December 8, 2015 – After over 4 years since the original announcement, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has a final release date as a part of Universal Studios Hollywood. In just a few short months, on April 7, 2016, muggles from far and wide will be able to make a trip to Hogsmeade on the west coast, the third iteration of the park, following the similar lands in Japan and Florida.
From what began many years ago with fanfare will reach conclusion early next year, as the Five-Year Plan reaches its climax. Following the transformation of park, with Despicable Me and Super Silly Fun Land, Transformers, Fast & Furious Supercharged, and Springfield, the Wizarding World will end the announced plans of the major overhaul of Universal Studios Hollywood. This is in addition to the new parking structure and countless adjustments to the paint schemes and restaurants.
Mimicking what was released in Osaka back in 2014, the star of the Wizarding World will undoubtedly be the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride, being the first one to debut completely in 3D. In addition to that, guests will also find a smaller coaster in Flight of the Hippogriff, along with other stores that are experiences all in their own right. We can imagine some budding wizards are most excited just for the butterbeer alone and will continue to debate whether it’s best frozen or warm.
While no soft opening date was mentioned, it’s still expected that more dates will be important on the timeline leading up to the opening day celebration. Expansions like this have far too much money riding on them to end up drastically delayed and often end up finished far before the deadline. Keep your eyes peeled to Inside Universal on social media for any sudden developments, especially if you want to take a tour of Hogwarts, because once word gets out that the castle is giving tours, you can imagine large crowds will descend upon the park.
How this expansion is expected to affect the park is currently unknown, but Universal has been bracing for it for quite some time, including overhauling their annual pass system so that it discourages even the most fervent muggles from visiting during peak weekend times, and building a completely new parking structure. Regardless of how much they prepare, crowds will still likely pack the park to capacity for the remainder of 2016, testing the patience of cast members and guests alike. We will have more guides about how best to experience the land as we creep slowly towards the date.
The press release follows.
Universal City, California, December 8, 2015 – It’s official: “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™” will open at Universal Studios Hollywood on Thursday, April 7, 2016, marking the highly-anticipated arrival of the West Coast’s dynamic new immersive experience at The Entertainment Capital of L.A.
This eagerly-awaited news coincides with the launch of the destination’s spellbinding campaign, which is stylistically designed to sweep guests into the land’s magical world through the lens of imagination.
The campaign is anchored by a new television spot designed to build suspense and enthusiasm while evoking a sense of wonder and succinctly capture the magical appeal that “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” has for cross-generational consumers as it announces the April 7 opening date.
In making the exciting announcement, Universal Studios Hollywood illuminated the land’s Hogwarts castle to signal the arrival of today’s momentous news.
More than five years in the making, and inspired by J.K. Rowling’s compelling stories and characters that were brought to life in the Warner Bros. films, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” is being masterfully recreated with impeccable detail as a real-world interpretation at Universal Studios Hollywood. The land will be faithful to the visual landscape of the fiction and films, including Hogwarts castle which will serve as its iconic focal point.
From its snow-capped roofs and cobblestone streets to the historic British sensibilities that characterize the whimsical look and feel of the land, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” will transport guests of all ages to the very places they read about in the stories or watched on the silver screen.
Upon entering the land through the archway, Hogsmeade will bustle to life with the same vitality of a quaint local village: merchants hard at work, a train conductor welcoming new arrivals and a pub packed to the gills with hungry patrons, but with the added element of enthusiastic guests intent on experiencing them all, including the land’s signature ride, “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey,” and the family outdoor coaster, “Flight of the Hippogriff™.”
An achievement in pioneering theme park ride technology, “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” will make its U.S. debut at Universal Studios Hollywood in hyper-realistic 3D-HD designed to further immerse guests in an already engaging storyline. The multidimensional thrill ride features a groundbreaking robotics ride system, fused with elaborate filmed action sequences and immersive visceral effects. In this updated adaptation of the ride, guests will sport Quidditch-inspired 3D goggles as they venture through journeys experienced by Harry and his friends, spiraling and pivoting 360-degrees along an elevated ride track on a whirlwind adventure of a lifetime.
Also within “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” the enchanting family coaster, “Flight of the Hippogriff™” will open as Universal Studios Hollywood’s first outdoor roller coaster.
“The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” will resonate with immense detail, inviting guests to revel in Harry Potter’s world with the opportunity to enjoy authentic food and beverage at multiple locations, including Three Broomsticks™, and Hog’s Head pub, as well as the Magic Neep and Butterbeer™ carts.
A foray through the shops will add to the authenticity of the land with eight retail venues and locations, including Honeydukes™, Ollivanders™, Owl Post™, Zonko’s™ Joke Shop, Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, Dervish and Banges, Gladrags Wizardwear and Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods™.
Currently, Universal Studios Hollywood in-park guests can experience and purchase authentic merchandise, including wands, robes and other collectibles from “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” available within the Features Presentation shop, located just inside the theme park’s main entry.
As the countdown to the April 7th opening date continues, the website invites guests to learn more by signing up for the latest news and information at www.universalstudioshollywood.com/harrypotter/signup.
Join the conversation online using #WizardingWorldHollywood. Like Universal Studios Hollywood on Facebook and follow @UniStudios on Instagram and Twitter.
Chris Glass is an editor for Inside Universal.
Chris is a Los Angeles native who grew up around some of the best theme parks in the world. His day job as a game programmer keeps him busy enough, but he still tries to find time on the weekends to get out to Universal Studios.
You may contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.