View Poll Results: Will a Star Wars Land be as amazing as the Harry Potter lands at Universal?

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  • Heck yes, in fact, it will be BETTER!!!

    12 44.44%
  • No way, Potter rules!

    15 55.56%
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  1. #1

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    Star Wars Land vs. Harry Potter Land

    So I've been drooling over all of the videos of Diagon Alley and planning my next trip to UNI in Florida, and it's got me thinking about what a Star Wars land would actually look like. Diagon Alley is an iconic part of the Harry Potter movies (especially the first one) and it has several different very cool shops and restaurants that I can't wait to visit. Hogsmead is the same. In some ways, Universal is incredibly lucky that with Harry Potter the shops are just as much of an attraction as the rides. From the videos I think I could spend a full day exploring the shops of Diagon Alley and never make it on the Gringots ride and while I'd be bummed about missing the ride I'd still very much enjoy myself. I'm trying to compare that to what a Star Wars land would be like and I'm having a hard time envisioning that it's going to be as good. For one thing, every Harry Potter movie is centered on the school, Hogsmead, Diagon Alley, and London. Those are the only worlds that they have to worry about recreating. Star Wars has several different worlds, and the one that shows up most often is Tatooine. However, I can't imagine a land built to look like Tatooine being anywhere near as cool as Diagon Alley. The only iconic thing in Tatooine is the cantina. Disney might rely more heavily on rides for Star Wars land then Universal has to for their two Harry Potter lands, but even with awesome rides I don't see myself wanting to spend much time in a Star Wars land beyond that. Probably the only thing that I can think of that would interest me would be if they built the whole land to look like you're inside the Death Star (kind of like the fully enclosed spaceport idea that they had for Tomorrowland back in the 60's) but I have a hard time envisioning Disney spending that kind of money after they already spent $4B to buy the franchise in the first place. So my guess is that it's going to be a mishmash of various Star Wars worlds and ships, and I don't think that's going to be as cool as what Universal is doing with Harry Potter.

    So what do you think? It is just personal taste, or does Star Wars just not lend itself to a land at a theme park the same way that Harry Potter does?
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  2. #2

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    Re: Star Wars Land vs. Harry Potter Land

    Yes, Star Wars would have to be far more of a mash-up for a theme park environment than Potter - Universal was insanely lucky and smart about their use of location and detail.

    For Star Wars, to get across the most memorable environments, they'd have to force together say the Cantina and Jabba's Palace from Tatooine, the swamps of Dagobah, parts of Cloud City and the Death Star, etc - no organic flow between them. It would feel like a theme park basically - fake by nature, as in, here I am on Tatooine, but oh, over there I can see the interior of Cloud City, or underwater Naboo/the royal palace. That's why Star Tours is already the ideal SW universe attraction - you can traverse the distances in an organic way via the story/Star Speeder.

    There would be none of the 'this is reality' aspects of wizarding London or Hogsmeade, or Radiator Springs, where it can totally envelop you in one environment, unless the creative team stuck to their guns and tried to develop a bunch of specific stuff for one planet in the SW galaxy - maybe downtown of the capitol on Coruscant? But that's rather seedy and essentially like Space Tokyo - doesn't represent a lot of the SW iconography.

  3. #3

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    Re: Star Wars Land vs. Harry Potter Land

    I would have to agree that to theme a land in the way HP was done just wouldn't work just as you stated, there are far too many places to just limit to a few. IMO it would be better the theme restaurants and rides after certain events, as you said the cantina, the pod racers, etc.

  4. #4

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    Re: Star Wars Land vs. Harry Potter Land

    I have no doubt that Star Wars land will be a hit as long as the execution is right.

    But the HP franchise has a huge advantage above all movie lands and that is the shops and restaurants. All of them are detailed and have their own individual environments created straight from the movies and books. People complain about Potter land being a glorified mall but those shops in said mall came straight from the books and movies. Therefore, the shops themselves become like attractions and the merchandise sold fit the environment of each shop adding to the immersion.

