The battle over who gets to build the Harry Potter theme park has been raging, and Universal was the winner, defeating Disney. However, Disney Watcher Jim Hill explains that due to J.K. Rowling’s stringent demands, Disney may be just as glad.
So how’s about instead that I say that Ms. Rowling was reported to be very protective of her characters. More to the point, that she supposedly had some very definite ideas about what a theme park version of Harry Potter’s world should look like.
How so? Well, according to the folks that I’ve spoken with who worked on the Disney version of this project … J.K. allegedly wanted each & every guest who was experiencing the theme park version of Harry Potter’s world to do so by first entering the Leaky Cauldron pub. Where — by tapping on just the right brick (“Three up and two across … “) — they’d then gain access to Diagon Alley, that odd collection of Wizards-only shops & restaurants that’s hidden away in the heart of London.
Copyright 2001 Warner Bros.
From this area (Which was — at least in the stand-alone version of the proposed “Harry Potter” theme park — supposed to have been the equivalent of Main Street U.S.A. at Disneyland. As in: That area that established the style & the tone of the theme park to follow. More importantly, Diagon Alley would have been where most of the guests purchased their souvenirs before exiting the park that night), these folks were then supposed to have made their way to Platform 9 & 3/4 at King’s Cross Station. Where — after magically piercing the barrier that separates the Muggle world from the Wizard world — guests would have then been able to board a full-sized version of the Hogwarts Express for a trip to Harry’s alma mater.
Which admittedly (on paper, anyway) sounds wonderful. But to the folks who actually run the Parks & Resorts side of things at the Walt Disney Company, what Rowling was reportedly asking for sounded unfeasible.
Much more in link.