When the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park opened at Universal Studios Hollywood in April, fans were excited to finally experience the magical realm firsthand, reported The Toronto Star. The theme park’s designers left nothing out in their efforts to please both novice and diehard fans.
The new Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey 3D Robo-Coaster is the theme park’s crown jewel attraction, swirling through green flames with Hermione Granger before reaching Hogwarts and flying side-by-side with Harry Potter and Ron Weasley, as they explore the castle, avoid the Whomping Willow and dive into a Quidditch Game to chase after the ever-elusive Golden Snitch.
“It’s been my dream since I was little. I didn’t think I’d ever get to experience this world,” Ashley Braswell, a 25-year-old from Big Bear Lake, Calif. told the newspaper. “It’s so spot on, it’s perfect.”
The attraction is designed to be a highly engaging experience, according to Alan Gilmore, who was an art director on the second, third, and fourth Potter films and also oversaw construction on the new Harry Potter theme park at Universal studios, when he spoke with The Salt Lake Tribune.
“We want you to be immersed. In our minds, you’re not really visiting a theme park, you’re visiting a place. Any experience.”
Although Universal Studios Hollywood is not releasing exact figures, the new Harry Potter theme park is estimated to have cost at least $500 million. The structures are crafted of carved concrete set on steel frames and are massive, giving it a feel of real permanence and centuries of history.
“It was a challenge, but the environment worked quite well with us,” Gilmore added. “We have hills in the background to work with. We framed views looking through Hogwarts at the hills in the background.”
RELATED REPORTS BY THE INQUISITR
In addition to riding the Forbidden Journey 3-D Robo Coaster, here are a few things every Harry Potter fan should check out while visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Theme Park at Universal Studios Hollywood:
- Sample some of Hogwarts’ infamous Butterbeer (word is, it’s pretty darn tasty).
- Head over to the theme park’s very own Hog’s Head Pub for a real drink!
- Ride the Flight of the Hippogriff Roller Coaster for some unusual views of the theme park.
[Photo via Facebook]