| Trying to put Harry
Potter's magical world on a map is a bit like trying to catch the elusive
golden snitch. You hunt for it for hours, surveying the horizon for some
detail that will point you in the right direction. Then, when you finally
grasp it, it wiggles and squirms and tries to fly away. Yet you hold
on for dear life in spite of its airy protests, because you know that what
you've got in your hand is a little piece of magic.
Likewise, in creating this virtual theme park, we tried our best to hold on to the slippery, elusive magic of Harry Potter's world. But just as no one ever gets a perfect look at a snitch (for when it's flying, it's too far away to be seen, and when it's being held, it's partly obscured by one's hand), we found we couldn't really get a perfect view of Harry's world of magic, either. As we tightened our grasp, we found that the earthbound version didn't quite match up to the airborne one. In our grasp, certain details appeared altered or obscured. After all, as we tried to adapt Rowling's vision to a theme park manifestation, we had to fold the wings a bit here and stretch them a bit there. And yet the magic that we grasped still tickled our spines the way it did when we first entered Hogwarts with Harry. It still filled us with excitement as it had when we first went shopping with Harry on Diagon Alley. Despite the limitations of space and time we imposed upon it, the magic of Harry Potter's world was still alive.
It's no surprise, then, that our map may not look exactly as one might imagine. For one thing, Rowling's universe takes in all of Great Britain, whereas ours is only a few hundred acres. And though Azkaban Prison is located somewhere north of the North Sea in Rowling's universe, it appears to be located in the Forbidden Forest (but remember, appearances can be deceiving) in our theme park. "Our" Hogwarts castle is immense, but it's no where near as huge or as complex as Rowling's is. Furthermore, you can't walk to Hogwarts from Ottery St. Catchpole in her version, but you can in ours. All the same, we've tried to get a grasp on as many of Rowling's scrumptious details as possible so as to keep the magic alive while still grounding it in theme park reality.
But just as theme park space has its limitations, so does time. As impossible as it seemed to represent Harry's world of magic as an endless continuum of time, we also didn't want to limit it to one particular day or year. So we tried to recreate a continuum by representing many different events, all simultaneously existing, all continually replaying, like so many moments eternally encapsulated in Harry's memory. Thus, your Defense Against the Arts instructor might be Quirrel, Lockhart, Lupin or Moody. And though You-Know-Who repeatedly suffers defeat in his attempt to take the Philosopher's Stone from the Mirror of Erised, he also continually regains his powers and meets with the remaining Death Eaters in graveyards and dark alleys. Ultimately, the question of what date we have set Harry Potter's World of Magic at cannot be answered. Its existence is not purely chronological; it's cyclical. Thus, the moment of its existence is any and every moment in which evil looms in the distance, but hope, and goodness, and magic still remain.
Here are our suggestions, imperfect though they may be, on how to turn Rowling's vision into something tangible.
Our notes are categorized according to (1) the type of attraction (Rides & Games, Shows & Events, Shops, or Dining); (2) the Neighborhood they are located in; and then (3) are placed in alphabetical order, just as they are on our World of Magic Attractions page. The number in parentheses gives its corresponding location on the World of Magic Map.
P.S. We often had certain attractions at Six Flags Over Texas, Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Disney World's Epcot, Sea World, Scarborough Faire Renaissance Festival, or Cedar Point in mind when 'creating' our own attractions. As a result, we often refer to names of specific rides, shows or places in our notes. If you'd like to see pictures or read descriptions of these attractions, you can probably find them at one of the following sites:
Six Flags Over Texas | Magic Kingdom | Epcot | Sea World | Scarborough Faire | Julie's Coaster Pictures
Rain Forest Café | Virtual London Tour Guide | La Madeleine Café | Build a Bear Workshop
You'll find notes on the various as attractions in one of the six following categories:
We think it might be particularly interesting to use a symbol to represent each neighborhood, as we have on our World of Magic Neighborhoods page. Diagon Alley might be represented by an owl or cauldron; Muggle Land by a crown, train or bus; Hogsmeade by a warthog, pig or tankard; Godric's Hollow by a lion; the Forbidden Forest by a unicorn or evergreen tree; and Hogwarts by a castle, the letter "H", a spell book or a magic wand. This symbol could be represented in various "hidden" forms throughout that neighborhood. For example, in Diagon Alley, one might find a sign in the shape of an owl, or a fountain or garden shaped like an owl; owls might be painted in the corner of one building or carved into the brick of the next. But whenever you find one, he'd have the same simple, recognizable silhouette. Guests could be challenged to see how many owls they can count. A weekly computer message accompanied by a photograph of a particular owl, or lion, or castle might be sent to House members challenging them to locate that particular owl, lion, castle or whatever in the park and turn in the identification (example: owl painted in the upper right hand corner of the backside of the door to the ladies room located behind Cauldrons & Candles on Knockturn Alley) in order to be entered in a drawing to win a prize (perhaps a photo with Harry Potter, or a coupon for a free meal at the Three Broomsticks, or a free appointment to make a creature at the Creature Shop.)
Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley
Knockturn Alley is only half as wide, but still spacious enough to allow easy movement. It has a back alley feel, with walls on all sides and fewer windows. Its streets are concrete, not cobblestone, and its shops look slightly run down. There should be lots of 'spooky' details like animated statues of black cats prowling in the corners, mechanical spiders which descend if you get too close to certain areas, candlelit skulls glowing in darkened windows, the sound of tomcats fighting and bats screeching, and the occasional red lamp light at night.
Godric's Hollow and Environs
The Forbidden Forest
Hogwarts School and Grounds
Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley
Scabbers’ (22) We've actually classified this as a Thrillseeker's game hall, but with no stars, because we think the ambiance of this Knockturn Alley pool hall 'owned' by the traitor animagus should be a little scary, even if there's no real danger. Scabbers himself will of course be spending quite a bit of time here (sometimes in animated mechanical mouse form, sometimes as a human), waiting for You-Know-Who to make his brief nightly (?) appearance surrounded by death eaters.
Game Gallery (117) Classic games, but winners earn tokens (not wizard coins) which they can exchange for a prize.
King’s Cross Station (104) Once inside, there should be a large wall perpendicular to the exterior wall, that is painted with scenes of train platforms 8, 9, 10 & 11, including a train or two, with the large but hidden entry to Platform 9 3/4 located approximately 3/4 of the way between 9 and 10. The entry itself should consist of an opening covered in some form but flexible material that is pierced with long slits that will allow guests to "pass through the barrier" to the Hogwarts platform. Once inside, they will find themselves on an interior platform with a witch or two selling sweets from a cart and lots of other magical touches (mechanical owls in cages perched atop a tower of suitcases and trunks; a fortune telling machine like the one in the movie "Big", etc...). Towards the end of the platform there should be a second platform perpendicular to this one, but outside, where people actually get on and off the Hogwarts Express. The Hogwarts Express should be painted red, of course, and it should feature a ghostly announcer who dramatically explains the various sights as the train cruises across the countryside.
The Knight Bus (120) This is a theater similar to the Dino Island 3D adventure ride at 6 Flags. Guests wear 3D glasses. The seat moves, bounces and tilts in correspondence with the action in the film. The action is not scary the way a roller coaster is - there's no real threat of falling to the ground - but it can be quite convincing. The film should show a tour of London from the bus, speeding through traffic, almost running into the occasional car, and flying overhead through the countryside, and landing at Hogwarts temporarily before speeding back to London. The theater exterior could be painted to resemble a double decker bus.
The Knight Bus, Jr. (113) This miniature bus rotates on a "hammer", flying across the ground and through the air. Similar to the kid's flying bus ride in Loony Tunes Land at 6 Flags.
London Autos & Lorries (114) Cars and delivery vans here have the wheel on the right hand side, but drivers can't go wrong as there is a thin median in the middle of the road that keeps the vehicle on its path, and acceleration speed is limited. Up to five people are allowed per vehicle (two up front, three in back), and vehicles should have an antique look. There should be plenty of trees, an occasional flower garden, several statues copied from famous ones in London, and even a duck pond along the way. At one point, a giant "Knight Bus" could be seen on a perpendicular street, approaching quickly and almost crashing into traffic before taking off in flight over the street.
London Phones (105) You know - those big red phone booths, and they really work.
London Phones, Jr. (132) Same as the real ones above, but these just ring each other and pre-recorded messages by character actors.
Terror at the Tower (106) An indoor mine train like Gringott's, but faster, bigger, higher, longer and scarier. The train should slowly enter through Traitor's Gate as the bell tolls. Inside, it flies around towers and almost collides into a couple of them, slowing down as it approaches Tower Hill, where a mechanical executioner turns and lifts his ax, bringing it down right after the train whizzes past. Towards the end, the train shoots through a tunnel haunted by ghosts. The tunnel makes a final plunge into darkness, the train finally emerges into the light, and the ride ends. The building should have a 'stone' wall around the outside, to make it look like the Tower of London, and four turrets modeled after those of the White Tower, with ravens stationed along the waiting line.
Thames Twister (109) Like the Log Ride (El Aserradero) at Six Flags, but with scenic views of castles, etc...
Fred and George’s Fun House (46) Two stories of laser tag using wands instead of guns, with individual laser tag players competing on the bottom floor, and house teams competing on the top floor. There should be plenty of animatronics, opportunities to score not only off of each other, but also off of pop-up figures and the elusive golden snitch, 3D laser effects, mirrors, multi-level passages, dead ends, and other surprises.
