A few weeks ago we asked the question “If Universal expands the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, what would you like to see?”. You answered, and while the results weren’t altogether surprising, we thought it would be fun to take your answers and build our version of the Harry Potter Expansion. Our good friend Lazaro Gomez of Bot 10 Productions was good enough to come up with concept art of what this expansion might look like. We must stress that the images and descriptions are not in any way Universal Orlando’s Plans, but our own fantasies of what we would like to see.
So what would the next area be? We already have Hogsmeade, and there’s nothing really magical about the real world so we naturally have to go with Diagon Alley.
The following description is not accurate to the area, and hell, it might not be physically possible, but we would like to dream.
So as you walk in to Diagon Alley, as in the books and films you have to tap on five bricks in order to get into the area. There will be a large courtyard and brick wall blocking entrance into the area. This will be done randomly throughout the day,(with an area this popular you can’t keep things blocked off) specifically at park opening. The restaurant of choice of course is The Leaky Cauldron. Sorry for the lack of vision here, as it’s not that different from Three Broomsticks located in Hogsmeade Village. That’s about all that’s written in the books and most definitely in the movies.
I do envision this as having a huge stage show reenacting different stories throughout the day including the story of the Three Brothers from the 7th movie. They could also include stories from “Tales of the Beedle Bard” . I imagine that most of these would do great as huge puppets reminiscent of the giant Chinese paper dragons. They could also do some good old fashioned wizard duels, or dueling classes for under-aged wizards.
- Olivanders- Of course this is the huge debate that rages. It’s already in Hogsmeade, and it’s not supposed to be. How can you have a Diagon Alley without Ollivander’s? The shop in Hogsmeade is decidedly small and cramp, perhaps we can add more here, different spells and more interactivity. But mostly more hands on so that all kids have a chance to have the wand choose them.
- Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes- What else can you sell here that you don’t already have at Zonko’s? A huge building with atmosphere. Tons of stuff always going on, and of course at the top of the Stairs Fred and George staring down at you throwing whiz-bangs every few minutes.
- Flourish and Blott’s-We are after all in an area inspired by a book. What better than a book store? JK can even pen editions of all the books that she wrote about, sold Exclusively at Universal.
- Magical Menagerie-Lined with cages and pens, this is the perfect place to pick up a stuffed creature of any kind. Yes, this is the place where we first meet Crookshanks.
- Gringott’s-We won’t bother naming this one. It’s the wizards bank, run by as clever as they come Goblins. We take a tour of the bank and see loads of Goblins hard at work. And we are permitted entry to take a tour of the vaults in their mine cars. It’s a very bumpy ride, and if we make a wrong turn we may run into the Trolls or Dragons that guard the vault. A very interactive dark coaster, very simple with lots of twists and turns. Nothing too intense though it will be too much for some smaller wizards.
- Escape from Azkaban-This is my baby. We start out in Diagon Alley and turn down Knockturn Alley. The only actual shop will be Bourgin and Burkes. Here they sell all kinds of dark materials such as Death Eater stickers, masks, all kinds of stuff you can’t find in the rest of the park. As we enter the queue line we are in Knockturn Alley and we are “arrested” by Death Eaters, or members of the Ministry. Through the use of Floo Powder in the queue line we are “Transported” to the Ministry of Magic. We are accused of being Muggles (which we are) and therefore not allowed into magical areas, and sentence to Azakaban Prison. Yes it’s harsh, but the law is the law. As we walk through the queue we see the shops of Knockturn Alley, the Ministry of Magic including several witches and wizards coming and going, and the courtroom where we are deemed guilty as charged. We are then put on special transportation devices to take us to Azkaban Prison. We build a huge Azkaban tower, something as tall as Hogwarts as the ride building. We are told that we are being placed in a special cell for Muggles and taken to the top of the tower. At that very moment our three favorites, Ron, Harry and Hermione come to our rescue but they can’t get us out alone. They need us to help blast our way out. Enter the wands. As we go up the tower in the special cars we get “spell practice” as Hermione (of course) enchants the handles of the car to allow them to act as wands. As we get up to the top we are then confronted by Giants, Trolls, Dementors and Death Eaters. All of which are either animatronics, static figures or on robo-arms. It will be a hybride between a small wild mouse coaster winding down the tower with lots of stopping, and Men in Black:Alien Attack. If you score high enough you blow a hole in the side of the building and escape, if you don’t you have to rely on Harry and Hermione to save you.
- Shreiking Shack-Okay so this is more towards Hogsmeade, but we can make it in the middle. I’ve heard great suggestions, from being a haunted ride to a haunted house. But all it was in the books was the house that Harry’s dad and his friends went when Lupin (Moony) was a werewolf. So for that purpose, The Shrieking Shack will be a fun house. Slanted floors, changing walls. It’s always nighttime and the moon shines in. Just a quick fun walkthrough in the vein of Tom Sawyers’ Island.
- Quidditch Lessons-This one falls into the show category. Playable Quidditch is too hard to do on a practical level without making it a coaster or simulator. So, let’s start out with Quidditch lessons on the same level as the Jedi Academy at Disney. We get a group of kids on a stage and have a special effects show. The kids say up, some of their brooms rise, others don’t. One broom comes up and pops our teacher in the head. One lucky kid has his broom actually hover a few feet above the ground. Another kid has to help with the Bludger box as it bounces up and down. The highlight is the Golden Snitch as it darts around the stage, an actual golden snitch (most likely on a thin wire).
- Quidditch World Cup-We get thrown into the mix of a shortened Quidditch Match as we get acrobatics on broomsticks high above our heads actually tossing quaffles back and forth. No Bludgers in this one. It essentially becomes a stunt show. But the trouble will be making the players fly convincingly.
That’s a few ideas to toss around. Which ones do you like, which ones do you think would never work? Like the rest of the Wizarding World I tried taking a few of the ideas and combining them to get the most out of an experience.
About the concept art:
This is naturally not official concept art, as nothing has been announced for the area yet. These are just fantasy fan pieces that were done based on the description I gave.
All art above was created (quickly!) by Orlando artist Lazaro Gomez. He is an amazing artist (as you can tell) and has a variety of talents. To see more of his work visit Bot 10 Productions. You should also follow Lazaro on Twitter, Facebook, and Blogger. Subscribe to his channel on YouTube for more greatness! For business inquiries, and general feedback Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Is this what you build? Tell us what you think in the comments below!