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Invisibility cloak may soon lift on Universal Orlando's Wizarding World of Harry Potter

03 September 2009 by By Jason Garcia - Sentinel Staff Writer

Universal Orlando is preparing to pull back the curtain a bit on its hugely anticipated Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

The resort on Thursday began e-mailing invitations to some reporters and bloggers for a Sept. 15 Webcast about the $200 million-plus project, which is based on British author J.K. Rowling's seven-book series and the movies they have inspired.

A spokesman for Universal declined to discuss details of the event. Invitations promise a "first-ever glimpse" of the Wizarding World.

Universal's Potter event is scheduled to occur two days after the Walt Disney Co. concludes a fan convention in Anaheim, Calif. Disney is widely expected to announce new projects at the gathering for several of its theme parks, including Disney World.

Although Universal has said little about Wizarding World since announcing it in May 2007, some details have leaked out.

The 20-acre "theme park within a theme park" in Islands of Adventure is to be anchored by the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy. The 15-story castle will house the themed area's signature attraction -- which, according to people familiar with the project, will feature a "robocoaster" ride system in which guests sit in seats suspended from a robotic arm that swivels in multiple directions as it advances along a track.

The name of the ride is thought to be "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey," based on U.S. trademark applications filed earlier this year.

The Wizarding World will also include Hogsmeade Village, with shops and taverns from the novels selling items such as magic wands and serving treats such as chocolate frogs and butterbeer.

The project is scheduled to open during the first half of 2010.


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