Category Archives: Attraction / Theme Park

New Banksy Exhibition Dismaland Pokes Fun At Disneyland

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British graffiti artist Banksy has taken satirical aim at Disneyland with a new theme park set to open in the U.K. this weekend.

Dismaland, built over an unused open-air swimming pool in the seaside town of Weston-super-mare, is billed as a “bemusement park” and “the U.K.’s most disappointing new visitor attraction,” and makes numerous artistic swipes at the cultural and political establishment. Alongside works by Banksy himself, there are pieces by artists like Damien Hirst and Jenny Holzer.

Grumpy guards are set to welcome guests while inside there’s a decrepit version of Disney’s classic Cinderella castle (behind a warped model of Ariel, from Disney’s Little Mermaid), plus a pool with tiny model boats full of refugees and a grim reaper sitting in a bumper car. Surly stewards wearing Mickey Mouse ears are also on hand to offer insincere-sounding welcomes.

“I guess it’s a theme park whose big theme is — theme parks should have bigger themes,” Banksy said in a statement, adding that Dismaland was a “festival of art, amusements and entry-level anarchism.”

The exhibition, which Banksy described as a “family theme park unsuitable for children,” is his first in the U.K. since 2009’s Banksy v Bristol Museum, which drew more than 300,000 visitors.

Dismaland is due to run for six weeks.

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Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Announces New Lands, Entertainment And Experiences At D23 Expo 2015

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Disney announced a line-up of new attractions and entertainment coming to its theme parks around the world during the D23 Expo 2015 in Anaheim, Calif.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek gave 7,500 lucky fans a behind-the-scenes look at what’s to come.  He was joined by Imagineers working on these projects as well as legendary filmmakers James Cameron and Jon Landau who shared new details about Pandora – The World of Avatar including the names of the land and E-ticket attraction – Avatar Flight of Passage.  Fans also got a chance to see Marvel legend Stan Lee in a cameo appearance where he posed as an unsuspecting fan during Iron Man’s dramatic entrance.

Among the many announcements Chapek shared were new and enhanced Star Wars experiences coming later this year to the Florida and California theme parks, plans for a new Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and more details on Pandora—The World of Avatar, which is already under construction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Chapek also shared that Soarin’ Around the World will make its U.S. film debut at Epcot and Disney California Adventure taking guests to new places around the world.  Additionally, fans got a preview of exclusive video of the first Marvel attraction planned for Disney parks, coming to Hong Kong Disneyland in 2016.

“From Disneyland’s 60th anniversary celebration to the anticipation of Shanghai Disney Resort, we’re in the midst of unprecedented growth and expansion around the globe,” said Chapek. “With these new announcements, we continue our legacy in creating innovative attractions, worldwide entertainment, and magical lands that take our guests into the worlds of stories they love.”

In addition to these announcements, Chapek talked about the exciting news announced earlier in the day by Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company Bob Iger for plans to bring Star Wars-themed lands to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando and Disneyland park in Anaheim.  Each 14-acre land will transport guests to a never-before-seen planet with two signature attractions, including a customized secret mission on the Millennium Falcon and an epic Star Wars adventure that puts guests in the middle of a climactic battle.

Details on each of the projects include:

Star Wars Enhancements & New Experiences

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From a new Star Tours adventure to Star Wars Launch Bay, from a new Jedi Training Academy to “Season of the Force,” soon guests will be part of both new and enhanced experiences at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort.

Later this year, Star Tours will include a new adventure featuring locations and characters from the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, giving guests a new adventure in the Star Wars galaxy.

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Star Wars Launch Bay – This interactive experience will take guests into the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with special exhibits and peeks behind-the-scenes, including opportunities to visit with new and favorite Star Wars characters, special merchandise and food offerings.  Star Wars Launch Bay will be located in the Animation Courtyard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and in Tomorrowland at Disneyland park.  Also atDisneyland park, Star Wars Launch Bay will share the space with the reimagined Super Hero HQ, featuring opportunities to meet and take photos with super heroes like Captain America and Thor, as well as experience the returning Iron Man Tech Presented by Stark Industries.  Both experiences will be available for guests later this year.

