Orlando strikes again! Not enough to have one Harry Potter park at Universal's Island of Adventure (The Wizarding World of Harry Potter -- Hogsmeade, opened in 2010), we are now told that the Universal Studios Park will be opening a second magical theme attraction area this summer, Diagon Alley (no date announced yet.)
This one will let you ride the (real) Hogwarts Express train through the lovely British countryside, just like Harry and friends did so many times to travel from school to home and back for every break. The second HP area is built away from the first one on purpose, to allow people a real train ride between both. And just like Harry, visitors must pass through a brick wall before boarding the steaming train, linking the two areas of Harry Potter's theme. I don't quite see how they will manage this, but it's a secret for now.
British set designer Stuart Craig and his production movie team, who worked on all seven original Harry Potter films, created the new park as authentic as possible to the mood and ambiance of the wonder boy's adventures. He won an Academy Award for set design for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Several shops will make sure you can buy all the necessities of wizards-in-training, including wardrobe and all. Universal Studios know well how to do these things: How many of you have enjoyed running scared in Twister or Disaster, or laughed with the Minions and Shrek and cried with E.T. and his friends? Food will also be present, and I hope they serve the traditional school cafeteria menu of English boarding schools. Now, that would be a culture shock!
Here is the 22-minute long promotional video from Universal, live with real actors from the movies, albeit awkwardly all grown up, gushing about the attraction, adding that it's even better than the movie sets because it's a real size complete recreation of what they have only seen in bits before. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is not in the video though.
The new Park-to-Park admission will be $136 per adult, $130 per child, and include the two Harry Potter areas and the train ride -- $96 if you only want to see the new themed area. I'm sure all Muggles and wizards alike are invited.
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