The concept of a Harry Potter–themed attraction at a Universal Studios park was reportedly first discussed within the company in the late 1990s or early 2000s. However, the rights to the Harry Potter franchise had been acquired by Warner Bros. at the time. In January 2007, About.com reported a rumor from a "highly credible source" that the Islands of Adventure park's Lost Continent area was going to be re-themed "to the stories and characters of one of the most popular children's franchises". Other sources followed up in the next few days with unofficial confirmation that the new area would involve Harry Potter, and that it was being developed under the name "Project Strong Arm" in reference to the KUKA robotic arm technology it would utilise. On May 31, 2007, Universal (in partnership with Warner Bros.) officially announced The Wizarding World of Harry Potter would be added to Islands of Adventure. After a two-and-a-half year construction period, the area officially opened to the public on June 18, 2010. This resulted in attendance at the park jumping approximately 50% in its first year of operation.
A replica of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry will be built at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Islands of Adventure's replica is pictured.
On April 23, 2013, NBCUniversal made the final step by receiving a unanimous vote in approval of the 25-year expansion by the county Board of Supervisors. This $1.6 billion expansion is expected to greatly boost tourism and the local entertainment industry. It will also create 30,000 jobs during the time of construction.