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Universal's Epic Universe | Orlando USA | Theme Park

Pear

Strata Poster
I've never watched any HP movies or engaged with any of the content but if the ride is still good then I won't complain. I still love Forbidden Journey and Gringott's and can follow the story well enough so hopefully the new ride maintains that. I'm moreso disappointed their decision to keep working with JK Rowling after everything she's done and continues to do.
 

Lofty

CF Legend
I've never watched any HP movies or engaged with any of the content but if the ride is still good then I won't complain. I still love Forbidden Journey and Gringott's and can follow the story well enough so hopefully the new ride maintains that. I'm moreso disappointed their decision to keep working with JK Rowling after everything she's done and continues to do.
I think you're underestimating how long master-planning is in process for. They didn't just decide they were going to whack in another Harry Potter area in 2020 (when the first tweet happened). Also, by that point, you're relying on a bucket load of money just simply vanishing and them starting again with the whole designing, commissioning of new rides etc., it's just not feasible.

I think the woman is a ****ing tool, but I still love the Potterverse and can separate her, from her creation that is now so much bigger than her. Because I'm an adult and we all should be able to do so.
 

Pear

Strata Poster
I think the woman is a ****ing tool, but I still love the Potterverse and can separate her, from her creation that is now so much bigger than her. Because I'm an adult and we all should be able to do so.
I agree that the parks can stand apart from her however when her very anti-Semitic goblin creatures are put all around the halls of a ride queue maybe we should take a step back and evaluate what exactly this "art" is trying to portray
 

Lofty

CF Legend
They're goblins. It's fantasy. I can't help but feel that since she's outed herself as a massive ****, people are pulling on anything to have a right go at the brand and concept.

Goblins have been portrayed for years in such a way - I really don't think that it was ever portrayed to represent the Jewish community in such a way. Warner would not have signed on the movie rights thinking this was ever the case. There's literally hundreds of people in departments at these movie companies looking at loss prevention from cases like this arising.

You evidently have your rightful opinion on her - but you're also forgetting that this is a powerhouse of an IP, it will draw families in, they have to keep reference points to the original IP or it won't translate into the physical world.
 

Ethan

Strata Poster
I like Potter, it's part of my childhood, although even I find myself slowly withdrawing from it. I guess partly because we all grow up, but also because Rowling continues to make it harder to seperate her from the work with everything she says/puts out. I know many who don't engage with Potter at all now, and that's their choice. Not my problem tbh.

I do agree that sometimes it's necessary to separate art from the artist, and that if we boycotted every sexist, racist etc there wouldn't be much left. Not a good look to scold someone because they still watch Potter and buy the merchandise etc. Although I would say it's not a good look to berate those who choose not to engage with media because of it's implications, too. Saying "you're an adult, you should be able to separate it like the rest of us" just feels a bit, well... childish?

(not here to start an argument, just wanted to post another unsolicited opinion)
 
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Nicky Borrill

Strata Poster
I like Potter, it's part of my childhood, although even I find myself slowly withdrawing from it. I guess partly because we all grow up, but also because Rowling continues to make it harder to operate her from the work with everything she says/puts out. I know many who don't engage with Potter at all now, and that's their choice. Not my problem tbh.

I do agree that sometimes it's necessary to separate art from the artist, and that if we boycotted every sexist, racist etc there wouldn't be much left. Not a good look to scold someone because they still watch Potter and buy the merchandise etc. Although I would say it's not a good look to berate those who choose not to engage with media because of it's implications, too. Saying "you're an adult, you should be able to separate it like the rest of us" just feels a bit, well... childish?

(not here to start an argument, just wanted to post another unsolicited opinion)
No Argument here... I agree.

No need for anybody to berate somebody else for their personal choices of any sort, unless those choices harm third parties directly, which they very rarely do. Even if you think they're mostly virtue signalling, it causes nobody else any harm, so live and let live. 👍

I do like Harry Potter though, a lot, and I also quite like Man in the mirror, don't think I'd be sending my son for a sleepover though. ;)

(Although I do reserve the right to berate you for having Wodan at No 2! 🙈 😂😜)
 

Dar

Hyper Poster
It's ok to separate the art from the artist, but there are people that won't want to give the artist any money at all. I assume Rowling gets royalties from merch, and got a lump sum when the deal was done.
On the other hand, you could still visit the parks and not buy anything potter related to avoid any money going to Rowling. Unless she gets some other kind of residual from the parks?

