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Butterbeer, wands make Wizarding World of Harry Potter a potential sales bonanza for Universal

05 June 2010 by By Jason Garcia, Orlando Sentinel

For the legions of Harry Potter fans expected to descend on Universal Orlando's Wizarding World of Harry Potter this summer, riding roller coasters is only part of the draw. Just as important is the ability to sip a butterbeer ($3), sample a chocolate frog ($10) and be outfitted with a magic wand ($29).

"That's why we came here," Shelly Wansick, a 39-year-old mother from Oklahoma, said last week as she sat on a bench inside Wizarding World, holding a bulging bag of merchandise while her two teenage daughters continued to search through a shop. "We had to try the butterbeer."

Potter fans such as the Wansicks illustrate why Wizarding World, which is in a limited soft opening ahead of a June 18 grand opening, is expected to be such a windfall for Universal: In addition to luring millions of new visitors to the resort, the more than $200 million project is shaping up as a merchandise bonanza.


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