    It seems to me that the only land in a Disney Park that comes close to rivaling HP's formula is Carsland. The shops and restaurants are from their films as well and are well detailed. Not sure how well the merchandising has hold up though since opening.
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  5. #5

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    Re: Star Wars Land vs. Harry Potter Land

    In order to do justice to the SW series you'd almost have to do it as a standalone park. Too many "key" locations where you would you lose large parts of the mythology without them, too many groups of characters based in VERY disparate locations if you include the prequels.

    I'm just not convinced SW could function as a standalone gate, nor that it could share with Marvel or some other property with enough space to give them equal time as they "deserve" due to the complexity of the properties.
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  6. #6

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    Re: Star Wars Land vs. Harry Potter Land

    Unlike Harry Potter (or really any previous franchise), Star Wars land could be developed concurrently with the new movies coming out. Maybe the current Tomorrowland doesn't fit into the mold of the existing properties, but that isn't to say a new Planet or location couldn't be introduced in the next film that suddenly makes Tomorrowland feel like a better fit.

    Star Tours for example takes place in the Star Wars universe, but no distinct location in that universe is ever mentioned as the starting point. Other attractions in the Star Wars universe could fit without needing to be tied to a specific location (like a Jedi Temple could exist on any planet).

    I would hope in some way though that they do build replicas of some film locations. I don't see how they would be able to build the Mos Eisley cantina in Disneyland though as I can't imagine the concept would work well without alcohol.

  7. #7

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    Re: Star Wars Land vs. Harry Potter Land

    Quote Originally Posted by MrLiver View Post
    Unlike Harry Potter (or really any previous franchise), Star Wars land could be developed concurrently with the new movies coming out. Maybe the current Tomorrowland doesn't fit into the mold of the existing properties, but that isn't to say a new Planet or location couldn't be introduced in the next film that suddenly makes Tomorrowland feel like a better fit.

    Star Tours for example takes place in the Star Wars universe, but no distinct location in that universe is ever mentioned as the starting point. Other attractions in the Star Wars universe could fit without needing to be tied to a specific location (like a Jedi Temple could exist on any planet).

    I would hope in some way though that they do build replicas of some film locations. I don't see how they would be able to build the Mos Eisley cantina in Disneyland though as I can't imagine the concept would work well without alcohol.
    Eh, don't count Potter out for new material yet. Rowling keeps backsliding.

    To SW, without turning the land into an impressionistic mishmash, what would you do and how to blend them together? How do you efficiently transition between Kashyyk, Endor, Bespin, Coruscant, Hoth, Death Star Mk I, Death Star Mk II, Tatooine's several fairly disparate sets, etc.?

    I can see more Star Tours style rides existing without the greater thematic universe folded around them - we, as customers, are apparently more willing to accept the greater break from theme as long as it's fairly complete... it'd be hard to argue that *inside* Star Tours is themed all that much like the rest of TL, but most people enjoy the interior theming. That might be the only way to handle it coherently without having to monotheme a massive, billion dollar plus investment around a property that there is no one, definitive location to base it from.
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  8. #8

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    Re: Star Wars Land vs. Harry Potter Land

    I take the point about the multiple worlds being a roadblock to total immersion like in HP or Cars Land, but this could be mitigated by making the queue really immersive. If they make Endor Speeders, then give us an Ewok village to wait in. Or a Jedi Temple or Jabba's Palace, or whatever. Immersion on a smaller scale

  9. #9

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    Re: Star Wars Land vs. Harry Potter Land

    I think they could do a multi park deal where each Star Wars land is a different planet. Think about it. Disneyland's could be the Star Tours space port with a Death Star trench run attraction. DCA would be Endor (recreating the Ewok village and adding in the Speeder Bike attraction). Magic Kingdom could have Bespin/Cloud City, Epcot could have Coruscant, Hollywood Studios could have Tatooine (with Cantinas, pod races and all), and AK could have Dagobah.

