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Butterbeer, magic, dragon flights and more at Harry Potter theme park

By APRILL BRANDON
Nov. 17, 2010 at 5:17 a.m.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park

OTHER THINGS TO DO IN THE AREA:

Why would you possibly want to do something else when you could go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? Seriously.

Considering Hogwarts is fictional, taking a trip there would be pretty darn hard (especially since we here at the paper don't advocate taking hallucinogens). Luckily, Universal Orlando has the next best thing.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park opened last June after much fanfare. More than five years in the making, the park, located in Orlando, Fla., features attractions that stay faithful to the vision created by J.K. Rowling's books and the subsequent movies, according to the official news release.

For instance, visitors can check out Hogwarts Castle, which has the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction. The ride combines state-of-the-art technology and an in-depth story line that takes guests on a journey over Hogwarts, through a dragon attack, a close encounter with the Whomping Willow and a close-up view of a Quidditch match, according to the news release.

Among the other attractions are a training flight on the Hippogriff and the Dragon Challenge ride.

You can also visit real stores (and buy real items) like in the book, such as Dervish and Banges, Filch's Emporium of Confiscated Goods, Zonko's, Honeydukes and Ollivanders.

Of course, to become totally immersed in the world of Harry Potter, you also have to stop and have some pumpkin juice or butterbeer at the Hog's Head pub and eat at the rustic Three Broomsticks.

Four night vacation packages start at $299 and single day tickets are $82 for adults and $74 for wizards ages 3-9. To purchase tickets, go to www.universalorlando.com/harrypotter.

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