Why Not More Harry Potter?

Edited: September 4, 2018, 2:38 PM

With Sinbad closing and nothing officially mentioned, we are starting to hear rumors that are saying what is going to fill that space.

From the latest that I have heard, Sinbad is going to be replaced with Zelda.

This doesn't make much sense to me, however, since Sinbad and Poseidon take up a ton of land and butt up against Harry Potter.

Wouldn't it make more sense to keep wringing more coins out of your cash cow and increase the size of Harry Potter Land, than go with a very limited appeal attraction that again pins in a land that might demand expansion?


Replies (19)

September 4, 2018, 4:47 PM

Spirit Halloween shop. Isn't that what replaces every empty venue in America?

September 4, 2018, 9:43 PM

I remember 10 years ago the message boards were filled comments of the limited appeal of Harry Potter.

September 5, 2018, 1:47 AM

I think the big question is how much more will they be able to make off of Harry Potter, and I think the answer will be seen when the Forbidden Forest ride opens next summer. If that brings in the crowds and Universal can come up with something that J.K. Rowling approves of, I've got no doubt we'll see more Harry Potter attractions. If, however, the new ride doesn't attract audiences the way Universal expects it to, it's very likely it could be the end of major Potter development in Florida.

I have no hard data to back this up, but based on what I've seen Harry Potter seems to be a lot less prominent now than it was even just a couple years ago. Yes, it is still extremely popular and will likely remain so, but with those on the younger end of the core Potter crowd starting to age out of Hogwarts and less attachment to the franchise from the current young generation, it may be harder to draw guests with the same franchise. The question for Universal now is this: Will an expansion of the Wizarding World attract more visitors than (insert IP here) with the same level of investment? I agree that Zelda would be a really odd choice, but I'm not so sure continued expansion of Potter is the answer either.

Edited: September 5, 2018, 7:18 AM

I think UC is holding back any extra Harry Potter attractions in development for their third theme park. There's no reason for them to oversaturate their existing parks with HP when they can spread the drawing power and appeal of Harry Potter to their new gate. I would think the next set of attractions would center around the Fantastic Beasts series since it would be far more reasonable to have that land be separate from Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade since the new series takes place during a different time period.

At least Universal has the rights to show Harry Potter now (showing them on SyFy these days), and can bombard home viewers with HP marathons at specific times of the year coordinated with the parks (broadcast rights were previously owned by Disney).

September 5, 2018, 8:54 AM

I think we'll see the Ministry of Magic in the Studios park. Outside of that I think we're done with the mainline series. Maybe Fantastic Beasts in Park 3.

September 5, 2018, 10:20 AM

Mr. Humel writes: "I have no hard data to back this up, but based on what I've seen Harry Potter seems to be a lot less prominent now than it was even just a couple years ago. Yes, it is still extremely popular and will likely remain so, but with those on the younger end of the core Potter crowd starting to age out of Hogwarts and less attachment to the franchise from the current young generation, it may be harder to draw guests with the same franchise."

I Respond: I concur with that suspicion. When I offered a similar perspective about a week ago, several responders provided anecdotal evidence to assert that the franchise was alive and well. No argument about "alive and well". But Pottermania is certainly not at the ferver it once was. As for expanding 'Fantastic Beasts" ... Not convinced the franchise has had anywhere near the same cultural impact that the original series achieved. Certainly not to the point of being able to carry a major investment in a theme park gate. But I guess we will have to see how FB2 does when it drops in November. The original's opening weekend of $74 million domestic is closer to it being a 'Solo' than a 'Deathly Hallows 2'. But then I'd still really love to see what UC could do with Mr. Scamander's world. I love the original flick and look forward to the second edition.

Edited: September 5, 2018, 10:43 AM

"But Pottermania is certainly not at the ferver it once was."

I would agree with that to a certain extent. However, I think the initial fervor was based on a level of saturation that was never going to be sustainable, and is something that every franchise has to deal with (Disney is dealing with this regarding Star Wars right now, and Marvel may be reaching its breaking point soon too). Books were being released virtually every year to 18 months, and the movies came just as fast and furious until they ran through the existing canon. Now with some more breathing room between installments needed to develop the stories, I think the level of interest has stabilized at a level that is definitely below the peak, but still quite significant.

FWIW, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has become Broadway's response to Broadway's Hamilton!

September 5, 2018, 11:30 AM

“with those on the younger end of the core Potter crowd starting to age out of Hogwarts”

I offered to THC that the boys and girls are of all ages and the recent special events are attended by adults.

