Theme Park Insider

The enduring magic of the Harry Potter stories

Edited: August 30, 2017, 8:57 AM · I've read all of the Harry Potter books(including the script for Cursed Child and screen play for Fantastic Beasts)at least twice. I've seen all of the movies more times than I can count. I've been to the Wizzarding Worlds in Florida and Japan and currently, I'm listening to the audio book version of the series for the first time. I just finished HP and the prisoner of Azkaban - SO GOOD! So, yes. I'm a big fan of the series. I'm always amazed when people here or on other theme park fan sites state that Harry Potter is not an enduring IP. That in a few years it will be unpopular and forgotten about. I have to think this comes mostly from people who have only seen the movies. They are wonderful, but the books are so great.
What is it that makes some believe it's not going to be popular going forward? I just can't get enough. Thanks!

Replies (32)

Edited: August 29, 2017, 10:33 AM · I think it has to do with the cyclical nature of pop culture and society's ever-shortening attention span. Have Moby Dick, Dracula, and Tom Sawyer endured? Sure, but perhaps not enough to sustain a full theme park for decades. Even Lord of the Rings, which was first published in 1954, has endured, but fell from the public's consciousness (aside from some Led Zeppelin songs that people were too stoned to know were about Tolkein's masterwork) until Peter Jackson came along. In fact, certain published works are forced into or out of the public's consciousness based on the whims of school boards and PTAs as they release lists for summer reading and books to be sequestered from children due to controversial contents (Sawyer/Huck Finn and LOTR have both been banned and unbanned numerous times by libraries and public school systems). Will Harry Potter be around in 50+ years, absolutely, but I think it's more likely that at some point someone will get offended by something in the books or some think tank will decide stories about wizards are to be kept off summer reading lists and the Hogwart's Express eventually loses steam.

Then there's the attention span...Harry Potter checks enough boxes to keep most people's attention for a good chunk of time, but inevitably, some other work will come along that will usurp HP or do HP-like stories better (some thought Twilight, Hunger Games, or Divergent would do that, but none of those quite measured up).

Harry Potter is a part of literary history, so it's not going anywhere, and its application in theme parks around the globe ensure that the characters and stories will endure through the current generation. However, everything eventually fades over time, and J.K. Rowling won't keep writing forever, so at some point Harry Potter will lose some of its luster. Whether it completely fades from the public consciousness, like LOTR did during the 80's and 90's, is up to posterity, but it's almost guaranteed that it will be less popular 10 years from now than it was 10 years ago. Perhaps 25+ years from now, a visionary artist will re-imagine the series and start the cycle all over again, but at some point there is almost certainly going to be a lull.

Edited: August 29, 2017, 4:21 PM · Potter just needs to hold on long enough for the kids who grew up with it to start reading it to their kids. Which by my math, ought to be within the next 10 years on a significant level. That suggests that Potter's cultural endurance - at least for another generation - is pretty much in the bag.

Book-based IP have a huge advantage over film and TV IP in that people can pick them up more on their own schedule than they can with filmed IP that rely on release and programming schedules to stay available. Home video and streaming are helping to close the gap for filmed IP, but since Potter is both at this point, its endurance is all the more guaranteed.

Russell is correct in that IP only lasts until something better comes along. (I thought "A Wrinkle in Time" was cool... until I read Harry Potter. Sorry, Disney.) But Potter has out-lasted a slew of imitators so far: Percy Jackson, etc. I would not dismiss its power. (Full disclosure: Potter is my favorite IP, and it's not even close.)

Edited: August 30, 2017, 4:07 AM · I am one of those people in the minority who are pretty much “over” Harry Potter, so I’ll give my two cents.

Please note, these comments are just my opinion. I know some people live and breathe Potter and I am not disparaging those people or trying to start a war or even a civil debate. I am just adding my thoughts to the conversation.

Let me start by saying I thought the Harry Potter books were a lot of fun when they came out and I devoured each one voraciously. I was even part of the “buy and read each new book in one day to avoid spoilers” frenzy when it actually happened and had a blast participating in it. Later, on routine trips to my folk’s house a couple hours away, we listened as a family to the terrific audiobook versions by Jim Dale, and would often drive around aimlessly just to finish a particularly exciting chapter. So good. While Rowling is not what I would consider a great writer, she is a fine storyteller who produced some easily digested, exciting, very visual novels (although the Deathly Hallows was a bit of a bloated mess, imho). While I still consider myself a fan of those seven original novels, I do feel they have been surpassed by a host of other great youth series we’ve read as a family along the way (we're big fans of Artemis Fowl and are keeping our fingers crossed that one day someone will eventually do justice to those excellent adventures on the big screen).

