 31, 2007 at 5:40 AM

Its official, Harry Potter is coming to Universal Orlando, more specifically he is coming to Islands of Adventure in his own 20 acre Island, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Universal Orlando Resort, and Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc. are partnering to bring a completely immersive and interactive area that is second to none to the Florida theme park.

“We will rely on our company’s rich movie heritage and expertise in transforming film concepts into theme park entertainment experiences,” said Ron Meyer, president and COO, Universal Studios. “The Harry Potter stories are among the most compelling of our time. The millions of people who have read the books and seen the movies will now be able to experience the world of Harry Potter in person.”

Inspired the stories by J.K.Rowling, the area will immerse visitors in the world of Harry Potter an allow them to visit such area as Hogsmeade,the Forbidden Forrest, and even Hogswart Castle.

The area is expected to open in 2009, and will include several attractions, shops and resturants that bring the stories to life, as well as a new state of the art attraction that will bring the characters to life in a way that fans have never seen before.

This rumor has been going on for the better part of a year [here, too], and has raised several questions on where the land will go. While it is still unclear, it looks as if some speculation is correct, that part of the Lost Continent area will become Harry Potter. Rides such as Flying Unicorn, and Dueling Dragons will be renamed and rethemed while areas such as Sinbad, Poseidon and Mythos will remain untouched. While this is not official, it does have many fans of the park breathing a sigh of relief, especially since Mythos has been voted "Best Theme Park Resturant" four years in a row beginning in 2002 by Theme Park Insider.

The entire project is expected to be complete in 2010. [Check out TPI readers' plans for a Harry Potter theme park from four years ago.]

Update: See http://media.universalorlando.com/harrypotter/ for Universal's press release and handout art as well as the anouncement webcast.

Readers' Opinions

From Iris Hernandez on May 31, 2007 at 6:24 AM
Freakin awesome...finally! No more speculations, just facts. I'll be looking forward to seeing these new additions. I'm excited!!!! Even though i would've preferred a Lord of the Rings Island, Harry Potter is really not that bad.
From Erik Yates on May 31, 2007 at 6:42 AM
I personally question the timing of this announcement. Blue Man Group opens next week. No one is going to care. They all want to know about Harry Potter. I think they jumped the gun on this, and should have waited until the last book came out at least. I'm happy that they announced it, but from a marketing and PR standpoint.....its got to be a nightmare. Lets promote our newest show thats opening NOW, all the while fielding questions about the new attraction. I feel bad for the PR folks....."Yes Harry Potter is coming, but BMG is here."
I am glad the rumors are now pointing to a new land instead of completely shutting down LC.
From Chris Wilkes on May 31, 2007 at 6:51 AM
Amazing news.
I'll be there opening week.
Glad it's finally official.
From Robert Niles on May 31, 2007 at 7:10 AM
I'm going out on a limb and guessing that this means Harry won't die when the last book comes out next month. :-)

(Seriously, if you were going to kill the main character, and burn much of your fan base in the process, you probably wouldn't have committed to a multi-million dollar capital investment like this.)

From Gareth H on May 31, 2007 at 7:16 AM
Oh no...

Well good news is that they are finally investing money into he parks!

