Universal Orlando announced this morning their classic Jaws attraction and its surrounding Amity area will close permanently on Jan. 2, 2012 “to make room for an exciting, NEW, experience” – and rumors point to more Harry Potter attractions moving in to the area.
Jaws has been a staple of the Universal Studios park for 20 years and Universal promises they won’t forget it, with a “couple things planned to ensure we always remember and honor it.” But for its replacement, they are staying silent at the moment, promising only a “new, innovative & amazing experience” to come.
But with a second version of Universal Orlando’s popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter all but announced for Universal Studios Hollywood in California, a long-rumored expansion of Orlando’s Wizarding World is now rumored to take over the space currently occupied by Jaws.
The existing Wizarding World is located in Universal Orlando’s other theme park, Islands of Adventure. Rumor suggests guests will board the Hogwarts Express train to reach a new Harry Potter-themed area, connecting the two parks.
The Google map below shows the space between the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Jaws attraction, both of which lie on the borders of their respective parks:
However, the areas behind both attractions are backstage or off property, with a major road, businesses, and Universal’s backlot in the way. It would certainly be a major construction project to link the two.
Moreover, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter already has a Hogwarts Express train, permanently parked just outside the main entrance to Hogsmeade Village.
Other rumors of a Wizarding World expansion suggest Universal will take over the whole Lost Continent “island” at Islands of Adventure, which was partially consumed by the Wizarding World when it was first constructed. Universal may have other expansions or attractions to announce beyond Jaws’ closing, as they recently demolished the old Hard Rock Cafe building (not the still-standing one in CityWalk), close to the E.T. attraction, which has been rumored to be on the chopping block for years. Steven Spielberg also recently hinted that the Transformers ride, currently being installed at the Universal Studios Singapore and Hollywood theme parks, could potentially make its way to Orlando – another possible replacement for Jaws (or even E.T.).
Of course, those are all just rumors. What is official is that Jaws will no longer be attacking boats as of January 2, 2012, so get your rides in during the Christmas season while you still can.