So, when did my love of Potter start to wane? Partially, I just lost interest and moved on (as happens with any fad), but more than anything else, what diminished the Potter IP for me was the film adaptions - I could not stand them. I saw the first two movies in the theaters (to this day the only Potter movie I can watch at all is the first one - at least Chris Columbus briefly seemed to understand the whimsical nature of the stories), then refused to shill out the big screen bucks on the next four films (I watched 3 through 6 on DVD and loathed #3 the most – was it even based on the same book I read?!?!). When I heard Hallows would be split into two movies I had high hopes they would finish strong and redeem the film series. Alas, no such luck, it was just as disappointing as the rest. Anyway, by the time the 8th film finished irritating and exasperating me I'd had enough of Potter. I couldn't believe that Rowling would allow that hack Stephen Cloves to trash her fine novels so thoroughly. When things I care about are shredded and destroyed, I take it personally, and I felt JK had betrayed her book fans by allowing those horrendous film adaptions to be produced. And since Universal's Harry Potter lands are based on the movies rather than the books, the theme park version of the IP is just a constant reminder of that betrayal and therefore not something I find compelling. Every time I hear about another WWOHP announcement replacing something I once enjoyed at Universal Orlando, I cringe. I would much rather Universal had spent their money revamping the Lost Continent with original content than a Potter overlay, and would rather have a re-imagined Jaws attraction than Gringotts. I find both of those displaced IPs more compelling than the film versions of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. My heart shudders thinking about what other beloved attractions or restaurants (Mythos? No!) Universal will replace next, just so they can add more singing frogs to the parks.

So there you have it, my confession. I feel so much better now.

PS Rob, if you have not already done so, you should read Ursula K. LeGuin's Earthsea novels. The adventure starts with a boy, Ged, who is selected to go to a magical school, Roke Academy, to learn to be a wizard, and ultimately he must vanquish an enemy to whom he is intimately connected. The books are youth novels like the HP books, were written decades before Potter, and are still considered classics of the genre.

Edited: August 30, 2017, 6:14 AM · Interesting take James...I'm quite shocked that you disliked Prisoner of Azkaban the most, since that Potter movie was created by the most acclaimed director, Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men, Gravity, Y Tu Mama Tambien). The tone of the series definitely shifted from Christopher Columbus' first 2 entries with far more whimsy (and amazing John Williams score) to the dark, eerie tone Cuaron brought. I quite enjoy the more serious tone that Cuaron employed, and it was a welcome change that managed to bring suspense to a story everyone knew (never felt that from Columbus' films where the kids never seem to be in any real peril). David Yates, the now go-to Harry Potter director (4 of the original Harry Potter films and slated to direct all 5 Fantastic Beasts films) seems to be bringing more whimsy back to the series with Fantastic Beasts.

I think from a theme park perspective, Universal was wise to adapt the movie versions for their parks, because they would have gotten roundly criticized if they didn't replicate what everyone has been shown what the Wizarding World looks like. You can't blame them for doubling and tripling down on the franchise as there are films slated for release through 2024, and Disney continues to feed the popularity by running "Harry Potter Weekends" on Freeform seemingly 3 weeks every month.

August 30, 2017, 6:59 AM · I agree with what Robert said. I grew up with Harry as the books came out and I definitely intend to read my children all the books and watch the movies with them. I love the characters and the stories and want my own children to have the excitement of waiting for a new book to come out. (I need to figure out how to make them wait between books.) I'm guessing there are a lot of members of my generation who feel the same and that should help the IP hold on.

Regretfully, I have never been to Universal Studios to experience the Wizarding World. I need to plan a trip to Orlando.

Edited: August 30, 2017, 10:08 AM · Hi Russell, my issues with Azkaban have less to do with the director and more to do with the screenplay. The vast quantity of great moments dropped and plot changes Cloves unnecessarily made just frustrate me to no end. And the reason movie #3 is the one I dislike the most is because it is the book I like best.

And I don't fault Universal for any of their business decisions. Obviously they've given fans what they want. I just don't feel compelled to join the crowd with my financial support.