    Think about the possibilities! Unique lands for each park! Different attractions that prompt people to visit both coasts. Not to mention possibilities with the foreign parks. Unique shops, food and merchandise options.

    The possibilities are endless, just like that galaxy far far away!

  10. #10

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    Re: Star Wars Land vs. Harry Potter Land

    Alright, I had a idea. What about a mini theme park? Think of Future World at Epcot. You could have several different pavillions, each pavillion can represent one of the worlds of Star Wars, with multiple rides, shops, and restaurants inside of each one. Heck, Spaceship Earth practically already looks like the Death Star!!!
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  11. #11

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    Re: Star Wars Land vs. Harry Potter Land

    I don't think you can compare the two franchises really. I will like them both equally I am sure. The HP areas in universal are wonderful and create the spots that appear in that universe and the characters revsit them throughout their years. Star Wars happens in many different spots. If you were to make just Mos Eisley for example. It would be lame because its not a re-appearing place in the Star Wars universe and doesn't really tell a story. They would have to create even more extensive stories that don't exist to make it come alive rather than re-tell a story from the movies/books. I just think each franchise is different and their respective lands will probably be very different as well.

  12. #12

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    Re: Star Wars Land vs. Harry Potter Land

    The fact that Harry Potter was born in the literary world lends itself much better to a theme park in my opinion. It's the details in the writing that brought both the movies and theme park attractions to life. Star Wars is much more broad, and I'd imagine difficult to translate. Now, I think SW can make for some incredible rides, and I hope that happens, but an immersive environment would be difficult.

  13. #13

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    Re: Star Wars Land vs. Harry Potter Land

    I feel like Star Wars is so vast that you could build a land solely themed to a planet like Tatooine or Coruscant and easily surpass the level of detail and immersion of WWoHP. There's 6 (going on 9+) movies, several TV shows (one with 121 epsiodes and tons of awesome locations, and hundreds of books and comics. With that much source material, it can't be that hard to compile a list of awesome shops, restaurants and rides that appeal to everyone, ranging from people who may have not even seen the movie to super fans.

    I think the important thing to remember is that not everything in a Star Wars area has to make you go "I saw that in the movie!!!". Does a Star Wars area lose some of its immersive capability if everything isn't immediately recognizable as being from one of the movies? I don't think so. On the contrary, I think its strengthened. One of the greatest things about Cars Land is that it brought to life places we had seen in Cars and more. The "more" not only gives you more stuff to see, but it gives the impression that this is where the movie takes place, we just weren't shown it all and, to me at least, that makes the area more realistically believable.

    Build a land themed to Tatooine and put the Cantina in, nearly everybody recognizes it. On the other hand, if you put in the Lucky Despot, not only does it make the super fans geek-out a little bit because they recognize it, but it gives everyone a new location to explore that they might have only read about in a book. (It's a giant derelict ship in Tatooine that houses a hotel, lounge and casino [easily changed to a themed arcade]) Adding stuff like this would make a Tatooine area more believable. It would give the area a sense of depth and immersion, a sense that there's more to uncover about Tatooine than what most of us already know about. If it's done right it would completely fit within the area and would give you that "Star Wars" feeling, even to people who previously had no idea what it was. Extending that feeling to things besides what we already know and love as Star Wars (like the Cantina) is what I think will make or break the area.

    Filling up a themed area with things that "feel" like Star Wars that aren't immediately recognizeable from the movies (but may in fact be little-known locations from canon or entirely new creations) also means that special consideration has to be (or, should be) taken when designing the area. Building something that nobody has seen means that you have to more clearly communicate what it is to the Guests, and that means a better experience for everyone. If the Cantina was built, you don't really need to do much other than recreate the set and play the song. People who have seen the movie know that that's where Han met up with Luke and that's why its important within the Star Wars universe, and they would know this without much attention to detail on the Imagineers' part. But that would be lazy storytelling because you're assuming people would know what it is, and to be perfectly blunt, there are people who have never seen Star Wars. If it was built right, there would be hints to the Cantina's backstory that would add layers of detail for everyone, especially fans, and there would be enough visual clues for people who have never seen Star Wars to at least let them know what it is and why its so special.