From Chris Wilkes on May 31, 2007 at 7:33 AM
I don't know. I mean I'm sure it IS going to steal some of BMG's thunder. But at the same time, the speculation has been so deep for so long, I'm sure they just got tired of it and decided "Alright, we need to just go ahead and tell everyone what we're doing so the rumors will stop."
From Iris Hernandez on May 31, 2007 at 8:29 AM
Hey, Robert made a good point that i didnt even realize...there's no way there going to kill off Harry now. It will probably be Ron, Germaine(sorry about the spelling), or Hagrad(bad spelling there too huh?) I am also glad that very few things in the lost continent are being rethemed. Dueling dragons castle will most likely be Hogwarts, and the actual coasters could have something to do with a Quidditch match. Anyone else have thoughts about what they could do with this new development?
From Eric Malone on May 31, 2007 at 9:08 AM
Well, it's good to know that they're finally going to do something big at IOA.
From Chris Wilkes on May 31, 2007 at 9:11 AM
I'm curious how they're going to have those two rides PHYSICALLY incorporated into the HP island... unless they the actually MOVE them to the new island or reroute the waterways in the park. It seems like it would damage the whole point of the park's set-up if one theme's attractions spanned over two islands. But whatever, I'm sure they have already considered that.
I think DD will keep its name, perhaps with a minor adjustment... Like "Dueling Dragons: Horntail vs. Ridgeback" or something. I wouldn't be surprised if the Flying Unicorn was re-themed to Quidditch in some way.
I don't think they'd make the DD castle into Hogwarts. Earlier reports said that the Hogwarts portion would be a fully themed hotel on property and the DD castle isn't nearly big enough for that (and it's also not positioned right). I'd say (if they keep the dragon portion of the theme) that they'd change the queue theming to the Tri-Wizard arena or something.
Or heck, I don't know... maybe the intertwined coasters and whole "versus" aspect WOULD lend itself more to Quidditch theming...
Who knows?
I'll be FASCINATED to know what they actually decide on.
:)
From Anthony Murphy on May 31, 2007 at 9:48 AM
Interesting stuff, but I am still concerned about the space needed for this project. Does Universal have it? Also, from the press, it sounds like it going to be huge, but the area makes it sound smaller. This would do well in an area as big as Jurassic park since it seems that they are building more or less of the same thing! (Buildings, forrest areas, etc)

Maybe this will jarr Disney out of indiffernce and the mythic beastly kingdom or Narnia will appear soon.

From Ryan Traylor on May 31, 2007 at 10:02 AM
Too bad Six Flags did not grab this theme. Seeing that they already have several Warner Bros characters in their parks. Of course, does SF really have the tools and whereabouts to create a lavishly and well themed area? No. They would just build a ride in a parking lot and color it close to HP and stick a sign on it.
From Mark Walker on May 31, 2007 at 10:31 AM
"Rides such as Flying Unicorn, and Dueling Dragons will be renamed and rethemed while areas such as Sinbad, Poseidon and Mythos will remain untouched."


Erik, did I read that right? Are they really going to rename and retheme Dueling Dragons?! In my opinion, that is a very bad move.

From Iris Hernandez on May 31, 2007 at 11:05 AM
If you got to orlandosentinel.com you will see all the information you need to answer some of the questions being asked. It is currently their leading story. Obviously they are not disclosing everything just yet, but it does answer some questions that are being asked in this forum.
From David Kirby on May 31, 2007 at 12:22 PM
The concept art looks pretty amazing but do they have room for all of this? I was under the impression they had used up most of their land. I still think it would have been better if they started on this project years ago since by the time the land is actually opened, Potter mania won't nearly be as big. Anyway, I'm really excited to see what Disney's response will be too. It would be pretty hard for them to ignore something of this size.
From Chris Wilkes on May 31, 2007 at 12:56 PM
I don't think "Potter Mania" dying down is going to affect anything. It's an enduring series and a multi-billion dollar industry in and of itself.
There are numerous GREAT rides between the Disney, Universal, Six Flags, Kings Island/Dominion etc... that are themed after movies and characters that are FAR past their primes (some that never had "primes" to begin with).
Heck, 99% of children have never even HEARD of Song of the South, much less seen it... Doesn't stop them from being in love with Splash Mountain.
And even for non-Potter fans, as long as the attractions are well themed and well designed, it won't matter.
I am no fan of the Mummy movies- doesn't stop the Mummy coaster from being one of the best designed, best themed and most thrilling attractions in FL.
Even with all that in mind, I think time will show the HP series to have a lasting popularity, both the movies and the novels, that can stand up to virtually any comic book or cartoon character out there.
From Musette Gonzales on May 31, 2007 at 1:34 PM
I was hoping the Harry Potter Park would be in Disney World...a far better park that would be able to pull out all stops
From Domenik Jost on May 31, 2007 at 2:05 PM
I agree with Erik, the timing is off, but a correction to the opening of Blue Man Group. They are starting shows beginning with June 1 as preview shows, or probably to them better known as some more dress rehearsals. Personally, bringing Blue Man to Orlando, cool idea, but to crush it by announcing HP coming to IOA was a bad move. I haven't really heard much Blue Man Group talk around here locally to begin with and this will just crush it some more.

