Does Disney Own Harry Potter? Uncovering the Truth Behind the Wizarding World

As one of the most successful media franchises ever created, Harry Potter captivates fans worldwide with its magical stories and characters. But does the Walt Disney Company have a stake in the Wizarding World? With Disney’s vast influence across entertainment, many wonder if they own the rights to Harry Potter too.

The simple answer is no – Disney does not own the Harry Potter IP or production rights. Author J.K. Rowling retains full control of her intellectual property, while Warner Bros. owns the rights to produce Potter films.

In this article, we’ll break down exactly who controls the different aspects of the Harry Potter franchise. We’ll uncover why Disney never secured the Wizarding World rights, where you can experience Potter-themed attractions, and what the future holds for Harry on page, screen and beyond. Let’s explore the players behind the magic!

Does Disney Own Harry Potter

Who Owns the Rights to Harry Potter?

Like most mega-franchises, different Harry Potter rights are distributed across various holders:

  • Intellectual Property Rights: Owned exclusively by J.K. Rowling
  • Publishing Rights: Scholastic (US), Bloomsbury (UK)
  • Film/Media Rights: Warner Bros. Entertainment
  • Theme Park Rights: Universal Parks & Resorts

This strategic split allows creators like Rowling to retain control of their creative IP, while licensing distribution rights across books, movies, merchandise and more. Next we’ll break down this structure more closely.

A More Thorough Breakdown of Who Owns Harry Potter

While J.K. Rowling owns the overarching intellectual property of her magical world and characters, she has partnered with other companies to bring Harry Potter to life across various media:

Intellectual Property Rights

As the creator and author of the entire Harry Potter universe, J.K. Rowling retains full ownership and creative control of all Harry Potter IP and characters. This allows her to dictate the direction of stories, characters, spinoffs, merchandising and partnerships.

Rowling approves and often collaborates closely on new Potter projects across books, films, video games, theme parks and theater. But she licenses certain distribution rights to companies like Scholastic, Bloomsbury and Warner Bros.

Publishing Rights

While Rowling controls the IP, Scholastic and Bloomsbury hold exclusive publishing rights in various territories:

  • Scholastic: Owns print and digital book publishing rights for the US Harry Potter market
  • Bloomsbury: Controls print and digital book rights for the UK Harry Potter market

These publishers cannot create new stories or alter content without Rowling’s approval. Their rights are limited to printing and distributing the Harry Potter books in their respective geographies.

Film/Media Rights

Warner Bros. Entertainment owns comprehensive media rights to the Wizarding World franchise including:

  • Production rights to all Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films
  • Digital/home distribution rights
  • Gaming rights to develop Harry Potter video games
  • Merchandising rights for movie-related products

Again, Warner Bros. cannot create new narrative content without consent from Rowling herself. Their rights center on adapting approved stories into films, games and merchandise.

Theme Park Rights

In an exclusive partnership, Universal Parks & Resorts holds the long-term theme park rights to build Harry Potter themed lands and attractions worldwide. These rights will keep Wizarding World lands limited to Universal Orlando and Hollywood parks for the foreseeable future.

Through strategic licensing to partners with specialized resources in each domain, Rowling retains creative authority while allowing fans to engage with Harry Potter globally across books, film, merchandise, theme parks and video games.

Why Didn’t Disney Get the Wizarding Franchise?

Given Disney’s dominance across entertainment media today, many wonder why they didn’t secure rights to bring Harry Potter into their creative ecosystem.

There are a few key reasons Disney didn’t acquire rights:

Established Warner Bros. Partnership – Rowling initially licensed Potter film rights to Warner Bros. This partnership gave Warner Bros. a first-position advantage when negotiating theme park and gaming rights.

Universal’s First Mover Advantage – Universal Creative pitched an immersive Harry Potter world concept to Rowling before Disney, winning crucial early approval and cementing theme park rights.

Disney’s Existing IP Investments – Developing a whole new franchise requires substantial investment, which Disney was already pouring into Star Wars and their core Disney/Pixar IP.

Rowling’s Creative Control – Rowling prefers close collaboration with license holders and may have seen Warner Bros. and Universal as more flexible creative partners.

Still, Disney likely sees value in the Harry Potter IP. While IP ownership seems firmly set, Disney could potentially acquire some specific rights in the future.

Can Disney Buy Harry Potter?

While unlikely in the near term, Disney could potentially attempt to acquire certain Harry Potter rights in the long run. However, there are significant barriers to overcome:

Massive Valuation – Industry experts value Harry Potter IP over $25 billion currently. Acquiring part or all of such a huge asset would be massively expensive even for Disney.

