MuggleCast 246 Transcript (continued)
Main Discussion: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort to be Expanded
Micah: Well, that's a good tie-in to the Orlando expansion which we should touch on a little bit more because there's been...
Micah: ...more information than just, "It's going to expand." There's been a lot of rumors as to what exactly the Universal executives are going to do, and you talked about walking into Hogsmeade and seeing the Hogwarts Express right there, and one of the things that they were talking about in a few of these articles was tying the old Universal park in Orlando to the Islands of Adventure via the Hogwarts Express.
Andrew: Mhm. And I've been a big fan of them knocking out the Poseidon's Fury ride which is right out front of the Hogwarts Express and that stuff because it just seems outdated. But I mean, this new rumor pretty much blew my mind. So, they announced a few days ago that they are going to remove the Jaws ride at Universal Studios, that's not the same park that the Wizarding World is in. And then just a couple of days later when they made this Wizarding World Los Angeles announcement, they also said, oh yeah, and also Wizarding World Orlando is going to expand - a significant expansion. And there's these rumors that are very strong, I've heard from multiple people, the Screamscape site and a couple of these employees who work there, that this is true, they're going to be knocking out the Jaws ride and building the London side of Harry Potter. And the coolest part of it all is that the two parks would be connected by Hogwarts Express.
Andrew: Yeah, and it's about a half a mile distance between the two parks, between the Wizarding World and where Jaws is right now. So, that could be a nice little trip. I imagine the train would be moving slowly. But the other angle to this and where Universal is brilliant and where it may piss off a lot of people, is that you would have to have two park tickets to get into both parks.
Eric: It's true.
Andrew: You would have to have a two-park ticket to ride the train.
Eric: It's true, but at the same time, the two-park ticket is really the only way to get your money's worth, in my opinion.
Andrew: Yeah. I mean...
Eric: These days...
Eric: ...with tickets, you need the multi-day pass, multi-park pass...
Eric: ...to really even justify spending a hundred dollars to get in.
Andrew: No, I agree with you, but I've seen a lot of comments where people are saying, "I cannot believe - how could they do this and build..."
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Andrew: "...two separate parks?"
Andrew: "And we're going to be forced to..."
Micah: This is exactly...
Andrew: "...buy two park tickets."
Micah: ...what you were talking about before with revitalizing Orlando, revitalizing Los Angeles. That Universal Studios park is about as outdated as it comes with respect to rides, and I think what this will do is it will help pick things up in that particular park.
Andrew: Yeah, absolutely.
Eric: On that exact topic, when I was in the regular Universal park just a couple of weeks during the Home Entertainment Celebration, I went into the Universal - the regular park, Universal Studios, to kind of look around - I was actually shopping for Christmas, don't tell my mother.
Eric: And [laughs] I noticed, actually, that the main gift shop - when you walk in, there's this huge gift shop. There was Harry Potter merchandise, quite a bit of Harry Potter merchandise in the regular Universal park which currently...
Micah: So, that's a tip for people, actually...
Micah: ...who don't want to wait in line...
Micah: ...in the Wizarding World.
Eric: Yeah. Well, it's a tip but also the thing about it is my reaction was negative, it was, "What is this Harry Potter stuff doing in the regular Universal thing?" Because without a ride to justify it, without something to anchor it in the Universal's regular park, clearly and disgustingly, that's where the money is going.
Andrew: Yeah, but remember - I mean...
Eric: ...Universal is just like...
Micah: There's one in the airport, too.
Eric: ..."Oh, people like Harry Potter stuff."
Andrew: Yeah, exactly.
Eric: "Let's put a..."
Andrew: That's what I was just going to say.
Eric: That's a little different, that's a Universal store. This is in the regular park, it's, like, hey, nothing in this regular Universal park is worth selling, worth this shelf space. Due to all this demand for Potter stuff, we're going to put extra stuff over here. You may not even have a ticket to see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter but now you can buy a little "Norbert that comes out of its egg" puppet and all these brooms and shirts and wigs and skirts and sweaters. I was a little upset because there was no Hogwarts to back it up in the park. But - and that's already there. But if they have this sort of Muggle side of the world, I'm super excited for it.
Andrew: Yeah, and it kind of makes sense to have the two separated in terms of realism so there is a little journey, and the Hogwarts Express is obviously perfect because I mean, let's say they build Platform 9 and 3/4. [laughs] That would be really cool on the Jaws side. Yeah, it's a cool idea. Now how about some of these rides? I mean, one of the ones that was rumored and we've talked about before is the one in Gringotts or something related to Diagon Alley.
