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Hogwarts Castle at night

Universal Orlando has announced that it achieved a 20% increase in full-year attendance for 2010, boosted by the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

The resort drew 11.2 million visitors during 2010, giving it its best attendance figures since 2004 (when it attracted 12.1 million guests). Much of this can be attributed to Universal Orlando's performance during the second half of the year, which followed the June opening of the Wizarding World at Islands of Adventure.

After a third quarter in which attendance rose by 36% year-on-year to 3.7 million, Universal Orlando attracted 3.3 million guests during the final three months of 2010. Fourth-quarter revenue hit $359 million, a rise of 81%, with operating profits of $115 million. This helped the resort to record full-year profits of $267 million on revenues of $1.1 billion.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has drawn huge crowds ever since its opening day, which saw some guests queuing for over 9 hours to enter Islands of Adventure. Universal hopes that the Potter-themed land will help establish its Orlando resort as a multi-day destination and increase occupancy at its on-site hotels.

Universal's rival Disney recently pointed to the Wizarding World as a contributing factor in an attendance increase at the nearby Walt Disney World resort, claiming that it had helped to draw more guests to Orlando overall.

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