Warner Bros. Entrenchment – Given their 20+ year partnership with Rowling, Warner Bros. will fight hard to retain their lucrative Potter rights and associated Wizarding World revenue.

Rowling’s Approval – Rowling would likely block any attempt to fully transfer Harry Potter IP ownership. She may consider select licensing deals but wants to maintain control.

Universal Contracts – Universal’s long-term theme park rights would remain secure from any IP shifts. Their Potter lands aren’t going anywhere.

Disney has the resources to acquire Harry Potter rights if they become available. But Rowling seems committed to her creative partners for the long haul, making a sale very unlikely.

Is Harry Potter Disney or Universal?

To clarify a common area of confusion, while Disney does not own Harry Potter, Universal Studios does not outright own it either. They license very specific theme park rights from J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros.

Neither Disney or Universal fully owns the expansive Harry Potter IP, characters, and universe. That remains under the control of creator J.K. Rowling and her trusted partners. Rowling has simply licensed selective rights to bring Harry Potter experiences to life across books, film, theme parks, and merchandise.

Is Harry Potter Disney or Universal

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Via their exclusive theme park rights agreement, Universal Studios has brought Harry Potter magic to life at two iconic theme park lands:

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade

This hugely popular land at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Orlando opened in 2010. Within the village of Hogsmeade, guests can sip Butterbeer, tour Hogwarts Castle and experience rides like Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley

Added in 2014, this second land at Universal Studios Florida immerses guests in the magical wizarding shopping district of Diagon Alley. Key attractions include Escape from Gringotts Bank coaster and the Hogwarts Express train connecting the two Potter lands across both theme parks.

These vibrant lands capture the fantasy, adventure and fun of Harry Potter through immersive environments, authentic food and drink, enchanting shops filled with magical creatures and items, and groundbreaking dark rides.

Where is the Harry Potter Theme Park?

Currently, the only official Harry Potter theme park lands exist at two locations:

Universal’s Islands of Adventure – Orlando, Florida

Home to Hogsmeade village and Hogwarts Castle attractions

Universal Studios Florida – Orlando, Florida

Features Diagon Alley shopping district and connected to Hogsmeade via the Hogwarts Express

An additional Wizarding World land is also open at Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles, allowing West Coast visitors to experience the magic.

Thanks to Universal’s exclusive rights, J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world remains limited to Universal Orlando and Hollywood parks for the foreseeable future.

What Can You Do at the Harry Potter Theme Park?

Guests exploring The Wizarding World of Harry Potter lands can:

  • Tour Hogwarts Castle and see iconic locations like Dumbledore’s office
  • Brave pulse-pounding roller coasters like Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Escape from Gringotts
  • Wander the magical shops of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley
  • Interact with animatronic characters and magical creatures
  • Feast on Harry’s favorite foods like Butterbeer and cauldron cakes
  • Have wands choose guests at Ollivanders and learn spells with interactive wands
  • Meet Hogwarts students and professors
  • Board the iconic Hogwarts Express train between Hogsmeade and London King’s Cross Station

These richly detailed lands make fans feel they’ve truly stepped into J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World. It’s no surprise Universal’s Harry Potter experiences remain some of the most popular theme park attractions globally.

Where Can You Watch Harry Potter Movies?

While Disney does not own the rights, fans can still watch Harry Potter films through various streaming platforms and services:


NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service offers on-demand access to the full Harry Potter film collection as well as Fantastic Beasts movies. Subscribers can stream instantly.

Prime Video

For fans with Amazon Prime subscriptions, both Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films can be rented or purchased via Prime Video. Prices typically range from $3 to $5 for 48-hour movie rentals.


All eight Harry Potter films were available for years on HBO Max, but left the platform in August 2022. The movies could potentially return in the future.


Of course, fans can always access the full Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts libraries of Blu-Ray combo packs. This allows watching both at home and on the go.

While not available on Disney+ yet, fans still have plenty of subscription and purchase options to experience the magic of Harry Potter films.

Can You Watch Harry Potter on Disney Plus?

Harry Potter films are not currently available to stream on Disney+, and likely never will be. While some fans suggest Disney could acquire rights one day, the movies remain exclusive to other streaming platforms for now.

Similarly, Fantastic Beasts films are unavailable on Disney+ as Warner Bros. retains exclusive distribution rights. So don’t expect the Wizarding World to fly over to Disney+ anytime soon!

Is Harry Potter Leaving HBO?

In a bit of a shakeup to the streaming landscape, all Harry Potter films left HBO Max in August 2022 after being available for years. An exact reason was not provided, but rights reverted back to NBCUniversal.