Planning our #firstever Orlando trip for 2025 for epic universe, hopefully everything opens together-ish!
 

Pear

Strata Poster
They're goblins. It's fantasy. I can't help but feel that since she's outed herself as a massive ****, people are pulling on anything to have a right go at the brand and concept.
No it's because of the things she's said that people are looking back at her work and realizing there's massive issues like the only Asian character being called Cho Chang and the only black character being named Kingsley Shacklebolt. People are way more aware of issues like this now as many growing up wouldn't realize it while reading.
Warner would not have signed on the movie rights thinking this was ever the case. There's literally hundreds of people in departments at these movie companies looking at loss prevention from cases like this arising.

The film industry itself is extremely racist and works towards white interests. While the issues presented can seem as minor to white people take a second and think about how people of color feel being portrayed as harmful stereotypes in a massive film franchise.
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You evidently have your rightful opinion on her - but you're also forgetting that this is a powerhouse of an IP, it will draw families in, they have to keep reference points to the original IP or it won't translate into the physical world.
And like I said before I'm glad the parks can at least stand separate and supporting Universal is not as directly supporting her as buying her books/movies. However, you have to keep in mind that including said stereotypes only works to perpetuate them and allows people to internalize these feelings as right even though they are biased.

When people of color speak up and say that they do not like these depictions of them in popular media they are often told their concerns and lived experiences aren't real and it's just "fantasy" but when we see so little representation for us it's very disheartening to see popular franchises resort to harmful stereotypes instead of actually being respectful of people's races and cultures.

There wouldn't be much music left to listen to if we totally boycotted all music made by sexists, racists, perverts, bullies, or any other kind of douchebag... Just saying... 🤷‍♂️
Speak for yourself I listen to a wide array of artists that aren't bad people and artists that even uplift and help communities in need. There's way more accountability for artists nowadays and if an artist I really liked ended up being a terrible person I would listen to their music illegally so that I do not directly support them through streaming or sales.
Not a good look to scold someone because they still watch Potter and buy the merchandise etc
I should clarify I'm not trying to shame people but rather would want people (especially white people) to educate themselves on the media they consume blindly and how it can feed into their internalized biases.

Separating art from the artist is important and I'm not arguing against that. However, it is important to evaluate the art you are consuming as many times the artists' biases and subconscious thoughts make their way into the art itself and can explain a lot of behavior on their part. Truly understanding the intensions behind art is very important as is understanding how your own biases factor into your understanding of the media you consume.
 
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Ethan

Strata Poster
I should clarify I'm not trying to shame people but rather would want people (especially white people) to educate themselves on the media they consume blindly and how it can feed into their internalized biases.
Wasn't my intention to imply this, although I can see how you could read it as that. I was speaking just generally! :)
 

Pear

Strata Poster
Wasn't my intention to imply this, although I can see how you could read it as that. I was speaking just generally! :)
I was clarifying my position on this just for my sake. I wasn't trying to assume you were implying that I was shaming anyone rather just trying to get my clear position out there so there's no misinterpretation. I agree with not trying to scold and instead I encourage everyone to do their own proper research and listen to those who take issue with the media.
 

Lofty

CF Legend
No it's because of the things she's said that people are looking back at her work and realizing there's massive issues like the only Asian character being called Cho Chang and the only black character being named Kingsley Shacklebolt. People are way more aware of issues like this now as many growing up wouldn't realize it while reading.


The film industry itself is extremely racist and works towards white interests. While the issues presented can seem as minor to white people take a second and think about how people of color feel being portrayed as harmful stereotypes in a massive film franchise.
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And like I said before I'm glad the parks can at least stand separate and supporting Universal is not as directly supporting her as buying her books/movies. However, you have to keep in mind that including said stereotypes only works to perpetuate them and allows people to internalize these feelings as right even though they are biased.

When people of color speak up and say that they do not like these depictions of them in popular media they are often told their concerns and lived experiences aren't real and it's just "fantasy" but when we see so little representation for us it's very disheartening to see popular franchises resort to harmful stereotypes instead of actually being respectful of people's races and cultures.


