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A Harry Potter “experience” is to open at the studios where the films are made in England. The visitor attraction north of London will include costumes and recreations of some of the boy wizard’s haunts, such as the Hogwarts school hall and Albus Dumbledore’s study. The planned set tours — part of an expansion of Leavesden, the Warner Bros studio in Hertfordshire — are Britain’s answer to the recently opened “Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” a 20-acre attraction at the Universal Studios resort in Orlando, Florida.

Last month, London’s mayor Boris Johnson stated that the UK was “utterly mad to leave it to the Americans to make money from a great British invention”. Warner is reportedly to spend more than $150 million on buying and expanding Leavesden, which it currently rents. Until the studio tours commence, Harry Potter fans in England can tour film locations in and around London with BritMovieTours or The London Taxi Tour Company.

16harry_650First, there was Dickens World, a Dickensian theme park which opened in Kent, England, in 2006, and features attractions like “Victorian School” and “The Great Expectations Boat Ride.” Now on its heels comes The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the hotly anticipated 20-acre addition to Universal Studios  “Islands of Adventure” property in Orlando, opening next spring. 

Details of the park have recently been unveiled, and attractions are set to include a high-tech experience inside Hogwarts castle called “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey”; a family-friendly coaster  that simulates a Hippogriff (the half-horse, half-eagle beast from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) and the Dragon Challenge: a twin high-speed coaster featuring elements from the Triwizard Tournament. “We wanted fans to be able to truly live the experience of these movies,” Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative, told the New York Times.

Step aside Mickey Mouse: are literary theme parks the wave of the future?

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