Back in 2007, Universal announced that they would be building a the first new “island” at Islands of Adventure. That island came in the form of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Now Universal took this very seriously, and they worked tirelessly to make this accurately themed, even going so far as to collaborate with the book series author J.K. Rowling. The end result, is by far the new gold standard for theme park lands and attractions. In fact, the land’s biggest attraction Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is often regarded as the world’s best dark ride, surpassing IOA’s own Amazing Adventures of Spiderman.
Now, in a surprising twist, Universal has announced the creation of two more Wizarding Worlds at Universal Studios Hollywood Universal Studios Japan. Both will feature the same high levels of immersion as the one in Orlando, and the famous Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction. The Japan version will be the first to open, because no attractions need to be removed like in Hollywood due to space constraints.
Another point I find interesting is that not only does Universal plan on building these two new Wizarding Worlds, but greatly expanding the current one in Orlando. Rumours point towards this expansion actually linking Universal’s 2 Orlando parks via a Hogwarts Express train attraction that would go backstage from the existing Wizarding World to the supposedly planned Diagon Alley section replacing Jaws in the Studio park.
Is Universal going TOO far with Harry Potter? Now, I understand that it produces massive cash for them, but if it’s in every single Universal park, then it won’t be special. Like Jurassic Park or Revenge of the Mummy, they are just cookie cutter rides placed in each park, even the brand new park in Singapore! If Universal continues at this rate, we may see the Wizarding World being built into new parks like the ones planned in South Korea, and Russia.
Personally, as long as there is some differences between each Wiz. World, I’m okay with it. Like, if the one in Hollywood ends up being the exact same as the one in Orlando, (minus the dueling roller coaster,) I’ll be pretty mad! We’ll just have to see what Universal is going to do with this amazing concept.