Yes, you read that right. The Walt Disney Company had the chance to feature Harry Potter in Disneyland but failed at impressing the world-renowned author behind the series. Here is why JK Rowling rejected Disney’s proposal.
The Walt Disney Imagineering team developed plans to build a mini Harry Potter ride. It was quite similar to that of Buzz Lightyear’s; instead of the laser gun, a wand would be in its place. However, Rowling was unimpressed and turned to Universal Studios instead.
Were Disney’s Plan Too Small for JK Rowling?
The quick answer to this question is yes. While at first thought of Harry Potter being part of Disneyland did excite some, for instance. The fact of the matter is, Rowling knew what her franchise deserved, and Disney did not think big.
There were two attractions. Basically it was going to be similar to Buzz Lightyear. You were going to be in an Omnimover attraction witha wand instead of a gun, and you were moving through basically a Dark Arts teaching class. The otehr aspect was going to be a Care of Magical Creatures Petting Zoo.Jim Hill, Disney Historian
There were talks about a Leaky Cauldron food station too, but even with that, you’d still be left asking; is that it?
When you think of it, Disney could have done better. With ample space and enough funds, there was definite potential. But Disney planned to dedicate a very small chunk of the amusement part to Harry Potter. Instead of being its own space, they would be a mini-feature in the park. (Source: Looper)
What Was the Definitely Deal Breaker?
You’d think it was bad enough that Disney didn’t give any importance to the Harry Potter brand. Instead, Disney insisted that commercial products like Coca-Cola would be available in the Wizarding World to add injury to insult. Rowling couldn’t stand it one bit. She wanted her creation to remain true to its essence.
It’s safe to assume that the main reason Rowling and Disney didn’t seal the deal was due to the lack of creative freedom. Rowling was unhappy with the lack of her involvement in the project. She felt that it was necessarily marginalized.
And of course, we cannot expect Disney to budge on this since they are not used to not having full control of any project. (Source: Looper)
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios
The falling out with Disney meant good news for Universal Studios. They opened the first Wizarding World of Harry Potter on July 18, 2014, in Orlando, Florida. The opening was a huge success that the theme park started opening more of the attraction to their other locations.
Was Disney Affected by The Loss of the Harry Potter Franchise?
What is certain is that Disney was pressured to make better choices and acquire as many brands as possible. There is a running joke on the internet describing Disney as the Thanos of the film industry as it continues to collect one brand after the other.
While Disney holds rights to various big names in the industry like Star Wars and Marvel, they will be forever known to have lost the billion-dollar franchise of Harry Potter. (Source: Diary of an Aspiring Loser)