Eric: Yeah, I guess it really didn't make much sense that they would do a Gringotts ride if they only really had Hogsmeade as a setting, you know?
Eric: They would need sort of the Diagon Alley setting to be able to do the Gringotts coaster.
Eric: So, this idea, I love.
Andrew: Yeah, the more I think about this, too, just because imagine stepping out of the existing Wizarding World and then five feet later, you're in Diagon Alley. It just wouldn't really feel right, I don't think.
Eric: Right. But to take a train or to - because the other thing is that the Jaws ride is in the far back right of the - I want to say - I don't know the cardinal directions. It's the back right end of the corner of the park - of the regular park.
Eric: And the park is to the right of the Universal Islands of Adventure on the left and the Wizarding World is in the back left of that park. So, it's the furthest possible distance from the park entrance and also from each other if they were to build it where the Jaws ride is...
Andrew: Yeah, it's kind of...
Eric: ...which is really cool.
Andrew: It would have to go backstage for a good - the whole thing, the train ride would have to be backstage. And they'd also have to knock out a lot of buildings backstage because - unless it's going to go above them. But then I think they're going to do some sort of tunnel where you obviously don't want to be riding the Hogwarts Express through the back area [laughs] of Universal...
Eric: [laughs] Yeah.
Andrew: ...where there's people walking around in costumes with no heads on.
Andrew: So, I think they would do some sort of tunnel and...
Eric: And have it be like a video thing?
Andrew: Yeah, because I was thinking in Disney when you ride the train, in some parts, you go through these tunnels and you see these sort of stage areas, like you go through a dinosaur world, and you see all these dinosaurs and stuff, and you're passing by them.
Eric: Oh, cool.
Andrew: So, I think it could be something like that, maybe.
Andrew: Obviously not with dinosaurs, [laughs] but...
Eric: No, here I was thinking they would have to teraform the back lot to get it to look like the viaduct and things like that. But you're right, if they just have a tunnel but maybe instead of the windows of the train, it's like a video screen or something...
Eric: ...that shows you the English countryside, that would be...
Andrew: Yeah, that would be cool.
Micah: So, my understanding that how they're going to lay this out is - at least in concept for right now, you would have London and you would have the opportunity to go into an area that would take you to Platform 9 and 3/4, you would get on the Hogwarts Express and you would also have off of London the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron, and somewhere in there would lead you out to Diagon Alley and I guess Gringotts where the ride would be. Is that kind of what people are thinking about? Or am I just making this all up in my head? [laughs]
Eric: I really wonder - I wonder how much of it would be Muggle London because we're talking about Diagon Alley and that's actually still magical. I'm wondering how much of the park would be sort of like Charing Cross Road or any of those kind of famous London - because I think when you're heading towards Jaws, there's The Mummy ride and The Mummy is - obviously as a film - is set in London, in Britain, so I'm thinking that those buildings - I don't really remember if they look British at all or if there's cobbled streets or anything, but they could really theme that whole area to look more British and then by the time you get to the park - or the Harry Potter side of things...
Eric: Even if it's...
Micah: I'm just reading this here, it says:
"Phase 2 of the 'Wizarding World' would include a new section of the park to take over where the 'Jaws' and 'Amity' portion..."
Micah: ...Amityville Horror, right? Is that what they're talking about?
"...portion recently closed down. The rumored plans include a reproduction of London, which would house Diagon Alley - a 'true' location for Ollivander's Wand Shop, Gringotts Bank with an amazing new roller coaster cart ride, and the Leaky Cauldron. Additionally, they would add Platform 9 and 3/4 where patrons would pass through the Muggle side and be whisked away to Hogsmeade Station via an actual train ride on the Hogwarts Express."
Eric: So, we're talking about...
Micah: This is massive work.
Eric: ...two rides.
Andrew: Yeah, that's huge.
Eric: But we're talking about two rides, though. Two rides because we have the Gringotts ride which is the only one they'd really have to develop hard, think hard to develop because they've got to build it underground or in the wall or whatever they do - however they do it. But then the train ride, which would work. But I think they could actually get away with only adding two more rides...
Andrew: Yeah. No, I agree.
Eric: ...but just have it be a nice themed area with obviously the Leaky Cauldron to eat at and all the shops in Diagon Alley.
