Vote of the week: Walt Disney World's answer to Universal's Harry Potter?
With the ongoing success of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
bringing new fans to Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure
theme park, it's clear that Walt Disney World isn't going to let this challenge pass unanswered.
Last year, Disney announced an ambitious plan to expand the Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland.
And rumor mills continue to buzz with plans to revive Beastly Kingdom at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Or long-rumored plans to add an Australia section to that park. The latest rumor is of a "Star Wars Land" at Disney's Hollywood Studio, anchored by the new version of Star Tours that is to debut next year, but also including a new Star Wars-themed stunt show in the existing Indiana Jones theater.
So which of these plans, if any, would motivate you to book at extra visit to the Walt Disney World Resort? Remember, the only plan officially announced at this time is the Fantasyland expansion. The others are conjecture, at this stage. And if none of these ideas work for you, why not submit your dream plan in the comments below?
Thanks for voting, and for reading Theme Park Insider. Have a great weekend!
Disney should go for an out and out coaster park to rival Islands of Adventure.
I'm both a star wars an Indy fan but I would hate to see them take away the stunt show. It's one of the things I look foward to at DHS. I voted for Beastly Kingdome! AK is my favorite park in the entire world. Adding the long awaited Dragon Tower, Quest For The Unicorn, and Fantasia river would make AK a full day park (I think it's a full day park already but hey). So if anyone from Disney is reading this, put Festival Of The Lion King in Africa and make Beastly Kingdome now! It will be the best answer to Harry Potter. If you can dream it, you can do it, so let's get to it. WORD!
Harry Potter is a pop culture phenomenon, and while I would love to see Beastly Kingdom finally open up at Animal Kingdom, the logical counter to Harry Potter are more Star Wars themed attractions.
i work for disney! i know them! it be nice but they will not but money in it like universal did to HP.
We would like a Disneyland Park at South American, maybe in Brazil!
I would add the Indiana Jones ride where the Indiana Jones stunt show is located.
Gotta go with 'Star Wars Land'. There's so much they can do with a Star Wars themed land that can run any numbers of gamuts, that I'd be amazed if it isn't done. In fact, I'm amazed it HASN'T been done yet. Star Tours is a great ride, and liable to be even better with the advent of 2.0, but a whole land with immersive themeing and a number of Star Wars inspired rides/shows would probably bring in quite a few people, especially the long-time fans of the series.
I voted for the 'Star Wars Land,' but I really think it would take much more than a new Star Tours ride and stunt show to rival the WWoHP. If done right, I think it would be amazing, but let's face it, Lucas could really design an entire theme park of his own devoted to Star Wars! Would one little "land" inside DHS do it justice? It may for the average theme park fan, but what about all of those Star Wars geeks?
a rollercoaster island at least 6 new coasters
The new Fantasyland expansion. It will be the largest expansion of the most successful theme park on the planet. The landscaping and area development will be STUNNING. The NextGen interactive elements sound ambitious and promising. The early field tests of talking characters is BEYOND charming.
The real answer to Harry Potter Land that Disney needs to give to the world---A new theme park. Inasmuch as Beastly Kingdom was supposed to be an integral part of DAK, Disney Imagineers have always tossed around the concept of a heroes/villains park. The Beastly Kingdom concept was supposed to incorporate some of the aspects of the heroes/villains park/land, but just as BK doesn't really fit well with AK, neither does the heroes/villains concept.
i love fantasy land.if there is going to be an expansion will they please add another peter pan ride. this is a ride for children, but disney does not take into consideration the long lines that the kids need to wait in,even late at night. spend money on making it more comfortable for the kids and the parents. its sooooo obvious to the people that stand in line with little ones,its not to you, the people who run the park? now to let you know, iam 66 years old and its not fun for me and i know whats going on, little ones dont. sometimes outsiders see more than the workers. same problem at disneyland. what? we have visited many times to both. we do love disney. we are lucky here in san francisco, we have the disney museum. very nice. thank you for listening, thanks walt.
The Fantasyland expansion will be beautiful. The Little Mermaid ride will be nice but I strongly doubt, it will be up to the level of the Forbidden Journey at IOA. The rest is just some meet-n-greets and another Dumbo. I wish Disney would have added something else. I'm still looking forward to it but not half as much as I was waiting for the Wizarding World to open.
