ORLANDO (CAP) - Despite the ongoing success of "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" at the Islands of Adventure theme park, protests by conservative watchdog groups have forced Universal to close the park's controversial "Equus Pavilion."
Based on the 2007 revival of the Peter Shaffer play that featured Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, the Equus Pavilion allowed guests to ride animatronic blinded horses past naked Radcliffe look-alikes.
"In retrospect, the attraction may have been too avant-garde for its own good," admitted Bill Douglas, president of Universal Orlando.
"I had to cover my daughter's eyes - it was bloody manky, all those Daniel Radcliffes running around in their altogether," said Sarah Lowsley of Wolverhampton, England, who had traveled to the park with her daughter Millicent, 12, and waited 10 hours to get in last weekend.
"They had some cellophane or something covering their naughty bits, but they were clearly in the nuddy," claimed Lowsley. "At one point one of them tried to have relations with our bloody mechanical horse!" Lowsley went on to clarify that she meant "bloody" literally, as the horses were all bleeding from their artificial eyes.
"The naked Radcliffes are only supposed to nuzzle the horses," responded Douglas, noting that park managers had reviewed security tapes and could only identify a handful of incidences where the cast members may have gotten "a little too randy" with the robot stallions.
"They're attractive animals," Douglas admitted.
The attraction drew immediate fire from conservatives, many of them already no fan of the Potter series. The watchdog group Mothers Against Everything (MAE) called Universal's decision to incorporate Shaffer's 1973 play about a young man's violent religious and sexual fascination with horses into a family theme park "a very bad choice."
"Actually, Mr. Radcliffe's decision to appear in that play in the first place was a bad choice, what with all the other things he could have done," said MAE spokesman Darlene Fortenski. "Why couldn't he have just made a wholesome record album, like that nice Mitchel Musso [of Disney's Hannah Montana]?"
Fortenski also noted that since the Potter books debuted in 1997, more than 200 million adolescents have converted to Satanism. "Although that's sort of just an estimate," she admitted.
Although the Equus Pavilion has been closed for the time being, another controversial attraction remains open: "Professor Dumbledore's Wild Fabulous Ride," which features leather-clad attendants and music by Abba, the Village People and Gloria Gaynor. The ride is based on Potter creator J.K. Rowling's 2007 acknowledgement that the Dumbledore character is gay.
"I'm kind of surprised they based a whole attraction around Dumbledore's sexuality - I was just mucking about with people when I said that," responded Rowling to the controversy this week.
"But I'm earning about a million a day from that bloody park, so whatever they want to do is fine with me," she added.
- CAP News Staff