The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the third Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park will be opening at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka.
The news follows the announcement in December that the second park would open in Los Angeles. The first resides in Orlando at the Universal resort.
The park is expected to open in 2014 – an entire year or two earlier than Wizarding World Hollywood, which is set to open around 2016. That’s because Japan’s park will be built on currently open space, whereas in Hollywood, room needs to be made by removing existing areas of Universal Hollywood.
Universal Studios Japan on Thursday will unveil plans to build the first international version of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the blockbuster attraction that has drawn millions of fans to Universal’s Orlando resort and is coming to Los Angeles.
The Osaka destination — expected to begin construction in the next few weeks with a planned opening in late 2014 and an expected cost of about $500 million — brings Hogwarts Castle and rides including Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey to the boy wizard’s biggest market outside of the United States.
Later on in the report, J.K. Rowling comments on the news:
And though there are few rival parks, outside of ones owned by rival Disney, that would be natural homes for Potter rides, the studio already has its eye on eventually launching more Wizarding Worlds.
“A lot of work goes into building these parks, so we’re probably at the limit of what we could manage at the moment,” said Globe. “But if some other great opportunity for Harry Potter presents itself, we would certainly take a look at it.”
In a statement, Rowling gave her stamp of approval to the newest addition to her Harry Potter empire:
“I was delighted to experience and enjoy the attention to detail, creativity and superb craft that went into the first Wizarding World in Orlando,” she said. “I am equally delighted that the same level of expertise and enjoyment will translate to the new park in Japan.”
We’re excited to see that now two more Harry Potter parks are in the works. Three if you count Wizarding World Orlando’s expansion!
We’ll bring you Universal’s formal announcement tomorrow when it is made.