The Con is coming to an end, which means I’m taking it easy tonight and packing and leaving bright and early tomorrow. I’m going to post the transcript for my talk when I get home, but in the mean time, I thought I’d wrap up the Con. This is really just an excuse to post the pictures I took of the Park.
The Con itself is a little disappointing. There is some good dialogue still happening about Harry Potter, but not enough of those people came to the Con. In fact, my presentation only had about 15 or so people because everyone was lining up for an event that didn’t start until after my talk that was far more popular than a bit of formal programming. I’m curious how other presentations at the same time went. Additionally, there weren’t as many talks this year worth seeing (in my opinion) than in previous years. Come on, Potter Scholars, don’t be afraid to share! My favorite talks were both by Travis Prinzi of The Hog’s Head, both were themed around Umbridge and her position in the Ministry and her place as an educator. I finally got a copy of The Hog’s Head Conversations and I am very reminded that I need to finish the Potter Project I’ve been working on for a few years. Perhaps that’s the sanity break I need while writing my dissertation.
The Park is well… a nice attempt. Not just as a fan of Harry Potter, but as a Disney-phile with very high standards for what a theme park should be, it’s very disappointing, crowded and the rides are mediocre. The Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is an excellent attraction, and it’s clear that Universal put a lot more thought and money behind that than any other aspect of the park, but I’m not sure that it’s worth the cost in the entire Islands of Adventure to go see. Crowd control is a huge problem, and that alone suggests a huge amount of oversight on the part of Universal Creative. Some of the comments during my presentation pointed out that this is Universal’s first real attempt at a family themed area, but for those familiar with Disney will understand that Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in the middle of Mickey’s Toontown equals a bad time for any traveler. There is a rumoured expansion, but I’m not holding my breath. It’s a nice attempt, Universal, but far off the mark.
Here are some pictures though. Unfortunately, I arrived at the park right before the daily rain shower, so they’re kind of dark because of the overcast:
The entrance to Hogsmeade and the sign going in, says “Please respect the spell limits”
View of Hogsmeade and the Hogwarts Express.
Zonko’s and Honeydukes – the crowds were so ridiculous, I had to stand in line to get in!
The Dragon Challenge (inspired by 1st task of Tri-Wizard Tournament) & The Three Broomsticks
The Hog’s Head Pub & The Owl Post (which has its own postmark).
I love the idea of the bathrooms being “public conveniences” & store fronts (which are dead space)
More Store Fronts.
More Store Fronts & the crowd in front of Ollivander’s for a wand selection. Apparently, it’s not a good presentation. I didn’t do it because the lines were always too long.
Dervish and Banges attached to Ollivander’s and the Owl Post – far too small for Potter shopping – & Hogwarts Castle, which houses Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which is a very excellent attraction (it’s like Soarin’ meets Indy, really cool, but I’m not sure it’s worth the price of Universal)
Hagrid’s Hut (which is NOT a walk-through and very disappointing, plus it’s not made of the correct material) and baby Beaky.
The Flight of the Hippogriff (kiddie ride) & more Hagrid’s Hut.
Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods & interior of Three Broomsticks.
More Three Broomsticks & Mad-eye Moody.
Night of a Thousand Wizards crowd, a special promo event for those of us who bought the add-on for Infinitus. It gave us a few extra hours in the park with no Muggles running around.
Dancing Snape and Hogwarts at Night.
In the Universal promo they showed us during NoaTW, there were headline’s about this out-doing Disney. Sadly, I think they’re mistaken. Nice attempt Universal, but go back to Disney University. Hogwarts is the only successful aspect of the over-crowded land, because it achieves total emersion.