I heard a rumor that Disney is buying up all of the land around Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey. Can anyone confirm or deny this? If it is true what are Disney's intentions?
Animal Kingdom can't get back to its full glory without some assistance. I say build a new land in the AK, either Australia or Beastly Kingdom, put one or two attention grabbers there, take some time to refurbish Everest, and AK could surpass Hollywood and Universal Studios.
While I think the fantasyland expansion is a great idea (although they did go a little heavy on the girly meet and greets), and I think it was a needed enhancement that should be happening, I think Animal Kingdom needs something added to it. Really, I don't think it's as important for a whole new land as a new E-ticket attraction. I think they just need to alternate adding E-ticket attractions to the other parks (Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollwood Studios) for the next couple of years. AND CAN WE PLEASE GET MATTERHORN MOUNTAIN IN ORLANDO!! Add it to one of the parks, that would be worth a visit!!
My solution? WDW should close a theme park.
people are sick of disney world, and Orlando. Branson, Mo is wide open for something like that. Branson needs something new and exciting. The theaters are nice, but a GREAT theme park ( silver dollar city is getting boring) I am tired of going there) Why don't someone put in a great theme park in Branson? It is located in the middle of the USA. Someone needs to wake up!!!
I want Cars land like they are putting in at Disney's California. The Cars themed ride/attraction sounds like one of the best new attractions I have heard the American Disney parks talk about opening!
Beastly Kingdom would invigorate the Animal Kingdom, and could allow for it to remain open later in the evening, if it is put into the Camp Minnie-Mickey area. It would also be great if they built a separate lake there, with the attractions around it, and put on an elaborate fountain show there, something like a World of Color with an animal theme. They already have the technology down, so it could just be an overlay on what they've already done in California. They could also import the Journey to the Center of the Earth from DisneySea, which could serve as an anchor attraction and give the park some additional thrills.
EPCOT-Egypt pavilion: Dark ride through an ancient pyramid.
EPCOT-Egypt pavilion: Dark ride through an ancient pyramid.
Villians Park to with coasters and fire mountain.
Who has any desire to go to Branson, MO? I sure don't!
I think they might have a big hit with a "Twilight" themed section perhaps in Hollywood studios.
The most obvious setpiece for a "Star Wars Stunt Spectacular" would be the Jabba's Sail Barge escape and battle over the Sarlacc Pit from "Return of the Jedi". There are a lot of stunts, none of them in outer space, and the Tatooine locale is perfect for the hot Summer temperatures the show is generally seen in.
Following on from the Fantasyland expansion Disney have to look towards improving AK.
Eh... sure Branson is in the middle of the USA... but the people sure aren't. Most of America's population is hanging onto the borders of the country (From Washington to California to Texas to Florida and up to New Jersey)
'Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey' is (without question) the most extraordinary theme park production in the medium's history. As a single attraction it has set a standard that may be impossible to mirror.
I vote for star wars land. There is so much material to work from. An X-wing themed coaster would be so cool. A cantina style music show, jedi vs sith stunt show plus there are a ton of things you could do as dark rides.
One thing I think Disney World lacks and has always lacked is there's just not enough thrill rides. I'm not really talking about moderate/mild thrils. I'm talking about "I'm REALLY not sure if I want to get on this" type of rides. Tower of Terror, Expedition Everest are probably the closest things to that. I think that's what brings people to amusement parks these days. Something that will scare them silly, but yet they still want to ride it over and over again. Two of the best rides in the world are at Islands of Adventure (Spiderman, Forbidden Journey). People are coming to Universal in bunches because the new Potter ride is a breakthrough in technology. And it's scary. If Disney wants Potter-mania to end, a big-time thrill ride is a must. I voted for Beastly Kingdom b/c to me I think that's the best opportunity to build another E-ticket attraction that will flock visitors to the park just like IOA.
Star wars is great! However, I can't envision having its own land. It would be too much star wars and only attract a certain amount of people. One ride is good enough.
I love the Lord of the Rings possibility! That would be great if disney could pull it off. Universal might do better considering disney is very much family oriented and i don't think you could make a family oriented Lord of the rings attraction unless it's like a hobbit festival or something like that.
