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rascalmom
05-31-2007, 02:43 AM
http://www.leakylounge.com/index.php?showtopic=45952&view=getnewpost

Several sites are reporting this - seems to be official. Hope they do it well - I have not been impressed with their theming or attention to detail at their parks.

crazy4wdw
05-31-2007, 07:06 AM
Harry Potter coming to Orlando's Universal Studios
Islands of Adventure theme park to feature The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Scott Powers | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted May 31, 2007

Universal Orlando has secured rights to the phenomenally successful Harry Potter stories and will build a themed area of rides, shops and restaurants called "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" at Islands of Adventure.

Universal, author J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. Studios, which makes the Harry Potter movies, are making a worldwide announcement of the deal today. Universal expects to break ground late this summer and have "Wizarding World" open by late 2009.

In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Universal Orlando Resort President Bill Davis characterized the deal as perhaps the biggest in the resort's history, and one of the biggest in theme-park business history.

The announcement ends long-simmering, unconfirmed industry speculation that both Universal and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts have been bidding to acquire theme-park rights to the boy-wizard wonder. The brainchild of British author Rowling, the Harry Potter series of books and movies has grossed billions of dollars in sales over the past decade.

The news also redefines prospects for Universal Orlando. Universal has seen a slow, steady slide in attendance since 2004 -- including a drop of 2.8 percent to 2.1 million visitors in the first quarter of this year -- and has struggled to address criticism that it hasn't added much new excitement in recent years.

"We think this is the most exciting news we've ever had out here," Davis said. "We think it is going to have a huge impact on all our constituencies: our guests, our team members, our management team, everybody. This is absolutely huge. We're just thrilled and excited we were selected for the 'Wizarding World of Harry Potter.' "

No terms have been disclosed of the contract between Universal, Warner Bros. and Rowling. Universal declined to reveal what it intends to invest in "Wizarding World." But the corporation's annual report released earlier this year indicated the company intended to spend up to $120 million this year on new items -- triple what was spent in 2005 or 2006 -- and Davis said the company would have high capital budgets in 2008 and '09 as well. Universal also has announced a new ride based on The Simpsons cartoon, to open next year.

In a news release, Tom Williams, chairman of Universal Parks and Resorts, vowed that the company would "devote more time, more money, more expertise and more executive talent from throughout our entire organization and creative team -- as well as from Warner Bros., our partners -- to ensure that this entire environment is second-to-none."

In the same release, Rowling declared, "The plans I've seen look incredibly exciting, and I don't think fans of the books or films will be disappointed."

In her Harry Potter books, Rowling created a fictional, magical world of witches and wizards existing parallel to -- yet largely hidden from -- ordinary, contemporary Britain. The stories center on Harry, a young wizardry student, and his friends at a boarding school called Hogwarts. Together, they struggle with schoolwork, family problems, teen angst, young love, and evil wizards and witches trying to kill them.

A 20-acre Potter 'island'

Universal plans a 20-acre "Wizarding World," a little bigger than the average size of its themed "islands" at Islands of Adventure. Part would be carved away from what is now "The Lost Continent" island, and the rest would be land now used for employee parking and park support, outside the back fence.

The new, "seventh island" would feature reconstructed and rethemed attractions, and all-new ones, Scott Trowbridge, vice president of Universal's Creative Studios, said in an interview. The Hogwarts castle and locations from Rowling's Forbidden Forest and Hogsmeade village will be created as backdrops to attractions, shops and restaurants.

Three-time Academy Award-winning production designer Stuart Craig, who designed sets for all the Harry Potter movies, leads the "Wizarding World" design team.

Much of "The Lost Continent" island, including Universal's award-winning Mythos Restaurant, will be retained as a separate themed area, just smaller. The island is to remain open during construction as well.

Some current "Lost Continent" attractions such as The Dueling Dragons roller coasters and The Flying Unicorn coaster ride likely would be adapted to fit the Harry Potter story. Trowbridge would not discuss specific attractions, but did say that Universal intended to "leverage some existing infrastructure." He said that would have to include far more than a new paint job and a new sign, because too much is at stake.

Davis agreed, noting that the large, dedicated fan base that Universal hopes to capture could turn on the resort if fans conclude Universal cheapened the Harry Potter concept.

"We do have a responsibility to all the fans that are out there in the world that have followed the Harry Potter saga through the films and the books," Davis said. "We're taking that very, very seriously. We're going to be true to the books and the films, and make sure that when people come here they're going to be very, very happy with what they see."

Billion-dollar business

The Harry Potter phenomenon has been phenomenally lucrative.

The first six books have sold more than 300 million copies, in 63 languages, according to the BBC Web site. The most recent, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, sold nearly 7 million copies in the United States just in its first day in print.

The four movies have pulled in more than $3.5 billion so far, according to the independent Hollywood tracking Web site boxofficemojo.com. All of the movies are among the 20 highest-grossing ever, led by Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, which, with a $976.5 million box office, is the fourth-biggest film of all time.

And the Harry Potter story continues.

The seventh and final novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, will be released July 21. The fifth movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, will be released July 11. The sixth and seventh films are certain to follow in coming years.

And now coming at the end of this decade: "Harry Potter and the Islands of Adventure."

