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A Magical Attraction

March 29, 2010 - Phyllis Sigal

I want to be sorted. I want to meet Dumbledore and Harry and Ron and Hermione. I want to see the talking portraits.

I want to play Quidditch, venture through Hogwarts castle, narrowly escape a dragon attack, feel the chilling effect of Dementor ...

And I can do all that June 18 when Universal Studios opens The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and experience the themed attractions, "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey," "Flight of the Hippogriff" and "Dragon Challenge."

I love Harry and his friends. I've pored over his adventures for years; waited impatiently for the mail or stood in line for the next new book; seen every movie, at least once. I've felt that empty feeling when I've reached the last page of a book, and the even emptier feeling at the end of the final installment of the series.

But, now, to know that I can  live some of Harry's adventures! Wow, that's just plain awesome!

According to a press release I received, "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is the heart of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This all-new adventure combines a powerful storyline with spectacular new technology so effectively that guests will be completely immersed in the experience."

There's more:

"And as they live their adventure, guests will feel things no one has ever felt inside a theme park attraction, move in ways no one has ever moved, experience film like no one else ever has, explore vast sets punctuated by amazing special effects — and have an adventure only possible in Harry Potter's world."


So what happens in "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" is this: You go into Hogwarts castle where you meet Harry and his sidekicks; they convince you to skip a lecture and follow them. You travel by Floo powder and soar over Hogwarts, narrowly escaping a dragon attack. You have a close encounter with the Whomping Willow then get pulled into a Quiddich match.

You get to pay a visit to Dumbledore's office, check out the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom; meet characters in the Gryffindor common room; take a seat in the Room of Requirement; pass through the Dungeon passageway and hallways of Hogwarts; and get a glimpse of the Sorting Hat.

I am, to say the least, intrigued.

Says Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative, "We have created an entirely new way to place our guests into the heart of one of the most compelling stories of our time. What we have done will forever change the theme park attraction experience."

According to the press release, "The attraction's newly created ride system envelops guests in filmed action scenes and moves those scenes with them as they travel through the ride, allowing more time in the center of the adventure and with their favorite characters. This fusion of robotic technology and filmed scenes has never been achieved until now. In some cases, technology had to be invented to achieve the highest level of guest experience. The combination of pioneering, state-of-the-art technology, innovate filmmaking and surprises around every corner, makes this attraction the embodiment of the Harry Potter book and film series — and the future of theme park entertainment."

Did I say, "Wow!"?

I can't wait.

I'll meet you at Platform 9 3/4 ...



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