Diagon Alley Took Disney By Surprise!
I guess it’s no surprise to you and I, that Universal’s $400m budget Diagon Alley really turned out to be an amazing development at Universal Studios.
Some weeks ago, we ran an article that turned out to be one of the most read of 2014 as we delved into just how Diagon Alley might impact on the other parks and guest behaviour.
While we bloggers and park fans braced ourselves for the excitement, we couldn’t help think that this amazing new Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which was created in record time, was going to ruffle a few feathers at Disney.
According to Len Testa, renowned author of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, our thoughts were justified.
In a podcast, he mentions that Disney Executives were not surprisingly among the very first visitors to enter into Diagon Alley, but what they saw, and what they did next, will have a significant effect on the long awaited Pandora: The Land Of Avatar development over at Animal Kingdom.
Len Testa reports that the Disney Execs were so shocked that Diagon Alley was as valuable and immersive, they reported their findings directly to CEO Bob Iger.
The result of this?
About another half billion dollars to go into the Avatar Land budget. (That $500m+ bump up in budget is actually more than the amount Universal spent on the entire Diagon Alley project and will take the overall cost of Avatar Land to about $1bn!)
So, what does it mean for us park guests?
Animal Kingdom’s Avatar Land was already going to be important, but we are definitely in agreement with Len Testa, that Disney are going to spend this money very wisely indeed, on some mind tingling effects and experiences at Walt Disney World.
Our story about Disney’s patented drones from yesterday, now seems to fit into the Avatar theme very nicely indeed!
EDITOR NOTE Let’s hope that a bigger budget doesn’t push the opening date back any further! This project has suffered from huge delays since first announced in 2011 and is currently expected to be complete in 2017!