If it had looked to some critics as if Universal had not brought much new to Islands of Adventure lately, it's because the company had been seeking "the right fit," then working to get Harry Potter when it became available, Trowbridge said.

"We've worked for the past couple of years to figure out how we could bring it to life," he said. "We were really looking for something that had the kind of power, the kind of transportive and immersive world of imagination that Harry Potter brings."

Scott Powers can be reached at spowers@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5441

EUROPACL
05-31-2007, 08:33 AM
I have not been impressed with their theming or attention to detail at their parks.

Really what areas would you say are lacking in theming and attention to detail?

ChrisFL
05-31-2007, 08:39 AM
http://www.leakylounge.com/index.php?showtopic=45952&view=getnewpost

Several sites are reporting this - seems to be official. Hope they do it well - I have not been impressed with their theming or attention to detail at their parks.

really? Where is the theming and attention to detail lacking at IOA?

crazy4wdw
05-31-2007, 09:08 AM
Appears we're off to a great start this morning! Please remember the board guidelines about posting comments which are personal attacks. Here's the link: http://www.wdwinfo.com/guidelines.htm

I do not want to close down this thread before a discussion on the topic can begin.

eeyorethegreat
05-31-2007, 09:34 AM
My family has never been interested in visiting Universal/IOA. It just doesn't have an interest for us. My husband asked the kids if they wanted to take a day or two on our trip and go to Universal and none of them did it just doesn't peak their interest or mine.

I know folks who really enjoy it but I always said that we would probably never go and spend the money because we just didn't seem to have a level of interest or curiousity to make it worthwhile. This however puts a whole new spin on things.:banana: I would gladly take a day away from my WDW vacation to go to IOA if for nothing else but to spend the day in an area entirely themed to Harry Potter!!:woohoo: I am sure that The powers that be at Universal know this too. I think that with this addition they will not only get a population of folks like my family who wouldn't otherwise visit Universal/IOA and repeat visits from people who already love these theme parks.

I told my kids this morning "I'm going to say something that you never expected me to say. After we get back from WDW in August, we are saving for another trip and next trip we will be making a visit to IOA" They stared at me blankly not impressed with my idea then I told them WHY. They are all for going now! It'll be interesting to hear about the progression and development of this area. And Now I can say that I really am looking forward to IOA and have no issue about it being worth the $$ for our family.:cool1:

ADP
05-31-2007, 09:34 AM
IOA has been considered the best themed amusement park in the world. This will only make it more difficult to catch.

The only complaint over the years has been its lack of new and fresh attractions. This announcement will help put that complaint to rest for a while.

2Xited4Disney
05-31-2007, 10:35 AM
Anyone else agree that this is the BEST thing that has ever happened to Disney?


Now that Universal will be creating this Harry Potter Enviornment, HOPEFULLY, Disney will pour huge amounts of money into Walt Disney World to compete

rwrocksme
05-31-2007, 12:08 PM
I am incredably (sp?) excited! My girlfriends and I practically have our bags packed already... :)

Killer Fish
05-31-2007, 12:48 PM
This is big news and it might actually get me to go back to IOA one day. About time that they spent some money in their parks. I have not been in years because absolutely nothing has changed.

Barb
05-31-2007, 12:59 PM
We love US and IOA! It's always a must do on our trip to WDW/Orlando. So we are thrilled to hear this news. It's going to be hard to wait! :thumbsup2

JakeJoshMom
05-31-2007, 01:43 PM
I am so excited about the HP themed LAND at US. I have never been to US. Now I will consider going to US for 1 day to see HP Land.
I just love the books and movies - i was hoping Disney would get to do the LAND since they purchased the rights to the movies for TV.

GinnieCricket
05-31-2007, 02:43 PM
Well good for US! I went there a great deal as a kid, but have not had any desire to go there since high school. I am a HP enthusiast and can't wait to see what IOA does with the theming. I can already see the rides and shows in my head. The Sorting Hat Dinner show, the coaster ride based on Gringotts and the ride to the vault, the Quidditch ride, etc. There is so much for them to work with. I hope they do it right...

crazy4wdw
05-31-2007, 03:05 PM
The Orlando Sentinel has a few artist's renderings of the new section of the park: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/orl-universal3107may31,0,2647962.story?coll=orl-business-headlines

DisneyTones913
05-31-2007, 03:47 PM
i just got an email about this from Universal Orlando so it must be very official. I am excited, being a recovering harry potter addict:lmao: haha. But, i do hope it makes disney want to work on their own parks to compete with this!

YoHo
05-31-2007, 04:58 PM
The problem with IOA's themeing is that they don't actually understand what themeing is. It's themed like a Vegas Hotel, not in the traditional Disney sense. This project is the first that may overcome that.

And I'll say that the best outcome of this may be that it forces Disney to spend significant cash in Florida's parks something they've been distinctly unwilling to do.

Of course, they probably will just cheap out, but hey, The odds went from 1:1000000 to 1:100000 that they'd do something right.

EUROPACL
05-31-2007, 05:05 PM
The problem with IOA's themeing is that they don't actually understand what themeing is. It's themed like a Vegas Hotel, not in the traditional Disney sense. This project is the first that may overcome that.


