Universal Studios to open Harry Potter theme park!

Digg this story | Share on Facebook | Press Release

Official Concept Art:
Hogwarts | Hogsmeade | Owl’s View of Park | Logo

Latest Developments (10 AM EST):
– Official park website now open; visitors can sign up for e-mail updates.
– JK Rowling: “The plans I’ve seen look incredibly exciting, and I don’t think fans of the books or films will be disappointed.”

Universal Studios and Warner Brothers made a joint announcement this evening from Leavesden Studios on the set of Dumbledore’s Office to reveal that a Harry Potter theme park is currently in development. The image to the left is the first piece of concept art for the park: Hogsmeade Village.

Here’s what we learned from Potter set designer Stuart Craig and a representative from Universal Studios (both of them hosted the big reveal):

– “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort”
– Announcement was made live via internet at 12:01 AM EST today to select media, including MuggleNet.
– Areas of park to include Hogsmeade, Hogwarts Castle, and the Forbidden Forest.
– 20 engineers working on project.
– Universal came to WB looking for authenticity.
– Potter park to be built in “Islands of Adventure” area of Universal.
– Stuart wants to “take his grandchildren” to the park.
– Opening early 2010.
– Universal’s Potter website to be available at this link.
– JK Rowling has been involved “since the very beginning” of the project. Also “supportive and encouraging.”
– Stuart thinks that the park will be better off in the United States.
– Have been in design “for at least a year and a half.”
– “Important that the theme park represents the entire saga from Book 1 to Book 7”

In a rather cute way to end the announcement, the Universal representative asks Stuart Craig, “Now where’s Dumbledore?” Stuart paused for a moment, looked around the office, and replied, “He was just here.”

We’ll be discussing these developments on this week’s episode of MuggleCast (due out over the weekend). This post will be updated frequently as we learn more!