Gamers' Row Quidditch Training Center (47) Games for the sporting wizard, including Quaffle Toss(hoop shoot), Beat the Bludger (batting practice), Catch the Snitch (a high speed game of catch using a pitching machine), Flying Key Darts (darts), etc..., all with the appropriate magic equipment.
Hogsmeade Cottages (43) Magic effects are magnetic and mechanical. The floo dust ride is a special 4-seat car that travels underground from one chimney to the other; a short tour and ride, because only 4 people at a time can travel in each direction. Again, this is mostly for families with small children.
Hogsmeade Depot (48) To make this more doable, we put the candy salesperson on the platform instead of on the train, as we did at King's Cross.
The Shrieking Shack (41) A classic haunted house, more updated than the one at the state fair, a little more like the Haunted Mansion at Disney World's Magic Kingdom. The thrillseeker factor comes more from the special effects than from the coaster itself, which makes sharp turns and whips through hidden doors but is really more like a mine train ride than a true roller coaster. This ride is meant to depict what Hogsmeade residents imagine the Shrieking Shack to be like (i.e. the most haunted building in England) rather than what it really is like (i.e. entirely empty except for Professor Lupin).
The Secret Tunnel (42) This underground passage has moving walkways traveling in both directions so that passengers can concentrate on the scenes of the Lake bottom and the dungeons. In actuality, the lake bottom scenes will merely be large aquariums placed behind the walls, and the dungeon scenes can be small rooms viewed through barred windows. The dungeons scenes shouldn't be scary because families will want to use the secret tunnel for transportation from one side of the Forbidden Forest to the other. The water scenes should include real fish as well as mechanical merpeople. Another possibility is to have water scenes overhead during part of the 'tour', like the "underwater" viewing tube at Shark Encounter in Sea World.
Virtual Village (50) A game hall with a couple of HP virtual games and plenty of video games.
The Wronski Feint (49) Modeled after the Wildcatter at 6 Flags, this ride's "You need to be this high to ride" sign should feature Viktor Krum.
Godric's Hollow and Environs
Crazy Quidditch (99) This ride is a gentle scrambler ride something like the Mad Tea Party tea cups ride at Disney World's Magic Kingdom, except that instead of riding in tea cups with their half sphere shape, guests ride in a quaffle, bludger or snitch. The balls would be a complete sphere shape, with a door in the lower half and a top half that swings up to allow for easy entry, like a hatch. The quaffles and bludgers would seat 4 to 5 people, the snitches, only 2 to 3. Once guests were buckled inside their sphere, the "hatch" would be closed, and the balls would begin spinning around the floor, but the spinning of each individual ball would be controlled by the guest by means of a steering wheel in the center. The hatch could either be pierced with holes to allow those inside to see through, or the hatch could be solid but translucent.
The Giant's Cottage (96) This is a fun place for little kids to explore, with plenty of photo opportunities. There should be a giant bed, a giant arm chair, a giant table, a giant front door, a giant cup of tea, etc...
Harry Potter Photo Boards (87) Another fun place for family photos. One board would be a giant Hagrid on a motorcycle, holding a baby Harry, with a cutout where Harry's face would be. The next board might have a statue of Harry facing it, while the board itself would show the reflection of Harry and his whole family, with cut outs in several of the faces, but not in Harry's or his parents'. Other board ideas: Fluffy, with 3 cutouts for 3 heads; Hogwarts students in potions class; Hogwarts ghosts and Peeves; and Dobby and his kitchen elf friends (for little ones).
Remote Control Boats (97) Classic remote control boats with a medieval theme.
Remote Control Quidditch (85) We envision 14 remote controlled players on brooms, with their bases extending from the ground. Participants would pay, say, $1 or $2, and the game could be played with a minimum of 4 players (a chaser and a seeker on each team.) Each remote controlled player would move along a track trying to contact a ball and would have one or two extended arms. The chasers would have both arms extended, with a sort of basket in between. When they 'catch' a quaffle, they fly it to the end zone, push their two extended arms and quaffle-filled basket through the giant hoop, push a button that opens the bottom of the basket, and score. The keeper can stop them by getting close to their track and trying to hit them by swinging his extended arm in a circle. If he makes contact, the basket would automatically open and drop the ball, and the chaser might also fall over. The quaffles would have to be constantly flying across the field, shot by an automatic pitcher of some sort and kept aloft by continuous drafts of air shooting up from the ground. The beaters would have a bludger hanging from a string attached to their club. When they approach a chaser, they push a button causing their arm to rotate. If they hit one, he automatically falls over and stays down for 5 seconds. The seeker would be metallic and could 'catch' the magnetic snitch, which swings down from the ceiling for only a seconds at first, lengthening its time on the field with each appearance. When the snitch is caught, the game is over. All players on the winning team would receive bronze knuts which they may exchange for a prize.
