Just announced today, Universal is planning to make a Harry Potter theme park (follow the link for pictures and info), complete with Hogsmeade Village, Hogwarts castle, and the Forbidden Forest....I've spent all day trying to figure out what I think about it, and I think I've arrived at the word "lukewarm".
Don't get me wrong, I think it's kind of exciting and I think I'll probably go. It's just that--one of my favorite things about the books is that they provide so much "scope for the imagination"--I'm afraid that maybe an amusement park might be too real.
With few exceptions (ahem, Gambon) I've accepted the changes made in the movies without complaint, and even enjoyed them. But, the thing about the movies is--due to the miracle of modern cinema and it's ability to suspend reality--they're still very much more like I see Hogwarts in my imagination. For example, when Harry rides Buckbeak in Prisoner of Azkaban there are no strings; the Leaky Cauldron is dingy and dirty; Hogwarts castle looks as if it would be cold and damp. Due to, among others, the miracles of modern safety and sanitation, those things just aren't going to be possible at an amusement park.
And the concept drawings have me nervous about even the stuff that can be done. They have snow in Hogsmeade, which leads me to the question--will the snow be there year round? Because I'm having trouble imagining myself feeling transported by fake snow in Florida in July, ya know?
And the other people....Like many a twelve-year-old, I've sometimes thought about how much fun it would be to quit my day job and fly off to Hogwarts. But in my imagination, I'm the only one...there are no pushy people with fanny packs trying to get ahead of me in line.
And the characters themselves....how are they going to do that? Somehow I don't think Daniel Radcliffe is going to give up his acting career to move to Florida and play Harry. Even if he did, he's getting too old for the part by the day. Are they going to have dozens of dressed up teenagers running around the park as "Harry" for little kids to swarm?
Sorry to be such a downer. I really do think that, overall, it will be fun. I just don't think the "real" Hogwarts can possibly live up to the fantasy.