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Harry Potter Attraction takes shape at Universal Orlando

The Orlando Sentinel has come out with a long anticipated update on the progress of Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter project. Inspired by the movies, Harry Potter will get a multi-attraction treatment with re-themeing of two existing attractions and a new ‘Robocoaster’ :

a ride system in which guests sit in seats suspended from a robotic arm that can swivel and swoop in multiple directions while it advances along a track.

Plans show the track snaking through more than a dozen scenes, though what those scenes will be remains a mystery. The attraction, according to the people familiar with it, will also feature an elaborate pre-show queue with special effects such as floating candles and snow falling indoors.

There will be two main sets of the new ‘land’ at Islands of Adventure. First will be a 150 foot tall version of the famous castle that is the Hogwarts school of Wizardry. The second themed area is the town of Hogsmeade. Both are expected to totally immerse the guest in the Harry Potter world.

All this sounds great, and should be open sometime in 2010. Unfortunately we don’t have a more specific date than that, although I’m sure they’re shooting for sometime in the spring. Many businesses in Orlando are pinning their hopes on this project reviving the local tourist economy. Let’s hope they’re right.