Harry Potter & the Theme Park of Relentless Profiteering

All right, I’ll admit it, I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. And I couldn’t be more tickled that the oh-so popular wizard boy is getting his own theme park down in Orlando. Some enterprising Potter fans have unearthed the patents for some of the names of the restaurants, rides, and shops inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The park will most likely be aimed at youngsters, but with Academy Award winner Stuart Craig on staff — he’s designed all the sets for film series so far — it might be a cool place to check out. Though Universal Studios is determined to keep much of the plans secret before the opening in 2010, industrious Potterphiles have cracked some of mysteries behind the scenes. The most intriguing find: The large ride under construction at the back of the Florida theme park will be called Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Universal Studios describes the ride as a state-of-the-art attraction that will “bring the magic, characters and stories of Harry Potter to life.” Two other existing rides will be re-themed to fit into the Wizarding World:

● The Flying Unicorn kiddie coaster becomes the Flight of the Hippogriff ● The twin-tracked Dueling Dragons steel coaster becomes Dragon Challenge

So far a few landmarks within the 20-acre land have been revealed — including the themed areas of Hogsmeade Village and the Forbidden Forest, as well as a walk-through Hogwarts Castle — the trademark search divulged the names of previously secret restaurants and retail shops.

Among the restaurants: ● Three Broomsticks ● Magic Neep ● Butterbeer

Among the stores: ● Dervish and Banges ● Zonko’s ● Owl Post ● Ollivanders ● Honeydukes

Right now if you head on over the theme park’s site, you can vote on what would scare you the most: a whomping willow, a Hungarian horntail, an acromantula, a dementor, or a basilisk. Presumably there’s going to be a ride or something of the like that will be designed to scare the pants right off of you. I wonder why Daniel Radcliff’s nude turn in Equus is not on the list …

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