Everyone is watching. Right now in the theme park world, everyone is looking to see how the infusion of Harry Potter into Universal Studios Florida will impact the industry. First, Harry's Forbidden Journey created waves of cash and guests when it debuted at Islands of Adventure. The sales of Butterbeer and specialized wands created another flurry of income.
The next wave of impact comes to Universal Studios Summer of 2014 when the Escape from Gringott's attraction is opened and the two parks are linked in one savvy, game-changing move. It's a win for theme park guests, even if it comes at increased prices for park tickets.
Visitors are watching, and so is Disney. They are watching their primary competition move in to what was once their domain. They're watching New Fantasyland not be the impact maker they hoped. On the positive side, the suits are watching as plans for Pandora / Avatarland at Animal Kingdom are finally being turned into reality. But they are also watching Epcot rot one piece at a time as are the fans who so dearly love the place.
Will Walt Disney World ever return to the place of delight and wonder it once was? Who knows? But we're watching.
(Photograph by Mark Taft.)