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Mayor of London Wants Potter Fans to Lobby for London Theme Park

Posted by: Rosi
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!

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580 Points

I have never heard of this guy before, but seems like a weird thing to be complaining about! I will always connect Harry Potter more to London than the theme park in Orlando because that is where it was born in my eyes. I would still like to visit London to see the sites where Harry Potter was filmed etc….

Posted by Rosie016 on June 09, 2010, 12:18 PM report to moderator
1111 Points

i totally agreee!!!!
they should build exactly the same one here too !!
that way people who live in britain can go too (it’s rather expensive to go to orlando!)
and also the makers wanted it to be an all british movie with british actors and set in BRITAIN so why build it in america and not in BRITAIN!!!!
america always seem to get EVERYHTING !!!
they should build one exactly the same in Britain;

even if they don’t… im still gonna go even if i have to walk it and swim it there!!!!!

Posted by Harrypotterultrafan on June 09, 2010, 12:33 PM report to moderator
2635 Points

I hope they do. I think it would be a more natural feel for the weather and story. Not to mention all the fans in costume won’t pass out from heat stroke.

Posted by beallgood01 *WBM* on June 09, 2010, 01:00 PM report to moderator
115 Points

I think he is defently right.

Posted by PotterWatch {OneNightOnly} on June 09, 2010, 01:29 PM report to moderator
524 Points

‘Everyone knows that there are more fans in America than England’. I’d change that ‘Everyone knows that there are more PEOPLE in America than England’. Having it built in America has absolutely nothing to do with which country has the more fans. America just have more money and more room. Having thousands of Americans flock here at once would be bad for the UK. So despite the earlier comment I made, we do have Leavesden Studios where it all began, and to me, that’s worth shouting about just as much as the America having the WWoHP.

P.S. I still think Boris Johnson is a bit of an idiot :)

Posted by Mr. Tom *ROAR* on June 09, 2010, 01:48 PM report to moderator
41 Points

For crying out loud: they built The Dome and that place ain’t sacred to ANY tourist visiting London!
Then again: the US is devoid of any magickal place (except for Salem perhaps and all of the Holy Natice American land they so delicately pillaged) so this will be it: a bought-in franchise!
Off course HP has to come to London! But what would even be more fantastic is to have different places dispersed all over the UK: bare with me.
You arrive in London and check into a hotel not unlike the one in the Azkhaban movie. While in London you can visit Diagon Alley and the Leaky Cauldron (perhaps vanish underground while being on the phone).
If you have a big family, you could drive up to Surrey and stay in a Dursley-like residence.
After that, by all means, platform 9 3/4 will gladly get you on a train to Edinburgh to stay in the BIG themepark, but with the travelling you’d already have done, it’d be like the real thing.
Well, if you have the money for that kind of thing anyway.
Flying to Orlando with a family of four, including the whole bit… I don’t know.
Cranky jetlagged Belgians cueing for 5 1/2 hours, temperatures of 6000°?
(Here’s a quote from a colleague of mine who’s on the same magicians forum: “I was at one of the ‘soft’ openings this weekend, and I have to say they have done a fantastic job! The new ride through Hogwarts is fantastic, but be warned – the ride line is designed to accomodate a 5 1/2 hour wait according to Universal cast members. The ride technology is incredible, like nothing you’ve experienced. I won’t spoil it but I will say that you feel like you are actually in the film during some portions of the ride.”).
What kind of magical experience is that? 80.000 people cueing everywhere?
Lukewarm Butterbeer?
No, let London be next, please.

Posted by Cyrillus Van Helmont on June 09, 2010, 03:35 PM report to moderator
4208 Points

There is certainly no good reason not to have a Harry Potter World in England. It would be much easier for people in Europe get to than Florida. Why not have two HP Worlds?

Posted by Fresca ROAR on June 09, 2010, 03:57 PM report to moderator
27 Points

Yeah, Boris Johnson is a bit of an idiot, but I have to say I sort of agree with him here. I can see why it was built in America – I mean Warner Bros. is American obviously, and these sort of massive theme parks are really American. In some ways I don’t know if we could pull it off as well over here. There’s more space as well I guess, although to be honest I say just knock down Alton Towers and put it there. Or like, the Olympic stadium. Do we REALLY need to host the Olympics? Haha, I’m joking…kinda. :P

But yeah, I think it’s a shame because Harry Potter is one of the best cultural things to come out of Britain and one of the few massive global successes that we can claim. It’s a shame that we’d have to make a huge trip to visit this place, although I’m sure it’d be worth it. I can’t begin to explain how terrified of flying I am, but going to a life-size Harry Potter world would be like all my childhood dreams come true. If I’m ever as rich as J.K. Rowling I’m going to buy it and live there. :D

Anyway, while I can see where he’s coming from and I wish we could have this in Britain, I think it’s pretty ridiculous to expect them to dismantle the park and bring it to England…I mean come on Boris. It is where it is and I guess we’ll all just have to save up and overcome our fears of flying/heavily sedate ourselves before flying in order to go there.