August 30, 2017, 9:56 AM · I would call myself a Hardy Potter fan but not a fanatic. I have never been to any Universal theme park (or Disney theme park for that matter) so I cannot judge it based on any experience. That said I do look forward to seeing it someday. Looking at Universal's attendance, no matter what you think of Potter, they made the right business decision. I enjoyed the movies as much as the books, even if they are missing so much of what made the books great. Its hard to say if Universal and Potter will be as popular as they are today, but I feel it's safe to say Potter will be at Universal for a long time. They just have to keep the books and the movies in the public's mind, the way Disney has with their movies and theme parks. Since Universal doesn't own the movie rights or the publishing rights that's a bit more challenging than Disney, but it's still achievable.

I think Universal's biggest problem is getting people to think of them as more than Harry Potter. Nintendo will help, but they still need more. A theme park is more than one or two franchises, as great as those franchises are. Nothing besides Potter really excites me about Universal. They need to focus on adding rides that will excite people even if its not based on a franchise that excites people. Disney did it with Cars and Avatar, Universal needs to find theirs. I do think reusing their classic movies could do the trick but who knows if they have the guts to build something that isn't a recent hit. Maybe something to do with Field of Dreams.

August 30, 2017, 9:56 AM · Love the Harry Potter franchise. I'm probably in the minority here, and I know she's made claims otherwise, but I honestly believe Rowling will return to the series one day and write more about Harry. She's vowed to leave him alone, but we waited 32 years between stints in seeing Luke and Han back on the big screen, so I'm holding out hope Rowling returns to the characters at some point in the future.
Edited: August 30, 2017, 11:50 AM · @James Rao- Yesterday morning I finished listening to Azkaban and then I watched the movie last night. I've watched each movie after listening to the books just to have the unabridged story fresh in mind as I watch the movie. I agree with you. Of all the books, Azkaban is my absolute favorite. The movie drove me nuts last night. I hadn't read the book in a few years and I'd forgotten SO MANY plot points especially in the third act that the movie changes. Of course, this has to be done in many circumstances to keep the run time of a film within normal standards. It's frustrating, but necessary. Then there are all the major story points that this screenplay completely rearranges or disposes of for no good reason in my mind. Sometimes I think it's refreshing for a movie to make a few changes so it's fun and new when viewed as a movie. I can't say I feel like that when it comes to Azkaban. I'd forgotten what a major role Hermione's cat, Crookshanks plays in the book. Here his turn as hero is eliminated.
What does this tell me? That my frustration about this is more proof to me that there are thousands and thousands of other people for whom these stories are life long passions. Our love for these characters and their stories will drive us to share the books, movies and all other forms of the Potterverse with our kids and their kids in turn.
And PS - I will look into the Earthsea novels. Thanks!
August 30, 2017, 11:52 AM · Harry Potter is in no immediate danger, but can the same really be said for 10-20 years in the future? I think that is the real question here, and a lot will depend on how well it can connect with the next generation. The dominant audience within the fandom is those who were born from the late 1980s to the early/mid 2000s, and while there are fans outside that range (particularly on the later end), it definitely is not as popular with kids today as it was 5-10 years ago. Will it rebound as parents who grew up with the series read it to their children, or will those children not feel the same love of the stories and not care for it?

The other big issue facing Universal is that there is a limited amount of expansion options for them, and those will only lessen over time. People expect to see Harry, Ron, and Hermione when they visit the Wizarding World, but it will become increasingly difficult to create attractions that feature the trio. Once that happens, how does Universal create something new to draw in guests? While Forbidden Journey and Escape from Gringotts are great rides, I doubt they will be nearly as timeless as many of the dark rides that came before.

Edited: August 30, 2017, 3:20 PM · @Rob Not to mention Harry's stunning Quidditch victory! Talk about a "pump your fists in the air and jump for joy" moment! How do you leave that event on the cutting room floor!?!?!

Also, I think if you continue to watch the movies right after finishing the books, you're going to become just as frustrated with the films as I am. The unnecessary additions, unfathomable changes, and befuddling omissions may drive you crazy! Just let the amazing Jim Dale tell the story and forget those awful films. You'll be more satisfied in the long run!

August 30, 2017, 1:23 PM · @James -- Thank you!!!! For years I thought I was the only person who thought the movie version of POA was a disaster. I stuck around for the rest of the movies and enjoyed them for the most part, but I can't stomach re-watching POA.

And I have to agree with you that an expanded Lost Continent and an updated JAWS would have been awesome....That said, if they had to be replaced by anything, then I'm glad it's Potter. Though, you're right -- if they touch Mythos, Universal is going to have a LOT to answer for :-)

Edited: August 30, 2017, 3:13 PM · Hi Melanie,

For some reason it seems that most folks who have not read the books or read the books after seeing the movie like POA best. Technically, it may even be the best. But storywise it is an absolute travesty. And I have no idea how anyone who watches POA but hasn't read the book even knows what is going on - just a confusing, sloppy, lazy hack job of a script. I do take some solace in the fact that POA is the lowest grossing film in the series.

