Rumors swirl over 'Harry Potter Island' at Universal Orlando

January 29, 2007, 3:07 PM · Whispers are building to a roar that NBC Universal's about to announce the first major change to Universal's Islands of Adventure since the park opened in 1999.

Arthur Levine sends word from that "Universal's creative wizards plan to substantially change one of the park's five islands and re-theme it to the stories and characters of one of the most popular children's franchises. And I mean hugely popular."

A TPI reader wrote "Rumour has it that IOA is going to be rethemeing an area of the park with some major new attractions.......what should this be...Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings......I have heard that Harry Potter is a goer........thoughts or any information?"

Playing process of elimination: There's no way Universal would scuttle the theme for Seuss Landing... or Marvel Island... or Jurassic Park.

That leaves... "Toon Lagoon," which could have a new cartoon-related theme imposed on it relatively easily.

Or... "Lost Continent," which could be morphed into a LotR or Harry Potter Island with little effort. (Save for a stunning new attraction, of course.)

Of the two, Lost Continent has, by far, the weaker overall identity. Plus, the Sindbad show could be swapped for another theme with minimal fuss. And the Poseidon show takes up a large footprint which could be given over to a more impressive ride or show. I would think Dueling Dragons would have to remain, but its backstory could be made to fit any Dragon-friendly narrative. (Like, oh, say, Harry Potter....)

What are you rooting for Universal to do with IoA?

Replies (29)

January 29, 2007 at 4:09 PM · Lost Continent has the weaker identity? How do you figure that? If you say because no one has anything to reference it to, then you are somewhat right. No one really reads anymore and the tales of Merlin, Sinbad, and the gods would be left on them. This is the most stand alone part of the park, and the most original. To convert that to something....even if it is Harry almost to take away that parks originality.
I love Harry Potter, and agree that something is needed in IOA, but dont disneyabilize your areas. HP world could work on its own, either in UO or in the middle of the lagoon...or something! I just abhor the idea of my favorite area getting something it really doesnt need.
January 29, 2007 at 4:20 PM · Yes, I meant "weaker identity" not in that the area is not well-themed, but that the theme is not as uniquely defined as the others in the park. Seuss Landing, Marvel and Jurassic Park could only be Seuss, Marvel and Jurassic Park. Toon Lagoon is, well, toons. But "Lost Continent" could be anything from LotR to Dungeons and Dragons to Harry Potter to a Xena episode without much revamping the area. To me, that flexibility weakens the identity.
January 29, 2007 at 5:13 PM · I hate Harry Potter....
January 29, 2007 at 5:36 PM · Derek Potter sounds like Harry's jealous little brother. :)
January 29, 2007 at 5:46 PM · Well, in order to shine any light on this rumor, you might want to check and make sure Universal even has any ties to the franchise at all. Whatever the case, Harry Potter doesn't really lend itself to toons, nor does Rings. I could, however, see Universal switching things up in Lost Continent. However, with the more or less recent revamping of Poseidon, I doubt there's any validity to these rumors, even if Universal could claim rights.

Still, I'd go just to see it. To be honest, I think they ought to focus a little more on Jurassic Park and work on fixing that up with a new ride. It seems.. lacking compared to the other islands, with its only major draw being the River Adventure.

January 29, 2007 at 5:47 PM · It does lend itself to be anything from those things, becaue it is everything from those things. It takes heavily from the Aurthurian legends and times then to the middle eastern and even to from the mythological bit as well. Its a lost continent of lost times. I think it stands alone in that respect and creates its own identity. It doesnt have to be related to a book or character to have its own voice....Besides, they should dump some money instead into parts of the park that really need it like Jurassic Park, which has two rides one of which everyone can go on.
January 29, 2007 at 5:49 PM · Get rid of Toon Lagoon! The only good thing there is Popeye!

Anyway, doesn't WB own Harry Potter>?

January 29, 2007 at 6:31 PM · Yes. But studios without theme parks in certain markets license to other companies all the time. Witness the Nick and DreamWorks characters at Universal. Or the Muppets at Disney, before that purchase was completed.

Checking the U.S. Trademark Office, I didn't see any newly registered Universal trademarks that would tip off the I.D. of a new IoA land. But that doesn't mean the deal couldn't be made to license an existing mark.