Jedi Training Academy — A favorite of younger fans is reimagined with a new experience that includes new characters and a new villain to battle from the popular Disney XD series “Star Wars Rebels.”

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Season of the Force – This new seasonal event, beginning early 2016, brings new experiences to both coasts.  In Tomorrowland at Disneyland park, guests will explore the Star Wars galaxy with special entertainment throughout the land, themed food locations and more. Guests also will be thrilled to climb aboard Hyperspace Mountain, a reimagining of the classic Space Mountain attraction, in which guests will join an X-wing Starfighter battle. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, guests will close out weekend nights with a new fireworks spectacular set to the iconic score of the Star Wars movies.

Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida

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The reimagining of Disney’s Hollywood Studios will take guests to infinity and beyond, allowing them to step into the worlds of their favorite films, starting with Toy Story Land.  This new 11-acre land will transport guests into the adventurous outdoors of Andy’s backyard.  Guests will think they’ve been shrunk to the size of Woody and Buzz as they are surrounded by oversized toys that Andy has assembled using his vivid imagination.  Using toys like building blocks, plastic buckets and shovels, and game board pieces, Andy has designed the perfect setting for this land, which will include two new attractions for any Disney park and one expanded favorite.

Family-friendly roller coaster – All on the back of Slinky Dog, this coaster will zip and zoom, plunge and coast as it takes guests on a fun, toy-filled adventure throughout the new land.

Alien saucers attraction – The famous little green aliens from the movie will take guests around for a spin in their very own flying saucers.  The music, lighting and sound effects add to the flurry of action, while “The Claw” looms over.

Toy Story Mania! – Guests glide into the Toy Story Midway Games Play Set  and take aim at 3D objects in a variety of fast-paced games, with an expansion that adds a third track to this popular attraction.

After Dark at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Pandora – The World of Avatar

As part of the largest expansion in the park’s history, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will immerse guests into the world of Pandora, and the entire park will transform after dark with new nighttime entertainment experiences, offering guests longer days than ever before to experience this one-of-a-kind theme park.

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Rivers of Light – Expected to open next spring, Rivers of Light will be an innovative experience unlike anything ever seen in a Disney park, combining live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery. “Rivers of Light” will magically come to life on the natural stage of Discovery River, delighting guests and truly capping off a full day of adventures at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Kilimanjaro Safaris – This popular attraction will be extended for a new nighttime adventure next spring, where guests will travel through the African savanna amid the magically extended orange glow of the setting sun and discover two species new to the attraction: African wild dogs and hyenas.

Pandora – The World of Avatar – Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests will journey into the magnificent world of Pandora at this new Avatar-themed land – a world that includes floating mountains, a bioluminescent forest and the winged creatures known as Banshees, giving guests a transformational experience they will never forget.

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Avatar Flight of Passage – This E-ticket attraction, the centerpiece of Pandora, allows guests to soar on a Banshee over a vast alien world. The spectacular flying experience will give guests a birds-eye view of the beauty and grandeur of the world of Pandora on an aerial rite of passage.

Soarin’ Around the World in Florida and California

Next year, guests at Epcot in Florida and Disney California Adventure in California will journey to far-flung lands and fly above some of the world’s most unique natural landscapes and man-made wonders when the new Soarin’ Around the World makes its U.S. debut.

Iron Man Unveiled for Hong Kong Disneyland

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Iron Man landed at D23 Expo for a special appearance, and soon Hong Kong Disneyland guests will have the opportunity to meet and take photos with the Super Hero himself. Set to open in 2016, Iron Man Experience will be the first Marvel attraction at any Disney park, taking guests on an epic adventure over the streets and in the sky above Hong Kong.  The adventure will begin at the new Stark Expo where guests board the Iron Wing to take flight and battle Hydra alongside fan-favorite Avenger, Iron Man.

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Custom Name Disneyland Ticket Books By Dave Avanzino Available At D23 Expo 2015

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Custom Name Disneyland Ticket Books by Dave Avanzino will be available at D23 Expo 2015. This unique keepsake allows you to create your own Ticket Book featuring your first or last name.

D23 EXPO 2015 takes place August 14–16 at the Anaheim Convention Center. The Custom Name Disneyland Ticket Books will be one of the 170 items debuting in the Disney Dream Store.