In the mean time I live in the Westcountry (where Harry Potter is originally from after all :P) and apparently Diagon Alley is based on a street in the city where I go to college. So I’ll just hang out there. Or we can go to the Lake District or that cathedral place they use to film some of Hogwarts. Oh yeahhh. Just use your imaginations a bit. :)

Posted by beckyrw on June 09, 2010, 04:46 PM report to moderator
63 Points

Boris Johnson was probably just mentioning this in passing, people are going into way too much of a rant over what he’s said.

To be brutally honest, he’s both right and wrong. I feel that the park being in its native environment would have been a lot more fitting, in good ol’ Bonny Scotland. It’s unfair to say how the UK has the sets and such like because these obviously haven’t been exploited as much and aren’t as exciting as the park.

But, on the other hand, there will be a significantly higher revenue from the park being in Orlando than London, let alone Scotland.

Posted by TheLostPotter on June 09, 2010, 07:44 PM report to moderator

Okay, I find it so funny that someone on here made the somewhat childish quote of “America gets EVERYTHING!” As if some great Santa Claus-like figure was handing out parcels to each country, and America was the spoiled child. America has the park because America built the park…end of story. It’s true that J.K. Rowling had to give her blessing in order for the park to be created in the first place, but beyond that, an American company was willing to make a risky and costly investment. The park was built in an area which was already conducive to tourism, where the weather is fairly stable all year around (in other words, even though it might be more realistic and dramatically satisfying to base Hogwarts or Hogsmeade in a British setting, I have a hard time figuring out in my head how they would operate things like roller-coasters in the dead of winter…I live in Minnesota, where the main theme park, Valleyfair, is pretty much only open for 3 or 4 months in the summer, because come winter we get snow and blizzards aplenty). As I already stated, I totally understand the reluctance of someone to cross an entire ocean in order to go to a theme park, and maybe (in fact, almost certainly) there should be one constructed in Britain. However, the British people would have to foot the bill, and they would have to accept the fact that they would be receiving international visitors (including all of us “ugly” Americans).

I guess I just didn’t know so many Britons were ultra-patriotic about Harry Potter. Most of the talk on here sounds more like jealous Ron in Goblet of Fire, complaining of “fraternizing with the enemy”, rather than Hermione, talking about “magical international cooperation…to make friends.”

Posted by critterfur on June 09, 2010, 08:57 PM report to moderator
234 Points

Yeah, it’d be more “authentic” if it were built in England…
But there’s something happening at Leavesden, right?

The thing is, if they just built it in London, some fans would miss out, and if they stuck to Orlando, then other fans would miss out. The only solution is to have both, given that HP is such a worldwide phenomenon :P

P.S. Australia would like a park too, while you’re at it. Land is cheap around here!

Posted by stella8h8chang on June 09, 2010, 09:30 PM report to moderator
3797 Points

alright so i LOVE london but, this really seems quite stupid! I mean, I don’t really think it matters where the heck WWoHP is placed! come on, britain got to have ALL the HP fame with the whole SERIES and everything- the movies- let america have a little half! it’s not like it has to be ENTIRELY british. i don’t think he should be fussing over it like that.
at the same time I think people in london do deserve more access to stuff like WWoHP. so i guess i half agree :)

Posted by Scarhead on June 09, 2010, 10:25 PM report to moderator
3797 Points

alright so i LOVE london but, this really seems quite stupid! I mean, I don’t really think it matters where the heck WWoHP is placed! come on, britain got to have ALL the HP fame with the whole SERIES and everything- the movies- let america have a little half! it’s not like it has to be ENTIRELY british. i don’t think he should be fussing over it like that.
at the same time I think people in london do deserve more access to stuff like WWoHP. so i guess i half agree :)

Posted by Scarhead on June 09, 2010, 10:25 PM report to moderator
3134 Points

I totally get his point … and I think it would be great to have a UK park, too! But, let’s not argue about why the first park is in America, Mr. Mayor. You’re too late. It’s already here, and JKR approved it, and it’s going to be totally awesome. And a park in England would be awesome, too, so stop whining, sir, and make it happen! I’ll visit! :o)

1317 Points

Agree with him but as they say in politics “follow the money” and it leads straight to Orlando and the deep pockets of Universal and WB. That being said why doesn’t the mayor or who ever make the most of what they already have. Leavesden studios, Kings Cross and other sites where shooting occured and set up somethin totally different then a theme park with rides. They have all the costumes, accessories and backdrops – use the darn things to do some different and awesome.

Posted by hewy on June 09, 2010, 11:25 PM report to moderator
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