Search for the Sorcerer’s Stone (100) A cave ride like Yosemite Sam's Gold River Adventure ride at 6 Flags, featuring animated mechanical characters and special effects including a snarling Fluffy who is put to sleep by a flute, a wooden door that opens, leading to a mini waterfall signifying the drop through the trapdoor, the Devil's Snare, flying keys, giant chess pieces, a sleeping troll, walls of fire, and Quirrel / unwrapping his turban in front of the mirror of Erised. This shouldn't be too scary, however, because it's a family ride.
The Wheel of Fortune (84) This is similar to the Witches' Wheel at Cedar Point and to a ride that used to be at 6 Flags called the Spinnaker.
The Forbidden Forest
Azkaban Prison (57) This is an indoor version of a "Matterhorn" ride, but bigger, with laser effects and spooky sounds. At least some of the ride operators should be dressed like Dementors.
Dragon's Den (61) The four dragon slides have stairs up the tail and back, and a slide for a tongue. The slides should range from a small toddler version to a full-sized version for school-aged kids. The suspension bridge is rather low to the ground, built on ropes that extend into bases resembling miniature mountains. The dragon's eggs hidden in the caves should glow in the dark and make screeching noises if you step on them.
Firenze's Farm (55) A classic petting zoo with a twist: a full-sized unicorn puppet that kids can pet.
Flying Cars (59) This ride usually consists of miniature flying airplanes, but we thought the Weasley's flying Ford would make a more interesting vessel. The ride turns in circles, and drivers can control up and down movement with their steering wheel.
Magical Creatures Carousel (56) A large, beautifully decorated merry-go-round with magical creatures instead of horses.
Nagini's Revenge (51) This should be a full-sized and really frightening steel roller coaster. When guests enter the waiting line canopy, they should enter into a large snake's mouth with fangs extending on either side of them.
Hogwarts School and Grounds
Beauxbaton's Flying Carriage (Not on map) This ride did not make it onto the map, unfortunately. We think a good place to add it would be right behind the Whomping Willow, beside Hagrid's Hut, in plain view of the castle. This ride is basically one of those large swinging vessels that's usually shaped like a boat, like the Conquistador at 6 Flags. This one will have to be shaped more or less like a (flying) horse-drawn carriage, however.
The Durmstrang (74) This is basically a very big pirate boat ride, spooked up a little (but not too much) with creaky sounds, torn sails, a couple of skeletons and its own fog machine. It's a good way to get lots of people across the lake at a time while entertaining them along the way.
Hogwarts Depot (72)
No candy vendor here, but the depot should be decorated nicely with Hogwarts
coat of arms, etc... It might be a good idea to handout copies of
the Marauder's Map, if they aren't given out at the main gate. Also, there
should be some sort of map explaining the various methods of getting to
Hogwarts from this point (the Mermaid Boats, the Lake, the Durmstrang,
or the long way around: Country Lane, Border Blvd. & the Back Way.
Kiddy Corner (67) The mini maze is small and easy to get out of. The Li'l Lake is just a child's boat ride. The motorcycles are the type that go around in a circle and do little "wheelies" on occasion.
The Lake (75) This is modeled after the Roaring Rapids ride at 6 Flags, except that the exit isn't the same place as the entrance. The exit will be located in a cave which blocks the view to the entrance, which is just around the corner and to which the boats return once their occupants get off and head for Hogwarts. A waterfall near the end almost always soaks a few people.
The Maze (77) This maze is constructed entirely of tall shrubs (6 feet high or more) and would have a few dead ends, but not too many. There would be longer and shorter ways out, though. We envision two types of talking statues: (1) Real statues that 'talk' when you push a button. Some of these might give directions immediately, or they might ask an HP trivia question that would be answered by pushing one of three buttons (A B or C). The questions could change weekly but should never be extremely difficult. (2) The second type of Statue is actually a person disguised as a statue with white clothes and makeup. The Sphinx would also be played by a person. She would block the path entirely, and when you approach, she would ask you a riddle. If you know the answer, you pass and find yourself quickly at the exit. If not, you have to take the other path, which is longer.
Merpeople Boats (73) Like the Swan Boats at Cedar Point, these are two-person boats you peddle yourself, but one way at a time only. A good supply of the boats should be kept on either side of the lake at all times.
Moaning Myrtle's (68) Patterned after the wacky water works at Shamu's Happy Harbor at Sea World Texas and Sea World California, this 'ride' involves lots of interconnecting pipes at different heights, sometimes spewing water from holes in the pipes overhead, sometimes coming out in a fountain, sometimes ending in a large gush. The water pipe park is built on a safe, skid-proof spongy surface and is large enough for lots of kids and their families to cool down and play at the same time.
