On Saturday, the world of Harry Potter comes to Yorktown with the opening of “Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience,” at FDR State Park.
It’s a first for Westchester, and for the state. The interactive experience conceived by Warner Brothers Themed Entertainment and partners Thinkwell, Fever and Unify has a location in the United Kingdom and will open another in Leesburg, Virginia, in the next few weeks.
Each experience is different according to Heather McGill, executive producer and creative director at Unify.
“The forest tells us what to do and what to place where,” McGill said. “We had to bring (the experience) here, we had to come to the States.”
A statue of Harry Potter’s stag Patronus stands guard at the entrance, where visitors will find a village of concessions featuring the Fat Fryer offering fish and chips, Dragon Fire Roasters, Bowtruckle Bar or Charming Concoctions, but there is also butterbeer and sweets, too. A lit path leads to a witch or wizard who shows off their deluminator skills. Then, the trek begins through the illuminated forest, the trees and lighting creating an almost ethereal atmosphere as music from the films plays throughout.
You’ll encounter Rubeus Hagrid and his faithful companion, Fang, near the beginning of the path, and as you stroll through the Forbidden Forest, guests come upon Buckbeak the Hippogriff, Nifflers and their treasures, and centaurs as well as acromantulas (aka giant magical spiders) and more. Some parts of the surrounding forest are dark, with eyes illuminating small areas, but the path remains lit.
The entire experience is interactive, so those who want to don their Hogwarts House robes and wand can snap photos, duel or cast the Patronus charm. Special wands will be provided for casting spells.
Halfway through the trail is another spot to grab a refreshment or use the restrooms before continuing through the forest. Before exiting the experience, guests are guided to a special finale, sending them off into the gift shop.
The Forbidden Forest takes place rain or shine, so dress for the weather.
Tickets start at $36 for adults and $25 for children, with prices fluctuating depending on date and time of session. However, be warned, as this is the only metro area location, many dates have sold out. Parking is available for $8 per vehicle. Keep an eye on the “Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience”
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