Powered by its hugely popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Orlando on Friday posted the best quarterly results in its 20-year history.
Attendance at Orlando's No. 2 theme-park resort soared 36 percent in the third quarter when compared with the same period last year, climbing by 1 million visitors to 3.7 million.
It is the highest quarterly attendance Universal has reported since Universal Studios Florida opened in 1990. And it is the biggest year-over-year percentage gain at the resort since its second park, Islands of Adventure, debuted in 1999.
The results confirmed what most of the theme-park industry already suspected: Universal is reaping a financial windfall from Wizarding World, its collection of rides, shops and eateries themed around the phenomenally popular Harry Potter franchise. The $200 million-plus addition opened June 18 in Islands of Adventure.
Universal's quarterly revenue rocketed 62 percent to $364 million, fueled by ticket sales and enormous demand for Potter-themed merchandise ranging from mugs of butterbeer to magic wands and Hogwarts school robes. Wizarding World's popularity allowed Universal to raise ticket and parking prices in the middle of the quarter, boosting revenue further.
The resort's operating profit more than doubled, from $61 million a year ago to $127 million during the three-month period that ended Sept. 26. Net profit nearly tripled, from $37 million to $97 million.