If you thought dirt-flavored jellybeans were a fun way to indulge your Harry Potter fandom, you're in for a treat. Mark your calendars for spring 2010, when muggles and aspiring wizards alike will have the chance to visit a veritable Harry Potter mecca: the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! The fully-immersive theme park, part of Universal Studios Orlando in Florida, will recreate many of the most familiar scenes and settings of the Harry Potter franchise, from the Hogwarts Express train rollercoaster to the actual castle that is home to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Upon arriving in Hogsmeade Village, fans will get the chance to be "chosen" by a wizarding wand at Ollivander's wand shop, visit the Owlery, drink butterbeer at The Three Broomsticks, and buy candies like chocolate frogs and Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans at Honeydukes Sweetshop. (You know what this means: bring plenty of Wizard Money when you go.)
(Preview concept art for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter after the jump!)
The Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction, while having a sort of terrible name, will use "entirely new technology to bring the magic, characters and stories of Harry Potter to life in ways never before experienced." For more traditional thrills, there will be rides based on the Hippogriff training flight and the Tri-Wizards Tournament. Adding a stamp of authenticity, Universal Studios has enlisted the films' production designer, Stuart Craig, and art director, Alan Gilmore, to help design the place.
The truth is, while any large-scale endeavors like this seem like bald-faced money-grabs, there are plenty of Harry Potter fans out there who will probably ditch their Disneyland season passes in favor of making an annual trip to Harry Potter World. So what do you think, Potterites? Can you resist the siren call of a real, live pilgrimage to Hogwarts, or haven't you already booked your 2010 trip?