Diagon Alley. The name should be striking fear into the heart of Robert Iger and every Walt Disney Company executive. Especially those with a focus on the theme parks and Imagineering. As the video leaks out of the new expansion at Universal Studios Florida and its attraction/connection to Hogsmeade and Forbidden Journey at Islands of Adventure, their worst fears are being realized: theme park fans will now be taking two days out of their Florida vacation to see what Harry Potter has up his sleeve.
Universal Creative has out-Disneyed Disney. When folks usually have to settle for YouTube films followed by comments of "These don't do it justice", you know the end result in real life should be better. But when the YouTube videos show park expansion that looks absolutely amazing even with poor photography, what is created is a drawing card that only matches television advertising and word of mouth. And the word on the street is that Disney has been surpassed. It's time to crown a new creative king.
The opening day crowds for Escape from Gringotts are only a taste of things to come. The financial loss of one day is hard enough for the Disney suits and accountants. Yet, if most visitors are like me, they will now lob off two days on their next trip. I know I will.
Add unique dining and shopping- with items exclusive to the park, and it's a sure fire hit. One that won't be satisfied by a half day visit. Unfortunately, something I still do at Disney's Animal Kingdom. And soon Disney Hollywood Studios.
I am not even a Harry Potter fan in the slightest. I've read none of the books and seen only one movie. However, when something this incredible has been created and the boundaries are pushed, I've got to go. See you there...
(Images copyright Universal Studios Florida.)