Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
ORLANDO, Fla. — The new Harry Potter attraction at Universal Orlando has drawn huge crowds since it opened in June, while attendance at Walt Disney World stayed flat.
Industry and tourism officials are now wondering if Universal can maintain the momentum and gain some permanent ground on Disney, whose footprint on central Florida is massive. Universal reported a 36 percent increase in attendance at its Orlando parks in the three months after the attraction opened compared to the same period last year.
Everyone agrees that the eye-popping success of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has been a shot in the arm for all the Orlando-area attractions, which had seen crowds drop off in the dismal economy.