With the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry
Potter – Diagon Alley
just moments away, we thought it was time to
reveal the original plans for this new Potter-themed area. Yes, these plans
even pre-date the ones from December 2011 we saw at Theme Park Insider
. At the time Universal was flush with cash thanks to
the success of Hogsmeade village at Islands of Adventure and wanted to strike
while the iron was hot. Universal Creative immediately commissioned two
proposals for a WWoHP expansion; one from Mark Woodbury, Theiry Coup, and
Steven Jayson, and another from a group of individuals who ended up leaving
Universal after being summarily dismissed when the pitch was rejected.
we are going to look at that second proposal, the one in
which Universal turned down. To be fair,
this version would have be completed much faster than Diagon Alley, a full three years earlier. And don’t feel bad for those
responsible. They landed on their feet at Walt Disney Imagineering and recently
put together the recent Frozen Summer Fun LIVE! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
The JK Rowling Royalties Clock
will be the first thing
Muggles see when they walk into Diagon Alley. It’s a breathtaking reminder of
every dollar, cent, quid, pound and galleon that JK Rowling is making off this
fantastical land. Every time a Gillywater is drank, an official Harry Potter
Quidditch uniform is bought, or a Butterbeer ice-cream is consumed, the Clock keeps
ticking as it adds up the fat stacks! Step aside George Washington, Abraham
Lincoln, and Andrew Jackson, the bills within this clock carry the visage of
JK Rowling demands a level of authenticity that many theme
parks simply can not deliver.
first glance Cars Land in Disneyland seems spectacular, but why would
automobiles build a restaurant that serves human food? It doesn’t make any
The universe that JK Rowling has
built for Harry Potter demands accuracy in every sense of the word, and that
includes the extremely small retail spaces that one can expect to find in
When Universal Studios built Hogsmeade village as part of
the original WWoHP, it made Honeydukes, Dervish & Banges, and Filch’s Emporium smaller
and more cramped than any retail space in any theme park in North America. It
was good, but it wasn’t quite good enough
The level of frustration and lack of personal space still didn’t quite nail the
shopping experience that those living in the UK have to deal with on a daily basis. We will solve this problem by making all the stores in
Diagon Alley 25% smaller! So suck in that gut and leave the baby strollers
outside please. The only things that are large here is the prices!
More Quickly Re-themed Rides!
When the original WWoHP opened in Summer of 2010 it was a
blockbuster hit despite having only one new attraction. Crowds have kept up and
both merchandise and food sales are through the roof. Guests have spoken and
they love old attractions re-themed to Harry Potter! So in the spirit of The
Flying Unicorn and Dueling Dragons changing to Flight of the Hippogriff and
Dragon Challenge, Universal is proud to present three “new” attractions for the
Harry Potter expansion!
SIRIUS BLACK: BOGGART ATTACK - is a spinning, spell-shooting dark
ride that used to be Men In Black: Alien
Attack, but you’ll never be able to tell! In this interactive attraction guests
will board their vehicle that have been equipped with wands. The vehicles will
travel through Black’s family house - 12 Grimmauld Place - which has been
bewitched to look like the streets of New York City. The house has been overrun
with a bunch of escaped boggarts, who have all taken the appearance of aliens
from space. Guests will use their wands to shoot the boggarts in order to get
FACTOR: LIVE FEATURING DEMENTORS - The most extreme audience
participation show ever now features Dementors straight from the wizard prison
Azkaban! It’s the same show you loved before, with gravity-defying stunts
performed in front of thousands, now with soul-sucking fiends keeping watch
from the stage!
FIRST YEAR BOAT RIDES TO HOGWARTS is a thrilling attraction in which
guests are “first years” heading to Hogwarts for the first time. Captained by
Rubeus Hagrid using state of the art projection technology, the boat will
travel across Black Lake in the Hogwarts tradition. However, Black Lake has
been mysteriously bewitched to appear like a New England island town by Lucious
Malfoy. Along the way “first years” may also find their boat attacked by Victor
Krum, apparently still stuck in his animangus form of a shark from the Tri
Wizard Tournament! It’s an action packed thrilling adventure as only JK Rowling
and Universal Creative can deliver!
BUT THAT’S NOT
ALL! Unlike Islands of Adventure, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter wasn’t originally going to be
contained in just one section of Universal Studios Florida. Everywhere guests
look they will see Potterized versions their favorite attractions, dining
locations, and shows including…
POTTER CAFÉ - is the restaurant Potter fans have been waiting for!
Not only is all the food inside magically themed to the Harry Potter universe
(such as Ron Weasley’s pepperoni pizza slices and Dobby presents: Nathan’s famous hot dogs) but there’s even a
photo-op outside where guests can have their picture taken with a cardboard
cut-out of The Boy Who Lived!
SHALL NOT BE NAMED GROUP - is one part science, one part laughter, one part music, and one
part evil looking dudes with no nose! You’ll be amazed the entire time with a
huge smile across your face, and not only because you’re under the Imperius
About the authors:
Matt Cleary majored in Photoshop and graduated with honors
from South Central Louisiana State University. Cleary
attained some fame in the late 70’s while working for Sea World as an engineer.
He was the one who finally figured out how to design a tank for Shamu. His
solution? "Take a regular tank and make it bigger." That type of
out-of-the-box thinking has kept him as a key figure in the theme park
industry. His prized possession is a birthday card signed by Walt Disney
himself, a card he bought at Theme Park Connection in Winter Garden, FL last
Derek Burgan can be seen bothering everyone with his weekly ranting and raving on the Pardon the Pixie Dust Podcast along with various click bait articles on the TouringPlans.com blog.