Something else, will they only cut away land from LC or will they also cut some out from JP? They could move the JP Gate back a little. Afterall the gate is a good deal away from the actual beginning of the themed parts of the island (i.e. restaurants, rides).

Mostly curious I am of the new state-of-the-art attraction they are talking about. Will it be a new coaster? or just another lame motion ride, or both combined?

From Chris Wilkes on May 31, 2007 at 2:23 PM
Well they were certainly at the forefront of ride-technology and design with Spider-Man.
No one's surpassed it in what... 8 years?
So hopefully they've been saving up something REALLY special tech-designwise for this project.
From danny b on May 31, 2007 at 2:28 PM
Im excited they're changin IOA. I think the themes will be sick. I like the Harry Potter books and I'm sure it will help the park but for how long...Yea there are themes that are outdated, but for a whole section (instead of one ride like splash mountain) is a little risky.
From Chris Wilkes on May 31, 2007 at 2:50 PM
OK, then look at it this way.
Is there really "Jurassic Park Fever" these days?
Sure the 2 novels and 3 movies were all super popular. But it's been over a decade since the last book and the movies grossed less and less as the series went on.
Harry Potter's appeal is far more broad.
That doesn't make it any less a valid contender for it's own themed area at a park.
From Iris Hernandez on May 31, 2007 at 3:21 PM
I guess most of you arent taking my advice to go orlandosnetinel.com. To answer the question about where are they going to get the space from...they are expanding thru the employee parking lot and park support outside the back fence. There is no need to have it completely take over another "island". It will be a 20-acre island and some of it comes from the already there lost continent. No worries people! I actually think Universal knows what its doing, cha-ching for them. Believe me, this will be a hit. Again, read the article.
From David Kildal on May 31, 2007 at 3:35 PM
I don't mean to poop on anyones party, but I hate Harry Potter. Most of the people I know in the entire northern half of the midwest hate it, so I have a feeling that this area will stink.

if they retheme Dueling Dragons, I'm going to throw up. They can do whatever the heck they want with flying unicorn, but they better not do Dueling Dragons.

From brian lochridge on May 31, 2007 at 3:42 PM
You my friend are in a very small majority, I think some people are putting way to much focus on if Harry will last, or if Harry will be a hit. It is a themed area that even for people who have never heard of Harry Potter will be impressed with. This is only a good thing since it will once again spark up things between Disney and Universal which is always good for us, the park patrons.
From Iris Hernandez on May 31, 2007 at 3:54 PM
amen to that brian!
From David Kirby on May 31, 2007 at 4:05 PM
I have to agree - by not liking Harry Potter, you are definitely in the minority. And I wasn't trying to say that the section wouldn't be popular, I just think it would have been better to open it earlier. For instance, how much more exciting would it have been if they opened it this July alongside the last book and 5th movie?
From Dallas Key on May 31, 2007 at 5:24 PM
The most frustrating aspect of the entire concept is the idea of retheming Dueling Dragons. In my opinion, the theming and queue are the most original and detailed of any ride in the industry. Rather than retheme Dueling Dragons, it seems like with this ride in particular, only a few small modifications or additions to the queue are needed to fit it in with the Harry Potter theme. Other than that, however, I think that Harry Potter is going to be an amazing addition to an already awesome theme park.
From Bruce Lane on May 31, 2007 at 6:55 PM
From the original post...

"Inspired the stories by J.K.Rowling, the area will immerse visitors in the world of Harry Potter an allow them to visit such area as Hogsmeade,the Forbidden Forrest, and even Hogswart Castle..."

Ok... I liked most of the books, and the movies so far, but I'm not enough of a fan of the series to get too excited about this.

