The beginnings of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Florida Guide > Universal Parks

Making your way through the different zones of Island of Adventure, you will notice a magnificent castle known as Hogwarts School of Witch Craft and Wizardry. It is based on top of a mountain so it’s not hard to miss! It’s quite unbelievable that a group of designers have taken J. K Rowling’s imagination from the Harry Potter books and a group of builders have bought it to life. Visiting the wizard world is like stepping into your television screen and entering the movie!

It all started in 2007 when a rumour from a highly credible source suggested that the zone in Island of Adventure – Lost Continent, was going to be themed as Harry Potter.

Construction of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter began seven months after the official announcement, in January 2008. By July, the Flying Unicorn and Enchanted Oak Tavern were closed. The construction progressed with the Hogwarts castle taking shape slowly. Teams of builders and designers worked for months constructing the buildings that will house the rides and unique shops, whilst specialists then began to create the amazingly accurate buildings, just like those in the films. Snow effects were created on the roofs with cement compounds and clever use of paint to bring it to life. A lot of the design was also developed to enable a 100 foot high building look as if it is actually 600 feet high. Some parts of the themed detail were built and painted away from the park and then brought in at the appropriate construction time.

At the same time that builders were building, engineers were also working on creating everything from the rides and safety systems right through to installing turnstiles and queuing systems. Other businesses were also producing canopies for the entrance areas plus banners and drapes for all the themed areas both outside and inside the buildings.

In September 2009, the top shell of Hogwarts castle was completed and Duelling Dragons was closed for some maintenance before being transformed into Dragon Challenge. Some pathways needed to be re-routed to enable the rest of the park to operate normally whilst all the construction was in progress. This in itself took time, effort and a great deal of planning to put into effect. The whole construction was complete by 1st June, 2010 with the park opening on the 18th June 2010. However, the cast and crew of Harry Potter got there a day before the public saw it.

Olivia Taylor – Aged 15

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