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Comparing theme park ride show building sizes

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Article by Don Gworek

A friend of mine asserted that the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride in Universal’s Islands of Adventure is in the largest show building in the world. That didn’t seem right, so I pulled out my phone and Google mapped to prove what I thought – that the Revenge of the Mummy building at Universal Studios is bigger. Later at home, I decided to compare some other theme park buildings at the same scale. I hope you find this collage as interesting as I do.

In the photo collage below from Google Maps, all of the buildings are presented in the same scale. Land is The Land pavilion at Epcot, AA is the American Adventure at Epcot and Speedway is the Mickey Mouse-shaped lake at the Walt Disney World Speedway outside of the Magic Kingdom.

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4 comments

Nick Lepa November 3, 2010 - 4:40 pm

You forgot to take into account the height of each building. Also, google maps isn’t a great way to scale a building. If you ever test the zoom and look at the “foot/ meter” scale in the bottom left corner, it stays at the scale of 200 ft for a few “zooms”. You are correct about the Mummy ride, being bigger though. And all the buildings at Islands/ Universal are to scale with each other. But you can’t compare Universal to Disney, because google maps works by piecing hundreds of photos taken from space together and sometimes they are not to scale with each other, that is why some areas on google maps are darker in some areas then others. So the only real way to tell the true size of each building is by reading the blueprints. But good article!

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micsaund November 4, 2010 - 10:29 am

Very interesting article. Even if the scales are a bit off, it’s still neat to see the relative sizes/etc. I’ve spent lots of time on the satellite views looking at the “behind the scenes” stuff like the show buildings, but never really thought to compare them in scale.

As Nick stated, it does seem like many of Universal’s buildings are 2,3, or 4 stories high, so doing a volume comparison would be cool, but would take access to the blueprints or something similar.

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Jason Snyder November 8, 2010 - 11:52 am

Good post. It is humorous to see how small Hogwarts Castle really is in relation to the show building. They have done a good job theming the Harry Potter area, but I was underwhelmed by the scaling and perspective used for Hogwarts. My mind’s eye wasn’t as tricked as I wanted it to be.

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