The Owlery (81) This aviary would house the birds used in the Aviary Stage shows and perhaps a few rehabilitating birds. Information and interactive displays about the different breeds would be available, as well.
Quidditch 3D Experience (71) Similar to the Knight Bus, which is modeled after 6 Flags' Dino Island 3D adventure ride. The ride is somewhat more thrilling than the Knight Bus because the adventure involves 'flying' way up high the entire time, with lots of Wronski feints, upside down shots after being hit by a bludger, and diving and zooming across the field at high speeds. The seats should have a broomstick extending from the ends. A nice touch might be to have the film's point of view change from one Gryffindor player to another, and sometimes to the ball itself. Having an owl fly in from the Forbidden Forest, across the grounds, and into Hogwarts with a message at the beginning of the film might be fun, too.
The Secret Tunnel (63) The other end of the same secret tunnel mentioned under Hogsmeade, above.
The Sorting Hat (70) Similar to the Mexican Hat Ride (El Sombrero) at 6 Flags, but shaped and painted like the Sorting Hat. Also, there should be four gates from which to leave the ride and get to the exit, and each of these four gates should be marked with one of the four house names and its mascot.
Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley
For character appearances, characters should be escorted by a "body guard" who can kindly but firmly tell overly enthusiastic guests to back off so the actor doesn't have to do it himself. Actors playing a certain character could learn their character's "signature" (Hagrid's is sloppy, Snape's pointy, etc...) so they could sign posters, souvenirs, etc... They should each carry their own quill pen (emerald green ink for Dumbledore and McGonagall, perhaps purple for Snape, pink for Lockhart, etc...) during character appearances for this purpose. Also, they should have certain catch phrases that they repeat, and should use an accent, tone of voice and gestures that are associated with the character. Thus, Snape would tend to glare and stare down his nose, wave his hand to shoo away unwanted fans, curl his lip up into a sneer, and twirl has cape dramatically a lot. He would speak quietly but intensely with a British accent that is somewhat on the snooty side, and say things like, "Now begone, or I'll be forced to take a point from each of your houses!" Hagrid would lumber along, smiling, scratching his beard and shaking hands freely. He would have a booming voice and would speak with his recognizably regional lower class British dialect, saying things like, "Gallopin' Gorgons, it's hotter than a dragon's lair today. Blimey, I wouldn't mind stoppin' by the Leaky Cauldron for a spo' o' summit cold to drink." And McGonagall would walk rather stiffly, her spectacles perched on the end of her nose, and would speak with a minimum of gestures in her Scottish accent, saying things like, "Welcome to the World of Magic. I hope you'll enjoy your stay here. Anyone who is caught messing around or behaving discourteously will leave and not come back. You have been warned."
You-Know-Who does not sign autographs and does not speak, however. He is only seen for brief moments while passing through Knockturn Alley flanked by Death Eaters, all of them appearing quite paranoid as they emerge from one shop only to disappear into another with the assistance of Scabbers in human form.
Star Fountain (1) Actually located in the Entry Plaza, this star-shaped fountain is quite large and provides a lovely backdrop for photos. Special effects such as colored lights and various shooting water effects would be a plus. The fountain is surrounded by a small garden, with lightening bolt shaped raised flower beds scattered around the entry plaza. Unusual varieties of flowers and plants should be mixed freely in huge hanging baskets around the fountain.
Street Magic (Diagon Alley) In addition to formal performances by famous (or soon to be famous) magicians, there should also be a few wandering sorcerers in Diagon Alley who stop the occasional passerby to perform a trick, David Blaine style. Some of these wandering sorcerers might perform tricks especially for children.
Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace (134) The Horse Guards will appear from a hidden gate at the end of the road between London Square and the Thames Twister. From there, they will proceed past the square, turn right on Royal Road, and right again at the Palace Promenade, where the gates will open for the changing of the Guard. Afterwards, the horses will depart by going around the other side of the Queen Victoria Monument, then left past the Ministry of Magic and back through the hidden gate. There need not be many horses (10 or so should suffice), and the horses could also be used to "survey the traffic" in Muggle Land throughout the day. They might also be used in the Hogwarts Parade without their Buckingham Palace guards.
Character Appearances (126, London Square, Palace Promenade) Looney Tunes characters accompanied by chaperones, as you see at 6 Flags.
Highland Fling (London Square) Lively Scottish tunes and dancing.
Little Ben's Bells (108) Shopkeepers should mention Little Ben when they hear his bells ringing.