HOWEVER -- I am enough of a fan to want to point out (and correct) some spelling and wording errors!

"Forbidding Forrest" should be "Black Forest" or "Dark Forest." Regardless, there's only one 'r' in 'forest' if it's being used as a noun vs. a proper name.

"Hogswart" should be "Hogwart's."

There should be a space between the author's initials and her last name.

'an' should probably have been 'and' (in "an allow").

Keep the peace(es).

From Erik Yates on May 31, 2007 at 7:18 PM
Thanks for the AR Bruce. I was rushing to get this out, and did not aim for perfection, obviously....and the real funny thing...no one seemed to care :)

What the Sentinel has been posting is unfounded, and merely speculation. It COULD come to be, but for the most part its speculation. The only official thing to come out of Universal was just saying that they are going to be bringing Harry Potter to IOA.
What can happen?
This is what I see as being the most likely solution.
Flying Unicorn changed to something involving Buckbeak. The station changes to Hagrids Hut, add a few props, and the kids love it.
Dueling Dragons turns into something like Slytherins Dueling Dragons and they got the Hungarian Horntail Vs. The Chinese Firebolt. That way they dont have to change too much of the queue, just slap a new coat of paint on the two tracks, and everyone's happy.
Twenty Acres sounds HUGE, but if you look at it, is really not. I see them as ripping out Sindbad and using half of it for HP and the other half for Lost Continent. Maybe they'll finally do something with the closed shops next to poseidons Fury. They could also do something with all the space beneath Dueling Dragons. That is a lot of open space there. There is also the huge area that goes between the Pizza Predatoria and the Flying Unicorn. Not to mention there is a large area in Jurassic Park that once was The Triceratops Encounter, and underneath the bridge is a huge area that used to hold the Island Skipper Tours. The one problem I've always had with Universal is that they always seemed to have lots of unused space with closed attractions, yet they were very quick to close an attraction to build a new one, i.e. Kong for Mummy, BTTF for Simpsons.
I guess since HP is coming, we can count out a new JP attraction any time soon.

From David Kirby on May 31, 2007 at 7:45 PM
Honestly, I hadn't noticed any mistakes. And Erik was right - it is the "Forbidden" Forest.
From Jack Williams on May 31, 2007 at 8:58 PM
Universal. Harry Potter. Small 20 acre land. Who knows what could happen? I personally hope we could get a dark ride with broomstick style vehicles that takes a tour through Hogwarts, with some (ahem) unexpected twists along the way. But a quiditch roller coaster would be totally awesome. You know what would be even better? A state of the art virtual reality experience that simulates the flight of a Quiditch match. Now that would rock my world.
From Bruce Lane on May 31, 2007 at 9:33 PM
Hi, Erik,

For some strange reason, I thought you were quoting straight from the press release, and that they were the ones who'd gotten it wrong.

No worries. I was merely being persnickety. After all, look what happened to me when I tried to spell "claustrophobically" in one of my own posts. It came out as "claustrophically" or some such silliness.

Oh, and David? FYI -- It is actually the "Dark Forest." You need not take my word for it. Simply play the DVD of the first movie ('Sorcerers Stone') up to the scene where they've just arrived at Hogwart's, and Dumbledore is making his start-of-term announcements. He very clearly says (among other things) "The Dark Forest is out of bounds..."

Anyway... From what Erik is saying, it sounds like the Orlando Sentinel piece was more speculation than anything else.

Have a great weekend, all. I think I need a BIG mug of mint tea...

From Lena Messana on June 1, 2007 at 4:27 AM
Well, I kind of agree about the BMG theory, however, you need to buy tickets to that in advance. I can guarantee they have a summers worth of ticket sales on them already. They are only a limited time thing.

As far as HP... I noticed some of you are still with the retheming of the Lost Continent. If you listen to the video announcement (in Dumbeldors office... im sorry if the spelling is off... ), they state it is an additional 3acres or something like that. A theme park within a theme park. No mention of retheming or taking the existing rides/shows away or incorporating them into the new stuff. Hogwarts, will look like hogwarts. there will be the forest, and also Hogsmeade - all with new rides etc. And it will be as close to the real thing... looks wise. They do a great job... I cant wait.

