Universal Orlando: New Harry Potter area full steam ahead with Hogwarts train, other features

  • Article by: Associated Press
  • Updated: March 14, 2014 - 11:56 AM
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This image released by Universal Orlando shows the character Hagrid from the "Happy Potter" book and film series in a scene from the Hogwarts Express attraction that will debut this summer at Universal Orlando. The attraction will allow fans to ride the Hogwarts Express train and experience the British countryside just as the characters did in the book and movie series.

Photo: Universal Orlando, ASSOCIATED PRESS - AP

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ORLANDO, Fla. — The new Harry Potter-themed area opening at Universal Orlando Resort this summer will allow fans to ride the Hogwarts Express train and experience the British countryside just as the characters did in the book and movie series.

Guests will appear to magically pass through a brick wall and board a train with steam and a whistle, according to a Friday news release from Universal Orlando Resort.

Riders will have two experiences — one on the way to the new London-themed area at Universal Studios Park and another on the way to the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal's Islands of Adventure. During the ride, characters and magical creatures from the book will be spotted. Among them: Hagrid on a flying motorbike, the Weasley twins on brooms, and the Knight Bus in London traffic.

Universal's team worked with a group from the Harry Potter films on the new area and train.

If fans want to see both parks, a two-park ticket will be required — currently $136.32 for one day for ages 10 and older.

The theme park also released details Friday about its newest hotel, the Cabana Bay Beach Resort.

Based on 1950s and 1960s mid-century modernist architecture, the resort will open 600 of its 1,800 rooms March 31.

When fully built, 900 rooms will be suites with kitchenettes. Standard rooms will cost from $93 to $127 a night for a stay of seven nights longer, company officials said. Family suites — which sleep up to six guests — run from $134 to $171 a night for the same length of time.

Russ Dagon, the vice president/executive project director of Universal Creative, said guests will feel like they're still in the theme parks.

"It's an extension of the experience," he said.

The hotel also will have two beach-themed pools, a lazy river and waterslide.

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