Ministry of Magic Review (118) Serious looking, black-robed Cornelius Fudge types who act surprisingly silly, performing high kicks in a row, telling corny magic jokes, and performing really good and not-so-good magic. The theater's sign should have a laser effect which makes it read "Ministry of Magic" at some angles and a sober "Department Store" at others. Once inside, the entry hall might be subdivided into dozens of little rooms that are painted and decorated to look like elevators. When the inner doors are about to open, elevator numbers above the doors will light up in descending order as if descending into the bowels of the building.
Punch and Judy (119) The classic children's marionettes, with outdoor bench seating.
Street Performers (London Square, Palace Promenade) Performers of the non magical variety, but very funny and entertaining, like one might see in London's Covent Garden, minus the pickpockets.
Folk Music (35) A British singer / guitarist should sing lively folk tunes and drinking songs, encouraging diners to sing along with their favorites.
Street Magic (High Street) The tricks here are performed for small groups rather than just one or two individuals. The wizards' and witches' appearance should be a little less polished, a little rougher around the edges, but cheerful, not spooky, as if they've spent the afternoon at the Three Broomsticks or the Hog's Head.
Godric's Hollow & Environs
Glassblowing Demonstration (89) A real artisan demonstrates the ancient craft of glassblowing.
Harry Potter Live! (83) This large theater doesn't necessarily recreate scenes straight out of the Harry Potter books but uses them as inspiration to create a top notch production with lots of special effects and that wonderful showdown between Harry and You-Know-Who, all of which is merely a dream (or nightmare) Harry has one night at Hogwarts. The show should change yearly or seasonally.
McGonagall's Chess Board (94) This is a bit like the Living Chess Match show they have at Scarborough Faire, where King Henry VIII and another King direct their pieces (various knights, maidens, bards, etc...) across the board. Whenever one piece takes another, a battle ensues, using swords, axes, maces, or whatever weapons appeal to them. McGonagall's Chess Board might be directed by "King" Ron on one side and a veiled wizard King and Queen, who silently communicate their wishes via nods and pointed fingers, on the other. Ron's pieces would be dressed in the appropriate attire (the knights in knights' costumes, the bishop in bishops' frocks, the pawns as pages, the rook perhaps as a wizard, etc...), each sporting his teams symbol (a lion perhaps?) and their faces would be visible. They would cheer frequently and banter playfully with each other and the opponent, but the opponent's pieces would remain stoically quiet. The opponent's pieces, though dressed similarly but in black, would also have their faces hidden by means of a veil, fencing mask, or robe of some sort. Their symbol might be a snake or dragon. At the end, when Ron (of course!) wins, his pieces would pick him up like the hero he is and escort him across the board, through Godric's Pass, and back to the castle. The opponent's team would then silently slither away, disappearing behind the Remote Control Boats and outside the park into the employees' area via a gate in the fence surrounding the park.
The Forbidden Forest
Hogwarts School and Grounds
Charms Class (76, Third Floor) Sleight of hand, the uttering of various magic spells, and the appropriate magical equipment are the secret to Flitwick's invisibility, reappearance, and other charms. All the while, he could explain to the kids how to correctly pronounce the spell and what movement to make with their wand and act shocked or surprised when they still don't get it. At the end of class, he'll simply tell them to keep working on it, however. Flitwick might also consider teaching the kids one Muggle magic trick which he finds fascinating and strange, so that the kids leave class having learned at least one charm.
Deathday Feast (76, Dungeons) Because Nearly Headless Nick is so important, we think it might be fun to have an actor (in white makeup and white, filmy clothing) play him, but he'd have to be kept away from the attendees via a table or some other obstacle to keep people from touching him. His friends could be projected into the room via a film projector, the use of computer generated graphics, or holographs.
Defense Against the Dark Arts Class (76, Fourth Floor) Lupin and Moody should teach a few self-defense moves, borrowed from various martial arts disciplines, and give them exotic names like "dragon's kick" or "eagle defense" or something, and tell students that these can be used against trolls who are generally slow moving and stupid but which spells rarely affect. At some point during the class, a Dementor should enter the class room, and the temperature should be lowered in the classroom immediately to give guests the impression of his chilly presence. Lupin will of course use some charm to make him back away and leave, and the temperature will quickly return to normal as Lupin distributes small chocolates to all the guests. Moody will teach the adult class with a little more advanced program and a crustier attitude.