Any way you look at it... with Aquatica in the works now... by the time its finished, and the word spreads...and the new part of IOA, 2009 will be a great year for Universal.

From Lena Messana on June 1, 2007 at 4:38 AM
p.s. i didnt read all of the things going on in the comments here as i dont have time. but upon reading the last one... everything seems like speculation. here is something more solid for you all to look at...


http://www.universalorlando.com/harrypotter/index.html

From Erik Yates on June 1, 2007 at 4:39 AM
Not to be picky, but Universal doesnt own Aquatica, Sea World does.Blue Man Group is a permanent show, much like Cirque Du Soleil is at Downtown Disney. And the rumors have been around for a while about Harry Potter taking over The Lost Continent, as IOA does not have a whole lot of land, and The Lost Continent deals with the same content as Harry Potter does, so it wouldnt make any sense to have two lands that are themed in a similar fashion. It would make sense that they would take over Lost Continent to make room for Harry Potter. Thats one thing I agree with the Sentinnel about, as I've heard that from several people who work for Universal, especially in the Lost Continent area.
From Lena Messana on June 1, 2007 at 4:42 AM
im just going by the official annyouncements I heard yesterday. i didnt say they made sense. lol
From Derek Potter on June 1, 2007 at 4:43 AM
If people who don't like Harry Potter are in the minority, then I guess you can add me to the list as well. I never liked it to begin with. I still think it's a franchise on it's last leg. The last book comes out soon, and then what? The guy who played Harry in the movies was laughably older than the character he was playing in the last movie. If the franchise continues on it's path, than it will be forgotten by the time IOA completes the project. My point is this. The name Harry Potter won't make the project, the quality of the attractions will.
From Chris Wilkes on June 1, 2007 at 5:26 AM
I love when people equate their own opinions with that of the general public. Come on, what does the last book coming out and the movie series winding down have to do with anything? Despite the age of both series now (the movies and the books) they are both more popular that ever right now. And it seems farily likely that that popularity will remain intact. It's been decades since the LOTR books were published and years since the last movie. Does that mean that people have forgotten about either? It's been close to a century since Baum's Wizard of Oz books were published and almost 3/4 of a century since the classic movie. Does that mean that people have forgotten about it? What about classic fairy tales? What about the works of Lewis Carroll or Jules Verne or Arthur Conan Doyle? The Harry Potter series is this time's equivalent to those. Classics of storytelling, adventure, fantasy and literature.
Surely, the Potter-mania will wane a bit once the book and movie series are completed, but they will continue to be popular stories and characters for generations to come. When was the last time there was a series NEARLY this beloved? Just because the stories over, the affection that readers and viewers have for HP isn't just going to disappear.
Now you're right about one thing. The success of this area will be made or broken by the quality of the attractions (like I said in a previous post, I think the Mummy movies stink, but the Mummy Coaster is one of my favorite rides ever, so...)- I'm just pointing out that just because you and others may not happen to like the stories that it isn't fair to assume that those opinions are the majority. The numbers alone say differently. I have faith that Universal will do an outstanding job designing these attractions and this mini-world, but I have even more faith that themeing being Harry Potter is going to make it even that much miore attractive and magical to millions and millions of fans.

Oh and to the guy further above that thinks that "everyone (he knows) in the MidWest hates Harry Potter" needs to get out more often. Meet more people, dude.