The good news for fans is the series became instantly available on NBCU’s Peacock after departing HBO Max. So subscribers still have access to stream the Harry Potter collection.

While the movies could potentially return to HBO Max one day, their departure underscores how rights to franchises can shift between streaming platforms. For now, Peacock remains the exclusive streaming home.

Does Disney Own Star Wars?

In contrast to Harry Potter IP, Disney does fully own the complete Star Wars franchise after acquiring Lucasfilm in 2012. This landmark deal transferred ownership of all Star Wars IP, subsidiaries, sequels, spinoffs, and extensive merchandising rights to Disney.

This granted Disney unlimited rights to produce new Star Wars films, television series, games, books, theme parks, and more all in-house. Disney has already released several new Star Wars films with much more content in active development.

Disney Own Star Wars

Owning Star Wars outright gives Disney unmatched creative control and revenue generation from one of entertainment’s most valuable properties. It also led to the creation of the epic 14-acre Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge lands at Disney Parks worldwide.

Is There a Star Wars Land at Walt Disney World?

Yes, Disney World visitors can fully immerse themselves in the Star Wars universe thanks to Disney’s ownership. The sprawling 14-acre Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios park in 2019.

This visually stunning land transports guests to the remote planet of Batuu, featuring iconic attractions like Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run rides. Authentic architecture, alien languages, Star Wars merchandise and even themed food complete the experience.

A Star Wars Land at Walt Disney World

Galaxy’s Edge represents the new gold standard in Disney theme park immersion. Its runaway success further highlights the benefits of Disney owning crown jewel IP outright rather than licensing.

What Else Has Disney Bought?

Beyond Star Wars, some other high-profile Disney acquisitions over the years include:

  • Marvel Entertainment: Gained rights to Marvel characters and properties in 2009
  • 20th Century Fox: Acquired Fox movie and TV studios in 2019 deal worth $71 billion
  • Pixar: Bought longtime creative partner Pixar Animation in 2006

These purchases have strengthened Disney’s dominance across entertainment media. However, the company has so far been unable to add Harry Potter magic to their unrivaled IP arsenal.

What Companies Does Disney Own?

Today, Disney’s empire spans a wide portfolio of subsidiaries and partners across entertainment, including:

Walt Disney Studios – Owns renowned studios including Walt Disney Pictures, Disney Animation, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Studios and Searchlight Pictures

Media Networks – Disney properties including Disney Channel networks, ABC Network, ESPN, FX Networks, National Geographic Partners

Parks & Resorts – Iconic theme parks, cruise lines, adventures and vacation club properties worldwide

Consumer Products – The world’s largest licenser spanning toys, apparel, home goods based on Disney, Pixar, Marvel brands

Technology – Disney Streaming Services including Disney+, ESPN+, Hulu ownership stake

By strategically acquiring outstanding creative companies and distribution channels over the years, Disney continues strengthening an unrivaled empire spanning film, television, streaming, licensing, and global family entertainment.

Harry Potter remains one of the few major IP powerhouses not under Disney’s umbrella. However, through partnerships and potential future acquisitions, the Magic Kingdom could still one day welcome some wizarding magic.

Disney Affiliated Companies

While not outright owned, Disney also maintains close creative relationships, licensing deals and partnerships with additional media companies:

A+E Networks – Disney holds equity stake in A+E, which owns popular cable channels like History, Lifetime and A&E

Vice Media – Disney owns roughly 20% stake in digital media startup Vice Media

So while the Harry Potter rights remain elusive for now, Disney’s established company portfolio and partnerships span unparalleled influence across entertainment and culture worldwide.

The Future of Harry Potter: A Comprehensive Guide to the Reboot, Spin-Offs, and Upcoming Releases

While Disney may not control Harry Potter IP, the wizarding franchise shows no signs of slowing down. More magical stories are emerging across books, video games, theatre, film and television to delight fans.

Let’s explore some highly anticipated Harry Potter projects in development that promise to conjure more spellbinding entertainment for years to come!

Harry Potter Reboot

Rumblings of a film franchise reboot have sparked among fans, but no legitimate plans for remaking Harry Potter movies have been announced.

Given the iconic status of stars like Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, recasting the roles would prove hugely controversial. However, spinoff prequels allow for refreshing the series with new stories and characters.

Harry Potter Spin-Offs

Expanding the wizarding universe, Warner Bros. launched the Fantastic Beasts prequel film series in 2016 starring Eddie Redmayne. Three of five planned Fantastic Beasts movies have been released so far, with two more sequels targeting 2024 and 2025.

