Monday, July 12, 2010

Is Universal's Harry Potter the Worst Marketing/Research Job Ever?

Here's a picture of the queue line entrance to the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal's Islands of Adventure, taken about noon on July 7th, 2010.  The end is actually located between Toon Lagoon and Marvel SuperHero Island- three lands and at least a mile away.

The path to Harry Potter is marked via masking tape on the ground.  Universal was obviously caught with its pants down and badly underestimated their market.   Just as there are perils for spending too much, there are also ones for been to cheap.  They've already opened up the land to Universal Hotel guests an hour before the official opening and it still is well undersized for the demand.

For those of you who never make it, here's a picture of inside of the Wand Shop, the most popular location in the land.  Once you've gone through the two hour line to get into the Wizarding World, it's another hour plus line to get into the Wand Shop.   If you want to go straight to the gift shop, that's another hour wait.

They take roughly 14 guests as a time, pick out two, and magically select wands (via a number of cheesy doorbell switch activated special effects) from the cupboards for both of the selectees.

There are sixteen different models of wands available in the gift shop, priced at $29 each.  Not sure if they really have unicorn hard inside them as claimed.

With it's three rides (two of which are off-the-shelf iron rides having no relationship with the Harry Potter series), some poorly merchandised shops, no characters, and even a 45 minute wait to get some Butter Beer, one can only conclude that Universal could have done better.  Much better.  No doubt there will be some improvement in their other parks in the upcoming years.