Some things just don’t come out as planned, as we know from one of our past lists concerning Disney theme parks that were never built. It’s just that some plans work and others don’t whether they be original themes by Disney itself or franchises licensed from other companies and labels.
Believe it or not, one of the properties Disney was going to interpret into attractions in their theme park years ago was Harry Potter. Indeed, back when the film adaptations of J.K. Rowling’s books were still young, the House of Mouse presented a proposal for acquiring the ride rights from their rival studio Warner Bros.; the plans however were meh.
How bland were these planned attractions for Potter in Disney? We’ll list and explain why:
- DADA Class ride – There was a plan to make a Potter adaptation of Buzz Lightyear: Astroblasters, with guests riding the Disney Omnimover system through a Defense Against Dark Arts class gone haywire. They would use wands to zap at things in the ride screen to rack up points.
- Magical Creatures petting zoo – Disney had looked at the Triceratops Encounter at Universal Studios theme park and thought they could make their own version, but using the Potter-verse’s hippogriffs, thestrals and whatnot.
- Leaky Cauldron quick-service restaurant – based on the London establishment serving as a front to enter Diagon Alley
These attractions were to be included in a Harry Potter themed mini-land according to theme park historian Jim Hill. Unfortunately it was plain to J.K. Rowling that the creative team wasn’t trying at all. Thus, the deal fell through and Universal scooped up the attraction rights instead.
They would create the “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” themed area in Universal Studios Japan, which has been operating since 2014. This would spur Disney to focus their efforts on properties they already own. Universal’s Potter success would thus lead to the development of “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” and Marvel-themed lands in Disney theme parks, opening from next year to 2020.