As for Mythos, we may need a TPI meetup there soon because it is only a matter of time before it becomes something else. Nothing lasts long at Universal Orlando!

August 30, 2017, 3:33 PM · Anyone have a good link as to where to find the HP audiobooks? I like what they done at Universal with the Harry potter theming but don't want the whole park to turn into HP world. I can see both sides of the "argument" and its nice that a conversation can be had and kept civil. So many people take things like this as a personal attack. Anywho, thanks for all the great articles guys, keep up the good work.
August 30, 2017, 3:48 PM · @JonFerguson My local library has the audiobooks available for checkout. If yours does not, then I am sure you can get them from Amazon.com. Just make sure Jim Dale is doing the reading. He's a brilliant reader!
Edited: August 30, 2017, 3:50 PM · @JonFerguson - When I decided to start over and listen to the Audio Books, I just thought I'd go to iTunes and download them. Cut to me - mouth hanging open at the shock of what they cost! I figured by now, the price would have come down to a easy to afford level. Oh, no! Each is still around $30+. So, I decided to do things the old fashion way and go to my local public library. You won't believe this, but that library place...they let you borrow stuff...FOR FREE!
I'm of course being silly, but I really was amazed at the price. I can not recommend the audio books highly enough. Jim Dale reads them all and he has a unique voice for each and every character. Azkaban is 10 disks in length, which is about 10 hours of commuting. Such a great way to drive.
August 30, 2017, 4:12 PM · Interesting side note, Rob (interesting to me anyway): Before the movies came out, Mr. Dale pronounced Voldemort without the "T" at the end (which I think sounds way more sinister). But in the later recordings he adds the "T" sound to match the way they say it in the films. Another reason I despise those movies!! ;)
August 30, 2017, 4:33 PM · Thanks for the quick responses guys. Yeah, we have priced them as well and had the same reaction when we saw the price. Stephen Fry has a version I hear is really good. I will check out the library and see what they have to offer. Again, thanks for the info.
August 31, 2017, 4:27 PM · The one thing going for the theme park area is that the books may be the most well written fantasy literature in a lifetime. The movies are well done, sure, but most series are made up as they go along. As a Star Wars fan, I can clearly admit the inconsistencies in the original Star Wars movie with many of the other films. The Potter books knew exactly where they were going from the very first sentence to when we meet Harry's kids at the end. Another thing that cannot be denied is the attractions are very, very well done with a lot of respect to the source material. My family was in one of the shops and could not trip up the barkeep from getting out of character. She knew every minute detail of Potterlore, and it was impressive. I cannot imagine the popularity diminishing anytime soon. Now, Star Wars will not diminish either. That will last forever, and I hope they put the love and attention into that that Universal has put into Potter.
August 31, 2017, 7:40 PM · I thought it was interesting that somebody mentioned whether Tom Sawyer has endured. Um....Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom both have an island that answer that question.....;)

Harry Potter is a great IP because there is so much in the books in the movies to draw from. Even with Fantastic Beasts, it expanded the universe.

I think Harry Potter also has something other lands don't have (until we get Star Wars): The ability to be part of the universe. You can be fully yourself AND a wizard/witch. You can be part of the story because you can be a wizard. Pandora, as great as it is, still is something viewed from afar. You can't be a Navi.

The HP series also has some great lessons, especially in these times. It deals with racism, classism, and the resistance of (blood) supremacy. I am reading through the entire series this year due to our rough governmental situation right now.

