Before it even opened last year in June last year, we were already hearing the rumblings of what Universal Orlando was going to do next with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Universal knew it was going to be a guaranteed success, but just how much of a success was something that Universal seemed to vastly underestimate.
Opening day saw a record number of guests attending the park with waits of up to and beyond 8 hours to enter the Wizarding World, and over four hours just to get into Islands of Adventure. The summer brought huge crowds that had to wait most days to get into the area, and the signature ride “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” saw over a million visitors in record time. Butterbeer mugs sold so fast that they had to revert to a back up design until more could be made (and we’ve heard that they bought what they thought to be a two year supply). Butterbeer, another miracle of the park, sold it’s millionth cup in under a year. Christmas vacation this year saw the park at capacity for several days, and the park has said that the 4th quarter attendance was up more than 46%. Let’s not forget that hotel bookings in Orlando period were up far above last year due to Potter as well.
Now comes word from theme park news and rumor guru Screamscape that not only are plans made but they are moving forward.
With Disney attendance reported being “flat” and the big announcement for their “New Fantasyland” rehab being an all new “Mine train coaster” themed to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, it seems that Universal is wasting no time in pushing the Boy Wizard even further in the park. The rumor is that the now shortened and crippled Lost Continent section of Islands of Adventure will be completed revamped (and some say demolished) to bring even more adventures of the ” Boy Who Lived” to the world of Muggles, but what?
Nothing official has been given, but rumors are swirling of quite a few things, some making sense, others sounding like they came completely out of nowhere.
The following are rumors-These are just things that have been bandied about, talked about and overheard. They are in no way official. If they turn out to be true, chalk it up to dumb luck. We’ll say these rumors are strictly for entertainment purposes.
It’s been said that Potter was planned in three phases with the first phase being what we have now. We’ve also heard that initial plans were for a much larger area with at least two more attractions, but those were cut back due to fears that the area wouldn’t be successful (yeah right).We are approaching Phase 2.
After the busy Summer season, and the “newness” of the area wears off, the fall and Christmas season will bring in new additions, some will be holiday transitions, others will reflect the final movie in the Potter franchise.
- Battle of Hogwarts-Much like the opening ceremonies, and the Magic Kingdoms new Castle show, the forces of good and evil will collide nightly on the castle walls as the our hero faces You know who. Huge duels, and the destruction of Hogwarts will happen right before our eyes as huge projectors make it happen.
- Yuletide Ball-Right from the 4th book and movie, we will see the beauties of Beauxbatons and Durmstrang in a delightful song and dance with several surprises.
- Halloween-We’ve heard several things about this, from just decorations to a whole new event for the entire park aimed at those 12 and under. The best one we’ve heard is that the castle will make some changes and we may get to see “Fluffy” as we’re walking the queue line.
- Roaming Wizards-During initial construction it was the popular belief that wizards would be walking the streets of Hogsmeade, and have unprompted duels. They would be miniature shows every few minutes with great special effects, and would appear very realistic. With crowd levels now, any roaming wizards are completely mobbed to snap a picture with Muggle families.
- SNOW!-Those icicles and snow covered roofs are there for a reason. Snow Magic once indicated on their website that they would be providing real snow for the area. At IAAPA we were shown snow makers that could be disguised as lamps, lanterns and trees. In 2009 at IAAPA the same company made it snow in Vegas, and it lasted for 3 days.
- Seasonal Beverages-If you read in the books, Butterbeer is warm. That doesn’t work in Florida in the summer time. In the winter, that’s a different story. A creamier warm concoction of Butterbeer may be served, as well as other seasonal treats.
- Dragons-They cloned real dragons using the technology from Jurassic Park, and they have actual dragons that will sit on top of the “Dragon Challenge” coaster. Yeah, we didn’t believe that one either.
This seems to be the one that’s being researched now. Nothing is known except for pure speculation. It’s been tossed around that there may be a London area, where you can see things like Diagon Alley, the train station, maybe even Platform 9 3/4 but those don’t really fit into the aesthetic of the other area of the Wizarding World. It’s more likely to have either an extension of Hogsmeade or just do Diagon Alley altogether.
- Mythos will be turned into the Leaky Cauldron.
- All the shops and games along the way will be turned into Diagon Alley shops and games with the big highlight being Weasely’s Wizarding Weezes, the magic shop (that I probably got wrong) that the young Weasely brothers opened together.
- Poseidon’s Fury will be turned into an all new dark ride. It’s believed it would be a triple decker bus like the Knight Bus ride, or even more a Quidditch “coaster” in which you board broom shaped coaster cars. The rumor is that this will be in the dark and feature several elements like the ones found in Forbidden Journey.
- Sindbads stunt show could easily be converted into a wizarding show, but seeing that Universal hasn’t used Harry Potter walk around characters this seems unlikely. The more likely scenario is that this will become an outdoor Quidditch pitch.
Again, nothing is officially announced, and we have no clue if this is happening or this is just fantasy thought up by rabid fans (of which there are a lot). But we will keep you informed of any such developments. We have heard that there could be an announcement as soon as February, but again, take that with a grain of salt.