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Vote of the week: What are your expectations for Universal's Harry Potter land?

May 20, 2010, 10:24 PM · With employee previews beginning for Universal Orlando's Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and with outsiders getting their first look at the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey queue and other Wizarding World sites, I think it's time for a poll on your expectations for the new land.

Cast members from the Harry Potter films visit Universal's Wizarding World
'Harry Potter' film actors Robbie Coltrane [Hagrid], Matthew Lewis [Neville], Emma Watson [Hermione], and Oliver [George Weasley] and James Phelps [Fred Weasley] visit The Wizarding World in this publicity photo released by Universal Orlando.

The quality standard for Universal's Islands of Adventure is the park's highly acclaimed Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride, which debuted with the park in 1999. So, naturally, I think it fair to judge Harry Potter against that ride.

To make this somewhat apples-to-apples, let's judge the Wizarding World's signature attraction, the Forbidden Journey queue and ride. Will it be better than Spidey, and set a new standard for the park - and the industry? Do you expect Potter to match, but not exceed, Spidey? Maybe you think that it won't rise to that ride's level.

Or maybe you're hoping to experience Harry Potter with no expectations at all.

That's our vote of the week:

Let's hear your expectations for this new land, in the comments. Thanks again for reading Theme Park Insider!

Replies (23)

May 20, 2010 at 10:47 PM · Personally, I figure it's going to be about the same league as Spider-Man. Personally, I think it's going to be quite a bit different from Spider-Man, since apparently, the ride uses audio-animatronics, or so I've heard been thrown around quite a bit. I don't recall Spider-Man having any in the way of that.

So, frankly, I'm looking forward to seeing how things work out there. I think it'd detract from the experience, personally, at least the immersiveness, but I guess in less than a month we'll know for sure.

May 20, 2010 at 11:08 PM · From all we've heard so far it looks to be a quality attraction. The one thing that stands out for me is that Universal have put a lot of work into the queue line and that may well give it the edge over Spider-Man, which by comparison has an incredibly bland queue.
May 21, 2010 at 12:05 AM · You're not kidding about that, Michael.
May 21, 2010 at 2:48 AM · I hope it's not a situation in which they've put so much effort and focus on the queue that by the time we actually make it to the ride, we're let down. I could see it having the potential to be somewhat anticlimactic after such an involved "pre-show" queue. I sure hope I'm wrong.
May 21, 2010 at 3:21 AM · I think in this case the queue will be awesome, but the ride will be just as incredible. I think we should all give it a chance before we have doubts, eh?
May 21, 2010 at 3:50 AM · Personally, I like Spider-Man the character a whole lot more than I like Harry Potter, so it will be hard for Universal to best Spider-Man in my mind. However, I expect the overall experience of the Forbidden Journey will be at least as immersive and entertaining as the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride. And technologically, I think the attraction will set a new standard. I can hardly wait to experience it!
May 21, 2010 at 5:12 AM · I really do not think it would hit our high expectations. While it happened before I was on the site, I remember Spiderman as being a bit of a suprise hit. I think HP will be good, but not any better than Spiderman.
May 21, 2010 at 6:00 AM · I try not to visit a new land or ride a new ride with any kind of massive expectation. I have some idea of what the ride will be like, but I try to be a "clean slate" of sorts while I experience, and afterward make a comparison. I think that if someone has too many preconceived notions or unreasonable expectations beforehand, they have a tendency to focus on what's not happening or what's not there, as opposed to letting the ride do it's thing. Someone will inevitably be "let down" by the Harry Potter attractions and call them "horrible", not because they are bad, but because they didn't meet the person's expectations. It's the same with the whole roller coaster vs. themed ride debate. Neither are bad, they are just different. They have different jobs, and the standards for rating them are (or should be) based on how well they do that job.

As far as Harry Potter land, I think it will be a visual feast, even for those who don't like Harry Potter. The scenery will be the best part of the area. The rides will be good too, but if I'm not mistaken, some of them are existing rides that have been outfitted with Harry Potter themes. I don't have huge expectations for the individual rides, but I do expect the area as a whole to have a lot of details.