Edited: August 31, 2017, 8:54 PM · @JC VanHouten Rowling's books are far from perfect. There are enormous plot holes and continuity errors in the Potter novels - why in the world do you think Rowling always has at least one chapter of exposition near the end of each book explaining how everything "worked"? And before you go poking too many holes into the Star Wars stories, you might take a closer look at the similarities between the two franchises. It is very apparent that Rowling was a big Star Wars fan - the similarities in plot, characters, relationships, and significant events are uncanny (not that Star Wars itself was very original to begin with - remember, there's nothing new under the sun!).
September 1, 2017, 4:06 AM · Her books were basically mystery novels set in a fantasy world, so, yes, she had to explain how her world worked. I would argue she drew more from basic fantasy sources than from Star Wars, which is just the good vs. evil story. Certainly, there are many areas of literature where a nobody turns out to be the one world savior, and I am sure I don't have to point all of those out. While her basic structure is not new literature, one thing is: the books age as the characters do. The first book is very much a children's book and the last one is a teen book. You could argue that this happened with the Hoobit and the Lord of the Rings, but the aging process was apparent with her books. Also, they were well written. All that being said, they really do lend themselves to a theme park world. They have food, merchandise, locations, etc. Now I grew up on Star Wars. I really hope Disney knocks that out of the park (pun intended.). They also would lend themselves well to a theme park world, but I think it would be more of an effort to attain to same level of immersion due to the fact that the world has aliens and robots, but I believe they can do it, they just have to figure out how to deal with the crowds.
Edited: September 1, 2017, 5:11 AM · Oh, Star Wars was definitely not her only source for ideas, but the similarities between the stories go beyond the fact that both use the same tried and true "Hero's Journey" tropes and "Jesus Saves" literary plot devices. Neither here nor there to me as everyone copies everyone else these days - it's impossible not to do so! Just thought it was worth mentioning,

As for the age thing, I think Star Wars has done a fantastic job of being "age neutral". There is something for everyone, from 4 to 104! And every interest is covered: movies, animation, books, board games, card games, dice games, video games, miniatures, toys, clothes... and on and on. Just look at the variety of folks lined up for Force Friday at Disneyland today! Pardon the pun, but Star Wars is a "universal" franchise. It has mass appeal. More so than any other IP, it would seem. And with such broad appeal, Star Wars Galaxy's Edge is sure to be a crowd pleaser if Disney, as you said, figures out operationally how to successfully manage the masses that will be coming.

PS Sorry for the partial thread hijack, Rob! Feel free to get us back on track!

Edited: September 1, 2017, 11:54 AM · James - This is EXACTLY what I wanted. I was hoping people on this page would show passion for these stories. I firmly believe the books will be something generations of parents will share with their kids as they reach the right age. I was in my late 30s when the books came out and I turned my nose up at all the media hype they received. How could a children's book create so much excitement among adults? I didn't start reading the first book until around the time Prisoner of Azkaban was released. Eventually I felt left out, so I picked up a copy of Sorcerer’s Stone and I was hooked. I have no doubt Ron, Hermione and Harry will be a part of our collective imagination for many years to come.
As to theme park longevity, I really don't see any concern. Parents will share the Potter stories with their kids just like they have done with the Star Wars stories for over forty years. I think we will find it difficult to compare Galaxy’s Edge with the WWOHP once both are open. Yes – Disney Fan Boy/Girls and Universal Fan Boy/Girls will draw a line in the sand and argue which is better, but I find those arguments tiresome and pointless. My hunch is each will offer to scratch two very different itches. The itch to return to a place we know and love and the itch to explore an undiscovered galaxy.
Potter theme park lands offer the opportunity to return. Return to the places we have visited in books and movies. We get a chance to live for a few hours in a world we know very well. Search YouTube and you will find videos of people reduced to tears when they turn that corner at Hogsmead and see the village laid out before them for the first time. They are overwhelmed at seeing a place they have longed to visit from reading the books and seeing the movies Galaxy’s Edge will offer us the opportunity to explore. Explore places that are familiar, but no place we have ever really been. I don’t expect to find video of people reduced to tears upon entering Galaxy’s edge. They will be too excited about getting on with the adventure and the opportunity to explore.
That’s the brilliance of both. With Potter there are far fewer places to explore than there are in the vast Star Wars galaxy. We are able to return to those familiar places and engage with all of our senses. We can wear what they wear. Eat what they eat. Drink what they drink. Go to their banks to exchange our money for theirs. Ride their train and cast their spells. Star Wars is just too big to recreate satisfactorily; instead we will be offered a brand new place to discover. We get new sights, sounds, tastes, experiences and memories to create.
Will one be better than the other? Why does that even matter? Who cares? Each will offer to scratch a particular itch and I think we are all feeling very itchy.
September 1, 2017, 1:42 PM · I feel your pain James. When it comes to adapting books in Hollywood, blood sacrifices are always made (ask any fan of Ice and Fire how they feel about the lack of direwolves in Game of Thrones). The beautiful thing is, as unfaithful as the films may be, the books remain timeless and unmarred on our shelves. When James Cain was interviewed for his thoughts about the films based on his books, he offered the following: "People tell me, don’t you care what they’ve done to your book? I tell them, they haven’t done anything to my book. It’s right there on the shelf. They paid me and that’s the end of it.” The Potter lands, while visually inspired by the films, can also fit snugly within the canon of the books. That's why it's been so successful for Universal, there is something for the geek within all of us!
Edited: September 2, 2017, 5:44 AM · You said it all, Rob. No disagreement here, brother.