January 29, 2007 at 7:38 PM · For several years there have been rumors swirling around the Pensieve about a Harry Potter themepark. I would love to see it happen, but I am very skeptical. JK Rowling is very protective of her enterprise and has been hesitant to consider this option. Personally, I don't see it happening and suspect it's nothing more than muggle dreams. I am also very fond of The Lost Continent, and it is one of my favorite areas in IOA.
January 29, 2007 at 9:23 PM · I wish they would add to the park if there is room. My children love Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. I think there is a huge following for these stories that would help Universal truely compete with Disney. I live in Arkansas and when I tell people about Univesal Orlando most of them are not familiar with it and all, the great vacation it offers. I show people the pictures of my kids with the Cat and the Hat and the Grinch, and they are surprised. Universal needs to work on its marketing...
January 29, 2007 at 10:27 PM · I thought Nick was part of Universal since they filmed most of their game shows in FL.

Also, I always understood Dreamworks as the Animation wing of Universal even though they make more than just animated movies.

January 30, 2007 at 5:13 AM · stuiped stuiped stuiped! DO NOT retheme the Lost Continet area for Harry Potter but put it someplace else as other people have said! I hate Harry Potter...
January 30, 2007 at 9:04 AM · Hmmm...Harry Potter in IOA, that might work. I personally am a fan of Harry Potter and think it would be a great addition to IOA. But at the expense of re-theming one of the five islands? I would hate that and would prefer that they create a new island. However there is limited space to build in. Assuming one of the lands would have to be re-themed, I am unsure as to what Island I would choose to get rid of as they all have their strong points.

Port of entry: Not much point in changing this to be honest.

Marvel Super Hero Island: With one of the parks main roller coaster attractions and a great theming choice, re-theming this land isn't really such a great idea. Oh, and it has Spiderman which is number one for a reason.

Toon Lagoon: Florida is a hot place. The best place to cool down in IOA is by riding the two main water attractions located at this island. However, in my opinion, whilst the theming is good, the other islands are bettter themed. This could make it elligable for a re-theme since there isn't too much stuff to bulldoze.

Jurassic Park: With a ton of trees all over this island, getting rid of them is an invite for global warming (about as wise as stealing Velociraptor eggs). However, with few attractions in this island, it really isn't a bad idea to get more attractions by adding Potter to this island.

Lost Continent: Whilst Dueling dragons is a great coaster addition, the other attractions can't really hold a candle to it, with Poseidens fury and Sindbad getting mixed reviews on this site. Whilst the theming, as mentioned before, is origanal, it can be easly renovated to suit the needs of a Potter island.

Suess landing: This park is a hit with the kids and has great scenary so re-theming this island isn't such a great idea. The only factor that I can think of that makes this park elligable for re-theming is wether kids these days prefer Harry Potter to Suess Landing.

January 30, 2007 at 11:00 AM · Nice job Adrian Walker! I liked how you individually seperated the islands and made your points. I personally think that IF they were to re-theme Lost continent, they'd get more good publicity with Harry Potter. Obviously because it attracts more kids and its more family friendly. Not to mention how easy it would be to redesign. I LOVE Lord of the Rings, but not too many kids i know liked or even understood that movie. Now, I dont think it would be a good idea to re-theme toon lagoon. Reason being, it has all the classic cartoons. I like the classics. But, if the theme goes, they better not get rid of those water rides. Like it was previously said, Florida=hot summer. Popeyes and dudley ripsaw falls are the only rides i have ever been on that everytime i get on i get SOAKED!! EVERYTIME!! Well, thats pretty much it.
January 30, 2007 at 3:12 PM · Its all about licensing Anthony. Nick had an option with Universal, then the whole company was bought out by Paramount. When the license deal ran out, it was moved out. Dreamworks is in the same boat. They were sold to Paramount, and now while Shrek will not go anywhere, you will not see any new Dreamworks projects go in.
The bad of Harry Potter is that you take a unique area and slap some new paint on it, making it unoriginal. The good is that its something new in a park that needs it, and create a buzz..bringing in more people, and more money which in turn would create more theory.
Take the good with the bad.
January 30, 2007 at 8:00 PM · I've said it before and I'll say it again, keep Lost Continent but add something to it.

Does Star Trek have any association with a studio??? How easy would it be to add to Lost Continent, go classic, go new. Its a timeless concept.

Or, possible rumours about Battlestar Galatica?? Same thing would work there!

Can't see any other lands being changed and no space to add on. Pointless anyway as plenty of people have mentioned that IOA needs some investment to its existing lands!

January 30, 2007 at 8:49 PM · No...Derek Potter is older than Harry Potter, and the brother joke is just a tad old to me. It's kind of like that guy in Office Space named Michael Bolton. I made Potter cool before Harry was a tingle in his daddys pants. Why oh why did a character with my namesake have to be a complete dork. I could live with like...Dirty Harry Potter or something like that.

