Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Universal Orlando Resort are partnering to create the world's first fully immersive Harry Potter themed environment based on the bestselling books by J.K. Rowling and blockbuster feature films from Warner Bros. Envisioned as a "theme park within a theme park" and titled "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" (see photos below!), the new environment will become part of the experience within Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park at the Universal Orlando Resort.
"Over the years we've received thousands of letters from fans around the world wishing they could visit Hogwarts and the wonderful locations described in each of J.K. Rowling's beloved stories," said Barry Meyer, chairman and CEO, Warner Bros. Entertainment. "Working with Universal Orlando Resort, we are confident that we'll be able to provide Harry Potter fans with an incredible experience that upholds the richness of J.K. Rowling's books and delivers on the authentic detail portrayed in our films."
"We will rely on our company's rich movie heritage and expertise in transforming film concepts into theme park entertainment experiences," said Ron Meyer, president and COO, Universal Studios. "The Harry Potter stories are among the most compelling of our time. The millions of people who have read the books and seen the movies will now be able to experience the world of Harry Potter in person."
Inspired by J.K. Rowling's compelling stories and characters - and faithful to the visual landscapes of the films - "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" will provide a one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience the magical world of Harry and his friends. The fully immersive, themed land will enable guests to visit some of the most iconic locations found in the books and the films including the village of Hogsmeade, the mysterious Forbidden Forest, and even Hogwarts castle itself.
"The plans I've seen look incredibly exciting, and I don't think fans of the books or films will be disappointed," said J.K. Rowling.
"We have a profound sense of responsibility for the Harry Potter franchise at Warner Bros. Bringing the magic of J.K. Rowling's written word to the motion picture screen was the first step in expanding this amazing and imaginative world. Working with Universal Orlando Resort to bring it to life in a physical environment that you can walk through, relax in and ride on is the natural next step for fans to experience and enjoy," said Alan Horn, president and COO, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Expected to open in late 2009, the new environment will feature immersive rides and interactive attractions, as well as experiential shops and restaurants that will enable guests to sample fare from the wizarding world's best known establishments. Also debuting will be a state-of-the-art attraction that will bring the magic, characters and stories of Harry Potter to life in an exciting way that guests have never before experienced.
"We are going to devote more time, more money, more expertise and more executive talent from throughout our entire organization and creative team - as well as from Warner Bros., our partners - to ensure that this entire environment is second-to-none," said Tom Williams, chairman and CEO, Universal Parks and Resorts.
Brad Globe, president of Warner Bros. Worldwide Consumer Products, added: "In Universal, we found the right partner whose unparalleled commitment will ensure that this is a world class destination. Their track record of success and the consistently high level of entertainment at all of their parks gave us the confidence to know that they will meet -- or exceed -- the extremely high expectations we all have for this project."
The Academy Award-winning production designer Stuart Craig, who has worked to bring the world of Harry Potter to life in all of the feature films to date, leads the creative design for the area to ensure it remains faithful to the look and feel of the films.
"Our primary goal is to make sure this experience is an authentic extension of Harry Potter's world as it is portrayed in the books and films," said Craig. "I am very excited to be working closely with the Universal Orlando team to bring the area to life."