May 21, 2010 at 6:47 AM · I believe it has the potential to be either amazing or just okay. I personally want to see it, but want to wait until all the kinks are ironed out. One can't help but remember how exciting it was to think about RRR, and look at all the trouble it had. I hope for the guests and Universal's sake that it is as great as everyone expects.
May 21, 2010 at 9:11 AM · I dunno, Universal is very hit and miss with me. Last I was there the new attraction was the Simpson ride which in my opinion was a complete fail. All the new rides since I was there before included Shrek 4-D, the Jimmy Neutron thing and Mummy. Out of all of those, I hated everything but the Mummy which I loved. I give credit for Spiderman, and Mummy but pretty much everything else is below what I expected. Even with the theming, some was amazing and most was lackluster. Now I understand that the world is watching Universal more than ever with high expectations, but I already know that the pre-existing rides will be ok with updates, and I know that the shops and area will be cramped (I've seen it under construction...I was surprised at the tiny space) so I expect that most of my time will be in lines. I mean, Universal has the longest queuing areas I've ever seen, like I mean I bet a lot of the space is devoted to the lines.

As for the ride, it probably will be short, slow loading, break down a ton and probably will be amazing. I don't think they can afford it to be lame.

May 21, 2010 at 10:44 AM · I'm definitely going this summer, even though I have to muddle through hordes upon hordes of Argentinean youth herds and Brazilian tour groups (respectively the Tango Muggles and Samba Muggles, in penned HP speak)! The new HP ride will be as good as ol' Spidey!
May 21, 2010 at 11:02 AM · I really hope it will be on the same level as Spiderman, but that was a trend setting attraction and I am just going in with an open mind and see what they have accomplished. The theming of the area is excellent from what I have seen. If everything is on the same level we are in for a treat.
May 21, 2010 at 11:17 AM · Potter land will be great. Will the forbidden journey be better than spider-man? I hope so but if it isn't than thats ok, spidey is one seriously awesome ride. The theming that we have seen so far is great and the ride will do justice for it.
May 21, 2010 at 12:37 PM · I know it's a little off topic, however today in all the major Australian newspapers, it's saying that the soft opening for Harry Potter will be May 28. Just thought I'd pass that little bit of info on!
May 21, 2010 at 1:11 PM · That's the day that the attraction opens to hotel guests.
May 21, 2010 at 11:22 PM · I was just there and took a ton of photos of it all in the distance - with that dang fence keeping me out. It looks absolutely amazing. I am certain it will blow Spiderman away!
May 22, 2010 at 1:55 AM · It makes sense that in the 11 years since the debut of Spider-Man the state of the art has advanced, both in technology as well as the sophistication of story-telling in the context of a theme park attraction. Therefore it would follow that the Wizarding World will trump Spider-Man in both categories. I am just surprised that it has taken this long for something to come along to knock Spider-Man from its lofty perch. Normally I would expect the next big thing to come along every five or six years, giving enough time to learn from the last big thing, design, and construct the next big thing.
May 22, 2010 at 8:58 AM · First off I think that Hogwarts blows Cinderellas castle out of the water... especially at night. During the employee preview I just stood staring at this immense and awe inspiring building. And then the queue is nothing short of spectacular

I do find it funny that the best animatronic the park has is the sorting hat!

And it has been said millions of times but it is true that the shops in hogsmeade are tiny.

But to stay on topic... yeah the forbidden journey will blow spidey away!

May 22, 2010 at 1:47 PM · I just spoke with the concierge at the Portofino Bay Hotel and the latest word is that the Wizarding World will open to hotel guests 30 minutes early and will then open to other guests come May 28th. This differs from what I was told a month ago that only hotel guests and those who purchased vacation packages would be allowed in the world.
May 22, 2010 at 3:44 PM · So for you folks who'll be at the park on May 28, photos and trip reports may be e-mailed to me via themeparkinsider (at) ;-)
May 22, 2010 at 9:45 PM · The line seems to be drawn between Potter fanatics and people who couldn't care less about Harry Potter. As a member of the latter group, I don't think the ride will be better than Spider-Man because I don't care about anything Harry Potter. I'm sure the ride will be enjoyable to the people who don't enjoy the books and films, but we're not going to get worked up over the thought of riding it (which means we're less likely to be disappointed by it).
May 23, 2010 at 11:08 AM · I expect it will lower crowds in the Magic Kingdom for several weeks or months -- so it's a good thing!
May 23, 2010 at 12:55 PM · Since I probably won't get to go to IoA if several years, I'm keeping low expectations for Harry Potter Land. I'm more looking forward to the Disneyland and California Adventure updates. Star Tours 2 is next year with Little Mermaid and Car Lands over the next few years.

As to HPL, there is one new attraction with re-theme of the rest of the area. Most people aren't acknowledging that. The new ride sounds cool but, I'm saving my excitement until I read reviews and see u-tube clips.

Just my 2 cents.

BTW, Emma Watson is getting really cute.

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