Universal Studios Hollywood may have an advantage on its theme park competitors next year when it unveils a new 3D, flight-simulating ride based on the hugely popular books and films about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

The theme park announced Tuesday that its new Harry Potter land will open in the spring 2016. It will include a signature attraction called "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" and will be similar to one at Universal's Orlando theme park.

The attraction will be enhanced with 3D technology -- something not included in the Florida park.

Other details being released Tuesday at an international travel show in Orlando include the addition of Universal Studios Hollywood's first outdoor roller coaster, called "Flight of the Hippogriff."

The new Harry Potter attraction will include a restaurant called Three Broomsticks, a pub called Hog's Head and carts that sell "butterbeer" and fresh fruits.

In addition, Universal's Harry Potter expansion will include eight retail shops for the sale of souvenirs, including magic wands, Hogwarts robes, "Quidditch" balls and chocolate frogs.

The addition is expected to boost attendance and revenue at the park.

Since the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened in 2010 at Islands of Adventure and expanded to Universal Studios Florida in 2014, the park's parent company has reported a jump in merchandise sale and attendance.

Last year, the company reported that overall theme-park revenue rose 17% to $2.6 billion for the year.

"The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood will be a game changer in the Los Angeles market," said Larry Kurzweil, president of Universal Studios Hollywood. "We expect its arrival to set record high attendance and will have a lasting impact on L.A. and California tourism for years to come."

The signature ride puts visitors on "magic benches" that are attached to robotic arms. The benches lift and sway, synchronized to the high-definition 3D images that are projected on wrap-around screens.

The technology give guests the sensation that they are flying behind Harry Potter, avoiding dragons, giant spiders and an enchanted tree.

The park's biggest competitor in Southern California, Disneyland, unveiled on May 22 a new parade, fireworks show and water spectacular to celebrate its 60th anniversary.

Its new shows will continue for the rest of the year but Disneyland has yet to announce any new attractions for 2016. To promote the celebration, lawmakers in Sacramento proclaimed June 1 Disneyland Day. 

Theme park fans will have plenty to choose from this summer as Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia has opened a new roller coaster this year and Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park unveiled a 3-D interactive, undersea attraction. 

To read more about travel, tourism and the airline industry, follow me on Twitter at @hugomartin.


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