I'm sorry to disagree...The Lost Continent, Port of Entry, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, Seuss Landing....are themed as well as anything done by Disney...the only low spot is Marvel Super Hero Island and Spiderman more than makes up for the Rockin Roller Coaster type of cutouts found on the Island.

ChrisFL
05-31-2007, 05:33 PM
The problem with IOA's themeing is that they don't actually understand what themeing is. It's themed like a Vegas Hotel, not in the traditional Disney sense. This project is the first that may overcome that.

And I'll say that the best outcome of this may be that it forces Disney to spend significant cash in Florida's parks something they've been distinctly unwilling to do.

Of course, they probably will just cheap out, but hey, The odds went from 1:1000000 to 1:100000 that they'd do something right.

What do you mean by vegas hotel theming? Im not saying youre wrong, I just dont understand it.

YoHo
05-31-2007, 06:24 PM
Hmm, I could write a thesis on this, and I will at some point. AV could write it too, but the short short version is this.

Vegas is trying to "Celebrate" a location. Disney Themeing much more literally puts you in a place and time. Also, Disney themeing is done to support a story that Disney is trying to tell. There's more to it then just "Hey Dinosaurs" or, "Hey Superheros."

I promise I'll put something more complete up fairly soon.

MJMcBride
05-31-2007, 06:35 PM
Here's another link

http://www.mouseextra.com/2007/05/31/the-wizarding-world-of-harry-potter-is-coming-to-universal-studios-islands-of-adventure-in-2009/#comments

To me, the good news, Disney will feel it necessary to respond in kind. My hope is that we finally get the Beastly Kingdomme

ChrisFL
05-31-2007, 08:02 PM
Hmm, I could write a thesis on this, and I will at some point. AV could write it too, but the short short version is this.

Vegas is trying to "Celebrate" a location. Disney Themeing much more literally puts you in a place and time. Also, Disney themeing is done to support a story that Disney is trying to tell. There's more to it then just "Hey Dinosaurs" or, "Hey Superheros."

I promise I'll put something more complete up fairly soon.

I think I have an idea of what you're talking about...like IOA tends to focus on big things as theming (the trident statue, the JP discovery center) vs. a lot of smaller theming elements together.

raidermatt
05-31-2007, 08:21 PM
You can also look at the difference between the All Star resorts and the Polynesian. The goal of the Poly is to give you the feeling of Polynesia (whether it succeeds or not is for the guest to decide). The goal of the AS is to put decorations from movies up. It doesn't try to put you INTO the movie.

I've never been to IoA though, so I'm not making a judgement there.

rascalmom
05-31-2007, 09:47 PM
I agree that Universal has some great theming - but it is mostly inside a ride or attraction. For example, my family loves MIB - great theming...much better that Disney's Buzz. But I don't find the immersioninto a theme at Universal like I do at Disney, or least as consistently. At Universal I feel like I am moving from ride to ride - at Disney I feel I am moving between era's.

I like the feeling of walking down Main Street - I feel I am visiting a small town in turn-of-the-century middle America. I can't think of any areas of Universal that gives me that same feeling. Both companies have things they do well, as well as a few clinkers. :confused3

Spiderman/Universal's water raft ride with Bullwinkle (cardboard cutouts)....
Expedition Everest/Chester & Hester's dino-disaster....

I am not anti-Universal - my family spends a day or two there about every other trip to Orlando. Can't beat FOTL, but we don't need more than 2 or 3 days there to feel we are "done"....hopefully the deal for Harry Potterland will broaden the options and theming there.

Keyser
05-31-2007, 10:57 PM
Hmm, I could write a thesis on this, and I will at some point. AV could write it too, but the short short version is this.

Vegas is trying to "Celebrate" a location. Disney Themeing much more literally puts you in a place and time. Also, Disney themeing is done to support a story that Disney is trying to tell. There's more to it then just "Hey Dinosaurs" or, "Hey Superheros."

I promise I'll put something more complete up fairly soon.

Yeah - I'd agree with all of that, and what others have said. IOA as a whole feels far less "immersive" than Disney. It's been a while since I was there, but I don't remember feeling like I was "in" a comic book in the Marvel area as a whole (the Spiderman ride was different), or really "in" a Seuss story in the Seuss land. I do think that one part of IOA - the Jurassic Park section - was themed pretty well, though. It did feel like I was visiting a Jurassic park - with various attractions (the info center, the river ride, the triceratops encounter) all there. Of course, that's kind of cheating (theming to a "park" within a park is not hard...).

JeanfromBNA
05-31-2007, 11:26 PM
i just got an email about this from Universal Orlando so it must be very official. I am excited, being a recovering harry potter addict:lmao: haha. But, i do hope it makes disney want to work on their own parks to compete with this!

You're a recovering HP addict? Which potion did you take to recover . . . ? :wizard:

tidefan
06-01-2007, 01:19 AM
One thing that I think is a little lost in all of the hoopla over the announcement today is that it seems to me that if someone (either Universal or Disney or AB) was going to build a Harry Potter park, then it should have been built already and be open. Since we are right on the precipice of the final book in the HP chapter, the excitement right now is at it's height. In 3 years from now, when HP land is opened, do you think that there will be as much excitement? Yes, I'm sure that it will look great and all, but it sure seems that if someone wanted to really cash in on all of the HP hysteria, then the park should have been opened around now, not 3 years into the future. Once the final book is released and the whole story has been told, will interest wane?

