More confirmations are coming around Harry Potter bringing a presence in the Universal Studios park at Universal Florida. Speaking to an employee within the organization, this is what I’ve learned over the weekend:
- Railroad engineers have been on property extensively designing a train track that would run backstage.
- You would be looking out of the train and seeing a video component as you went down the track. Whether that would be similar in technology to King Kong at Universal Florida remains to be seen.
- There is a roller coaster planned for the Jaws area.
- The individual was told to see Poseidon’s Furty for the last time soon as it was going away by February 1st.
All of this seems to add fuel to the speculation that a Diagon Alley with a Gringott’s Wizarding Bank roller coaster would take over where Jaws left off. Additionally, it is believed that a Hogwarts Express Train would connect from there to the current Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction at Islands of Adventure.
What seems most incredulous to me about this persistent rumor of adding Harry Potter to the other park is whether Universal Studios would require you to pay two admissions in order to see all of Harry Potter. It seems that guests would get confused and become frustrated when they realized they couldn’t hop the train and head over to the other Potter attractions if they hadn’t paid for the right ticket. The only thing that I can liken to this at Disney is with Disney’s The Lion King and The Little Mermaid. Shortly after the Lion King premiered, you had to go to the Magic Kingdom to see Legend of the Lion King; Epcot to see The Circle of Life; and even the Disney-MGM Studios at the time to see The Making of Disney’s The Lion King. Later Festival of the Lion King was added at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, again creating a multiple Lion King option.
Perhaps more comparable was Disney’s The Little Mermaid, who for years had a presence at the Magic Kingdom with a meet and greet at Ariel’s Grotto; meanwhile the Voyage of the Little Mermaid continues to be offered at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I’m sure there were guests who came to Guest Relations to complain that they couldn’t see one without paying to see the other. But the attraction offerings at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure are at a much higher level. Universal will have to work hard to explain (or sell) people up front on buying access to both parks if they want to see both offerings.
Perhaps that’s where they want to be.