Central Florida economy expected to bank on Harry Potter expansion

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ORLANDO, Fla. —

Universal’s expansion to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is expected to draw millions of more tourists to central Florida, which could bring a big boost to the local economy.

Channel 9’s Tim Barber got a sneak peek Wednesday at Diagon Alley, which is set to open on July 8.

The first Harry Potter park cost $256 million, and it turned 20 acres in Islands of Adventure into Hogsmeade.

“Based on what we experienced in 2010 and for the last four years, it has been non-stop success,” said Thierry Coup, the Senior Vice President of Universal Creative.

According to Visit Orlando, in 2009, before Hogsmeade was built, Orlando had 47 million visitors.

Last year, that number jumped to 59 million.

“I have watched all the movies at least twice and it’s just one of my favorite series on the planet,” said tourist Aviva Davis.

Although the economy has changed in the past four years, experts believe the new expansion, which is around the same size as Hogsmeade, will bring more people, who will pay for more flights, food, and hotel rooms.

Since Hogsmeade is in one park and Diagon Alley is in the other, a family of four will have to pay $532 a day for the full Harry Potter experience.