YoHo
06-01-2007, 02:25 AM
I suspect it's not all that interesting. It probably boils down to Disney is cheap.

Anyway, I promised a thesis and it comes with some selfpromotion.
Witness
YoHo's Blog (http://www.july171955.com/b2evolution/index.php?blog=3&title=story_plot_themeing_and_decoration&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1)

tomerin
06-01-2007, 09:29 AM
To me, the good news, Disney will feel it necessary to respond in kind. My hope is that we finally get the Beastly Kingdomme


after reading about US getting potter this is exactly what i was thinking. hopefully it will be a well thought and planned addition and not a quickie fix. with the addition to the seaworld complex and now this, WDW has to respond. hopefully we will get another EE and not triceratops spin.

real competiton could definitly make WDW even better.

stczt
06-01-2007, 09:42 AM
Wow! I am so glad this is going to universol.

crazy4wdw
06-01-2007, 10:12 AM
Tourism insiders see Universal's Harry Potter announcement as bonanza
Universal can draw on the character's huge fan base.


Beth Kassab | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted June 1, 2007

The tourism industry buzzed feverishly Thursday about the potential impact of Universal Orlando's announcement that it has secured the rights to build an attraction centered on the hugely successful Harry Potter character.

Local tourism boosters are hoping the young wizard's worldwide popularity -- which already rivals that of Disney's Mickey Mouse -- will bring more visitors to Orlando. The deal also ups the ante for the area's other theme parks.

"Properly conceived and executed, this story line absolutely has the potential to be one of the all-time biggest hits in the theme-park industry," said Dennis Speigel, president of International Theme Park Services Inc. in Cincinnati.

Universal intends to spend $230 million to $265 million to create "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" at Islands of Adventure along with a previously announced Simpsons attraction, according to a filing Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

This year alone, the expenditure is expected to reach from $75 million to $85 million, the filing said.

Speigel likened the Potter stories to the "timeless" and age-barrier-breaking qualities of The Wizard of Oz.

Indeed, Harry Potter is so hot, the title character in the series of books about a world of witches and wizards scores just four popularity points behind pop-culture icon and new cross-town competition Mickey Mouse, according to market research.

Marketing executive Steven Levitt said Harry Potter carries big potential according to his company's Q Scores, which measure how familiar audiences are with specific characters, brands or personalities as well as how many people rank the character as one of their "favorites."

The Harry Potter book series measures 39 and Mickey Mouse boasts a score of 43. Santa Claus trounces both at 56. Superman, the comic book version, scores at 26.

"Eight out of 10 people already know the Harry Potter character," said Levitt, president of Marketing Evaluations Inc. "The way it's going to grow [among] people who aren't saying, 'it's one of my favorites' is a new iteration of Harry Potter -- like a theme-park attraction."

Universal's challenge will be to create an attraction that delivers on its promise to exceed Potter fans' expectations for faithfulness to the stories.

Universal has said the "Wizarding World" -- based on the phenomenon created by British author J.K. Rowling, who has sold more than 300 million books -- could debut by late 2009. In its SEC filing, Universal said the park should open no later than summer 2010. The four movies released so far have pulled in $3.5 billion.

Universal Chairman Tom Williams told the Orlando Sentinel on Thursday that the Harry Potter attraction would be like "a theme park within a theme park" spanning about 20 acres of Islands of Adventure's 85 total acres.

The 10-year licensing deal between Universal City Development Partners and Warner Bros. Consumer Products Inc. was signed May 25 and includes an option for two five-year renewal periods.

The agreement also requires Universal to pay Warner Bros. licensing fees, merchandise royalties and other payments, though specifics were not disclosed.

Williams said Thursday that he was "still kind of pinching myself" over the deal. The pressure to build an attraction that is true to the Harry Potter brand, he said, will be intense, though the company is looking forward to creating the smells, sounds and texture of Hogwarts Castle and the Forbidden Forest.

"To have a chance to bring Harry Potter to life is right up our alley," he said.

The new attraction's biggest impact could be among international travelers, whose numbers have waned in recent years.

"Harry Potter is printed in 63 languages; that shows you the power of the brand," said Gary Sain, president of the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau. "If we can tap into that and create that interest to visit Orlando, that's superb."

The attraction also could give rise to more repeat visitors who will return to Orlando to see what's new.

At the same time, Harry Potter could inject new competition among theme parks in Orlando, where Universal has experienced declining visitors in recent years while Walt Disney World has seen attendance continue to increase.

A Disney spokeswoman even lauded Universal's announcement.

"Whenever one of our region's tourism-industry players makes an investment in their business, it's good for our industry and our community as a whole," said Disney spokeswoman Kim Prunty. "That's why we continue to invest in our business."

Disney's popular "Year of a Million Dreams" promotional campaign and plans for a new ride based on Toy Story to open next year are likely to keep the race for fresh attractions at full speed.

"I think Cinderella's Castle now has a new rival: Hogwarts Castle," said Speigel, the theme-park consultant. "This is going to be a tough one to one-up right now."

Sara K. Clarke of the Sentinel staff contributed to this report. Beth Kassab can be reached at bkassab@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5448.