From Chris Wilkes on June 1, 2007 at 5:52 AM
A quick additional note. The actor's ages are irrelevant. The principles are (on average) about 2 years older than the characters they are playing. What's the big deal? Teenagers have been routinely played by people in their 20s and even 30s since the dawn of Hollywood. Did people complain that Sarah Michelle Gellar was in her mid twenties playing a high school senior on Buffy? Or that Stockard Channing was 33 when she played a high school student in Grease? The HP actors are actually closer to their characters ages than is the norm for Hollywood. So what is the issue there?
From Brian Emery on June 1, 2007 at 6:38 AM
We love Universal so any new attraction is welcomed. This gives us another reason to go back to Orlando for another fantastic vacation. Can’t wait!!!! Thx for keeping us informed.
From brian lochridge on June 1, 2007 at 7:12 AM
The idea that Potter is on its last legs is so ridiculous. Some of the Marvel Characters are 40 plus years old, that doesn't seem so stop them form being popular. I honestly could care less if they were making a island themed with teletubbies as long as its done right and has some great rides I am in. We should all be happy that they are making this investment in the parks period.
From Erik Yates on June 1, 2007 at 7:40 AM
I can see why some people would think that Harry Potter is on its last leg, because everything is close to ending. However, I think Potter has more than just the stories in the books and the movies going for it. Harry Potter is a world filled with all kinds of different things, and I can see several different spinoffs happening in that world. Its like Star Wars, it created a whole universe....most of which was created by fans. One of the most popular star wars comics deals nothing with the Star Wars we know, but the way two characters mess things up and kind of influence the way things turn out. Add to that the fact that two games having nothing to do with skywalkers, kenobi's or yoda have been two of the best selling games of all time. This shows that if done properly, Harry Potter can be a huge success for Universal. It doesnt even have to do anything with the books or the movies, but something that goes along with that world. Dragons happen in Harry Potter's world, so Dueling Dragons would fit. Unicorns happen in Harry Potters World, so Flying Unicorn would fit. Its way to soon to call this a success or a failure. But everyone thus far is on the right path....its going to take more than just some new paint and new names for existing rides that have a harry potter sticker on it to make a section a success.
From Gareth H on June 1, 2007 at 8:17 AM
I said from the start that a re-themeing of duelling dragons into harry potter would be easy.

There is so much potential in it, and there is already a castle built.

Apparently, they are putting over $200 million into this project so that would explain the recent lack of investment!!

The more I think about this the more I like it.

Disney will be kicking themselves for not doing this!!

From brian lochridge on June 1, 2007 at 8:23 AM
I was just looking at Google Earth and trying to see where this new land would go, and I can't see how its going to fit. I know they will make it work and look great but they really are going to have to take a lot of the lost continent with it. From what I can tell DD is almost going to have to be the center of the new island. I can see the employee parking lot they are talking about but I am having trouble seeing how they are going to integrate what's already there with what's going to be new. Its very interesting and I recommend you all take a look. I can't see how they will keep that side of the park open while this is going on. I wish I was a fly on the wall right now so I could see things as they are being planned.
From Erik Yates on June 1, 2007 at 11:14 AM
This is totally heresay, but a friend of mine who works for disney said that within a month they will announce plans for Narnia at MGM, and a big expansion at AK....Beastly Kingdom.whoever said it earlier seems to have hit it dead on the head.
Didnt this happen when Universal announced plans for the first park in Orlando? And didnt MGM open just a few months before USF? Seems like they went into panic mode on that....and it also seems like they're doing it again...just how it seems.
From Chris Wilkes on June 1, 2007 at 12:21 PM
I could see a new Narnia attraction (the one they have now is basically pointless, a trailer and a few costumes). I'd love to see Beastly Kingdom develop off of AK, with Everest as its flagship attraction, obviously.
From dylan kollath on June 1, 2007 at 12:59 PM
WELL I AM A VERY BIG FAN OF UNIVERSAL ORLANDO AND WANT TO WORK AT UNIVERSAL CREATIVE WHEN I GROW UP I LOVE THE FACT THAT HARRY POTTER FITS RIGHT IN WITH THE LOST CONTINENT AND I LOVE THE LOST CONTINENT. KNOWING UNIVERSAL THEY PROBABLY WILL NOT RE THEME THE DUELING DRAGONS BUT WHAT IM THINKING IS THEY MIGHT PUT SOME OF THE HARRY POTTER WORLD WERE THE JURASSIC PARK SECTION IS I JUST HOPE THEY DONT GET RID OF THE GOOD SHOWS LIKE THE 8TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD AND PIOSIDENS FURRRY. BUT IN THE PIOSIDENS FURRY RIDE A GOODSHOW TO PUT IN THERE WOULD BE THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS. I LOVE UN IVERSAL ORLANDOS UPCOMING ATTRACTIONS BUT I DONT LIKE THE SIMPSONS! PLEASE RESPOND TO MY COMMENT.
From dylan kollath on June 1, 2007 at 1:16 PM
I LOOKED OM GOOGLE MAP AND COULDNT FIND ANY LAND EITHER.
From Deidre Dennis on June 1, 2007 at 4:18 PM
I continue to be amazed at the different perspectives from people in regards to this Harry Potter themed "island" coming. I say GO FOR IT... just another excuse to take a vacation to see and try something new. I don't understand why it has to be EITHER Disney OR Universal. We went to WDW last June and made Univeral and SeaWorld part of our trip. I thoroughly enjoyed all the parks and all cast members at all parks were great. I'm excited when any of the parks build new attractions, as it's another excuse to take a trip and probably see something really cool.
From Ben Mills on June 1, 2007 at 7:29 PM
Hmm... I'm surprised I'm the first one to get truly geeky and compared the publicity art with aerial photos. Obviously, their plans might change, and it's always just an impression anyway, but if we're going on the idea that the art is accurate, then the following things can be deduced:

