Belfast Telegraph

Weasley's announce new Potter park

Harry Potter stars James and Oliver Phelps have helped announce plans to build a new Potter park inside Universal Studios in Los Angeles.

Universal will spend several hundred million dollars to create the attraction inside its existing Hollywood theme park in the hope of mimicking the success of a similar park in Orlando, Florida.

James and Oliver, who play twins Fred and George Weasley in the movies, were present, as executives announced the project with much fanfare, spraying confetti and hoisting mugs of the wizardly brew butterbeer.

The attraction, based on the Warner Bros movies about the boy wizard in JK Rowling's novels, will create more than 1,000 jobs at Universal and even more indirectly from an expected boost in tourism, officials said.

At the same time, Orlando's Wizarding World of Harry Potter will get an expansion. Since the Harry Potter attraction opened in Florida in June of last year, company executives have said attendance has jumped by about 50 percent.

"It was a game changer for us and frankly for Orlando," Universal Studios president Ron Meyer told reporters after an announcement at the Universal Studios Hollywood. "The expansion in Orlando will make it that much more of a must-see, and we'll have the same experience here."

The widely expected announcement happened in typically dressed-up Hollywood style, complete with staff wearing scarves representing the various houses of the fictional wizard's school, Hogwarts, beneath a theatre marquee that said, "Hogwarts is coming to Hollywood."

In the UK, Warner Bros Studio Tour London is a behind-the-scenes walking tour featuring authentic sets, costumes and props from the film series at Leavesden Film Studios, where the films were made.

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