Harry Potter Wizarding World Embraces New Technology

'There's just nothing like this around,' Universal president Mark Woodbury says of the theme park.

Hollywood is in love with 3-D right now, a trend MTV is celebrating this week with 3-D Week. After the success of "Avatar," studios are busy converting films into 3-D in post-production, bringing classic films back in three dimensions and filming a whole slew of new films using 3-D technology.

So what does that have to do with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you might ask? The whole 3-D sensation is about having the viewer feel as though they are a part of the world of the film they are watching. And that's a bit like what Universal's done for "Harry Potter" fans. When they walk into the park, they will be surrounded by a scarily accurate representation of Hogsmeade village and Hogwart's castle, right down to the model of the Hogwarts Express.

But the biggest draw to Wizarding World, and what the people behind the scenes are most excited about, is the new attraction Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. "The Forbidden Journey is a game-changer attraction in itself, but the bigger scope and scale of the Wizarding World takes the entire experience to another level. There's just nothing like this around," Universal president Mark Woodbury said. COuld this be the world's best 4-D attraction?

Forbidden Journey is a combination of new robotic-arm technology, which Woodbury promises will enable the ride to "move in ways people have never moved before," with new 360-degree film technology that creative director Thierry Coup said would make the riders think they were actually flying alongside Harry Potter.

"When Hermione casts the Floo powder and we take off, this magical chair we're in is just going to come to life. And we're going to soar over Hogwarts and the Forbidden Forest, into a Quidditch match, come face to face with Dementors — and that's just the ride technology," Woodbury explained. "Then we've created this 360-degree film technology, which enables us to come face to face with characters and really immerse ourselves right into the heart of a Quidditch match or all these different parts of the journey."

The other two rides in Wizarding World — Dragon Challenge and Flight of the Hippogriffs — are just roller coasters that were already at the park that have been redesigned. But even they have been given the special Universal treatment to make them as authentic to the story as possible.

Newsday recently reported new information about the story line of Dragon's Challenge. The coaster, which currently asks its riders to fly on either an ice dragon or fire dragon, will be Harry Potter-ized to have visitors choose either a Chinese Fireball or Hungarian Horntail dragon. While riders are being entertained by champions of the Triwizard Tournament, they will be able to see the Weasley's Ford Anglia on the edge of the Forbidden Forest, golden eggs authentic to the "Goblet of Fire" film and the Triwizard Cup trophy.

Are you excited about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? Let us know in the comments below!