- There are three pieces of artwork that show the new area. The one that is an Overview (this one) zooms in to pretty extreme detail. Do so, and if you look slightly above the owl's right wing, you'll see what is quite clearly a bit of Dueling Dragons track, and the accompanying castle. The castle has a marquee extension attached to it - does DD currently have this on the queue line? If not, it's probably an addition to bring DD into the Potter theme.

- Opposite from DD is a smaller coaster with a bridge to another island just to the side - quite clearly the Flying Unicorn. The track looks a little more complex than FU's current figure of 8 to me, though this could just be because the artist is trying to make it actually seem a little better than it is. However, if they're going for a quidditch theme, it wouldn't be out of the question to go the whole way and just building a new kiddie coaster, right?

- Behind the Unicorn, a path leads to Hogwarts. This building, at least in this artwork, looks huge, so it's got to be Strongarm, right? It's even in two buildings, so perfect for a queueline/preshow building and a main ride building. Or maybe that's just to keep it accurate to the books... I don't know them very well. Either way, it would make sense for this big plot of land to be the space between the Unicorn and Jurassic Park. If - and this is a very big if - the artwork is at least roughly geographically accurate, that's the only place it can feasibly go.

- As for how much of the Lost Continent is being converted... at the bottom of the artwork is an archway. Given they're focusing on mostly structural overlays, my initial reaction was that this would be the archway already in place, just before Sinbad. However, not only would that leave the remaining LC with just only Mythos and Poseidon, but it would also leave quite a lot of space before reaching DD, whereas in the artwork, we can see it starts at roughly the same place as DD's grounds. So it's clear that this archway (and therefore the beginning of TWWoHP) is either going to cross over between what is currently the Ice Cream stand and the Pitch and Skill Games (the two buildings just before the Dragons/Enchanted Oak plaza area) or at the point just further on where the greenery on either side edges in on the path slightly. (Take a look at an aerial photo to better understand what I mean.) And the building in the middle of the pathways in the artwork will be placed in the centre of what is currently that plaza.

- This backs up the notion that Sinbad will be saved - as will the talking fountain, I expect. (Yay!)

The artwork is pretty explicit on the above points, and remarkably "to scale" for theme park concept art - normally totally out of shape and size. However, where the revealing details regarding Dueling Dragons should be, there is currently an owl's wing. So, though this is now pure guess-work, by using this second picture, we can piece together what I think is the only feasible concept.

