...For decades, Disney has ruled this theme-park-flecked peninsula — and the hearts and minds of its “I’m going to Disney World!” tourists — without a serious challenge.
But judging by the swarms, it seems that many of them are, in fact, going to the Harry Potter park.
Since the attraction opened a few months ago, Universal’s overall attendance for its parks here has surged by a million people, hitting record levels. Industry trade groups have showered it with prestigious awards. Local hotels are now offering Harry Potter packages, with promises of special gifts.
Even veterans of the theme park industry are arching their eyebrows.
“Up until now, nobody ever said this or that is better than Disney,” said Duncan Dickson, a former Disney executive who teaches theme park management at the University of Central Florida. “The Hulk coaster at Universal is great. Manta, at SeaWorld, is very good. But it’s not better than anything at Disney.”...