Lewisc
06-01-2007, 11:11 AM
Didn't LandmarkEntertainment do much of the theming at IOA? Didn't they also do a lot of the theming in Vegas. Forum Shops and Star Trek Experience specifically?

Landmarks website seems to be broken, not sure if they're still in business.

edited to say it looks like one of the principals of LandmarkEntertainment has his own compnay
http://www.garygoddard.com/

edited to add

YoHo--I sort of agree with your point with regards to "old Disney". New Disney has given us the value resorts, parts of AKL that have a view of an offsite road, the carnival section of AK and the hat in front of the original icon at the Disney-MGM studios. I think IOA is at least as well themed as "New Disney". Compare MIB with Buzz Lightyear.

The problem with IOA's themeing is that they don't actually understand what themeing is. It's themed like a Vegas Hotel, not in the traditional Disney sense. This project is the first that may overcome that.

DisOrBust
06-01-2007, 11:54 AM
Am I the only one depressed about this? WDW get the Four Seasons and Universal gets Harry. Didn't Av write once how Disney had a crack at doing the HP movies but they were to cheap? I wonder if anyone realizes the catastrophic result.

EUROPACL
06-01-2007, 12:25 PM
Am I the only one depressed about this? WDW get the Four Seasons and Universal gets Harry. Didn't Av write once how Disney had a crack at doing the HP movies but they were to cheap? I wonder if anyone realizes the catastrophic result.

Yes the list is long on the movies that Disney passed on. LOTR...Harry Potter AV keeps a better list I'm sure. They just spent half a billion on POTC: At Scripts End...they could have put in a Harry Potter Land and Beastly Kingdom at that price. Nope we get 20 min of Jack talking to himself, 50ft tall women whos plot line just disappears and half a dozen other characters with no role in the movie. ( Thank your Dad Kids....Thanks Disney)

Another Voice
06-01-2007, 12:28 PM
I which I had an hour to write this, but I don't. So at the moment, here are some quick comments.

Basically it all ended up that Disney was cheap and their misguided economics. The rights were turning out the fairly expensive (Ms. Rowlin is a very good business person) - far beyond what Disney was willing to spend for a park attraction. Unlike Universal, Disney was willing to only committ to a single, 'Tower of Terror'/'Mission: Space' sized attraction for the parks. Disney's other alternative was to build an entire gate around Harry Potter - but that was far, far more capital than Disney is going to spend on the parks theses days. The plans were very unimpressive and Ms. Rowling passed.

Disney considers the parks to be "synergy" for the rest of the company. A ticket to the Magic Kingdom is little more than a chance for Disney to sell you branded products - an entire trip to Walt Disney World is nothing but a "brand experience". The parks are the place where Disney can pull together all its products from movies, music, theater, merchanside, television, publishing, techology, etc - and sell it to you. Or as an internal PowerPoint presentation put it - "each guest contact is a sales opportunity".

That concept (that people want to see "Disney", not "Disneyland") has essentially been made up to push through other projects and is driving the whole "Disney Destination" project, the Pixar-land projects and princess prancing pratical everywhere. Potter isn't a Disney brand, why bother with it.

Most of the people at Universal are ex-Imagineers anyway. WDI has been closed down for a couple years now, they are nothing more than a project management group for the parks anyway. Within Disney's corporate managemnt there was serious doubt that Disney could pull off something the scope of Harry Potter - and if you've been to either California Adventure or Disney Studios Paris you'll know their concerns are justified. The spark that made WDI special was stomped out years ago.

In the end - I'm interested in seeing what Universal does. Years ago I would have thought loosing a property like Potter would have been a disaster for Disney. But seeing how Disney works these days I rather happy they were passed over. I'd much rather have a good Potter attraction than another poorly made Disney addition.

rantnnravin
06-01-2007, 03:52 PM
what kind of rights does Disney have re: the Potter movies?

just thinking out loud here, but wouldn't it stand to reason that the Potter movies might never see anywhere but the inside of "the disney vault" from here on in? Thus squashing any future interest in the Potter stories beyond the release of the last book?

Another Voice
06-01-2007, 04:16 PM
Disney doesn't have any rights at all the Harry Potter - the movies are produced by Warner Brothers. It's one of the reasons why Disney wasn't all that excited about the project, they'd have to spend a lot of money to promote someone's else property. Disney didn't think enough new people would come to WDW to justify the costs; Disney didn't want to spend the money to build a separate gated attraction because Disney wouldn't get the coin from the merchandise sales.

mjstaceyuofm
06-01-2007, 04:28 PM
Disney didn't think enough new people would come to WDW to justify the costsAs you stated - sorely misguided thinking on Disney' part. I've never been to IOA in my life, but I will go now just to see how this Wizarding World turns out and be a "new" visitor to IOA....

The funny thing is I'll do it while I take advantage of my DVC unit on their property thus encapsulating everything they don't want to happen - guests leaving property, visiting the competition, etc....

Oh well - their loss.

YoHo
06-01-2007, 05:18 PM
I'm going to replace WWWD with DiD in all my internet shorthand. Disney is Dumb.

Another Voice
06-01-2007, 06:48 PM
Oh well - their loss.
Which was the primary arguement for the project.