Micah: Right. [laughs] They see dollar signs in those merchandise shops.
Andrew: Yeah, of course. And I think they would move Ollivander's to the London side.
Andrew: And then maybe put something else there or probably just expand that store that's there. [laughs]
Eric: Well, they said a true location, I think they just mean a bigger store [laughs] because...
Eric: ...those waits for Ollivander's in Hogsmeade is three or four hours on bad days.
Andrew: Yeah, they could just do a second one, I guess, that would certainly help alleviate the wait. Or just redesign Ollivander's completely in the London side and make two or three Ollivander's, but obviously you don't see all two or three of them, you just go into one entrance and you're directed into room one, two, or three.
Andrew: Yeah. So, a lot of big rumors going on. It's - again, 2014 - I think The Wall Street Journal report said 2015 and the L.A. Times said 2014. And then I saw a report today saying 2015/2016, so a lot of this stuff is very...
Micah: Is this for the expansion or for the L.A. park?
Andrew: Both. I heard the expansion was 2014, which I guess could make a little more sense because I mean, they already know - well, they know when they're closing up both parks.
Micah: I was just trying to remember how fast it took the Orlando park...
Eric: To do it the first time?
Micah: ...to develop because I thought we were looking at a further timeline, and it actually ended up being created and opened a lot sooner.
Andrew: Yeah, I'm not sure. It was announced May 31st, 2007.
Eric: I thought so. Or right before the last film.
Micah: And it was open...
Micah: ...in the spring of 2010, right?
Andrew: Yeah, but it was, like, June, right? And it was, like, late June.
Andrew: So, that's just over three years.
Eric: Three years...
Andrew: So, that's not bad, actually. That was pretty quick, yeah.
Eric: That would put it into the 2014/2015 range.
Andrew: Yeah. Yeah, that's right.
Micah: For the expansion, obviously, it depends how much work they would need to do and how fast they start it.
Andrew: Yeah. I mean, I think the expansion probably would have been a lot easier if they weren't doing it over at Universal Studios.
Eric: You think so?
Andrew: Well, yeah, just because - well, I mean, just because of the sheer size of it. I mean, they're going to have to add...
Andrew: ...so much, they've got to build that entire - they have to take out a tremendous amount of stuff to make room for the Hogwarts Express. That's going to be an amazing construction feat that they're going to pull off. [laughs]
Eric: Yeah, but the thing is I'm sure that the merchandise that they've sold thus far has already paid for [laughs] this addition to the park and the next two.
Eric: You know?
Eric: It's spectacular.
Listener Tweets: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Los Angeles
Andrew: Well, we got some comments from those who follow us on Twitter, Twitter.com/MuggleCast. Bradyboy writes:
"I live on the East Coast, won't impact me much, although the crowds will be much better in Florida when I go."
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Eric: That's the spirit!
Andrew: Yeah. I mean, maybe. I'm not sold that this is going to alleviate the crowds. But...
Micah: Well, remember, [laughs] just as we were discussing, you have a few years before those crowds lessen in Orlando.
Eric: [laughs] Go down.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Thomassholan wrote:
"Stoked! An HP theme park within a couple of hours of San Diego, and it won't cost an arm and a leg to go. Once I'm in the park is another story."
Oh, because he's going to be spending a lot of money. taylor_waylor18 said:
"Looking forward to it!"
"I hope they have unique experiences at each park and L.A. is not carbon copy of Orlando."
"So excited! Hogwarts will be a thirty minute drive instead of a five hour flight! Went to 'Wizarding World' Orlando once. Can't wait to see how it compares."
"My first thoughts were: There can only be Hogwarts!"
I guess she meant one Hogwarts.
"But I will still be going. I wish the U.K. would get a theme park instead."
And finally, mariaggonzalez says:
"I couldn't be happier about not having to travel 3,000 miles to go to the 'Wizarding World'!"
So, see you guys, lots of locals here are very thrilled...
Andrew: ...about this.
Butterbeer Tastes Different in Los Angeles?
Eric: Well, the other thing - during the event today, were they passing out Butterbeer? Because I saw...
Andrew: Oh, yeah.
Eric: ...your pictures.
Andrew: This is the best part.
Eric: They had the costumes, right?
Andrew: Yeah, they had the costumes and I wanted to take a picture of one of them, but I felt like it was kind of creepy, [laughs] so I decided not to.
