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Harry Potter charms L.A.: 'Wizarding World' approved for Universal Studios; Gibson to disappear

The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter Kick Off Celebration At Universal Studios Florida

Universal Orlando Resort Handout/Getty Images

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter kicked off its grand opening celebration on June 16, 2010 in Orlando, Florida in front of Hogwarts castle.

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NBCUniversal

Grand Opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort

Universal Orlando Resort Handout/Getty Images

Just like the Harry Potter films, portraits line the walls of Hogwarts castle, the home of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey - the marquee attraction of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. When passing through the Portrait gallery, guests will encounter several magical talking portraits created exclusively for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, including the four Hogwarts founders.

Michael Douglas And Catherine Zeta-Jones Visit Universal Studios Hollywood At Thanksgiving

Universal Orlando Resort Handout/Getty Images

Academy award-winning actors Michael Douglas and wife Catherine Zeta-Jones along with their children Dylan, 10, and Carys, 7, fly over The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and past Hogwarts Castle while riding Flight of the Hippogriff at Universal Orlando Resort on November 27, 2010 in Orlando, Florida. Fans of the Harry Potter books and films, the family also sampled Butterbeer, got fitted for wands at Ollivanders and toured Hogwarts Castle while on vacation at Universal Orlando over the Thanksgiving holiday.

J.R. Martinez, Actor And Former U.S. Army Soldier, Visits Universal Orlando Resort

Universal Orlando Resort Handout/Getty Images

Actor and former U.S. Army soldier J.R. Martinez was hosted by Universal Orlando Resort on February 7, 2012 as he vacationed in Orlando, Florida. Best known for winning season 13 of ABC's hit TV series, "Dancing with the Stars," J.R. enjoyed an exciting performance by students from the Beauxbatons Academy of Magic while visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. He also visited Ollivanders wand shop and soared above Hogwarts on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

Jon Stewart And Family Visit Zonko's Joke Shop At The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter

Universal Orlando Resort Handout/Getty Images

Jon Stewart, comedian, political satirist and Emmy-award winning TV show host, stopped to clown around with family (nephews Gavin, 9, (left) and Colin, 12, (right) and son Nate, 6 (front)) while visiting Zonko’s joke shop at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort on February 8, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. Best known as the host of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show", Stewart and his family were invited to tour the highly-acclaimed new theme park environment while on vacation, stopping to enjoy Butterbeer and do some shopping at Honeydukes sweet shop.

Josh Hutcherson Visits Universal Orlando Resort

Universal Orlando Resort Handout/Getty Images

Actor Josh Hutcherson visits The Wizarding World of Harry Potter on December 23, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. During his visit, Josh tasted Butterbeer and encountered students from the Durmstrang Institute, one of three schools that compete in the Triwizard Tournament in the Harry Potter books and films.

Universal Orlando Resort Celebrates The One-Millionth Butterbeer Sold At The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Universal Orlando Resort Handout/Getty Images

Universal Orlando Resort celebrated the one-millionth Butterbeer sold at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. To commemorate this major milestone, Universal Orlando shared 1,000 complimentary Butterbeers with guests Thursday. Butterbeer appears as a favorite drink inside the Harry Potter books and films and is only available inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the most spectacularly-themed entertainment experience ever created.


"The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" is coming to Universal Studios Hollywood. Forget the NFL, Los Angeles just got one step closer to having its own Quidditch team.

Who's paying for it? (Thanks in advance, tourists)

NBCUniversal has been given the green light to build the new park as part of its $500 million plan to upgrade the Universal Studios backlot — a modernization that also includes sprucing up production facilities, offices and other infrastructure, according to Variety:

NBCUniversal was given the go ahead after the L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted to approve the company’s plan to invest in production and tourism projects over the next 25 years, worth $1.6 billion overall. The Harry Potter theme park will begin construction later this summer. Entire project is expected to create more than 2,000 construction jobs.

Where is the park being built? 

You know the Gibson Amphitheatre? There. Or at least where there used to be. The 6,000-seat venue will close in September. Sure, Harry Potter fans could probably conjure a spell to protect it, but Harry Potter fans probably want a Harry Potter theme park instead. Employees of the Live Nation venue were notified Wednesday about the building's closure, reports Variety 

Today the theatre announced that they will be closing this September, citing the "end of the building's lease agreement."

What's does it look like in Orlando?

There's Hogwarts Castle, Hogsmeade village, rides, eateries and shops. See slideshow above from the Universal Studios Orlando opening in 2010. And also check out the official site.

NBCUniversal says believe in 'Evolution'

NBCUniversal stated in the official news release their "Evolution Plan" for the 391-acre lot should stimulate $2 billion of economic activity in the region and create upwards of 30,000 jobs.

"After nearly a decade of work on the Evolution Plan, today’s vote sets the stage for our next 100 years in Los Angeles,” said Ron Meyer, president and COO of Universal Studios. “We are thankful for the support and leadership we have received from both the County and City of Los Angeles and are ready to get started investing in these important tourism and production projects in the next few months."

Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said the decision comes after a seven year review process that included public hearings and and environmental review. The full park plan details millions to be invested in improving transportation and transit, reports Deadline:

County supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said the newly forged agreement calls for NBCU to make $100 million in transit improvements, and commit nearly $14 million to jump-start the effort to revitalize the Los Angeles River by "completing key missing links on the LA River bike path". That includes building a nearly one-acre trailhead park on the studio’s property abutting the river.

 (Universal Studios sits on both LA city and county land; the LA City Council approved the city’s portion of the plan in February.)

Gibson nostalgia in 3...2...1

Live Nation is planning some sort of a farewell event(s). Details forthcoming. In the meantime, here are are some of the noteworthy names that have graced the Gibson, via Variety:

Comedians Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, Eddie Murphy, Ellen DeGeneres, Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, Kathy Griffin, Louis C.K., Chelsea Handler, George Carlin, Cheech & Chong, George Lopez, Steve Harvey, Chris Rock and Daniel Tosh have all performed there. In addition, Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Pope John Paul II, the Dalai Lama have filled its seats.

But it was most notable for serving as a venue where icons like Frank Sinatra, Bob Marley, Johnny Cash, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, the Beach Boys, Steely Dan, the Grateful Dead and Miles Davis performed, along with Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Madonna, Stevie Wonder, Shakira, James Taylor, Elton John, Mary J. Blige, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, Kanye West, Keith Urban, Paul Simon, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Lil’ Wayne, D’Angelo, Joni Mitchell and BB King.

In case you wondered, Terminator will not be back

The closed Terminator 2 3D ride will also be dismantled during the rebuild.

What was that thing I heard about Disneyland and Star Wars land? 

Ah, yes. They were asking questions to see if people were interested. Granted, Star Wars land is by no means anywhere close to being a real thing that's happening, but for the sake of curiosity, which of these is more exciting to you?

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