Disney's focus for the last decade and more has been on the repeat visitor. They've given up on attraction new audiences to WDW (for the most part), and instead focused on shortening the time between visits - and then to encouraging multiple visits per year.

The problem is simple however - how many times do you really want to see Philaramagic? Any place grows tired after a while, people become disinterested in whole areas...and maybe eventually even in the whole property. Yes, there are some "mentally interesting" people that can manage 'Tiki Room: Under Management' six times a year for ten year's running - but when WDW gets a familar as the Starbucks on the corner...normal people question spending so much money to see the same things over and over and over and over again.

That is Disney's challenge for the next decade - how do they keep WDW interesting now for the repeat visitor. The resort has gone from a "trip of a lifetime" expereince to a place to spend this month's long weekend. It's going to take more than just a new attraction every other year. But unless Disney keeps a constant stream of new activities coming, people are going to start wandering.

That's what Universal is counting on. With Islands of Adventure they had expected to expand the number of tourists going to Orlando (the same mistake Disney made with Animal Kingdom). Instead there was a little reshuffling of where people spent their time. For U-Orlando, what they offered wasn't interesting enough the get people away from Disney.

They think that will change. Disney has spent a decade doing little to the property to keep it interesting; instead they've come up with gimmicks to keep people locked up. Getting a free bus from the airport, however, has it's limits when little boys and girls all start screaming that they want to see Dumbledoor instead of Stitch.

It's Disney weakness at the moment. People are always willing to throw huge amounts of money at things they really want to see - but all has been able to offer are discounted hotel rooms and free food. Disney could quickly find itself in the position of being just another cheap motel off International Drive.

daannzzz
06-01-2007, 07:47 PM
I have been stewing over this info for the couple of days that it came out and I don't think disney can do anything at all about keeping people from using a day or two of their Orlando vacation to go to Universal to see Harry Potter. Disney could build a replica of the Disney Sea on property and I think People would cut out a day in another Disney park to see the Orlando Disney Sea AND cut out some time to go over to Universal. No matter what they do they will not be able to compete with Haryy Potter. I personally am not a fan of Harry Potter at all but I love the look of what they want to do with it at IOA (Where I have been twice). I spent 4 nights at Portofino Bay and thought it was awesome. I think many people who have not yet tried the Universal resort may be impressed and go back more often.
The question is, if Disney realizes that they can't compete with Harry Potter (Narnia attractions won't cut it) will the not bother with any plan to create a spectacular attraction and focus on cleaning up and fixing what is there now, which they should have been doing all along, so they don't loose to many people?

ellyn2000
06-01-2007, 09:25 PM
DD is currently in Costa Rica doing a summer study program in Spanish, so I sent her the article by e-mail. She will FREAK! Loves HP. We've only been to US once and never had the desire to interrupt our WDW vacation to go again, but she'll certainly want to see that at least once.

arazamataz
06-01-2007, 09:42 PM
Well I know where we will be in 2009. HP will make IOA the hot ticket for years. Big Mickstake!!


:banana: :banana: :banana: :banana: :banana: :banana:

doubletrouble_vb
06-01-2007, 10:12 PM
ONce the movies were lost I have to agree its an "oh well" moment here. Universal needs another Island. Right now you can see mostly everything in two days pretty easily with time left for repeats. Add another island even with walk through attractions plus streetmosphere and...I may start subsituting whole trips for Universal/Sea World rather than Disney. Disney's let things slip so much I'll be back in my early 1990's mode of travel...this trip is for non-Disney things and that trip is for Disney plus non-Disney things.

Keyser
06-01-2007, 11:15 PM
One thing that I think is a little lost in all of the hoopla over the announcement today is that it seems to me that if someone (either Universal or Disney or AB) was going to build a Harry Potter park, then it should have been built already and be open. Since we are right on the precipice of the final book in the HP chapter, the excitement right now is at it's height. In 3 years from now, when HP land is opened, do you think that there will be as much excitement? Yes, I'm sure that it will look great and all, but it sure seems that if someone wanted to really cash in on all of the HP hysteria, then the park should have been opened around now, not 3 years into the future. Once the final book is released and the whole story has been told, will interest wane?

Well, interest will probably drop from where it is right now, but there's a big advantage to the HP attraction over many other alternative sources for a "land." The HP franchise is based, at its heart, on a series of books. As such, I expect their impact will last far more than many other attractions (such as those based on movies) could. I expect the HP books will continue to be read and enjoyed far into the future, and thus there will be a steady stream of interest in them. Its a richer, more lasting, theme than many alternatives, such as those based on movies. To take the other exteme, up at King's Dominion, they had an area of the park devoted to "Wayne's World". Talk about a poor long-term choice - they've since removed part, and put in other rides, retheming it. Of course, I'm not sure they were really building for the long term, anyway.

Jon99
06-02-2007, 05:35 AM
20 acres and only 3 rides???

Nana Annie
06-02-2007, 11:03 AM
One thing that I think is a little lost in all of the hoopla over the announcement today is that it seems to me that if someone (either Universal or Disney or AB) was going to build a Harry Potter park, then it should have been built already and be open. Since we are right on the precipice of the final book in the HP chapter, the excitement right now is at it's height. In 3 years from now, when HP land is opened, do you think that there will be as much excitement? Yes, I'm sure that it will look great and all, but it sure seems that if someone wanted to really cash in on all of the HP hysteria, then the park should have been opened around now, not 3 years into the future. Once the final book is released and the whole story has been told, will interest wane?

