Is ‘Harry Potter’ Leaving Universal Studios?

in Universal Orlando

Hogwarts at Universal Orlando Resort's Islands of Adventure

Credit: Brian McGowan via Unsplash

The Harry Potter empire is a multi-billion dollar industry spanning seven books, eleven movies, a Broadway show, and six theme parks – but could that be coming to an end?

Over the past few years, it’s rare to hear a conversation about Harry Potter that doesn’t implicate the controversial actions of its author, JK Rowling. Since 2018, Rowling has put herself at the center of the anti-transgender rights movement, sharing such claims as activists “erasing the concept of [biological] sex” and mocking gender-inclusive language on International Women’s Day by dubbing the occasion “She Who Must Not Be Named Day.”

JK Rowling visits the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan
Credit: Universal Studios Japan

Rowling herself is unbothered by the controversy, admitting that she knew the uproar her beliefs would cause. Fans, however, have been divided by her behavior, with some threatening to boycott HBO’s upcoming reboot of the franchise, as well as actively boycotting “Hogwarts Legacy.”

Over at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios, it’s been business as usual. With one exception – in 2020, Universal issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter asserting: “Our core values include diversity, inclusion and respect for all our guests, as well as our team members. Our theme parks are places where people and families of all types are welcome to enjoy their time together. Beyond that, we have no further comment.”

Guests riding Flight of the Hippogriff in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood
Credit: Universal

Related: HBO Completely Ignoring JK Rowling Controversy In New ‘Harry Potter’ Series – Makes Author Executive Producer

However, some fans are growing concerned about the impact Rowling’s words may have on the future of Harry Potter at the Parks. In a recent Reddit post titled “Is Hogwarts on its way out?” one fan questioned whether the reason Universal Orlando Resort (home to two connected Harry Potter lands) is currently offering so many discounts to Parkgoers is because of the “political unrest” around the franchise.

Do you think one of the reasons Universal Studios Orlando is so cheap right now (as low as $1,200 for two adults staying five days on resort properties with park to park tickets for all three parks AND airfare) (compared to Disney world $3,200 for 2 adults single park tickets no airfare included both 5 days) is due to the fact that Harry Potter is in hot water due to political unrest with LGBTQ+ community and its allies? There was a big uproar when the new video game came out a few months back Hogwarts Legacy. People boycotting banning and even harassing others who streamed the game.

And honestly all things run their course and Harry Potter is decades old now. Those kids are grown.

We want Nintendo World and Universal knows it. It’s competing now not only against the big DW but against its own self in Hollywood where Nintendo World is already open and here in Orlando it won’t open until 2025. Just food for thought.

They went on to speculate that “I think it won’t be long before they tear down Hogwarts and build something more popular with today’s generation and less politically offensive to some groups of people.”

Wizarding World of 'Harry Potter' Hogsmeade at Universal Orlando
Credit: Universal Orlando Resort

While the post raises some interesting points (namely about how every trend ultimately runs its course and the original fans of Harry Potter are now older and potentially even at odds with the series thanks to Rowling), most fans held the opposite opinion.

Users chipped in to stress that “the kids that loved HP are now the adults buying tickets” and are spreading their love of the series on to their children, Rowling or no Rowling. “I don’t see it going anywhere any time soon,” wrote Fabulous-Doughnut-65.

As one user pointed out, it’s Universal Orlando’s Harry Potter attractions that attract the longest queues at the Resort – and discounts don’t always equal poor performance. “Harry Potter is by far the strongest IP, and all of the HP attractions within the parks regularly have the long queue times even on slow days,” wrote BionicBeatLab.

Shopping in Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World at Universal Orlando Resort
Credit: Universal

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“As far as pricing goes, the budget hotels go <$100 a night regularly, and 5 day tickets are sometimes relatively cheap. The theme park industry just isn’t doing as well this year in terms of attendance than previous years, and Super Nintendo World just opened in Hollywood which could be cannibalizing some sales. They’re also building a multi-billion dollar theme park down the street, so Universal could just be looking to collect extra cash (even at a discount) to improve their cashflow while they’re still under construction.”

Ultimately, while there are undeniably moral quandaries for some fans endorsing Harry Potter projects right now, the biggest point proving that the franchise isn’t going anywhere is that it still makes incredible money. “Hogwarts Legacy broke sales records simply because of how popular Harry Potter is,” pointed out Telyn305.

A family walks towards Hogwarts Castle in The Wizarding World at Universal
Credit: Universal

And then there’s the fact that Epic Universe is also set to debut Universal Orlando’s third Harry Potter land. While still not officially confirmed, drone footage and sourced blueprints suggest that this will be themed to the Ministry of Magic when it opens in the summer of 2025. It’s rumored to include an attraction titled “Battle of the Ministry of Magic,” thought to be the Park’s biggest indoor ride.

With the money (and crowds) sure to flood in on opening day, it’s safe to say that we won’t see Harry Potter leaving Universal Studios for the foreseeable future.

Do you think Harry Potter has become less popular at Universal? Let us know in the comments!

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