Anyway, The whole Harry Potter thing should have been done a few years ago at the height of it's popularity. Now the dude who plays him in the movies has a beard, and the franchise is entering into the "really really getting old now and turning into a pop culture joke" phase. By the time they build it, most of the fans will have moved on to something else, with the rest being eternal nerd fans like the trekkies.

January 30, 2007 at 9:45 PM · Who has the Transformers license?? A Transformers island would rock!
January 30, 2007 at 10:09 PM · 'Office Space' Island... now *there* is a concept I can get behind!
January 30, 2007 at 11:55 PM · I scrolled briefly through the comments, so someone may have mention this.

Why isn't Six Flags picking up this theme? Most of their stuff relates to Looney Toons and DC Comics, which I believe that Warner Bros has the licensing to. Superman, Batman, etc etc.

I think someone needs to pick up the phone and give a call over to WB and make a deal for Harry Potter. It's an theme that would provide great ideas for rides and has a built in audience to help with ticket sales and turns those red number black.

Of course if that doesn't work I am sure WB has plenty of other opportunities for themeing. How does Buffy/Angel/Charmed area sound? Or maybe a Dawson's Creek/One Tree Hill? Seventh Heaven/Gilmore Girls? Casablanca?

January 31, 2007 at 7:58 AM · Are you kidding me? Six Flags and Harry Potter theming? Go into a corner and re-think what you just said...
January 31, 2007 at 2:52 PM · J.K. Rowling is too smart to let Six Flags have the rights to Harry Potter.
January 31, 2007 at 4:00 PM · Omg! This is so exciting! I definitely think that they will revamp the Lost Continent! That is the part of the park I never cared much for, minus the coasters. I love both HP and LOTR, so either one would rock! Cant wait to see what they do! I wonder when this should be completed! Is there any estimates on when they schedule to have this done, or maybe any of the new attractions? woooo hoooo!!!!

The above was my original thoughts...since thinking about about they rip down that pteradon flyer ride...which is a pointless ride...and build within there, making ANOTHER land. It could take from both Jurassic, and Lost Cont, which both seem to be the only parts of the park that need SOMETHING! Toon lagoon may have most space for such bull dozing as mentioned, but popeye is a great kid stop, as well as the characters that always seem to be popping up there. True, we need something more here at IOA, but why make a park, without some visable growth available? I bet they will definitely surprise us with something cool.

February 1, 2007 at 7:30 AM · Star Trek is in Paramount Parks, which I've seen at Kings Island (a while back).
February 1, 2007 at 9:30 AM · "...the franchise is entering into the 'really really getting old now and turning into a pop culture joke' phase"

A few weeks ago, the 7th Harry Potter book went on pre-sale in the United Kingdom without a title and release date. 750,000 copies were sold in the first 8 hours making it number 1 on the top sellers list. Getting really really old? Not exactly. I do believe though that if they were to do a Harry Potter theme, it should have been done several years ago. Even though Harry Potter may be more popular with the younger kids, I think Lord of the Rings would fit in to the park much better as it is more fantasy based than Harry Potter and actually takes place in a non-existent world. Lord of the Rings also seems to be more timeless to me for some reason.

February 1, 2007 at 2:44 PM · Well...its been kind of confirmed, though not officially. Screamscape is running how their sources have said yes, its going to happen, AND a major attraction for it will be pushed up to 2008. AND it seems that Universal will make an announcement (this not according to anyone that can be named or screamscape) this summer when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is released on July 21st. So this rumor is picking up steam, and everything that was said about disney is probably either a charade, a lie or true....but they sold it for a helluva price tag.
February 1, 2007 at 5:31 PM · I'm just saying I think that the Harry Potter craze is coming to an end. Let me ask many presales were there in the US? Harry Potter may be going strong in it's homeland UK, but we are talking about Islands Of Adventure. I'm thinking that the park should invest for the long run, and Harry Potter just isn't going to stick around in the masses hearts that much longer. Call me crazy superfans, but that's what I think. I've been called crazy before.
February 1, 2007 at 8:02 PM · If there is indeed a "major attraction" coming for Harry Potter, what do you think would qualify as a major attraction ? The thoughts that jump out at me would be something quidditch related, but I agree with those that say Harry Potter doesn't seem to fit with the general IOA theme.
February 2, 2007 at 8:36 AM · IF they had to transform The Lost Continent, I would have to think that LOTR would fit better. Plus LOTR has been around a lot longer that HP. It's proven it can sustain a fan base for many, many years. I would be very disappointed if IOA put a Harry Potter land in...

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