Today we’ve been all over Universal Studio Hollywood’s announcement where they revealed that a Wizarding World of Harry Potter park would be built within their park.
Now it’s time to analyze the news. Was the announcement worthy of the hype? Can this park be as successful as Orlando’s? And where the heck are they going to put this thing?
First of all, today’s announcement. No doubt it was a major success. Universal Studios Hollywood held the announcement in a roped-off area of their park right in front of the Terminator ride. The red carpet was (literally) rolled out, and several execs from the Hollywood AND Orlando parks were present. Everyone was aware of the announcement being made. A sign above the stage read “Hogwarts is coming to Hollywood!” and House scarves were being worn by Universal employees. Capped off with confetti and Butterbeer, the announcement lived up to expectations.
Second: The details. Not much was revealed that we did not already learn over the past week. The park will have a Hogwarts castle, and it will have the major ride in Orlando called Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. No other stores or restaurants were mentioned, but certainly some will be built. The only question is which exactly from the books/films they’ll use. Good guesses include many of the attractions already at Orlando including Ollivander’s, The Three Broomsticks, and Zonko’s. We hope to see a couple new shops/rides/restaurants to help Hollywood’s park stand separate from Orlando’s.
Third: The location. Universal confirmed today that Hollywood’s Wizarding World will be built within the confines of their existing park. The bigger question is: Where? A report from The Washington Post says Universal will be removing the Gibson Amphitheatre – still used today – to make room.
In the illustration we made (below), you can see where the Ampitheatre is now and where you can expect to see the Wizarding World in a few years. There appears to be plenty of room to work with – especially behind the existing theater – so room should not be an issue. Thankfully, Universal doesn’t seem to be planning to knock out any of their rides, shops, or restaurants for this.
Click for full size!
Final thoughts: We have a long way to go before we see the park open. Rumors have pegged it at either 2014 or 2015. It will, without a doubt, transform Universal Studios Hollywood into a Disneyland competitor (even though Universal’s sheer size still won’t compare with Disney’s). Even though the park is looking to be a duplicate of Orlando’s, the magic will still be there and it will receive as much hype and excitement. On a personal note, for someone like me living 20 minutes away, I’m confident I’ll be there frequently with my friends and new Annual Pass. Harry Potter fans throughout the Southern California and West Coast region will go out of their way to visit The Wizarding World, and it’s just another way the fandom will continue to thrive.