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Official Disneyland App Now Available For Download

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The official Disneyland App is available for download now from the App Store and on Google Play. This new app provides useful info, special features and more right at your fingertips.

Find the fun faster with maps of attractions, restaurants and shops. Check attraction wait times, Character appearance schedules and entertainment show times. You can even purchase park tickets instantly from your phone or mobile device! Simply show the barcode at the gate for admission when you first arrive — no ticket booth lines to stand in or e-tickets to print out.

Annual Passholders can also link their Annual Passports to the Disneyland App to check Blockout Dates and use the app’s virtual Pass feature to enter the parks (actual Annual Passport must be presented to obtain Disney FASTPASS tickets or to receive Passholder discounts).

Download the official Disneyland App now at disneyland.com/magic and make every Disneyland Resort visit even more magical!

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New MagicSliders Turn Your MagicBand Into A Watch

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One of the more popularly requested accessories for MagicBands at Walt Disney World Resort is a watch. There will be two MagicSlider timepieces coming this summer – a Minnie Mouse analog timepiece and one with a digital display. Both will be available at Disney World!

MagicBands are colorful, waterproof wristbands that you can quickly and easily touch to a sensor called a touch point. Cards work in a similar fashion, but physically resemble a plastic credit card or driver’s license. Both MagicBands and cards allow you to travel lighter throughout your vacation.

You can use your card or MagicBand to:

-Unlock the door of your Disney Resort hotel room.
-Enter theme and water parks (with valid admission).
-Check in at FastPass+ entrances.
-Connect Disney PhotoPass images to your account.
– Charge food and merchandise purchases to your Disney Resort hotel room (only available during your hotel stay).

 

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Go Behind The Scenes With Walt Disney Studios, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars & Walt Disney Parks And Resorts At D23 Expo 2015

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D23: The Official Disney Fan Club announces the lineup of the most highly anticipated presentations at D23 EXPO 2015, August 14–16. The Disney Legends Awards Ceremony, hosted by Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger, will kick off the Expo on Friday, August 14. Later that same day, The Walt Disney Studios will give fans a sneak peek at all the latest from Disney Animation and Pixar. On Saturday morning, The Walt Disney Studios will preview the coming slate of live-action films from Disney, Marvel, and Lucasfilm. Then on Saturday afternoon, fans will get a preview of what’s in store at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts during a presentation hosted by Parks Chairman Bob Chapek.

To showcase these Expo favorites, Disney is creating “Hall D23,” a new 7,500-seat venue located in Hall D of the Anaheim Convention Center, so that more guests than ever can see the presentations live and in person.

The Schedule of Hall D23 Events and Presentations includes the following (times and additional announcements forthcoming; all events subject to change):

The Disney Legends Awards Ceremony will take place Friday, August 14. The ceremony, hosted by Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger, will once again honor those who have made significant contributions to the Disney legacy. The creativity and innovation of these visionaries and artists have earned them a place among such names as Dame Julie Andrews, Howard Ashman, Annette Funicello, Sir Elton John, Angela Lansbury, Steve Martin, Alan Menken, Hayley Mills, Fess Parker, Dick Van Dyke, Barbara Walters, and Robin Williams. At the D23 EXPO in 2013, Tony Baxter, Collin Campbell, Dick Clark, Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Jobs, Glen Keane, and Ed Wynn were inducted.

In two separate Hall D23 sessions, The Walt Disney Studios will unveil an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at its upcoming film slate. At Friday’s session, fans will go in-depth with the talented filmmakers at Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios to get a sneak peek at films such as Zootopia and Finding Dory. On Saturday, live-action titles such as Alice Through the Looking Glass and The Jungle Book and films from Marvel and Lucasfilm, along with some very special guests, take center stage.

On the afternoon of Saturday, August 15, join Bob Chapek, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, for a behind-the-scenes peek at the magical experiences and entertainment coming to Disney’s parks and resorts around the world.

