Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter announces expansion, surprising no one

The rumors from last year haven (finally) proven true.

Ater shuttering the Jaws theme park attraction, Universal Studios has officially announced that Harry Potter World The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will expand to include a Diagon Alley and "London" area in addition to the already present (and already kick ass!) Hogsmeade and Hogwarts attractions.

The new expansion area should open sometime in 2014, and will feature a roller coaster-like ride set in Gringotts Bank as its headlining attraction.  Think the minecart chase from Temple of Doom mixed with an albino anamatronic dragon and you won't be far off of what Universal will deliver here.

Outside of this ride, the new area is noteworthy in that it's in a completely different theme park from the existing Harry Potter cash cow (Universal Studios vs. Islands of Adventure). Similar to the books, these two theme parks will be connected by a working model of The Hogwarts Express train - which will probably be 10 times more crowded than a rush hour subway if the current crowds at Harry Potter World The Wizarding World of Harry Potter are any indication.

The tricky part about the new area is that Universal Studios already shoehorned most of the Diagon Alley shops into the existing theme park area - but given their popularity it's probably for the best that patrons can visit two different Olivander's locations to spend $30 for a not-at-all-magical magical wand.

Actually, that's not the tricky part.  The real tricky part will be figuring out how to navigate your way past the renewed crowds of thousands to grab a mug of lukewarm butterbeer, spend five hours in line for a 90 second ride, part with ~$200 for the privilege and still convince your friends that it was completely worth it.