The Wonder of the Wizarding World!
Usually there’s a bit going on, ‘in and around’ at least one of the theme Parks in Orlando, but somehow 2012 has seen a huge burst of activity in almost every park. The projects range from a lick of paint or a makeover, right up to entire new areas being demolished and remodelled in a shroud of secrecy! The recent burst of development activity, stems perhaps, from the runaway success of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and of course a stagnant period caused by the evil recession that still appears to grip so many of us. The Wizarding World itself was in fact delayed during the initial period of the recession, but now complete, takes full responsibility for making Universal’s parks a major force to be reckoned with!
Universal’s upturn is without doubt, a tourism magnet, and ironically, one that Disney have actually been grateful for perhaps. As tourism levels slid in recent years, ‘Pottermania’ certainly stemmed the decline in tourist figures as new markets took to the skies to reach the fables land of Hogwarts! Naturally, the droves of Japanese visitors for example, still had dollars in their pockets, after their multiple visits to meet Harry. Subsequently these Hogwarts fans ‘ditched their broomsticks’ as they headed in search of more thrills with the mine trains, dolphin displays and adventures that abound in the ‘other’ parks.
Just how effective was the ‘Potter Effect’ at Islands of Adventure? Well, put simply, ‘pre Potter’ gate figures hovered around 5,000,000 over 2008 & 2009. They went on to touch 5,949,000 after the new area ‘soft opened’ during June of 2010. Rather like a ‘Golden Snitch’ the 2011 figures rocketed skywards to a staggering 7,674,000.
That leap in attendance between 2009 and 2011 would probably represent about $200M in additional gate and parking receipts alone!
Having seen those steady returns of visitors, there’s only one thing left for any business to do; fight to the bitter death to win every scrap of market share!
With that directive, the investment must kick back into gear, and swiftly too, to keep a chance of snatching the relatively finite inflow of dollars that the stabilising market now faces.
Unless of course, you can build a new attraction as good as the ‘Wizarding World of Harry potter!’