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Universal Studios Confirms Harry Potter Park Heading to Hollywood

The company said it will spend hundreds of millions of dollars to build America's second themed attraction based on J.K. Rowling's hit wizard series.

Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty is not going to be the only fictional character in Southern California with a castle.

Universal and Warner Bros. announced today that a Harry Potter attraction, which will include a Hogwarts castle, is coming to the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park, though no mention was made of when it would be built; where it would be located within the park; and only a rough number was given on what it would cost.

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What was stressed at the morning press conference was the jobs that would be created (one union rep estimated there would be 800 in construction alone) and the positive effect the Harry Potter draw would have on the L.A. economy. County supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky estimated that the Universal park currently generates $4.4 billion for the local economy.

There are tough times,” said Gov. Jerry Brown. “You hear about people moving to Texas. But we’re building the dream that never dies. We’re truly a state of imagination. And the Harry Potter ride pushes us further down that uncertain road California is on.”

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Universal already has a The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at its Orlando resort that opened in April of 2010. During the press conference, Universal president Ron Meyer said opening a similar attraction in L.A. “will change the face of tourism in Southern California.” Meyer also said the attraction would cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Asked afterwards if there was a more exact figure, Meyer said, “That’s as close as I want to get.” He added that the Potter attraction would be a “game changer” for the park. As for where the ride would be located, the Universal president said, “We have 400 acres and only 200 have been developed.” 

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During his remarks, Warner Bros chairman Barry Meyer said, “After eight films the future of Harry Potter is looking brighter” and added the attraction will have a “laser focus” on quality, authenticity and “translating the brilliant literature of J.K. Rowling.”

Afterward he said the ride, “is clearly an expansion of Harry Potter to being an immersion in the experience.” The press conference ended with a Butterbeer (a highly sugared soft drink) toast to the new project.