Harry Potter Theme Park Will Be Open June 18!

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Pack your trunks. The date is set.

At midnight, Universal Studios revealed that its gargantuan Potter-themed attraction will open its doors to the public on Friday, June 18, though those who purchased the special Potter vacation packages will have access to the park on May 28. (FYI – The package deals ($285 per adult, $130 per child) are still available.)

(More on Techland: New Harry Potter Theme Park Construction Photos)

But the most exciting new info were the details about the park’s main attraction, The Forbidden Journey of Harry Potter, a highly-interactive ride that features all-new footage featuring the cast of the film franchise, including Michael Gambon as Dumbledore, Emma Watson as Hermione, Rupert Grint as Ron, and of course, Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter himself. The ride’s experience sounds beyond spectacular and features robotic technology coupled with 3D projection that’s sure to deliver on of the most realistic theme park experiences we’ve ever seen. Read this description from an Associated Press reporter and tell me it doesn’t sound unbelievable:

“Believe it or not, standing in line for the ride — called Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey — is half the fun. The queue snakes through the castle’s dungeon up to the greenhouse (complete with potted mandrakes) and through a corridor to the soaring portrait gallery where the quirky characters from Hogwarts’ past talk to each other and move from painting to painting.

From there, visitors move into Dumbledore’s office, where the headmaster welcomes Muggles — non-wizarding folks — to the castle for the first time. Dumbledore is on screen, but the illusion magically puts him right him right there in the room. Next it’s the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, where Harry, Ron and Hermione — the movie actors appearing on-screen — intercept the group and invite everyone along for an adventure with them. The Gryffindor House common room is one of the last stops before the ride, which includes an encounter with the Whomping Willow, a narrow escape from a dragon attack and a Quidditch match.”

Wow. The entire experience, wait time included, is supposed to take about an hour, though I can’t imagine the size of the lines during the first few months of the park’s opening.

Another bit of Harry’s world I’m dying to try? The butter beer. It’ll be served up at the Three Broomsticks and Hog’s Head, along with another wizard drink of choice, pumpkin juice, with both recipes being approved by Ms. Rowling herself.

Planning your trip yet?

More on Techland:

Harry Potter, the Super Bowl Commercial?

Hogwarts Castle, Your First Look