Well since the highest grossing movie of all time is now avatar (I don't know why, I didn't like it), something centered around that or twilight or lord of the rings would be a solution
Well Ive just finished reading them all. And have just one question. Why does WDW Co. Not take some of the best Toyko Seas has to offer and build a whole new park? And Im a little tired of hearing "We a faimly based theme park, Its all about the Children". When the big wigs will over look that in the Paris and Japan properties. As far as the Beastly Kingdom being built this theme park junkie doesnt see it happening. COuld have been done or at least sarted with Expedition...Which I do belive was on the model for AK way back as well as Dueling Dragons.
I'll focus on Disney Hollywood Studios -- So many good ideas have been listed here already, so I don't want to repeat them all, but I think expanding Star Wars into a larger attraction (or "land," if you will) with an additional thrill component PLUS adding more Fantasmic performances (are they down to once a week?) PLUS an overhaul of the Great Movie Ride would help me want to return to Hollywood Studios. Since the site is not a working production facility, I would re-vamp the Backlot Tour or even get rid of it to make room for another attraction. A big, fun, thrilling water ride would be a welcome respite from the unbearable heat in that park. In my opinion, DHS shouldn't try to imitate Universal Studios, it should be more innovative and capitalize on the theming and magic that make WDW and Disney so special. BTW, my 2 teens would still choose WDW over Universal, if given the choice, despite HP.
I think Fantasyland Expansion could be Disney's strike back at Harry Potter since the big draw is one big ride and unbelievable theming. While I am apprehensive about it being geared more towards the girls, the theming should be spectacular. I am also looking forward to entering Gaston's Tavern (sans beer) and the Ballroom from Beauty and the Beast.
Perhaps there should be a bit more context to frame the thread's topic ("Walt Disney World's answer to Universal's Harry Potter?".
Didn't the Disney Prez just said no more $ being spent for the next decade? OK to dream but Disney is not going to ever compete against HP and just rest on the millions that will show up anyway. They looked into the US economy and have decided not to invest further. Time for Universal and SeaWorld to shine. BTW just got back from Sea World San Antonio and was amazed by Azul. We saw it twice and everyone loved it and wanted more. I did think of Avatar from it. Hopefully it will expand to Orlando. We frequent and love Orlando. But usually don't visit SW often but Azul puts it way up there. Much better than the current Orlando dolphin show. The show is great. Best theme park show ever.
I agree with James Rao regarding 'Lord of the Rings'. That could be tremendous. Whatever they do it has to be something that'll last, not just a passing craze. Star Wars can be said to fit that bill. As well as another theme park, I do believe there is room for another water park. Something that irons out the queueing problem at Blizzard Beach.
For all in the know: Universal is not done with WWOHP. More will be added in the next few years.
Incidently, the "answer to Potter is secondary to the gravitational pull of 2021. A question with (perhaps) greater weight is "What will WDW look like when it celebrates its 50th anniversary?"
Please not Star Wars. Please...
A lot of great ideas here, but lets' be realistic - the anonymous poster is right. Disney announced that there would not be major expansions for the next decade. That rules out a new theme park and probably a new land.
There simply IS nothing Disney can produce that will compare with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
I'd personally love to see ALL of the ideas tackled eventually, but mostly a Beastly Kingdom or Australia addition to DAK.
I agree with the idea of a coaster park especially now that disney has rights to marvel. Back in the 90's there were rumors after the demise of the Virginia project of a project for WDW property called project steel. Hope it comes to pass.
Joshua writes: "Disney announced that there would not be major expansions for the next decade."
