Wizarding World of Harry Potter a Load of Owl Poo
I feel like writing this is the equivalent of telling a bunch of preschoolers there’s no Santa Claus. I feel like I’m kicking a puppy or something. I feel evil. Those of you who anxiously awaited your invitation to Hogwarts as a kid are probably going to hit me with an unforgivable curse and turn me over to the giants. But here we go anyway…
Check out this article written by Slate’s Dan Kois: The Park That Should Not Be Visited.
Harsh words, but he confirms what I think a lot of Harry Potter fans have feared – the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is no more special than any other part of Universal Studios. While I’m a big fan of the park on a whole, each segment is only a means by which to theme a set of rides, restaurants, and shops. You don’t find yourself fully immersed in the world you are visiting. You find yourself pointing at nifty store names and thematic pathways and going “Oh, that’s cool. Anyway…”
In other words, Disney would have done it better. No doubt.
Disney World can be a scary place. The commitment to creating an alternate world in which you are fully and utterly surrounded, with no indication that a place less happy or less clean or less wholesome could possible exist, is unnerving. Smiles, smiles everywhere! Welcome to Pleasantville!
But that’s what you’re paying for when you go to Disney – the perfectly orchestrated illusion. I’ve always loved it for that. The attention to detail is astounding. That’s why it’s Disney World – the park to end all parks.
J.K. Rowling’s vision would have been served better in the hands of the Disney Imagineers. I could not agree more with Mr. Kois. Disney wouldn’t have created a section of a park – they probably would have created a whole park! But this raises the question: Would it have been a good idea for Disney to build “Harry Potter World’? Does it really have the staying power?
Magic Kingdom is timeless. Epcot needs constant updating, but the concept is sustainable. MGM has rightfully changed to Hollywood Studios, thus removing the branding while maintaining the theme. Animal Kingdom embodies a whole continent, so it probably won’t go out-of-style.
Harry Potter World? Well, that presupposes people will be this crazy about Harry Potter 10, 20, 50 years from now. It’s a huge investment. Imagine the headlines if Disney disbanded a park.
Plus, Harry Potter isn’t really a Disney thing. If Disney had made the films, we’d have a park by now. They didn’t. It seems odd for a company that made its fortune creating films to create a park based on a series of films produced by its rival. Because let’s face it, that whatever-you-want-to-call-it Universal created isn’t based on the books. They essentially regurgitated the movie set and started charging admission.
But hey, maybe Universal is on to something. Perhaps “The Hobbity World of Lord of the Rings” or “The Blood Sucking World of Twilight” is next. Maybe they can flash back to “The Jedi World of Star Wars” or go really crazy with “The Wise Guy World of the Godfather”.
Until then, we’re stuck with “The Marketing World of Harry Potter”.
In the meantime, I’ll anxiously await “The Frozen In the North Atlantic with Leonardo DiCaprio World of Titanic”. Here’s hoping!