Holy Hogwarts! Harry Potter is finally getting some theme-park magic. Time Warner
The 20-acre "theme park within a theme park" will allow guests to stroll down the streets of Hogsmeade Village, walk the halls of Hogwarts, and explore the Forbidden Forest. Eclectic eateries, mystical shops, and three attractions will anchor the new area between the park's Jurassic Park and Lost Continent themed lands.
It's about time, really. I was lamenting how the slow development of the park -- owned by Blackstone Group and the General Electric
The theme park opened with so much potential in 1999, only to let cobwebs gather in the competitive Central Florida hospitality market, where new attractions are the lifeblood of successful parks. Absent an E-ticket addition over the past eight years, the turnstile clicks began to slow. Attendance has fallen every single year since the park entertained 6.3 million guests in 2004.
"Things may change this year, with $120 million earmarked for capital improvements," I wrote last month. "It would be a shocker if a major addition to Islands of Adventure weren't announced soon."
I also mentioned the Potter attraction scuttlebutt last month, but I didn't think an announcement would come so soon. Unfortunately for the park, Hogwarts won't start enrolling guests until late 2009 or early 2010.
This gives neighboring parks -- like Disney
Between now and then, Potter fans can only hope that next month's final book in the series and the next few years of related films will carry them through until Hogwarts becomes as real as possible.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz enjoys taking his family on coaster treks over the summer. He's heading off to Orlando with the family later this month. He owns shares in Disney. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.