After Comcast’s CEO made it clear yesterday that Universal plans to challenge Disney for a larger slice of the Orlando travel market, it makes sense to check in on the progress of Universal Orlando’s next salvo in the theme park wars – the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley expansion.
It’s 2014. At some point this year, Universal plans to open Diagon Alley to teems of Harry Potter fans young and old. They’re definitely making progress.
The London facade that faces into the park is absolutely huge. You can’t even see much of the Diagon Alley area beind those walls, but it’s big too. But the real giant of the bunch is the show building for the Gringott’s bank attraction. That will disappear behind theming, I hope, although you can see a little bit of it poking through right now.
While the rest of the world focused on Comcast Chair and CEO Brian Roberts statement regarding a return to growth in subscribers to their legacy cable network business, the Orlando Sentinel picked up on quotes from Roberts that signal the theme parks wars in Orlando are well and truly on.
Okay, no one is actually declaring a theme park war, but when Roberts spoke today in Las Vegas at a Citigroup event and said, “We’re doubling down on theme parks. We think that there is a lot of ‘there’ there in the theme-park business for many years to come and that we have a low market share — and only one way to go,” that’s a sign that in Comcast and Universal’s mind, it’s game on.
When Comcast bought NBC/Universal, they took on the theme parks with an eye to selling them at some point in the future. But after some small investments in the parks paid off with an sizable increase in cash flow, they were convinced to invest in the larger Harry Potter land, which has been an unqualified success for the resort. Since that point, Universal has been going full speed ahead with other expansions including: The Simpsons, Transformers, a huge new resort, and more. Read More »Universal Studios Parent Company Declares Orlando Theme Park War
I spent most of the 90s visiting Universal Studios Hollywood almost every month. In doing so, I really got to know the tightly packed acreage that made up Southern California’s second most popular themepark. It’s taken some doing, but they’ve finally gotten final approval to go forward with the next stage in the development of Universal Studios.
The first projects of NBCUniversal’s 25-year Evolution Plan with be tied to adding the much anticipated west coast version of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The total plan represents a $1.6 billion investment in tourism and production in Southern California. This long-term investment in two industries that are vital to Los Angeles will create more than 30,000 jobs and generate $2 billion of economic activity during operations for the region.Read More »Univeral Studios Hollywood Will Go Forward With Expansion, Harry Potter