Since I moved out of Florida, Universal Studios has opened up a Harry Potter-themed park in Orlando, and it has been a roaring success. So much of a success, that an extension to the attraction has just been announced, called Diagon Alley.
I have never read any of the Harry Potter stories, and only caught a few bits of the movies, when they appeared on TV. When the first movie played in the theaters, my daughter Lindy asked me if I would take her to see it. I said no, but I would take her to the first “Lord of the Rings” movie, which was in the theaters at the same time, because I read J.R.R. Tolkien’s book when I was a teenager, and considered that a better story. We went to see LOTR, and that was that. I can understand why Harry Potter is popular, though.
What got my attention the most was a line in the middle of the article. Quote:
“The new area is taking the place of the former Jaws ride, which closed in January 2012.”
Unquote: I bet the Universal Studios management came to see Jaws as more of a liability than an asset. In March 1998 I worked a temporary job at Universal Studios as a technical writer, and my office was right above the garage where they did repairs on the boats and sharks from the Jaws attraction. Because the sharks have to be in the water, they require more maintenance than any other audioanimatronic attraction in the park. If I ever go back there, I don’t think anything will look familiar.
My Universal Studios assignment was one of the most enjoyable jobs I have had over the years. I was writing the draft of a maintenance manual, for the Terminator 2 attraction. One benefit was that during lunch hour, I could sneak into the park and go on the rides, pretending to be just another tourist — all in the name of research, of course! As long as I was back by 1 PM, everything was all right. Boy, my family felt sorry for me when I came home groaning that I was going to have to do King Kong the next day, LOL.
The only regret I have from working there is that I was given six weeks to complete the draft. I finished it in four weeks, so the job ended two weeks early, too! That was a lesson I did not forget.