Speak for yourself I listen to a wide array of artists that aren't bad people and artists that even uplift and help communities in need. There's way more accountability for artists nowadays and if an artist I really liked ended up being a terrible person I would listen to their music illegally so that I do not directly support them through streaming or sales.

I should clarify I'm not trying to shame people but rather would want people (especially white people) to educate themselves on the media they consume blindly and how it can feed into their internalized biases.

Separating art from the artist is important and I'm not arguing against that. However, it is important to evaluate the art you are consuming as many times the artists' biases and subconscious thoughts make their way into the art itself and can explain a lot of behavior on their part. Truly understanding the intensions behind art is very important as is understanding how your own biases factor into your understanding of the media you consume.
Ok, now you've backed up a little more of your position, which before was isolated primarily to the sections I've covered above. That's understandable you feel such a way - and completely get that you would want to boycott her and anything she's been involved with. Again, for reiteration, I think she's a ****ing tool.

I think, though, as we said - all of these allegations and rightful assaults on her character, beliefs are quite relatively recent. This project has been on the cards for easily 10 years in the planning - it's really not as simple as removing her IP's from the project and reskinning it with the amount of resources and financial backing that's gone into just that one area.

I do think that as a society, we are becoming more aware of the downfalls of people like her - and the outcry from voices that were not once as powerful, are now coming into the spotlight to showcase their distaste and prejudices they've faced. Which in my eyes is only a good thing that can happen.

If you look in history, there's loops of this happening. It's even happened with Walt Disney before.

I feel we're in an age where yes, there's still not proportional representation for people of colour, socio-economic diversity, sexuality or even age, but we are now starting to learn of the errors of the past, and starting to make a difference. A large reason is due to audiences, take Lord of the Rings for example, there's been huge backlash at the fact that an elf was of colour, which is absolutely ****ing ridiculous argument to have. The audience is 100% primarily white, middle-aged men (probably still living in their mother's basement 👀), but there was still difficulties from the studio following it.

When we're discussing art, and artists etc., whilst obviously YES, there is a considerable level of art within theme parks - do the general audience visiting see it as art? No, they see it is a recognisable fictitious environment that they're situated in. Regardless of this being an intellectual property, or something completely made up. As humans we look for understandable and recognisable trends in our every day lives. So, whilst you may not think that adding the movie's versions of goblins is a correct move, politically, socially and responsibly, it is a recognisable asset to connect with from an audience and therefore an emotional connection between the IP, theme park land and end user.
 

Nitefly

Hyper Poster
I've never watched any HP movies or engaged with any of the content but...

🤷‍♂️

I feel obliged to add a little balance to this conversation as I do find some of the criticism to be overzealous.

First off, Kingsley is not the only black character in the series:


Secondly, I'm definitely not suggesting that either of the following examples is conclusive proof of 'appropriate diversity'(...?) in this fictional universe, but I am mindful of this:


And this:


Both could be spun as being ‘baiting/appeasement’ through retrospective cynical eyes but, in reality, both were widely considered ultra-progressive at their respective times (particularly with Dumbledore - it was a huge talking point, as silly as that may seem by modern standards). I’m also mindful that the casting of the Cursed Child was long before everyone was applauding the casting in Netflix’s Bridgerton. To my mind, this does suggest that JK has explored diversity beyond nonchalantly naming a character 'Cho Chang'.

As for Cho Chang, I’m not an Asian woman so I can’t say I know how it would feel from that perspective. But I do question what name would be 'better', considering that the specific ethnicity of this person is never mentioned. Would a more conventional Asian name like Lei Wong have been better, or would it draw the same criticisms…? Or should she have had a conventional non-Asian namesake?

Likewise, I’m not Jewish, so I can’t say I know how it would feel from that perspective either. But, if the goblins are offensive for the reasons mentioned, could any fictional race of 'greedy persons' ever be acceptable? I can’t say that anti-semitism has ever crossed my mind with Harry Potter, nor have I ever looked at the appearance of the Goblins and thought anything about them seemed to suggested a Jewish appearance. I’ve never even heard of such comparisons before this thread. Granted, perhaps you could rummage through the bin of history and pick out a deliberately offensive piece of anti-Jewish propaganda where Jewish people are presented to look like ‘monsters’, but I don’t think it’s fair to deem any ‘comparable monster’ as deliberately offensive for that reason alone.