Divination Class (76, Slytherin Tower - Fifth Floor) A painting of Sir Cadogan in the fourth floor hall below, a spiral staircase leading up from the fourth floor and through the trapdoor entry, a real fireplace, café tables and chairs, lots of red scarves and floral prints, shelves stacked with candles and teacups, piped-in new age music, and an overstuffed chintz-covered winged chair from which Sibyll Trelawney teaches class are the key to creating the ambiance of the divination class. Trelawney will of teach the basics of palmistry, numerology and tea leaf reading (after serving tea, of course.) She will occasionally glimpse in her crystal ball or claim to see someone's aura, occasionally interjecting a cheerful fortune for one of the students ("I see you will be soon be contacted by someone who wishes to offer you a gift" or "Venus will be rising in the house of Scorpio this evening. That means someone might develop a crush on you this month, dear.") She will also drop a hint or two about how she fears for the safety of a certain ill-fated Gryffindor student by the name of "Har..., well, I really shouldn't tell you his name. After all, it must be very traumatic for him given that my divining powers are so strong." The class for adults and older adolescents could be include more advanced explanations of divining methods and might include a guest speaker who specializes in the area.
Dumbledore's Toast (76, Great Hall) - The professors will file onto the professors' dais in the Great Hall using a hidden door at the back, then will take their seats at the High Table, a scrumptious meal already having been laid out for them. Then the curtains in front of the dais will magically open, along with various other magical charms such as invisible tooting trumpets to announce their arrival, and Dumbledore will rise with a golden goblet in his hand to announce his famous evening's toast before dinner. "Welcome to Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you!" (Or some other silly words; this is just Rowling's first year version.) Then Dumbledore will take his seat again and the professors will dine (for real!). A microphone hidden in Dumbledore's clothing is a must, of course.
Enchanted Evening Fireworks (Best seen from 82) The fireworks could be launched from the roof of Hogwarts or from the other side of the railroad tracks, with a few panoramic scenes painted in front of the launching pad to hide it from the Hogwarts Express as it passes by. Magical music (courtesy of the Hogwarts Magical Marching Band) should accompany the fireworks. Dumbledore should "conduct" the music and the fireworks with his wand. The Fireworks immediately follow the Hogwarts Parade.
First Year Quidditch (82) Two teams of wizards and witches will play a "real" (i.e. somewhat choreographed) game of first-year quidditch using lowered hoops, basketballs, beach balls batted from the sidelines by the beaters, and a series of ping pong balls (only one of which is gold) being constantly shot overhead. Afterwards, up twenty-eight park guests will be chosen to play a short game themselves. All 28 participants will receive a scroll of participation and a coupon for reduced prices at Quality Quidditch Supplies.
Herbology Class (79) This class will be as interesting to adults as to kids, with Professor Sprout explaining the many uses of real plants such as lavender, mint, etc... A few exotic species (Venus Flytrap, Pitcher Plant, Orchids) should be kept on hand. Registered "students" should finish the class by repotting a small herb to take home. For the adult and older adolescent class, Professor Sprout could talk more about plants like Evening Nightshade, Poppies, and Digitalis, and explain about poisons used on or by famous people, such as Catherine de Medici.
Hogwarts Parade (82) This half hour parade is led by Professor Dumbledore (with a mechanical Fawkes perched on his shoulder), who presents the Hogwarts banner that is stretched between two horses, followed by the Hogwarts Magical Marching Band, which Dumbledore signals to begin with his wand. Then come the professors, each followed by a student bearing a glow-in-the dark banner devoted to their specialty (transfiguration, potions, etc...). In addition, Snape might enter with a live python entwined around him, and McGonagall might be accompanied by a mechanical lion, etc... Then come the precepts and students grouped by houses, with each head precept (including Percy) bearing his house banner. And the precept might be given permission to invite a few real House Members who behaved well in the Common Room to participate in the parade. Then Dumbledore might perform a few magic tricks featuring on stage explosions, etc..., and four horses (one for each of the four houses, including an uncooperative black Slytherin stallion) might perform. All the banners carried should glow in the dark and should feature animated elements. Spotlights should be used to focus the audience's attention during performances. Towards the end, Dumbledore would award the daily House Trophy to one of the houses (perhaps based on points actually earned by Park House Members that day.) Before, during and after the parade, wizards and witches might walk among guests selling snacks, glow-in-the-dark jewelry and wands, and other magical novelties. The Enchanted Evening Fireworks immediately follow.
Hogwarts Tour (76,
Starts from Entrance Hall, Ends at Observatory) A precept should guide
a small group (15 to 20) of guests around the castle, opening forbidden
doors, visiting the four common rooms (where precepts open the door momentarily
only to forbide the group to enter), traveling through corridors and up
and down stairs along the way. A short peak at several professors trading
shop secrets in an empty classroom or some other surprise might be scheduled.
There might be two versions of the tour: a slightly longer one for guests
who don't mind climbing several flights of stairs, and a shorter one for
those who prefer to travel mostly by elevator.
Magical Symbols Class (76, Fourth Floor) This introductory course in heraldry should explain the use and symbolism of animal charges, colors, etc... It could also teach runes. It might be nice for a wizard from the SCA (Society of Creative Anachronism) to teach the class, but the emphasis should be on fun as much as on instruction. Students will assemble their own coat of arms, choosing die-cut animals, symbols or letters to paste on their colored cardboard shield.
