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An artist's idea of how the magical, snow-covered village of Hogsmeade will look in the new Florida theme park
Photo: © Warner Bros
Click on photos to enlarge

Harry Potter fans will also be able to walk through a life-size version of Hogwarts Castle, where Harry and friends swot up on their spells
Photo: © Warner Bros

The billion-dollar project will is not expected to be completed until 2009. It promises to include computerised special effects to conjur up figures which look like real people but disappear into thin air
Photo: © Warner Bros

Author JK Rowling has given her seal of approval to the theme park
Photo: © Getty Images

JK Rowling approves of magical Potter theme park

31 MAY 2007

Die-hard Harry Potter fans are in for a spellbinding treat in 2009 when a theme park based on the schoolboy wizard's adventures opens at the Universal Orlando Resort in Florida. The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter will feature famous locations from the books such as the snow-covered village of Hogsmeade, complete with shops selling cauldrons, brooms and wands, as well as a life-size Hogwarts Castle. And it has the seal of approval from Harry's creator herself, author JK Rowling. "The plans I've seen look incredibly exciting, and I don't think fans of the books or films will be disappointed," she says.

There will even be a Hogwarts Express train and Forbidden Forest. Visitors will also be able to encounter some of the characters and see magic displays.

The billion dollar project, which starts construction within weeks, is headed up by Oscar-nominated production designer Stuart Craig who has worked on the Harry Potter movies. "Our primary goal is to make sure this experience is an authentic extension of Harry Potter's world as it is portrayed in the books and films."

While fans await the park's completion there's plenty to look forward to in the meantime. The last book in the series, Harry Potter And The Deadly Hallows is being launched at midnight on July 21. The author will do a special reading at the Natural History Museum in London and will then take part in a marathon book signing session until dawn. The book's action includes the death of two characters - but JK has not revealed whether Harry is one of them.

The fifth film, Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, is due to hit UK screens on July 3.

One person not so enamored with the boy wizard at the moment, however, is actor Bill Nighy. "I am the only British actor who hasn't been asked to be in Harry Potter," he complains. The Pirates Of The Caribbean star has apparently asked for a part, but even his friendship with director David Yates hasn't managed to sway the issue. "But you know? I don't care, because I'm a pirate," he adds.

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