Finally, some broader considerations:

(I) Could the HP universe be more diverse? Yes, obviously it could be. It’s also obvious that many people in the UK (and outside of it) grow up in non-diverse environments. Are depictions of any non-diverse demographic inherently problematic, or just somewhat reflective of realities that can and do exist? Should everything that is not ‘mindfully engineered to be 100% immune to diversity criticism’ be deemed as ‘problematic’?

(II) These books, which are children’s books, are probably the first place that many children encounter issues of racism (‘mud bloods’) and forced labour (‘house elves’) in a digestible manner that is broadly appropriate for that age-group.

(III) Can wider conversations be had about the casting and portrayal of various races etc in consumable media? Yes, of course.

Despite this mini-essay, I’m not wishing to start lengthy dialogue on this either - just some food for though because, again, I just want to add some balance to the presented hypothesis that there are "massive problems” with the HP series itself.

Taking this back to theme parks, I also think that if if there was a widely held belief that there were such “massive unsolvable problems” with the series, we would not be seeing the franchise being built in the new park. Nobody wants a ‘Splash Mountain 2’.
 

jasone

Roller Poster
And this:


Both could be spun as being ‘baiting/appeasement’ through retrospective cynical eyes but, in reality, both were widely considered ultra-progressive at their respective times (particularly with Dumbledore - it was a huge talking point, as silly as that may seem by modern standards).

As a kid realising I was gay, and at the same time reading Harry Potter, the franchise offered absolutely no diversity or representation for me. I loved it, but JK saying Dumbledore was gay after the fact, but not even mentioning anything of the sort in the original books isn't representation. It's backtracking and appeasing. Also, for a school the size of Hogwarts to have no queer kids... c'mon! The only kid you could make an argument for being queer is Luna Lovegood... and again, nothing mentioned.

I haven't read/seen the fantastic beasts series though, so cannot comment on that. :p
 

Nitefly

Hyper Poster
As a kid realising I was gay, and at the same time reading Harry Potter, the franchise offered absolutely no diversity or representation for me. I loved it, but JK saying Dumbledore was gay after the fact, but not even mentioning anything of the sort in the original books isn't representation. It's backtracking and appeasing. Also, for a school the size of Hogwarts to have no queer kids... c'mon! The only kid you could make an argument for being queer is Luna Lovegood... and again, nothing mentioned.

I haven't read/seen the fantastic beasts series though, so cannot comment on that. :p

Thanks for responding. I can’t say how anyone did or should feel about it, only that I recall how the reveal was generally well received and celebrated in the media at the time. But, it would be false to say there wasn’t any criticism at the time - here’s some further ‘at the time reporting’ addressing some disappointment.


Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell welcomed the news about Dumbledore and said: "It's good that children's literature includes the reality of gay people, since we exist in every society.

"But I am disappointed that she did not make Dumbledore's sexuality explicit in the Harry Potter book. Making it obvious would have sent a much more powerful message of understanding and acceptance."

He isn’t wrong - you can’t argue with that 🤷‍♂️

Along those lines, there’s a more critical ‘at the time’ opinion piece here:


As I mentioned (immediately before I posted the link in my previous post), I definitely don’t think that it’s a conclusive example of appropriate diversity in the series. That said, I do think that to many non-gay people (including me) the ‘reveal’ did make a difference to how gay characters and individuals were perceived generally - a step (of sorts) away from some of the (now) more obviously awkward 80s and 90s representation, towards some of the better modern approaches we see today. But I can appreciate that it fell short for many people.

Could it have been done ‘better’? Yes.
 
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TPoseOnTantrum

Hyper Poster
K gonna shift gears on this one if y'all don't mind. Super Nintendo World.

Faux rails are being placed on the Donkey Kong boom coaster, maybe we'll see further theming placed overtop of them. Keep an eye on the zigzag piece of track - certainly for a jump. There's also a baffling amount of block sections on this layout, considering that it'll be running enough single cars to outdo a wild mouse;
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It'd be unfair not to show current progress of the Yoshi and Mariokart attractions;
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Source & Source & Source & Source & Source & Source
 
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