'Wizarding World of Harry Potter' opens at Universal Studios Hollywood

harry potter world hollywood elam pkg_00012425
harry potter world hollywood elam pkg_00012425

    JUST WATCHED

    Harry Potter attraction opens at Universal Hollywood

MUST WATCH

Harry Potter attraction opens at Universal Hollywood 02:19

(CNN)Always secretly wished that an owl -- or a half-giant, if you're really special -- would one day fly into your apartment to deliver a parchment bearing news that you've been accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry?

Us too.
Universal Studios Hollywood is now home to the next best thing -- the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
    The park unveiled its long-awaited $500-million attraction -- five years in the making -- on April 7.
    Tickets for opening day sold out days in advance, causing the park to halt online sales for the first time ever.
    Thousands of fans gathered at the entrance before dawn, waiting to be among the first to set foot in Hogsmeade, the quaint cobblestone village where Hogwarts students -- and now muggles, too -- can enjoy a butter beer or have a wand "choose" them at Ollivanders Wand Shop.
    Universal Studios Hollywood attracts millions of visitors each year to its movie-based theme park and studio backlot, where tourists can explore how movie magic is made.
    Meanwhile J.K. Rowling's fictional universe is still enthralling fans across generations almost two decades since the first novel, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone," came out in 1997.
    One of the main Potter-themed rides at the new Universal Studios Hollywood park is the Forbidden Journey, a roller coaster that combines motion thrills with 3D HD technology -- a first in the U.S.
    It takes riders through the classrooms and corridors of Hogwarts and up above the castle grounds.

    Economic wizardry?

    The new Potter attraction will likely bolster Southern California's reputation as one of the world's theme park capitals.
    "I literally have six wands in my office at city hall," gushed Eric Garcetti, the major of Los Angeles, on the red carpet at the Potter park's opening.
    The Democrat -- and Potter superfan, apparently -- has set a goal to attract 50 million tourists to Los Angeles by 2020.
    The Wizarding World made its debut in Florida's Universal Orlando in 2010, and in Japan in 2014, which have both boosted revenues for parent company Comcast Corporation.