Get ready, West Coast Muggles … the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is coming to Universal Studios Hollywood in California!
Just when you might think that our favorite boy wizard’s been replaced by the latest literary craze (I’m looking at you, Hunger Games …) Universal goes all-in and continues to make Harry the cornerstone of its amusement park empire.
This looks to be a good move. The Orlando attraction, which opened to the masses in June 2010, led to a 68% increase in attendance during the first 3 months of 2011 and continues to be a top incentive to visit the older Universal Studios parks. Needless to say, the Orlando version has been a resounding success, and the Los Angeles attraction is sure to draw its fair share of fans as well.
With as much fanfare as you might expect from such a magical announcement, Warner Bros. Chairman and CEO Barry Meyer promised last week that “the future of Harry Potter is looking brighter” and that “everyone involved with [this project] is committed to continuing the enchantment of J.K. Rowling’s masterful books … and dedicated to extending the experience for generations to come.”
While the exact details of the new land have not yet been released, it’s a sure bet that it will include a recreation of the iconic Hogwarts castle, as well as rides, shops, dining options and the ever-popular Butterbeer. Fun Fact: The frothy butterscotch/ shortbread concoction sold more than 1 million mugs in Orlando within the first 6 months … I personally contributed 2 mugs to that figure and can wholeheartedly confirm that it alone was worth the price of admission!
The California park, which is slated to open in 2016, is expected to cost several hundred million dollars, as well as create more than 1,000 new jobs for Southern California.
East Coasters, don’t get your broomsticks in a twist just yet! The popular East Coast attraction is also set for a significant expansion, promises Universal Parks Chairman and CEO Tom Williams.