The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times and Variety have all released some information ahead of an official announcement which they say is coming soon. From the Wall Street Journal:
“NBCUniversal is planning to expand its Los Angeles theme park with a section devoted to the “Harry Potter” franchise, according to people familiar with the matter, hoping to repeat the success of a similar attraction at NBCU’s Orlando, Fla., resort.
The new “Harry Potter” addition in the Los Angeles park, Universal Studios Hollywood, will likely resemble the one in Florida, these people say, which includes a Hogwarts Castle, roller coasters, and several Potter-themed restaurants including the Hog’s Head tavern, which serves butterbeer, as in the books.”
This attraction is likely open some time after 2015. They also say more HP parks could eventually spring up all around the world:
“If the new section succeeds, more “Potter” attractions could open in other parts of the world where Universal has theme parks, including Japan, Singapore, and Spain, say people close to Universal.”
Interestingly, there is currently very little space at Universal Hollywood, and the budget is reported to be $200 million, which is less than the $265 million that was spent on the original Orlando one. This could mean the new park isn’t on as big a scale as the existing one.
Good news? Not brilliant, in my opinion…
While the news will likely bring immense happiness to anyone around the west coast of the USA, I personally have rather mixed feelings about this development.
My fear is that a second park in America will reduce the novelty of the experience. The Orlando park is THE place to go for Harry Potter fans worldwide. Having a second park, which by the sounds of it will be very similar to the first, may cheapen it and make it all less special.
For the moment I’d rather see them putting all their resources into developing and expanding the Orlando park, and maybe try to improve the accessibility and affordability for the whole of America. Then I’d like to see them build a new Potter park in another corner of the globe, like the UK, or maybe more feasibly near Disneyland Paris. It would also be good if they developed a park in Asia, which seems likely as Universal already has a site in Singapore.
This way, there would be a park close enough to every Harry Potter fan around the world, whilst still maintaining the integrity, the novelty, and the special magical experience which has made the Wizarding World in Orlando such a huge success. Each of these three theme parks could then be the “Holy Grail” for Harry Potter fans in each third of the globe.
But alas, it doesn’t seem like they’re doing it my way.