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Universal Orlando's Hogwarts Castle (some assembly required)

Jim Hill

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Universal Orlando's Hogwarts Castle (some assembly required)

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All around the world tonight, as children lay nestled, all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar plums dance in their heads ... Out in the living room, their parents will be quietly cursing as they attempt to assemble some overly complicated Christmas gift.

If it's any consolation, while that LEGO Pirate Ship or Schwinn bicycle which you'll be struggling to complete before sunrise is incredibly complex, it's not nearly as daunting a construction project as the one the Universal Orlando Resort faced when it broke ground in the Summer of 2008 on The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Though - to be honest - this 20-acre theme-park-within-a-theme-park did have something in common with LEGO. In that those hundreds of construction crews that Universal hired to do this job were expected to take all of these pieces of Hogwarts Castle & Hogsmeade Village that the Nassal Company had created ...

... and then put them together in just the right way (more importantly, place them in just the right spot) so that the illusion of forced perspective could then be achieved.

I won't lie to you, folks. Putting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter together was an incredibly tough job. With people sometimes hanging off of temporary construction platforms hundreds of feet in the air, as some crane winched one of these these multi-ton pieces into place at the Universal's Islands of Adventure worksite.

But in spite of the dangers, the wind, weather and lightning, these brave men & women still showed up for work every day. Climbing up into that scaffolding ...

... to each snow-covered chimney pot ...

... and each highly detailed castle wall ...


... and parapet was placed just so.

So that - when the Wizarding World of Harry Potter finally opened to the public this past summer, it was the new gold standard for what it took to recreate a fantasy film franchise / book series in a theme park setting.

So no matter how bad it gets later tonight when you misplace that oh-so-crucial allen wrench, just be thankful that assembling this particular Xmas gift didn't involve standing on scaffolding above the Island of Adventure Lagoon ...


... so that you could sculpt faux stonework in a very particular way so that it would then meet the standards of one J.K. Rowling. Not to mention every Harry Potter fan on the planet.

So here's hoping that all of you Santa's Helpers out there are able to complete all of your tasks tonight before the little ones pop out of bed. More to the point, that you & yours have a very Merry Christmas tomorrow, okay?


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Thanks and Happy Holidays!

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  • It truly is stunning how detailed and immersive the park is. My family went there for Christmas and we were blown away. Do you have any insider news about the expansion they're reportedly planning for the park?

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