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From sneakoscopes to firewhiskey: what Muggles can expect from the Harry Potter theme park

By Whitney Milam

HollywoodNews.com: Anyone planning on taking a Portkey to Florida for a visit to Hogwarts this summer should make sure their Gringotts vault is overflowing with Galleons first, because the just-opened Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park isn’t just filled with hours-long lines: there’s enough amazing Harry Potter merchandise available for purchase that fans will be wishing for a magical little beaded bag like Hermione’s to hold it all.

We’ve already heard everyone raving about the frothy iced Butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks and self-selecting birthday wands at Ollivander’s, but did you know you can also get yourself a $65 deluxe Marauders’ Map, a $15 Sneakoscope, $7 replicas of Luna’s Spectaspecs, or a $15 golden snitch? Wizard robes, uniforms, and character replica wands are priced anywhere from $25 to $100, and a souvenir pint of ale at the Hog’s Head is less than $10. Lines to get into the Zonko’s, Honeydukes, and Dervish and Banges shops are reportedly even longer than those for the actual attractions, so savvy wizards and witches will head there early on in the day’s adventures.

The park also presents three new rides: the Dragon Challenge roller coaster (according to Daniel Radcliffe, this was his favorite attraction when he visited), the Flight of the Hippogriff roller coaster, and the interactive, simulated Forbidden Journey ride, whose queue takes you on a tour throughout Hogwarts castle before you go on a wild four-minute trip outside, involving the Whomping Willow, an army of Dementors, a Quidditch match, and more. Young children may be terrified, and larger Muggles may have some issues with going on this particular journey, however, if the recent controversial reports of riders over a certain height/weight range being unable to fit into the seats are any indication. Still, the overwhelming number of park reviews have been extremely positive.

According to fan reports, the general time period of the park seems to be around winter of Harry’s third year at Hogwarts, or Prisoner of Azkaban era (the time of Harry’s own first visit to Hogsmeade), and you can see moving wanted posters for Sirius Black hung throughout the village. While you may appear to be walking snowy English streets, however, the blistering Florida summer heat has already resulted in several faintings and heat-related injuries, so be sure to Apparate with your sunscreen and water bottles in hand!

We’ll be bringing you first-hand coverage of the theme park later this summer, so check back soon. Have any of you been lucky enough to visit already?

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  • June 27, 2010 | Permalink |

    I’ll be going to the park later this summer when I visit Orlando for the Harry Potter Symposium Infinitus 2010. I’ll be presenting a paper on J. K. Rowling and C. S. Lewis called “Sneaking Past the Watchful Dragons: Christian Themes in Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia” at the event. I’ll also be doing a book signing while I’m there.

  • Cool Beanz
    June 27, 2010 | Permalink |

    It’s AWESOME! If you want to ask me a question about it, I’ll answer.

  • Andrew
    June 29, 2010 | Permalink |

    Cool Beanz, can you possibly experience the whole Harry Potter site in one day? Also, would you start with the rides first or the gift shops first? And is there a way to get a pass that will allow one to cut the long lines? Thanks!

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