These prequels follow Newt Scamander long before Harry’s era, introducing new wizards, magical beasts and an overarching battle with Grindelwald. Their success proves fans’ appetite for more stories from J.K. Rowling’s magical realms.

When Does Hogwarts Legacy Come Out?

Beyond movies, the highly anticipated open-world action RPG video game Hogwarts Legacy arrives in late 2022. This immersive game allows players to become Hogwarts students and freely explore the castle, attend classes, tame magical beasts and battle dark wizards.

Fans eagerly await living out their magical fantasies when Hogwarts Legacy launches for consoles and PC during this holiday season.

Are They Remaking Harry Potter?

Again, despite rumors, no plans for remaking existing Harry Potter films have been announced. However, new stage plays and video content expand the canon within the limitations of existing rights deals.

One official continuation is the two-part stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which picks up 19 years after Deathly Hallows focuses on Harry’s son Albus. This critically praised production wowed London and Broadway audiences, winning record-breaking Tony Awards. An HBO Max adaptation is in early development.

Harry Potter Reunion

In early 2022, HBO Max debuted the spellbinding special Return to Hogwarts to celebrate the 20th film anniversary. This magical retrospective featured Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and cast members reminiscing about the legendary film series.

While not a remake, this ultimate reunion whet fans’ appetite for a fresh dose of Potter nostalgia.

Harry Potter’s Story Continues

Between upcoming Fantastic Beasts sequels, video games like Hogwarts Legacy and stage plays like Cursed Child, J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World continues growing across multimedia formats.

These expansions keep magic alive in new stories for diehard Potter fans, while introducing new generations to the boy who lived when they discover the original books and films.

The Musical Harry Potter

In 2023, an original musical stage play based on The Cursed Child will transport audiences back to Hogwarts at London’s Palace Theatre. Featuring an original score, immersive design and signature illusions, this marks another avenue to experience Harry Potter magic anew.

More Harry Potter Movies? Harry Potter Sequel?

While unlikely in the near future, the idea of fresh sequel films has not been ruled out. However, author J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. seem focused on expanding the canon through prequels versus remakes.

Rowling could eventually pen a new book series following adult Harry and friends that spawns a sequel film franchise. But next-generation stories seem more likely for now.

Ultimately, between theme parks, Broadway shows, new Fantastic Beasts films, video games and inevitable reboots down the road, Harry Potter still has endless magic to unveil for generations without Disney’s direct involvement.

Final Thoughts

While Disney does not control the keys to Hogwarts, fans can rest assured knowing the Harry Potter franchise remains in capable hands under creator J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. Their commitment to growing the Wizarding World through movies, games, live entertainment and more ensures spellbinding new stories for years to come.

Harry Potter continues casting an unbreakable spell over fans worldwide – with or without Disney magic. When amazing new films, games, and plays transport us back to Hogwarts, who really cares which media empire overlord is behind the magic? As long as we can join Daniel Radcliffe and the iconic trio for new adventures, the Wizarding World’s future shines bright.

So let the Disney-Harry Potter crossover fan fiction continue, but accept that some rival fantasy realms are beyond even Disney’s reach – for now at least!


Did J.K. Rowling sell Harry Potter?

No. J.K. Rowling maintains full ownership of all Harry Potter IP and has not sold those rights. She licenses selective rights to partners like Warner Bros. and Universal Studios.

Are the Harry Potter books better than the movies?

Opinions vary by fan. While the books allow more depth, the movies captured stunning visuals and magic. Together they create an immersive, complementary Harry Potter universe.

Does Disney own the Orlando Magic basketball team?

No. The Orlando Magic NBA team is owned by the DeVos family. It is not affiliated with Disney or Walt Disney World Resort.


The Harry Potter empire continues growing in exciting new directions through Warner Bros. and creator J.K. Rowling’s ongoing creative vision. While Disney does not control the rights, this allows for fresh storytelling opportunities not dictated by Disney’s IP strategy.

With Fantastic Beasts prequels, video games like Hogwarts Legacy, and stage plays in development, fans have lots to look forward to. We can expect even more magical adventures once inevitable reboots come to pass.

Though it lacks Mickey Mouse ears and pixie dust, Harry Potter’s future still shines brightly. The saga continues evolving beyond books and films to immerse fans deeper across interactive games, live entertainment and new stories for years without limits – or Disney oversight!


Ahmi John knows the ins and outs of every Disney World resort, from value hotels to deluxe villas. She has stayed at over 10 different resorts and loves helping families choose the perfect homebase. Her favorite resort activities include sipping cocktails at Trader Sam's and watching the fireworks from the beaches of the Polynesian.

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