And, James, I agree with you and Mr. Cain as well, but Rowling was very much a part of the creative decisions made for the lousy scripts that became the Harry Potter movies, and that betrayal still burns brightly in my Quidditch loving heart!

September 2, 2017, 6:33 AM · Rob, I am both a Star Wars and Potter fan. My fear is twofold with Galxy's Edge. The first fear is most likely mere paranoia, and that is they will not put the love and care into the land that Universal did with Potter. In the WWoHP, there is no outside influences. You get butterbeer but no Coke. You get chocolate frogs. The bathrooms have Moaning Myrtle in them. You see wizards and witches walking around. Will Disney have Mickey Mouse with lightsabers? Plastic Death Star cups? Will we have cast members with Star Tour costumers, or will we see wookies, droids, and other aliens walking around? It will be more of a challenge for full immersion, but I think they can pull it off which is why I hope it is just paranoia on my part. The other fear I am afraid is very justified. FP+ stinks. It is a terrible system, and Star Wars is going to be massively popular. I do not see how that system is going to work. At all. Imagine the anger when a family spends thousands of dollars and can ride each attraction once, or not at all due to that system. It will be enough to turn you to the dark side.
September 2, 2017, 3:45 PM · On our recent trip to WDW Fastpass+ worked like a champion. No issues at all. Plus, because we stayed on site, we were able to get Fastpasses to every headliner we wanted including Flight of Passage. But I am a planner, and I love the ability to lock things in months in advance. Others don't. I get it. But the system works fine as far as I am concerned.

Still, no system we know of in today's theme park world is going to be able to handle the droves of people that will make a pilgrimage to Galaxy's Edge. Disney will need some sort of upcharge or limited entry ticket to ensure the area does not become so maddeningly overcrowded that paying customers have a horrible experience. Disney has their work cut out for themselves - nothing we have seen to date is going to match what is coming in terms of popularity and crowds. It is going to either be a text book lesson in how or how not to do things once we see the end result.

September 2, 2017, 5:08 PM · There are many serious issues with it. The main one is that they allow it for everything, so wait times are exaggerated throughout the parks, even for attractions that had light wait times. Another is it is very hard to make last minute changes if you want to include popular attractions. The tiered system in some parks is bad, and it is basically worse than the previous system which makes you wonder why they did it to begin with. I like Universal's Express pass better, but you really cannot compare due to the fact that Disney has such a higher volume. Being a visitor to both WDW and DL, the FP+ is a massive step backwards. I like to plan as well, but the number of attractions my family can now experience in a day has been cut in half at Disney. I am all for a Star Wars upcharge. I wish they would not have to do it, but realistically, there may be no other way at first. Y dream is to wake up to find that they are totally revamping FP+ park wide. I like the armbands for tickets, keys, purchasing, reservations, and even as a system for holding fast passes. The system has simply diminished the amount of fun we can have at WDW now. I am sorry for being overly negative, and I am glad the system works well for the people that enjoy it.
Edited: September 2, 2017, 6:00 PM · Universal Express is the same as Flashpass and Fastlane, and unless you are spending a decent amount of cash to stay at Royal Pacific, Hard Rock, or Portofino you have to pay a premium for it. For a free system, Fastpass+ is fine. The reason you're getting less rides is because everyone is utilizing the new system, whereas before a lot of people never took advantage of paper Fastpass. Personally, I wish all these cut in line systems would go away, as everything would move much quicker, but if we have to have them I would rather not pay for them.

If you don't mind spending the money, just splurge and get the VIP tour then you don't have to worry about a thing, you elitist swine!! ;)

September 2, 2017, 6:02 PM · You are correct. I always stay at the Royal Pacific, which is about the same as a Disney Moderate resort. The Six Flags flash pass is almost always a waste of money. With the old fast pass you could use touring plans to assist.
September 2, 2017, 6:13 PM · I still use touring plans and when combined with early arrival and a steady pace, you'll be fine even on crazy busy attractions like Flight of Passage, 7 Dwarves, and Frozen. Plus you can further mitigate waits with the proper use (or if staying off property, the avoidance of) Extra Magic Hours.

I'd be glad to share the successful touring plans I just used a few weeks ago. Let me know if you're interested.

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