Potions Class (76, Dungeons) Snape is as snippy as usual as he guides students through simple chemistry experiments such as combining vinegar (stored in potion bottles and called something more obscure) and baking soda (sprinkled with a silver spoon from a black pot into each child's miniature cauldron) to create a small explosion (that he'll call Dragon's Breath potion.) A cauldron of dry ice should be kept bubbling on his desk, and the shelves of the far wall of the classroom should be lined with glass jars filled with preserved specimens and other squishy looking stuff. He can also lecture about how to prepare various vile concoctions using obscure and fictional ingredients, and then act astonished when nobody writes it down. During the older adolescent and adult class, Snape could be considerably nastier, and the potions could be somewhat more advanced.
Riddle Cemetery (78) This consists simply of a few large tombstones bearing the names of the Riddle family, some scary lighting and perhaps a bit of fog at night, as well as a few spooky sound effects. There is nothing to visit here, and the cemetery can only be seen from the Hogwarts Express as it passes by.
Sorting Hat Ceremony (76, Great Hall) Children should have the option of waiting inside the Great Hall with their parents or meeting up with the other first year students in the First Year room before entering the Great Hall. The Sorting Hat should have some sort of button on it that is not seen by the child or audience which allows McGonagall to determine which house the next child will be sorted into. As one child finishes, she picks up the hat, announces the next child, and then moves the button to the appropriate house if the child expressed a preference during registration. (Her list of children to be sorted will be computer generated and will indicate whether there was a preference and what it was.) Students who have House Memberships will of course be sorted into their own house. Those who express no preference should be determined by chance via a "no preference" button. If a child prefers to be surprised but specifies that he or she doesn't want a particular house, then McGonagall can simply select one of the other three house buttons. Once the hat is on the child's head, it will "mumble" a few things quietly so "only" the child can hear, then it will announce a little more loudly (via amplification of some sort outside the hat) which school has been chosen. A photographer should take photos during the ceremony, and students can be given a slip stating when and where (in one of the Hogwarts classrooms) to see the proofs that day. At the end of the sorting, butterbeer and some simple snacks should be served to students at their four house tables, or they may opt to return to sit with their parents in the back of the hall. Dumbledore should of course propose some sort of toast before they snack. For the older adolescents and adults, everyone should be encouraged to sit at their house table, and the event should have a somewhat rowdier atmosphere with snippy remarks by Snape ("A little old to be starting at Hogwarts, aren't you?"), Mad-Eye Moody ("I smell a fink. One of you is a spy, and I know it. I'll be keeping my eye on you this year!"), Hagrid (whispering - "Yeh're mighty tall for a first year student. Yeh got any giant blood in yeh?") and Dumbledore ("So sorry! It appears the House Elves unwittingly slipped a growing spell into your butterbeer. But don't worry, you'll all return to normal in the morning.")
Story Time (76, Library - Fourth Floor) Behind the small book store located at the front of the Library, there are rows of child-sized benches where young children can sit to hear Madam Pince read a story. The titles of daily stories should be posted on a blackboard at the entrance, and the book should of course be on sale in the book store area. The rest of the library should be decorated with rows of wooden shelves with what appears to be books on them, but which are actually just wooden panels painted with trompe l'oeil book spines. At the very back of the library, there should be a roped-off section that is identified as the Reserve section. A motion sensor alarm should be placed here so that if anyone waves a hand or foot past the ropes an alarm goes off. The alarm shouldn't be too loud, though, and might even be turned off during story time.
Transfiguration Class (76, Fourth Floor) McGonagall would have to be a pretty good magician to be able to turn her desk into a pig and back again, so we recommend that she start with smaller transfigurations that would be more appropriate for first year students. Using traditional magic equipment and a lot of good old fashioned distraction in the form of the teaching of spell pronunciation, etc..., she should be able to turn a scarf into a flower or a pillow into a rabbit or something. Students could be given a small object such as a paper clip or rock and be told to practice turning it into a caterpillar or toad or something. Then McGonagall could walk around the class remarking how she thinks their paper clips look a little more wobbly than they were at the beginning of class (which is a good sign that transfiguration has begun, of course!) An actor who can be planted among the students who will "actually" turn his rock into a toad.
The Whomping Willow (64) The Whomping Willow is basically a giant mechanical puppet with facial features in the trunk which move, and a mouth that talks thanks to controls within, as well as branches that whip around when he's angry or excited. The inside of the willow must allow enough room for the operator to sit comfortably, and the tree should feature a hidden camera that takes pictures of the audience which can be viewed on a monitor by the operator inside. The operator will need a basic script (full of lots of tree humor) to work with but should be good at improvisation.
NOTES, continued . . .