Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Wizarding World in California?

Our little corner of the interwebs is buzzing with the recent news that Universal Studios Hollywood is rumored to soon announce their own version of the mega-successful Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Speculation started after the Wall Street Journal broke the story, leading to several other outlets to report on the news that the expansion could open as soon as 2015.

Reports are that an official announcement on the project could come as early as next week, but that's not being confirmed by the park at this point.  No one knows for sure yet exactly what attractions will be built in this version, but it's assumed that if anything Hogsmeade Village and the Forbidden Journey ride are a must.

Probably one of the biggest questions that everyone is asking is where in Universal Hollywood will the area be built?  The park exists on some pretty hilly terrain, with the upper and lower lots separate by some massive stairs and escalators.

The upper lot is pretty stacked as is, and the lower lot is just as crowded - with the live movie studio taking up Universal's other land.  Still, as we know if there is a will (and loads of cash) there is a way, and I'm quite sure designers will make it come together.

I'm not one of those designers, but if I were I'd be looking at an area of the park that's directly to the right after the main entrance, on the upper lot.  The Waterworld Stunt Area is located here, adjacent to the rather massive Gibson Amphitheater.  Add in some more space from a kids' play area, and the Shrek 4-D attraction, and a there's actually a decent area available up there.

Granted, several attractions need to bite to dust for this to work, along with a huge amphitheater - but major changes to the park were hinted at some time ago when the Studio released a new master plan, which even goes as far as specifically stating they were considering replacing the Gibson with a smaller venue.

I'm honestly pretty excited to see what they come up with, and what Potter themes will be used.  I greatly enjoyed the Islands of Adventure version, but have to wonder how neat it would be for Universal Hollywood to include different Potterverse areas and attractions than Florida, as a compliment to that park instead of a recreation. 

Either way it looks like we won't have to wait long to find out!