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New Harry Potter and Hunger Games attractions for literary lovers

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Courtesy Warner Brothers

The Harry Potter world of wizardry and the futuristic Hunger Games will come to life with new attractions in England and Charlotte, N.C.

On March 31, the Making of Harry Potter behind-the-scenes tour at the Warner Brothers studio opened its doors to muggles and wizards alike.

Located 20 miles outside London, the self-guided tour reveals filmmaking secrets, such as a 50-foot-long model of Hogwarts Castle, which was used for aerial shots in the movies. Groups can examine the realistic model that uses 2,500 lights, hinged doors, miniature birds and a changing day-to-night cycle that switches every four minutes.

The three-hour Making of Harry Potter tour takes place in Warner Brothers’ Leavesden Studios, where all eight movies were produced. Visitors can see the movies’ sets, props, costumes and special effect exhibits, including Harry’s broom, some of the 160 pairs of glasses Daniel Radcliffe used throughout the filming and the movies’ supernatural creatures like Fawkes the phoenix.

Groups will feel as though they stepped into the pages of Harry Potter while walking through realistic movie sets of Diagon Alley, the Great Hall, Hagrid’s Hut and several other sets from the series. For more details, visit www.wbstudiotour.co.uk.

Another popular book-to-movie series is already seeing more tourists flock to filming destinations to relive the movie experience. Much of “The Hunger Games” was filmed in Charlotte, N.C., and the surrounding area. In response, the North Carolina Division of Tourism created a new Hunger Games Itinerary that follows the actors and the characters of the recent film.

The abandoned Henry River Mill Village served as the backdrop for District 12, which guests can drive by in Hildebran, N.C. Though the site is now on private property, more information on the area can be found at Hildebran Heritage Museum.

For the beautiful forest scenery from “The Hunger Games,” groups can visit the DuPont State Recreation Forest. Many of the dramatic waterfalls, streams and forest scenes from the movie were filmed in this forest.

Several Charlotte venues were also featured during filming, since the city served as inspiration for the capital city of the movie. At one of the locations, guests can take a survival class as if they too were preparing to compete in the Hunger Games at Charlotte’s U.S. National Whitewater Center.

For more information, visit www.visitnc.com.

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