Andrew: But yeah, at the end - and when they invited media to it, they called it a Butterbeer toast to the Wizarding World, they didn't really want to announce it. But they brought out Butterbeer at the end and I have to say, it was so nice to have these fresh Butterbeers. They look just like they came out of the Three Broomsticks in Orlando, just have them here in Los Angeles. I was so thrilled to see that.
Eric: So, that Butterbeer didn't sit on a plane or a train for, like, 35 hours?
Andrew: No, I think they made it there.
Andrew: I think they made it there in the park.
Eric: Which is dangerous.
Andrew: And I hate to...
Eric: I would hate - yeah?
Andrew: Go ahead.
Eric: I would hate to be the courier with that recipe or something, [laughs] carrying it across...
Eric: ...the other side of the coast because spies would want that, you know?
Andrew: [laughs] Right. But I have to say and I hate to put a damper on this, but - and this is not just me, this is two other people.
Andrew: We were all in agreement that the Butterbeer tasted different. Now, it's the same cup.
Andrew: It's the same froth, but something about the soda, it was off. And I jokingly suggested maybe it's the L.A. water.
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Andrew: But I don't know if that's actually [laughs] what the issue is.
Eric: So, it was off. Hmm.
Andrew: Yeah, it was off. Ben - I brought that up to Ben earlier tonight. He suggested, "Well, maybe it's because in Orlando, you're sweating so much..."
Andrew: "...that it just tastes so much more refreshing, whereas here..." [laughs]
Eric: Poor Ben.
Andrew: "...your body is okay, so..."
Eric: He's had a rough go with things in Florida.
Andrew: Anyway, so over the next couple of years, we will continue to update you on this. Hopefully sooner rather than later...
Andrew: ...we'll see at least some concept art about either the expansion or Wizarding World L.A. I mean, because when they announced Wizarding World Orlando back in 2007, we got concept art right from the beginning, so...
Eric: Yeah. Yeah, that's true.
Andrew: ...hopefully we'll see some L.A. stuff soon.
Eric: Maybe. MuggleCast...
Andrew: By the way, J.K. Rowling commented on this...
Andrew: ...in the press release, she said, "I am delighted that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has been so popular with fans since the opening in Orlando last year, and I am sure that the teams at Universal and Warner Bros. will bring their expertise and attention to detail to Hollywood to make this new experience equally as exciting. P.S. Sorry Micah about Pottermore."
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Eric: Wow, she included that right in the whole...
Eric: ...press release.
Andrew: I thought that was nice. I guess...
Micah: That is...
Andrew: ...she knows the way to get to you.
Micah: Yeah. Oh, she knows.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: Okay guys...
Eric: Yeah, what's J.K. Rowling doing, huh? Seriously.
Andrew: I guess planning another theme park. Maybe this is what she's been busy with. Just kidding.
Eric: She could update her Twitter. Seriously.
Andrew: Yeah. Well, don't forget to visit MuggleCast.com, it has all the information you need about this show.
Eric: Yes, of course.
Andrew: We have another episode this month, it is going to be our Year in Review show and also our third or fourth annual [laughs] MuggleCasties.
Andrew: This is, of course, where we give you a variety of categories, you know, the J.K. Rowling award.
Eric: Award. Very, very secretive.
Andrew: Yeah. Most Shocking Story, all these different categories related to Harry Potter, and we're going to be doing the polls online this year and then we will announce the winners on the show. And it will be a year in review and that will be out in a couple of weeks, and that will be it for 2011.
Eric: Right. Onward to 2012.
Andrew: I think that will put us at close to thirty episodes for the year, so that's not bad.
Eric: It really isn't bad.
Micah: Okay, I'm just looking at this right now. The first annual MuggleCasties were in 2008, so this would be...
Micah: ...the fourth.
Eric: I thought so. Very nice.
[Show music begins]
Andrew: 2008, 2009 - oh. Well, that's cool.
Eric: We'll have to copy those old categories and...
Eric: ...see if we can work some new ones.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah, definitely. All right. Well, from Hypable.com, I'm Andrew Sims.
Eric: From MuggleNet.com, I'm Eric Scull.
Micah: And I'm Micah Tannenbaum.
Andrew: We'll see you next time for Episode 248 - 7.
Eric: Live from the Wizarding World...
Eric: [laughs] 247. Live from the Wizarding World California. See you in four years!
Andrew: Yes. Goodbye.
Micah: [laughs] Bye.
[Show music continues]
Written by: The Transcribers