the take

‘Harry Potter’ Land, the Only Theme Park We’d Actually Want to Visit

You too can ride the Hogwarts Express.Photo by Murray Close/Courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures

Though we have fond memories of ditching our girlfriend on Main Street USA during a high-school band trip to Disney World, we don’t really love amusement parks. (We tend to horff on roller coasters.) But buried within the industry news and technical jargon in Jim Hill Media’s recent insider report on the battle between Disney and Universal Studios for theme-park character rights and advanced technology is a description of J.K. Rowling’s demands for the design of a proposed Harry Potter amusement park:

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 … 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.

Here’s our message to Universal Studios, who eventually won the rights to the Harry Potter universe. Forget the snarky references to Rowling being “somewhat difficult to deal with.” Forget Hill’s sour-grapes Disney sources telling him that Rowling’s vision would be far too expensive to construct. If you build the Harry Potter theme park that Rowling envisions, and we get to visit Diagon Alley, board the train at Platform 9 3/4, and walk around Hogwarts, we would pay any price to attend. You could charge a thousand dollars and we would rob a bank to pay for it.

Monday Mousewatch [Jim Hill Media]

‘Harry Potter’ Land, the Only Theme Park We’d Actually Want to Visit