Tickets for D23 EXPO 2015 are available at a discounted price for a limited time. Until June 30, 2015, tickets are $67 for a one-day adult admission and $48 for children 3–12. Tickets for members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club are $58 for a one-day adult admission and $42 for children. Multi-day money-saving tickets are also available. D23 Members can save as much as $188 off the price of admission, based on the purchase of four three-day tickets at the D23 Member rate. For more information on tickets and the ticket pricing structure for D23 Members and general admission, visit D23EXPO.com.

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Star Wars Weekends 2015 Returns To Disney’s Hollywood Studios At Walt Disney World Resort On May 15, 2015

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Star Wars Weekends 2015 returns to Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort on Friday, May 15, 2015. To kick off this event, Disney Theme Park Merchandise is holding a special ticketed event called “Galactic Gathering” on Thursday, May 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Similar to the “Rebel Rendezvous” event held last year, this year’s event will give guests the first opportunity to purchase new products created especially for Star Wars Weekends.

Packages for the Galactic Gathering will include the following:

– ‘Rebel’ or ‘Empire’ retail MagicBand (Guests can choose their side when registering online)
– Commemorative trading pin
– Darth’s Mall Light Speed Pass which gives expedited entry into Darth’s Mall for all five weekends.
– First opportunity to pre-purchase select merchandise includin personalized Aurebesh nametags, D-Tech phone cases, Dooney & Bourke handbags, Galactic Gathering Disney Gift card, retail MagicBands, limited edition pins and Vinylmation.
– First opportunity to purchase the new designs of Star Wars-themed Disney Gift Cards.
– Han Solo-inspired popcorn bucket with popcorn.

Guests who attend this event will also have the opportunity to meet Disney characters, Disney Design Group Artists and Ashley Eckstein from Her Universe.

Finally, attendees will be some of the first to purchase the new figures for Star Wars D-Tech Me including a Jedi Knight and a TIE-Fighter pilot.

Tickets to this event are $250 per guest (theme park admission is not included but required to participate in this event). Registration will begin on March 4 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern and you can sign up HERE.

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Unassuming Doors That Hide Exciting Mysteries

Club 33

Club 33 is a private club located in the heart of the New Orleans Square section of Disneyland. Officially maintained as a secret feature of the theme park, the entrance of the club is located next to the Blue Bayou Restaurant at “33 Royal Street” with the entrance recognizable by an ornate address plate with the number 33 engraved on it.

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Club 33 members and their guests have exclusive access to the club, which is not open to the public. In addition to beer and wine, Club 33 has a full bar, although patrons must order directly from their server rather than the service bar. Club 33 is the only location within Disneyland to offer alcoholic beverages. Members are entitled to complimentary valet parking at the Grand Californian Hotel and access to the Lilly Belle, the presidential car on the Disneyland Railroad. Club 33 members receive up to six Immediate Fastpasses when they insert their Club 33 membership card into any of the Fastpass kiosks and bypass the stand-by queue. Members are permitted to join the skipper in the wheelhouse of the Mark Twain and the engineers in the engine compartment of the steam trains.

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An individual membership costs $25,000 for an initiation fee and $10,000 a year in dues. For corporations, it’s $40,000 at the start and then $10,000 dues.

Safe House

In the intelligence trade, a safe house is a secret refuge for spies engaging in covert operations.

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Safe House in Milwaukee is a popular spy-themed restaurant that since 1966 has provided crafty concoctions and incredible edibles to hungry agents on R & R.

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Located at 779 N. Front Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin behind International Exports Ltd.

To get in Go to the website, http://www.safe-house.com and click on the Top Secret Clearance Agreement to promise you won’t disclose the location, then contact Control to make a reservation).

National Typewriter Company

Located at 1221 Olympic Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90404 this building houses JJ Abrams’s production company, Bad Robot, is a literal, physical reflection of his sensibility. The big sign on the outside doesn’t say Bad Robot but instead National Typewriter Co., and that’s not because the building used to house such a business. It’s because Abrams likes typewriters and misdirection. Near the doorbell, which is a glowing green light, a smaller sign asks, “Are you ready?”

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Abrams’s personal suite of offices is on the second floor and to get to his bathroom, you have to walk up to a wall of bookshelves beside his desk and tug on a copy of “Louis Tannen’s Catalog of Magic” (named for the same Manhattan magic shop, still around today, where he got his childhood mystery box). Abracadabra: the wall opens. The toilet is revealed.