Fantastic Beasts and Cursed Child are projects that will continue to foster interest in Harry Potter, along with how fantastic the rides and theming are.

September 5, 2018, 12:05 PM

I mean, it's not like the books are going anywhere any time soon. They're still a cornerstone of YA literature, and I know friends who have kids reading them now.

I don't see Potter leaving its pop culture legend status any time soon.

September 5, 2018, 12:44 PM

Harry Potter if it will be ground up construction. If they are repurposing Sinbad, Zelda would be as good as anything

September 5, 2018, 7:32 PM

I have no data ... I do have a 7 year old daughter who absolutely adores all things Harry Potter ... more than my wife and I ever did. She also likes princesses and disney as well. That is the beauty of most of us, we are not biased fanboys.

September 5, 2018, 11:54 PM

I've been saying this for 10 years, Universal is now in the phase Disney was in the 80's when Eisner took over and realized they were way under developed. Potter was a game changer in Orlando, IMO the millions of tourists Potter drew in its first five or so years carried Central Florida through the recession and kept the area from having major issues financially and politically. You could also say that Potter saved UO as it was suffering attendance wise and losing money before Potter opened.

While I think they probably won't replicate that kind of success to that scale with future additions, I still think UO has a bright future of growth. Nintendo and Pokemon or whatever they have planned will be popular and there is a huge worldwide marketplace for affordable accommodation in Orlando. Disney and Universal will be both be extremely successful going into the future, lets just have a moment of silence for Sea World (honestly I think the best thing that could happen to SW is to get bought out by Cedar Fair or something and become a coaster park, at least that way it would be popular and be way cheaper to operate).

September 6, 2018, 6:40 AM

I sure hope any new Harry Potter ride features a dragon.

September 6, 2018, 7:56 AM

Both big Harry Potter Potter rides (Forbidden Journey and Escape from Gringotts) feature dragons. It might actually be refreshing to see a new e-ticket that doesn't rely on a dragon, especially since dragons, while omnipresent in the Wizarding World, are not essential nor unique to Harry Potter.

September 6, 2018, 9:03 AM

Both have dragons? You don't say!


September 6, 2018, 9:40 AM

Did you two ever go for that Toothsome? I would have loved a vlog out of that.

FWIW - when I saw Cursed Child in the West End a couple months ago, the audience was *overwhelming* adult. I counted less than ten kids (as opposed to teens) in an area of over a hundred audience members. Make of that what you will.

I did however have to book something like 18 months in advance, so there's definitely still a hunger for new material. I think the key to Universal's continued Potter additions having an impact will be making sure what they build feels like new and vital chapters in the mythos. Gringotts definitely did that, but I'm not sure this upcoming Hagrid coaster will.

September 6, 2018, 10:30 AM

What exactly is the new ride going to be? Do we know?

Edited: September 6, 2018, 11:02 AM

It depends on what "new ride" you're talking about. UO has already announced that a new "family roller coaster" would debut in 2019 when Dragon Challenge closed. While Universal has not provided any specific details, the common thought is that the coaster will be themed around a trip through the Forbidden Forest, perhaps on trains themed to look like the Weasley's car. The construction progress so far has revealed that there will be indoor and outdoor sections to the coaster with a very interesting looking vertical spike.

There have long been rumors regarding a Ministry of Magic expansion going into the space currently occupied by the Fear Factor Theater. It was believed that since UO ended the Bill and Ted Show last year during HHN that the theater would have been torn down by now, but it's still there. Perhaps it's a situation of too many irons in the fire right now with the T2 replacement and KidZone makeover on the horizon, but it's quite strange that they're about to start HHN with no need for the theater, yet no construction has taken place to make better use of the space aside from the mediocre Fear Factor show.

Beyond that, there's some indication that Harry Potter will almost assuredly serve as one of the anchor IPs for UOs next theme park on their recently acquired/expanded property near the Convention Center. Maybe it's the long-in-development Ministry of Magic to allow it a proper presentation without being crammed into a corner within USF, or perhaps it will be a land themed around Fantastic Beasts, which presents a wealth of interesting possibilities.

However, as far as specific rides associated with any further expansion of the Harry Potter IP, the only one known at this time (or even strongly rumored) is the roller coaster currently under construction at IOA.

Edited: September 8, 2018, 9:48 AM

Why not more Potter fan fests?


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