Universal Studios made it official this morning, with the Phelps Brothers announcing that “Harry Potter is coming to Hollywood!”
According to the LA Times, Universal Studios’ President / COO Ron Meyer and Warner Bros. Chairman / CEO Barry Meyer said the new park would cost several hundred million dollars to construct, and create more than one thousand jobs on the Universal City lot and many more in the surrounding area.
This is all awesome, but conjures up a lot of question marks… Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure takes up 20 acres. Where exactly will Universal place Wizarding World West? And will it be a carbon copy of its Orlando counterpart? The existing WWoHP was rebuilt over a pre-existing mythological-themed land, which accounts for it’s two coasters that are mere overlays of pre-existing attractions. Since those do not exist in Hollywood, this may be a chance for that park to create an entirely new HP experience, such as current internet rumors of a Diagon Alley theme. Or not…
“The Los Angeles Potter park will closely resemble its Florida cousin,” said Universal’s Meyer. “When you first see Hogwarts Castle and ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, you will find it an unforgettable experience,” Meyer said. “This will change the face of tourism in Southern California.”
I personally think the WWoHP-Hollywood should be a blend — keep Hogwarts Castle and The Forbidden Journey, Keep all the stores (only more room inside this time please) and the rest should be a blank slate, with at least two new thrill rides UNIQUE to Universal Hollywood. A carbon copy is LAZY. A bit of something new will make BOTH parks a necessary destination for the over seven million visitors who flocked to Orlando in HP’s first year there in 2010.
Regardless of what it is and where it is within the already-crowded Universal Studios Hollywood, one thing is certain – in 4.5 years everyone on the West Coast will have their lives enriched from the magic of sipping a nice cold Butterbeer on a warm Summer’s day.