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The entire building belongs to Bad Robot, which spreads out over three stories of glass walls, floating staircases, common areas and movie-related mementos: posters, masks, dolls, board games. There are editing bays, a state-of-the-art recording studio, a workshop where props are made and a screening room that doubles as a makeshift set on which certain limited effects and scenes can be shot.

Prohibition Bar in Atlanta

Prohibition was designed to look like an old fashioned underground speakeasy. The Atlanta bar is located in Andrews Square Buckhead at 56 East Andrews Drive (inside the basement of Stout.)

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Prohibition was designed to look like an old fashioned underground speakeasy. The Atlanta bar is located in Andrews Square Buckhead at 56 East Andrews Drive (inside the basement of Stout.)

Prohibition Bar in Atlanta

Now how do you get in? In the back of the lower courtyard is a door to what appears to be a defunct antique shop. Beside the door is a large red phone booth. You simply enter the booth, dial the number on the old fashioned rotary dial phone and a secret door in the back wall of the phone booth opens up allowing you entrance.

How do you get the number? To get the secret access code of the day your best bet is to wine and/or dine at Cellar 56 upstairs (a great tapas restaurant and wine bar that’s operated by Prohibition’s owners), be very kind to your bartender and/or server, and if you’re well-dressed, well-behaved and lucky, someone will give it to you.

The International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts 

The secrets contained within the International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts merit that the 40,000-square-foot warehouse just off the Las Vegas Strip is closed to the general public.

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On the museum’s first floor is the Hall of Masters, a space lined with costumes, props, posters, and photographs arranged by magician. Beginning downstairs with Cardini (linking rings, card tricks, monocle), the hall continues on the second floor with Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin (mystery clocks and automatons), Harry Houdini (metamorphosis trunk, iron maiden, water-torture cell, straitjacket), and others.

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David Copperfield, who owns the museum, uses the warehouse to practice new magic tricks and archive his own history as an illusionist. Charred crash-test dummies from early “Tornado of Fire” rehearsals and racks of costumes are on hand, as are props from his favorite movies, including a 10-foot-tall statue of Zeus from Citizen Kane.

The intention of the 80,000-item museum is to educate future generations of magicians and illusionists. Magic scholars and people researching for books and motion pictures can visit Copperfield’s museum by request. (Hugh Jackman did his research for The Prestige at the facility.) He invites all other interested parties to send a note backstage during one of his regularly scheduled performances at MGM Grand’s Hollywood Theatre.

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A Frozen Ride Is Coming To Disney World

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Construction has begun at Walt Disney World Resort on a brand new “Frozen” attraction at the Norway Pavilion in Epcot. The new attraction, which replaces Maelstrom, will take guests to Arendelle and immerse them in many of their favorite moments and music from the film. The pavilion will also include a royal greeting location where Anna and Elsa can meet guests.

“Frozen’s” popular characters will also have a bigger presence at Magic Kingdom Park this holiday season. In addition to the ongoing character appearances, Queen Elsa will use her powers to transform Cinderella Castle into an ice palace every night starting in early November. And Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party-goers can see Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf in Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade.

The theme park is extending some favorite elements of Frozen Summer Fun LIVE!, too, so that guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios can continue singing along to “Frozen” songs with Queen Elsa and Princess Anna. Wandering Oaken’s will set up shop closer to the show through the holiday season and will feature a larger play area with real snow (in Florida!).

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Opens at Universal Studios Hollywood in 2016

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With the original Orlando attraction planned for expansion, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” is heading to the West coast. Universal Studios Hollywood confirmed that a Los Angeles-based “Wizarding World” attraction will open its doors in 2016.

Inspired by the magical world created by J.K. Rowling and brought to life in the Warner Bros. films, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” at Universal Studios Hollywood will be a fully immersive land designed for the entire family that brings the Harry Potter fiction and films to life with detail and authenticity. Similar to the Orlando Resort-themed land that opened in 2010, the Hollywood experience will be faithful to the visual landscape of the fiction and films, including Hogwarts castle that will serve as the iconic focal point of the themed environment.

“The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” is a collaboration between J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros. Entertainment and Universal Parks and Resorts.

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