What will close at Universal Studios Hollywood to make way for Harry Potter?
A little over a year ago, we talked about how we'd fit a Wizarding World of Harry Potter into Universal Studios Hollywood
. Now that we know it's going to happen
, let's revisit the topic to see what exactly is going to have to make way for this new attraction.
I've heard from enough second-hand sources that I'm pretty well sold that the Hollywood version of the Wizarding World is going in on the east side of the park, around Waterworld. But what will have to be removed to make way for Harry Potter? Here's an aerial view of the Orlando Wizarding World:
And here, to the same scale, is an aerial view of the east side of Universal Studios Hollywood (images via Google Maps):
In the upper image, that big building to the lower left is the show building for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Since we've been told that Hogwarts is coming to Hollywood, let's assume that's the same building that's providing the centerpiece of the Hollywood version. So we have to fit that building somewhere into the space shown in the lower photograph.
In the lower image (Hollywood), the large, white semicircle is the Gibson Amphitheatre. The blue area below and to the left of the amphitheatre is the Waterworld show. The grey area to the direct left of the amphitheatre is the Shrek-4D theater.
To my eye, there's no way to make the Hogwarts building and Hogsmeade street fit in the Hollywood site without removing both the amphitheatre and Waterworld. Maybe there might be space to fit in the Flying Hippogriff coaster, too, depending upon how buildings align on the site.
Perhaps Universal could fit the Hogwarts building onto the site of the Waterworld theater, and run an abbreviated Hogsmeade street toward it, which would save the amphitheatre. But Hogsmeade is such a potential cash cow, which all the merchandise, food and Butterbeer revenue it brings to the table, that I think Universal might be better off financially with an expanded Hogsmeade than it would with the amphitheatre.
The Gibson faces competition from long-standing rivals, the Greek Theater and the Hollywood Bowl, in addition to new competition from the Nokia theater downtown and the former Kodak theater in Hollywood, neither of which existed when the Universal Amphitheater was expanded and covered in the 1980s. But the nearest Harry Potter attraction is in Orlando, more than 2,500 miles away.
I haven't see Universal's financials on the amphitheatre, but as a fan, I would gladly trade the loss of one more concert site near downtown LA for the expansion of Hogsmeade and a larger Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
By the way, I tried to look up the building permits for the Wizarding World project, but that portion of Universal Studios Hollywood lies in unincorporated Los Angeles County, which doesn't list building and construction permits online. To see them, I'd have to visit the LA County Department of Public Works Building and Safety office that covers Universal Studios.
Inconveniently enough, that office is located… inside a trailer on the backlot of Universal Studios. Universal has its own County Building and Safety office. It's almost like Reedy Creek!
So let's throw this open for discussion again: What would you like to see Universal do to fit Harry Potter into Hollywood?
By the way, I love how the anonymous troll in the original post, who was *convinced* that Universal didn't have the rights to Harry Potter outside Orlando, was proven 100% wrong. FWIW.... ;^)
I'll miss WaterWorld but that seems the only place to put WWoHP. Now in order to to be a true Wizarding World instead of just Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and a ButterBeer stand than the amphitheatre has got to go. With the amphitheatre and WaterWorld out than there is a sizable track of land to put Hogwarts castle and the shops, along with a simple family ride.
HP is pretty much replacing Waterworld, since Despicable Me is rumoured to replace either Shrek, Terminator, or Curious George. USH needs some HP magic, but please, PLEASE hide Forbidden Journey's show building this time.
Theater manager "Why are you tearing down my theater!?" Foreman (bulldozers poised for destruction) "The plans were on display for over three months." Theater manager "They were in a trailer! On the backlot, in a filing cabinet labeled Beware the Leopard!!??"
I would like to offer a contrarian view. USH should become a full day park. To reach that goal, they must add instead of subtract. I know subtracting Gibson Amphitheatre isn't taking away much from a day at USH and the Waterworld show should have been replaced a long time ago, but this is a drain on resources when there is plenty of undeveloped land in the Studios Tour portion of the property. Even the Universal executive alluded to the undeveloped land, some 200 acres.
When I look at the Google map of Universal Hollywood vs Orlando, there is such a huge difference in real estate. Same goes for Disney. It's a shame I will probably never make it to either, but I did stay in Hollywood for a few days back in 2007. Universal was literally right across a couple hills the highway.