To anyone posting about Twilight:
Do not underestimate the power of the Darkside....err...I mean the Star Wars Franchise. Sure the original trilogy is over 25 years old, but it is still very much a beloved group of movies and every bit the cultural phenomenon that Potter is. The prequels, ok maybe not so much, but they introduced the Star Wars universe to a new generation that in turn rediscovered the original films. Speaking of the original films, they as well as the other three will all be converted to 3D sometime in the near future and once again be released theatrically. Also, the Clone Wars show is wildly popular amongst the younger and older fans because of it being so entertaining and well produced. The show has hit it's stride and will continue to produce more seasons for years to come. Also, don't forget that the Live Action TV series has yet to debut, which will be set right in the middle of the two trilogies and should do well to introduce many expanded universe characters as well as bridging the gap between the polished high tech prequels, and the gritty used world of the original movies. Expect another strong resurgence of interest once that happens. With no major network attached to the project yet, don't be surprised if it ends up on the Disney owned ABC once it's all said and done. Speaking of expanded universe, the star wars franchise has countless books, comics, and extremely well produced video games that allow fans to further immerse themselves in the mythology. This is a franchise that has immense potential, a proven track record, and quite honestly is the king of the mountain when it comes to any type of modern day franchise hoping to achieve long lasting public interest and staying power. Oh and as far as new theatrical movies are concerned, rumor has it that Lucas hasn't completely ruled that out either. With him indicating that he would rather not direct, and turn the reigns over to some of his director friends that he went to film school with, which if you are familiar with any of his friends, you would find such news very intriguing as well as exciting.
Mr. Badillo writes: "An expansion to Fantasyland will not be enough to help WDW compete agaisnt The Wizarding World of Harry Potter or IOA in general. When people ride an attraction they want to be Wowed and have their breath taken away. There are very few rides at WDW that do that other than Rockin Roll Coaster, Tower of Terror, Expedition Everset (well sort of), and Toy Story Mania."
Wondering about the impact of the Fantasyland expansion? Consider this nugget: Disney Princess annual sales at Disney Consumer Products rose from $300 million in 2001 to approximately $4 billion in 2009.
Magic Kingdom has a built in audience. The park is a right of passage experience for many people and will draw huge attendance numbers year in and year out no matter what. The F-Land expansion is icing on what is already a very sweet and sugary princess rich cake. Where most people seem to be getting caught up on, is the fact that this expansion is VERY 12 year old and under, girl centric. Potter has a far broader appeal to it, and quite honestly, Universal needed an influx of innovative themed attractions to compete with Disney. The mouse is king in this town, and the expansion does nothing more than bolster what is, and has always been the leading theme park destination in the industry. I do question the desire to go so far in one direction, without anything that seems to balance out the offerings. Changing the name on a carousel does nothing for little boys. I wonder if we won't see something announced for MK not too far in the future, maybe as the F-Land project nears completion, or shortly there after.
Disney needs to get back to basic's first and with the expansion / revamp I think will be a great start. I think MK should be looking more to the past at what can make a great ride, and that like what has been said before doesn't have to be brand new, like the theme for Splash Mountain. MK at least should have a ride that takes through all the big toons that made Disney wot it is, starting with Steam Boat Willie including films like Bambi, Tarzan, lion king, fox and the hound, hunchback, sleeping beauty, Alice in wonderland right up to the pixar movies, you could even have Mickey as your guide through the ride, in a Spider-man (IOA) kinda way to make it bang up to date and thrilling. They could go for a TRON themed ride in TL, a Western/cowboy ride in FL like Men in Black but having shoot outs with cowboys, but you would be on a horse or in a wagon train. Epcot needs rides in the countries like in England they could have a Time machine ride built like old london black cab that take's on a magical mystery tour through time to the beatles and penny lane and the roling stones to King Arthur and knights of the round table, robin hood the list is endless, every country should and could do this! As for the Disney MGM Studios STAR WARS themed land should definately be added it is part of pop culture and known by everyone, referenced in so many other films and TV shows, even my 17 month old boy is already liking it after seeing the muppet show episode with 3-PO and R" in it, bigger than Harry potter by a country mile!! The possibilities for Star Wars themed rides and attractions is endless, and the Indy Ride from Disneyland is a must at DS, as is a crazy Muppet ride, and updates to GMR and backlot. Come on Disney!!!
I vote that Disney does some kind of adventure or ride or both with the Twilight saga!!!! It's bigger than the Harry Potter saga. So hurry Disney before Universal gets the idea and runs with it!!!!
Anonymous writes: "(The Twilight saga) bigger than the Harry Potter saga.
Jim Hill Media has a new article (filled with a healthy does of speculation) related to a reconfiguration of the Fantasyland project.
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.