Harry Potter's Hollywood world

The Flight Of The Hippogriff, a ride at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles.
The Flight Of The Hippogriff, a ride at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles.PHOTO: NEW YORK TIMES
A wand shop (above) and a Hogwarts Express train at the attraction.
A wand shop (above) and a Hogwarts Express train at the attraction.PHOTO: NEW YORK TIMES
A wand shop and a Hogwarts Express train (above) at the attraction.
A wand shop and a Hogwarts Express train (above) at the attraction.PHOTO: NEW YORK TIMES

LOS ANGELES • Six years ago, when Universal Parks & Resorts opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida, the initial experience was less than magical. It was a sweltering June day. The main attraction, a simu- lated broom ride, proved a little too rambunctious, leaving entire families with motion sickness. At one point, the line to get into Hogsmeade village was nine hours long.

Now Universal Studios Hollywood will unveil its own Wizarding World on April 7. Although the Potter movie series ended in 2011, calling into question continuing interest in the boy wizard, analysts expect the Hollywood park's overall attendance to increase by more than 20 per cent.

The addition may give Universal Parks & Resorts an earnings lift of as much as US$100 million (S$136 million) next year.

The good news for visitors: Universal seems determined to make this introduction smoother. It chose a quieter time of year for the unveiling (spring, not summer). It started letting in small numbers of people last month for what it has called "technical rehearsals".

Universal introduced a demand- based ticket pricing system to prevent overcrowding and tweaked the Hogsmeade blueprints to add capacity. That broom ride - this time in 3-D - is still making some people vomit though.

NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 23, 2016, with the headline 'Harry Potter's Hollywood world'. Print Edition | Subscribe