A petition to remove a Harry Potter-themed attraction has been started and is gaining traction quickly as controversy over the attraction heats up.
An Exciting & Unique “Wizarding” Experience
An exciting attraction inspired by the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts film franchises has been making its way around the globe and has so far included cities in countries like Belgium, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Singapore. Ticket prices for the event range from $38 USD to $62 USD.
As of the time of this publication, Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience is being enjoyed by Harry Potter fans in and around the city of Little Elm, Texas, in the U.S.
As part of the Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest attraction, guests enjoy an enchanted woodland trail experience at nighttime. The outdoor experience is filled with all sorts of magical creatures from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films, and the entire attraction is brought to dazzling life by award-winning theatrical designers and creators.
Guests are invited to cast spells, come face-to-face with magical creatures like Nifflers, a Hippogriff, and others, pose for wand duel photos, cast a Patronus in an attempt to illuminate the previously dark woodland area, and more.
Critically-Acclaimed But Protested
Though the Harry Potter-themed experience has received rave reviews from Variety, Thrillist, The Washingtonian, and other outlets, the upcoming leg of the attraction’s tour is causing controversy months before it arrives.
From April 6, 2024 to May 19, 2024, Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience will be available to fans in and near Mornington Shire, located southeast of Melbourne, Victoria, in Australia, which is a popular vacation destination that welcomes millions of visitors each year. But citizens in the area don’t want the experience to be held at its planned location. After all, it’s a local wildlife sanctuary.
The sanctuary is located on a conservation site in the Briars in Mount Martha near the Mornington Peninsula, and citizens are concerned about the disruption the event will cause for the protected wildlife in the area.
But local residents are alarmed by the event, saying it goes against the ethos of the Briars Sanctuary, launching an online petition demanding organizers change the location.
Thus, a petition, begun on December 28, urges the Mornington Council to reconsider its approval of the location as a host spot for the Harry Potter outdoor experience in April and May this year.
The petition at Change.org urges the community to stand in solidarity and ask the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council to reconsider its decision to host the Harry Potter-themed experience and relocate it elsewhere. The petition cites the potential danger to wildlife in the area as the reason for its origination and states that The Briars Mount Martha Sanctuary, where the experience will be located, is the only fenced sanctuary on Mornington Peninsula in Australia.
As a concerned citizen and lover of our local wildlife, I am deeply troubled by the decision to host the Harry Potter light show at The Briars Mount Martha Sanctuary. This venue is far from appropriate for such an event, as it goes against the ethos of this sanctuary’s mission – to protect wildlife.
The Briars is not just any park; it is the only fenced sanctuary on the Mornington Peninsula, home to incredibly significant yet fragile ecosystems. Our local animals should feel safe here without human interference. However, with thousands of people expected to walk through this sanctuary for hours every night during this event, we can anticipate a serious environmental impact.
As of the publication of this post, there are more than 6,170 signatures on the petition, nearly 950 of which were gained in just one day.
Response From the Event Organizer
In response to the petition and the growing concern for wildlife in the area, the group responsible for organizing the Forbidden Forest Experience told Australia’s SkyNews that they continue to explore options to minimize the impact on local wildlife, but there’s been no agreement at this time by the organizers to relocate the experience.
“A risk assessment was completed before Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience was approved, and this included consideration of all impacts to the environment and consultation with wildlife experts,” a spokesperson for the experience said.
Organizers confirmed that tree saplings in the area would be “disturbed for the event,” but it seems that they have plans to clean up after themselves.
“Working in conjunction with the venue manager,” explained the spokesperson, “any sapling trees that are removed for the event will be replaced within the wood system with species benefiting the overall health of the wood.”
The nighttime Harry Potter-themed experience will make use of existing walking paths in the areas, and lighting necessary for the experience will be “localized,” per the event’s spokesperson.
“The experience will occupy only part of the 90ha (hectare) sanctuary, leaving plenty of undisturbed natural habitat space for animals. The vast majority of the overall woodland will remain completely untouched by the experience and should have minimal impact to natural habitats,” they said.
The final outcome of the ordeal remains to be seen, but if the citizens of Mornington have their way, Harry Potter, though welcome as he can be, will simply have to find another place for fans to cast spells and hobnob with other so-called “Potter heads.”