Soon, Universal will announce that their Los Angeles theme park will play home to the second Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
We had expected Universal was looking to build another park since the Wizarding World in Orlando was a huge success. But now many questions have arisen that we’d like to take stabs at answering.
- It will have a Hogwarts castle. While some argue that there should only be ONE Hogwarts castle in the real world to make it as special as possible, the reality is that you can’t build multiple Harry Potter theme parks without the crown jewel. It’d be like a Disneyland/Magic Kingdom without a castle. It’d be like a McDonalds without cheeseburgers. You just can’t leave it out.
- It will probably be better than Universal Orlando’s park. Despite the lower projected cost, Universal Hollywood will be able to look at Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World and determine what did or did not work for them. This is Universal Hollywood’s chance to have a good shot at competing with Disneyland (just like Orlando did with Disney World).
The only issue with this is that Universal Orlando is rumored to be expanding their Wizarding World, so the two parks may never be similarly sized.
- It will have at least one unique ride not found in Orlando. Universal Hollywood needs to have something very unique in their Potter park that helps sell a potential park-goer from either A) Visiting Orlando a second/third time or B) Deciding between Orlando or Hollywood for the first time. They need a great ride – ideally based on Deathly Hallows – Part 2 that can convince first-time Potter park goers that they need to pick Hollywood over Orlando.
- Universal needs to remove several rides from their existing park to make room for Potter. As we showed you when this news was first reported, Universal Hollywood is very low on space at their park. Viewing one of their park maps, it’s hard to figure out where exactly they’ll place the Potter world. The park is divided into two areas: Upper Lot and Lower Lot. The issue with building in the Lower Lot is that it could look silly for entering visitors to be looking DOWN onto Hogwarts castle since the land is physically lower.
In the image below I’ve highlighted the area that needs to be wiped out. This area doesn’t play home to any existing rides – the only attractions that exist here are shops and restaurants. It’s not ideal that the Harry Potter area be so close to the entrance, but other areas are either too cramped in space or host new rides that Universal surely won’t be ditching this soon.
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- Alternative option: Universal removes at least part of their Studio Tour. The Studio Tour is a huge sell to tourists, and locals believe it’s one of the better tours in Hollywood. But this attraction does indeed take up a large chunk of land, and if removed it could offer much more land and flexible building options.
- Wizarding World Orlando and Wizarding World Los Angeles will be equally magical. When news broke last week, fans thought that Orlando would lose its magic. I disagree wholeheartedly. You may believe that until you step foot into Wizarding World Los Angeles and see how happy it makes fans, and that’s really what it’s all about for the fandom.
Whenever Universal Hollywood makes their announcement, not all of the questions fans have will be answered. The park is expected to open in 2015 at the earliest, so plans are likely still very much in the brainstorm/planning phase.