Theme park aficionados take note: wizards are in, and sharks are out.
Universal Orlando Resort announced Wednesday that they've struck a deal with Warner Bros. Entertainment to expand "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter," one of the top attractions at Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando, Florida. While immersive recreations of Hogwarts and Hogsmeade are currently available at Islands of Adventure for fans of J.K. Rowling's tales of youthful wizard Potter, a sibling attraction is in the works at the nearby Universal Studios Florida theme park.
Visitors will be able to board "The Hogwarts Express" and ride a train from the school and its surrounding areas at Island of Adventure to a recreation of old London and Diagon Alley in the Universal Studios park. There, fans will be able to lose themselves into a world of shops, restaurants, and other attractions inspired by Rowling's books and the wildly popular "Harry Potter" film series. This will be the first time Universal has linked the two parks with a single concept.
Universal will be working with production designers from the "Potter" movies to see the new attractions have the proper look and feel, and Rowling has given the project a vote of confidence.
"I'm so pleased that 'The Wizarding World of Harry Potter' has proved so popular to date, and I'm sure that the attention to detail in creating the new Diagon Alley area will make this an even better experience," Rowling said in a press release.
However, while this is good news for "Harry Potter" fans, older folks grew up with the movie "Jaws" may be less enthused. The long-running "Jaws" ride at Universal Studios Florida was shut down in January 2012, and the area is being cleared out to make room for "London" and Diagon Alley, dashing any last hopes that the ride inspired by Steven Spielberg's seaside thriller will be revived. The "Jaws" ride was part of the Orlando theme park from its opening day in 1990, but thirteen years later, something has come along that's bigger (and more profitable) than Bruce the Shark.
Watch the trailer for 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2':