Tourism insiders see Universal's Harry Potter announcement as bonanza Disney's popular "Year of a Million Dreams" promotional campaign and plans for a new ride based on Toy Story to open next year are likely to keep the race for fresh attractions at full speed.

And exactly how many years ago was Toy Story popular?

tidefan
06-02-2007, 02:25 PM
And exactly how many years ago was Toy Story popular?

Your point is???

I didn't say that it wouldn't draw attendance, I said that they would have capitalized on it a lot more if they would have opened it now. Sure, you can say the same for Toy Story. Would have made a much bigger splash back when TS 2 came out.

YoHo
06-02-2007, 02:42 PM
The problem is that the books weren't finished yet and the negotiations weren't settled. Somebody willing to spend the money had to step up.

And 20 acres with 3 rides, but the whole place is an attraction. Sounds pretty good to me.
Can you say Mainstreet USA?

tidefan
06-02-2007, 03:06 PM
But... Isn't the fact that the books aren't finished yet adding to all of the hysteria? Everyone wants to know how it will end. There is bound to be a loss of excitement when the endgame is known.

The other thing Universal needs to be careful of is not to go down the path of George Lucas and the Episode I fiasco where fans were expecting waaaay more than Lucas delivered.

YoHo
06-02-2007, 03:42 PM
Star Tours came out on the 10th anniversary.

Anyway, Rowlin made it clear that nothing was happening on this front till book 7 was done. Universal's issues relate to Episode 1 the same way any attraction or movie relates. Fan's expectations of stitch's great escape were way mroe then what Disney delivered and Disney paid for it. It's no different for anything. Rowling was very particular about what she wanted and that's why Disney lost out. Their proposal to her was horrid and she told Disney to shove it.

EUROPACL
06-02-2007, 05:59 PM
20 acres and only 3 rides???

How many rides per acre do MGM, EPCOT or AK have?

DiszyDean
06-03-2007, 01:03 PM
Star Tours came out on the 10th anniversary.

Anyway, Rowlin made it clear that nothing was happening on this front till book 7 was done. Universal's issues relate to Episode 1 the same way any attraction or movie relates. Fan's expectations of stitch's great escape were way mroe then what Disney delivered and Disney paid for it. It's no different for anything. Rowling was very particular about what she wanted and that's why Disney lost out. Their proposal to her was horrid and she told Disney to shove it.

FYI...There is actually nothing factual to support any of this statement above except maybe the first sentence. Good place for it to be on the rumors board. Post a link to where Rowling said the proposal from Disney was "horrid" and told Disney to shove it. TIA.

YoHo
06-03-2007, 06:46 PM
??? this is the rumors board isn't it? I have posted a rumor from my sources.
I think most people here understand how the rumors board works.

Also, 3 rides per 20 acres would just about match DCA at opening. Of course, according to the concepts, the rides aren't the only attractions. Just like Mainstreet.

larworth
06-04-2007, 11:34 AM
Yes, thereís a question whether HPís Q rating will remain as high over time, but what struck me more was the reference to Superman. A high Q rating is nice, but the D rating is the real key - will it Draw. Superman has a great Q rating, but would Superman Land be a big pull? I donít know what Spider Manís Q rating would have been when that ride first opened (before the movies), and it is considered one of the best rides ever made, and we see how that has worked for IOA.

IOA needs something really compelling to reverse its fortune. This is where HP seems way ahead of any other property out there. I think this is a great play for Universal.

They also must know this is their last shot. If this fails, can you see GE giving them another dime? It looks like they are spending accordingly. Hiring the Warner Brothers set director seems like another good sign it will be top notch.

The only thing Iím bummed about is the speculation they are going to be re-theming two existing rides (Unicorn and DDragons), so we are possibly only going to get one new ride out of all this. The robotic arm car ride. Another C/D ticket experience would have been nice in addition to the Castle and Forest walk through.

Another Voice
06-04-2007, 11:46 AM
They also must know this is their last shot. If this fails, can you see GE giving them another dime?
There's been a buzz around Hollywood that NBC has suddenly "discovered" that theme parks can be a cash fountain - especially in times when your network is in the trash can. Although the original plan was to sell the parks, NBC/Universal are planning a major reinvestment into the properties. Orlando will get Harry Potter and Hollywood has just filed papers for an unknown expansion on the lower lot (and to build time shares and condos in the Hollywood Hills as well).

Rethemeing the attractions was a very smart business move on their part. It allowed Universal to offer a significantly larger property than what Disney was willing to offer, yet it keeps costs at a resonable level. Disney could have easily done the same thing at either the Disney/MGM Studios or Califorina Adventure, but chose not to.

shanomi4
06-04-2007, 12:51 PM
Mom dropped me off for the day to play.:cool1: Happy to be here with all you fine kids!:thumbsup2

Anyway, wanted to comment on "whether Universal has themeing".
Certainly can,t comment on others experience.:sad2: Experience is purely subjective and is nothing more then opinions....and opinions are like our backsides...everyone has got one and they usually stink. :) So here is my stinky backside opinion.

