Mayor of London Wants Potter Fans to Lobby for London Theme Park
June 08, 2010, 06:19 AM
Yesterday, Mayor of London Boris Johnson wrote a column in the Daily Telegraph's Comment section about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction. Johnson was highly critical of the location of the theme park, asserting that whilst he has "nothing against Orlando," he "bitterly [resents] that Orlando is about to become the official place of pilgrimage for every Harry Potter fan on earth."
Voicing his frustration, the Mayor continues, "sometimes [the British] just don't seem to have the gumption to exploit our intellectual property." Johnson acknowledges that all behind The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will "do a magnificent job" but remains disillusioned by the prospect:
I know somewhere that's even better than Orlando at looking like London – and that is London. I want to know why this Kingdom of Potter is not being built in the UK, and I won't be fobbed off with any nonsense about the weather. They built Eurodisney in the Valley of the Marne, where it is at least as cold and drizzly as it is in London – and it has been a triumphant success.
Johnson goes on to talk about the longevity of the Harry Potter series, commenting that he has listened to his children "babble about the detail, the clues and suggestions that become ever richer with re-reading, the emotions evoked and the deep satisfaction that these books evidently give."
The Mayor ends with an appeal to children and parents to write to Warner Bros., Universal and J.K. Rowling to "[bring] Harry home to Britain." You can read the article in its entirety via this link
Thanks to Maryam for emailing in!
what a bufoon, seriously do we have any space for such an attraction in london! should have been somewhere like Scotland but i guess they’ll make more money in orlando as its sun all year round! but boris just wants money!!
I love the idea of having another theme park in London, it would be perfect… I would love to go to Hogsmead during the winter, my children would actually be able to wear their robes!!! :P I always though it was odd to have it in Florida but that is where Universal has its parks… Too bad.
I can under stand why he’s upset, but the park will obviously make more money in Orlando, and it is better to be in a warm setting. He talks about Eurodisney, but what came before Eurodisney? Disney Land and DIsney World in California and Orlando. If it becomes extremely popular, Britain is probably where they would consider most to build a second one. Also, it is a little late to complain. This park has been in the works for like 5 years
hmm, i admit i wondered the same thing but the truth is that Theme Park enthusiasts have always flocked to Orlando.
Furthermore the idea of the theme parks there is to take visitors to exciting otherworldly places, it wouldn’t be too exciting if they stuck only to American stories and locations! Hence Jurrassic Park and Indiana Jones themed rides. It’s a chance to experience something different in your own back yard.
As someone who has actually lived in both countries, I feel somewhat qualified to answer that as far as I can see, it is better in Orlando for 2 reasons: the first is that America does theme parks better than Europe. Hands down. Side note about Euro Disney: it was NOT a “triumphant success” it operated at a loss for several years and is used as the common case study in international marketing classes on what not to do when expanding into a foreign market. They managed to get it to a profitable place, but it was initially deemed a huge scale failure. And this brings me to my second point: the Harry Potter World is housed in Universal Studios. The success of the park is not dependent on this world- ie., when people lose interest in HP (and they will- 5, 10, 20, 30 years from now) there is still the rest of the park there to support it. Warner Bros. made the smart choice by having in Universal— a site in London would have to build a whole park system (hotels, security, admissions, advertising), whereas at Universal that all existed already, they just plugged in the HP info and did a little extra marketing.
That being said, I do agree that it is sad that London didn’t create its own major attraction… but I feel like Johnson is discounting all of the Potter fans who ALREADY made a pilgrimage to London. Some of us went for an event, or to go to Platform 9 3/4, or for a premiere. We understand completely that HP is owned and beloved by the British. Although, in my opinion, he shouldn’t be campaigning for a duplicate park there; he should be trying to make the Leavensden site as magical (pun intended!) as possible! Why aren’t his efforts put into making that place worth crossing an ocean for? Seems to me he has good intentions (I would LOVE London to have a major HP attraction). But like Sirius said, “once again you’ve put your keen and penetrating mind to the task and as usual, come to the wrong conclusion.”
I agree ! Why do we have to cross the world to see the potter theme park. Just grab a plane, take 4 hours flight and you’ll he in Hethrow. Not 12 Hours for Florida !!!
Ok i have nothing against the US, I actually am a fan of US. But anyways. WHY? Why is every Harry Potter related thing being set up in USA? When Harry Potter was created in Europe ! (UK). I don’t live in the UK, so I’m not going into any UK resident fever or anything. But Please ! Does Europe Exist anymore ? Or is The New World [West] taking over?
Wow I love the idea of a UK HP themed zone. Maybe they could turn one of the London side streets into Diagon Alley — that would be amazing. Of course Hogwarts itself would have to be in Scotland!
The Solution: Build one in Europe … at least a replica. Leave the US one alone ! ;P (leave that for US residents) , build one here for Europeans !
Now that I’ve thought more about this, why is he not focusing more on making the ACTUAL film sets, shooting locations, inspirational sites, etc more appealing to toursists? Leavesden is going to be a huge draw, but even in London itself there are so many opportunities to really reach out to people who want to see a piece of the HP world. I went on a two hour Harry Potter walking tour when I was there, but it was thrown together by a company, and I know there’s the taxi tour thing, too. I really think the city would benefit by working with these companies and locations to create a legitimate Harry Potter experience, instead of complaining about loss of income, intellectual property (which really belongs to JKR no matter how he tries to play it), and the like all because of a theme park. When we were on our tour, we managed to pick up over a dozen random people along the way because they heard what we were on about, and wanted to see these things for themselves. I’m totally excited for the theme park, and I can’t wait to go later this year, but there is nothing like seeing all those original elements in person. There’s really a missed opportunity to do it MUCH better (even though I still loved every second of it). I wish they would focus on that.
I tend to agree with him but it is what it is and their efforts now should be in emphasizing the studio and the settings – England/Scotland is on my list and you can bet these are areas that I’ll be seeing so perhaps all in all it’s a win – win.
WB obviously put a lot of thought and consideration into where they would build the park. UK still has a ton of Harry Potter related items, the places where it was shot, as someone said they are preserving much of the sets and having them tourable. Plus Hogwarts is located somewhere in Scotland. Really this park is the only HP related thing big thing that is in the states.
I understand how he is complaining, but honestly it’s who creates the park gets to decide where it is built. Another contributing factor is it’s in another park, so there will be other rides to go on as well, and attract more regular tourists as well. In Florida, there tend to be a lot of tourists in the summertime. I state this as a fact. Therefore, it makes sense that it was built there.
Just read Princess Leia’s response – as Harry likes to say “Brillant!”
Another thing is, they are just now adding finishing touches to this park. My guess is that before they create an entire new one, they will end up planning a new attraction for the park. After all, the Wizarding World has a lot going on.