It might have been the “Wizarding World of Walt Disney,” but the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the hottest thing to hit Orlando in years, opened at Universal Orlando instead. Why?
It’s a question that has a lot of people scratching their heads. After all, with its fabled “Imagineers” and deep pockets, Walt Disney World seemed the logical choice to bring the successful Potter franchise to life. So why did the boy wizard take up residence at Universal’s Islands of Adventure? It seems Universal made author J.K. Rowling an offer she couldn’t refuse.
Seth Kubersky, a Orlando journalist and former Universal team member, will discuss the behind-the-scenes story of how Universal’s Wizarding World came to be in a series of talks at Barnes & Noble stores in Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville, Fla. from Oct. 5 to 9.
Seth, a former stage technician and special event supervisor at Universal, is co-author of Universal Orlando 2011: The Ultimate Guide to the Ultimate Theme Park Adventure.
Among the other insider stories and little-known facts Seth will unveil are how Universal’s designers got around the Federal Aviation Administration’s height limit for buildings when they created Hogwarts Castle, and the best ways to beat the enormous crowds that have packed Harry’s world since its opening.
Titled, Hidden Harry Potter: Seven Insider Secrets of Universal Orlando’s New Wizarding World, Seth’s presentation will also unveil some of the surprising ingredients in butterbeer, as well as where to grab a mug of the wildly popular brew with the least waiting time.
As technician for the Terminator 2: 3-D attraction, Seth has ridden the Terminator’s motorcycle on stage. As stage manager for Halloween Horror Nights, he spent whole nights in a haunted house, and performed on stage at the Universal Cineplex as producer of the Rocky Horror Picture Show “Live.” Kubersky also keeps an eagle eye on Orlando’s theme park scene as the culture columnist for the Orlando Weekly, and has contributed to Visit Florida and Virgin Airlines magazines as well as Rudy Maxa’s radio shows.
The “Hidden Harry Potter” events will be held at the following Barnes & Noble locations. All events are free.
Oct. 5, 7 p.m.
Colonial Plaza Market Center
2418 E. Colonial Drive
Orlando, FL 32803
Oct. 7, 7 p.m.
11802 N. Dale Mabry Hwy.
Tampa, FL 33618
Oct. 9, 1 p.m.
Mandarin Village Shopping Center
11112 San Jose Blvd., Suite 8
Jacksonville, FL 32223