I think Universals themeing is great! :woohoo: In some ways, better then Disney. :eek: Sure, Main street is themed well. But a lot more areas of the parks certainly are not grand or even that imaginative. Us did a superb job when they built Amity island at the studios. I even commented to my SO how I felt like I was at the shore. Everything from the stores, Nathans and the docks.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/39832848@N00/426324712/in/photostream/
Seuss landing is another fine example of theming.

Now, I will concede and say US certainly does the themeing on a smaller scale then Disney (at least old Disney) but that is part of the reason I like US. For me, I want more bang for the buck. Pack more fun and rides in a smaller area so I can see more and do more. I think perhaps this is one of Disney problems. They are to big. To spread out. I keep reading where people want a 5th park! Are you kidding me?

As for US does not theme ďin the traditional Disney senseĒ All I can say is if they are not like Disney, isnít that a good thing?:confused:


Ok, looks like I am do for a changing...where are my pampers?:scared1:

2belles'mom
06-06-2007, 01:39 AM
So, maybe I missed this whole thing, but why oh why oh why is the WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER going to be at Universal and not Disney??? Why did Warner Bros decide to partner with them and not Disney???:confused3 :confused3 :confused3

If anyone has the scoop, or knows where to find it...I would like to know! Thanks!

YoHo
06-06-2007, 02:07 AM
We have a thread on this, but the short answer is:
Disney is cheap and wouldn't spend any money on it. Rowling was completely unimpressed. Rumors out of the Dork tower in Burbank are still trickling in though.

crazy4wdw
06-06-2007, 09:31 AM
As this info has already been discussed on another thread, I'm merging your post with the initial thread on Harry Potter.

freakylick
06-07-2007, 12:53 PM
the short answer is:
Disney is cheap and wouldn't spend any money on it.

I know that was just an exaggeration on your part and we don't really know exactly how much funds each side was willing to put in. I would venture to say that it was probably pretty close. However, what Disney couldn't offer, which IOA could is a land that is already simarly themed and could just be converted to HP World. Disney would have to put a lot of money into rides, theming and infrastructure, whereas IOA can put most of their money into theming.

I have to say that it was a smart decision on the part of all 3 parties. I firmly believe that WDW will react to this (though I am sure they will never admit that it's a reaction to HP). And they likely will do it with something that they already own the rights to.

For me...I visited UO 2 years ago and had a great time, but I likely will not go again for a very long time. They don't add much and I have absolutely zero interest in rethemed attractions (though there will be one new one) and I have zero interest in HP (sorry, it's just not my cup o' tea). So this is good news for me, I would rather Disney spend money on something that I may interested in....I'm so selfish. ;)

DOOM1001
06-07-2007, 02:34 PM
Anyone else agree that this is the BEST thing that has ever happened to Disney?


Now that Universal will be creating this Harry Potter Enviornment, HOPEFULLY, Disney will pour huge amounts of money into Walt Disney World to compete

After Universal opening IOA this is the best thing that could have happened!!Competition is the greatest thing that can happen in Florida theme parks!!

starseed
06-09-2007, 06:40 AM
It looks to me that the timing for the opening of the new HP park will likely closely coincide with the last of the HP movies. In which case, the interest for all things HP will not be waning too much. I would imagine that excitement for this project will keep building as the next movie will be released before the final movie and the park's opening.

The bottom line is, I'm sure I'm not the only one already penciling in a Universal visit for 2009-10, while I haven't even thought of whether there is a Disney trip to be had at that point. And that is exactly what Universal needed and did right.

ksumn1
06-20-2007, 01:27 AM
I've never been to Universal, only WDW so I have no standard of comparison. Being a lover of the books, which are so full of imagery and watching the movies, I can clearly see what it SHOULD look like. I think Universal needs to be very mindful of just haw perfect the themeing will have to be to impress people. Many of the attractions at WDW are based on the Imagineers vision of the attraction and people have no preconceived notions of it. I want to visit the new HP park, but if it doesn't meet my expectations I won't go back. I'm sure that was a big part of not letting Disney develop the attraction. I mean, one attraction at WDW versus an entire park with mulitple attractions and merchandiding opportunities? Of course, JK Rowling chose Universal.:confused3

But deep down, I am disappointed. Now I'll have to buy Universal tickets and Disney tickets....

Jason71
06-20-2007, 09:59 AM
I've never been to Universal, only WDW so I have no standard of comparison. Being a lover of the books, which are so full of imagery and watching the movies, I can clearly see what it SHOULD look like. I think Universal needs to be very mindful of just haw perfect the themeing will have to be to impress people.

Since you've never been, I definitely recommend a trip to Universal, especially IoA. I don't think anyone can deny that the design and themeing of IoA is remarkable. Seuss Landing is amazing, like a Dr. Seuss book come to life, with no straight lines to be seen. Mythos and Posidon's Fury are still striking even though I have seen them a hundred times. Jurrasic Park feels like the park in the movie.

If there's a complaint about Universal, it's that upkeep is sometimes lagging and the parks (particularly IoA) are allowed to stagnate. How HP land will look in 2015 is anyone's guess, but I have no doubt it will be amazing on opening day.