Taking a look at the first picture, at the entrance to the land, above the train, we see a building illuminated on the inside by fire. I'm taking this as a possible clue to start with - it even looks like it an attraction entrance - however, more compelling evidence can be seen on the second picture. If you look at the roof of the same building, there's a pretty distinct shape pointing out from the top - a dragon's wing, almost identical to those currently sitting at the entrance to DD. So maybe they stay, but the entrance moves. Or DD's entire entrance plan might be staying exactly as it is. Either way, we can all breathe a sigh of relief that at least Universal don't intend to change one of the park's signature rides too much.

Thank God for the internet.

From Erik Yates on June 1, 2007 at 7:37 PM
2009 is a long ways off. Things can change, and plans will be announced. Until then, sit tight, and dont get pick the bogey flavored Berty Bott Bean.
From Iris Hernandez on June 2, 2007 at 8:48 AM
I just saw the First picture in the comments a few comments back and No, dueling dragons did not have the extra line queue outside the castle. Flying Unicorn does look a lot more complicated and i hope that it is. Even my niece thinks that coaster is boring, and she's scared of everything. I am very impressed with the artwork. This is going to be an awesome Island.
From Joseph Boone on June 2, 2007 at 11:47 AM
IOA has been my favorite theme park since my first visit there in 2000. The one flaw has been that Universal has added nothing significant since then so I couldn't be happier about the new Harry Potter island. As long as they keep the theming and entertainment level at the level the rest of the park enjoys, I'm sure I'll be thrilled.

Universal would be happy to know that I've already ordered my tickets online for the visit I now plan to make in 2010 so I can check out Harry's stomping grounds. I know, I know... what a geek! But I use credit card rebates to pay for my Orlando tickets and I had enough built up to pay for Disney and Universal so I went ahead and did it now. The way both companies raise prices, it's a great investment anyway.

From Gareth H on June 3, 2007 at 9:12 AM
Iris - Duelling Dragons has a huge outside Queue. As you enter the castle take a look over to the left, its really massive and winds back & forth. I've foten looked at it and wondered if it was ever used! The ropes are still up. I have never seen it used and I have never seen the queue reach outside of the Castle...
From Erik Yates on June 3, 2007 at 12:14 PM
I've seen the DD queue get filled completely up during HHN. It was all the way back to the beginning, and all the way in the back of the queue. Thats like a 3 hour wait. Simply insane.
There is a lot of land there, and a lot of land beneath Dueling Dragons, which is what they may have to do, and its not that terrible of an idea having shops and what not through there. You could have dragons "terrorizing" the town. The land behind and next to Flying Unicorn is also quite expansive. And there is land that stretches from next to the Discovery Center in JP underneath the bridge, and back in through that area. Lots of possibilities. I just wonder if they will add anything to the LC area should they cut it in half.
From Derek Potter on June 3, 2007 at 10:46 PM
Look, I'm thrilled that IOA is finally putting some money on the table to compete. I'm sure that the finished product will look impeccable, and the rides will be themed flawlessly. What I'm saying is this. If this is the last book, and the last movie is coming out shortly, then what will be done to keep the franchise going? There's no denying that Harry Potter is a widely popular moneymaking machine, as were boybands, and beanie babies, and Jurassic Park, and Star Wars, and the Macarena, and a million other franchises that have existed for a period of time. The ones that survive are the ones that stay fresh. If Harry Potter wants to stay fresh for another 3 years until IOA opens it up, than more will have to be done.

The issue isn't that Harry Potter is coming to IOA, it's whether or not the franchise will actually contribute to the quality of the experience. IOA could put this area up without a single hint of Harry Potter and it would get the same glowing reviews. What this does accomplish for IOA is creating buzz among the park communities and the industry. I bet that 8 out of 10 who've read and watched all the Harry Potter books and movies have no idea that this is happening, and in three years that number may have gotten to 5 out of 10, and it 2010 Harry Potter won't get an average of 1 of 10 of those people to the park. The bottom line is that this is American pop culture we are talking about. If things aren't freshened up, they die. All the buzz is great now, but get back to me in a few years when it opens and we talk about how popular Harry Potter is. If she keeps writing and they keep filming, than it will still be in, if not...it will have faded into recent memory.

As I said before, I'm sure that the actual project will turn out great.

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