    The lack of shops and restaurants to just carbon copy from the movies might be a good thing because it would encourage good design and visual story telling, rather than just riding on the assumption that people will know what it is you've built, regardless of how well you actually did it.

    Personally, that's why I feel Star Wars land (if done right) can very easily be better than WWoHP. I'm going to be honest. I've never read any of the Harry Potter books, or seen any of the movies (it just wasn't something that my group of friends were interested in when I was growing up) and I haven't been able to visit the parks myself. Whenever I see pictures or videos of either of the Potter areas sometimes I almost feel like an outsider. Maybe I'm just weird (or stupid) or something, but it seems like WWoHP was built for fans, by fans, with little thought about making it approachable for people like me who have no idea what they are recreating. And sometimes, that leads to the area losing all of its immersiveness, because frankly, I just don't know what it is I'm looking at. I can't just assume "Oh this is X because of Y" like the fans.

    And don't say 'Well, it's your own fault for not reading the books or watching the movies". No, its not. Anyone on here can go on Indiana Jones without having seen the movies and understand the ride perfectly. Anyone can go to Cars Land and understand it without seeing the movie. Anyone can go on Mystic Manor, where all first time riders have no clue whats in store, and understand it perfectly. It's not the Guest's job to come into an area or go on an attraction with existing knowledge about the story their about the be told. If Disney was forced to recreate little-known locations from the Star Wars universe, or create new locations entirely to fill out a Star Wars land, then it would already be ahead of WWoHP in my opinion because the Imagineers couldn't ride on the assumption that people will just know what it is that they're looking at because they've seen it already in a movie.


    (Sorry for the long post, got carried away, haha)
    Last edited by Wow; 07-10-2014 at 11:36 PM.

  14. #14

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    Re: Star Wars Land vs. Harry Potter Land

    Well, I do disagree on some level about people needing to be Potter experts to enjoy a British-tinged 'wizarding' area - magic wands, spells, magical creatures, dark wizards, etc all are accessible ideas without knowing every single character or being an uber-fan: as you suggest with your very good ideas about how to make a detailed and captivating Star Wars area with the Tatooine example, the details would be there for those who noticed. It is of course your right to be less enthralled with Potter as media, but I think it is fair to say many people who not read the books/up on the movies familiar with tropes about witches and wizards and 'magical' adventure.

    As you mention, a lot of the stuff in Diagon Alley has truly never been seen or written extensively about in the books or films: some is hinted at or mentioned briefly, but most of the locales you never see the inside of or certain whole stretches of the district - it's extrapolated from what is on screen and packed with details that are new to fans as well, exactly as you rightfully suggest would be awesome in the potential SW areas.

    Your Star Wars ideas are great though and I truly hope will be the way Imagineers tackle it if making a large-scale themed environment for a future Disney park - I may not rate such 'better' than Wizarding World, as I favor the books of Potter more than the Star Wars films, but I absolutely want something that nuanced and well-designed and would appreciate and enjoy such. I want Disney to knock it out of the park as it were and overcome potential challenges, not just do 'the easy way'.

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    Re: Star Wars Land vs. Harry Potter Land

    Quote Originally Posted by Big D View Post
    So my guess is that it's going to be a mishmash of various Star Wars worlds and ships, and I don't think that's going to be as cool as what Universal is doing with Harry Potter.
    Actually with the Sarlaac Pit, Battle of Hoth, Cloud City, Jedi Temple, The Cantina, Death Star, Endor, Kashyyyk, Millennium Falcon, X-wings, and many more to choose from, it sounds incredibly cool.

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