Malnurtured Snay turned me onto the story, from the BBC news website, and I’m still rubbing my eyes in horrified disbelief. What is it? Well, apparently Universal Orlando is opening The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 2009.
Okay, I admit, my first reaction was something like, “Oh, cool. I wanna go!” But then my brain engaged and I realized it’s DISNEY. Disney who ruined Winnie the Pooh, and edited one of the funniest lines out of Beetlejuice, which is fine for tv, but not so fine for re-released videos. One of the things I like about Rowling’s world is that it isn’t all shiny and clean and, well, Disnified. I’m cringing inwardly at the thought of humidity-drenched folks dressed up like witches and wizards, frolicking in the Florida sunshine. Or worse, cartoon-ized versions of the characters. I mean, can something like the “Hogwarts Quidditch All-Stars” animated series be far behind?
Okay, Okay, I know that Universal isn’t REALLY a Disney park, but can you honestly believe it’s going to be any better just because it’s Universal Studios and not Disneyworld? I mean, okay, I remember liking the backlot tour at Universal in California, but that was before Universal was into attractions. I mean, when we went, they hadn’t even opened their ET exhibit (it was in the very early 80’s if you must know).
And still, I’m leery about this, because while the movies are fun, and it’s the movie-verse that will likely be given the most weight in the design of this park/attraction/whatever, I still believe that Diagon Alley and Hogwarts are best served by existing in our imaginations, and not in plaster and paint with an all-day pass.