My guess is that the amphitheater will be closing for Harry Potter. The area the building currently occupies can be used for the Forbidden Journey ride, and the surrounding area can be Hogsmeade. I still don't think it needs to be as large as Florida's, and I don't think it should be the main focus of USH, so that should clear up enough room for it. If more room is required, they could remove Waterworld but I really hope they don't. USH only has a dozen attractions, and it makes little sense to remove one of their top three (it may be old, but Waterworld is still the best stunt show I've seen anywhere).
They could fit in Hogwarts without having to remove WaterWorld by putting the show building next to Curious George.
I think it would be a mistake to try and cram HP into that spot but I know they have other plans for some of that backlot space (if they get their way).
Screamscape is reporting that it is fairly certain that Waterworld will be removed soon to make way for the Potter expansion.
The thing about WW is that it's a people eater, which is why Disneyland is moving Fantasy Faire out of the Fantasyland Theater, into dedicated space and bringing stage shows back. The gridlock that is USH is only to get worse when HP arrives.
Frankly, I'd rather lose the amphitheater and Shrek than Waterworld. I'd hate to see that show go.
I have a strong believe that everything on the west side will become harry potter. If you think about it that is the least attraction filled and the quietest area of the park. Other than terminator 3D there's really no other attractions. I think they would take out the old western show and make that the entrance to hogsmeade and rip out everything between terminator, animal actors show, and house of horrors. Perhaps a back pathway to terminator and create a second entrance/exit to harry potter. That area also would create a great visual icon both from the lower level and the entrance of the park. It would also be a perfect landmark visible from the freeway.
I doubt they would close the west side due to the fact Simpsons opened 4 years ago.
Mitchell your idea is perfect. I really don't want to see Water World go. T2:3-D,Coke Soak, the Parisian Courtyard, The Globe theater, the old Wild West stadium and the building next to Animal Actors is just about the same size as the proposed Water World area.
I think they should start hogsmeade where shrek currently is and have it extend towards waterworld, where forbidden journey would be placed. Then have it branch off and put the gringotts ride at the gibson site. The only issue wold be continuity form hogmeade and hogwarts to gringotts.
I have no idea where Wizarding World might go. I haven't been to USH for awhile. But I do remember how disappointed most were (including myself and my wife) by the Mummy. It obviously wasn't - and turned out not to be - the attraction everyone was drooling about at USO. Hopefully, HP won't be the same. I hope JK Rowling also has input into this one.
I will be bitterly upset if they dismantle the excellent Waterworld show in favour of Harry Potter.
Oops, I was looking at Google Earth the wrong way :P
Having missed half of two different concerts at the Universal Ampitheatre because of traffic, I won't miss it. In fact, I may help them tear it down.
Hogwarts would have to be placed where Gibson is so that it would be facing the entire park as well as City Walk.
Having never visited USH (but being a regular visitor of USO), the size disparity between the two properties blows my mind. I do understand that the CA location was originally conceived as a functioning studio first (whereas Orlando was primarily a tourist attraction with studio operations an afterthought)... I also understand that the CA location is working within a far more urbanized area... but man, do they have their work cut out for them, squeezing new attractions in. I don't understand why USH hasn't purchased more property for expansion purposes in the past... but again, my ignorance of the park - there very well may be good reason.
I would be sad to see Water World go. It's the only positive thing that came out of that movie. Plus how often do you see live stunt shows not named "Cirque du Soleil"? Besides I don't consider Cirque a stunt show. WW is a true stunt show that eclipses the Indiana Jones one in Orlando. And this is coming from a Disney fan!
Bringing Potter to Universal Hollywood is a mistake. As an Orlando exclusive, Wizarding World has proven to be a powerful draw for people from around the world, and the strongest competition yet for WDW. Once it opens in Hollywood, they will be diluting that effect. Universal Orlando is a much bigger resort, competing with a tourist magnet across town. They have a lot more invested in that resort.
Well, the cold hard fact (or should I say cold hard CASH) of the matter is, while Waterworld has a very strong following it is cult at best. Meaning, people who see it love it, but only a certain amount of people actually come to the park FOR Waterworld. Hundreds of Thousands (or Millions?) of people will be coming to the park for Harry Potter, it has worldwide appeal.
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