Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Hollywood to open Spring 2016

Universal Studios Hollywood announced today that the upcoming Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction will open in the spring of 2016.

Initially announced in December 2011, the park will feature the signature attractions from the Orlando and Japan locations, including Hogwarts Castle, the Flight of the Hipogriff ride, and the shops at Hogsmeade Village, with Honeydukes, Ollivanders Wand Shop, the Three Broomsticks, Dervish and Banges, and much more.

Promotional image released today via Universal Studios Hollywood on Twitter

Promotional image released today via Universal Studios Hollywood on Twitter

Hogwarts Castle will house the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride, which will immerse guests into the storyline. Guests will meet Harry, Ron, and Hermione as they soar above Hogwarts, partake in a Quidditch match, and narrowly escape the Whomping Willow. This version of the Wizarding World’s signature ride is new and improved from the Orlando version and will utilize Quidditch-inspired 3D goggles.

Ahead of the park’s opening, visitors to Universal Studios Hollywood can purchase Harry Potter merchandise, including wands, robes, and other collectibles, in their on-site stores.

More details will be revealed later today with an online video announcement at 1:00 p.m. EST/ 10 a.m. PST. Universal encourages fans to join in the conversation on social media using #WizardingWorldHollywood.

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Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan to open July 15, 2014

Above: WWoHP - Orlando rendering, via Orlando Attractions

Above: WWoHP – Orlando rendering, via Orlando Attractions

Universal Studios announced Friday that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan will open July 15, 2014.

With foreign dignitaries and stars from the Harry Potter films in attendance, Universal made the announcement from their theme park in Osaka, Japan.

Recently, Universal announced that the Wizarding World at Universal Studios Hollywood would be opening in 2016. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley expansion at Universal Orlando is set to opening this summer as well, but does not have a definite opening date.

We’ll keep you updated with the latest news on the theme parks as it comes.

Press release:

Universal Studios Japan Announces “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™” Grand Opening on July 15, 2014

April 18, 2014, Osaka, Japan — Universal Studios Japan hosted an event today, to celebrate the announcement of the Grand Opening of “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” which meticulously recreates some of the iconic locations from the world of Harry Potter. Universal Studios Japan revealed that “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” will open on July 15, 2014. The announcement culminated with the unveiling of the magnificent Hogwarts castle, the focal point of the land.

Universal Studios Japan welcomed special guests from Japan and around the globe: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan; Ms. Caroline Kennedy, Ambassador of the United States of America to Japan; Academy Award®-winning art director and production designer for the Harry Potter films, Stuart Craig; actress Evanna Lynch, who played “Luna Lovegood” in the Harry Potter film series; world-renowned architect Tadao Ando; and Universal Studios Japan ambassadors, and beloved musical act, SMAP, gathered for the celebration.

When Prime Minister Abe and Ambassador Kennedy announced the opening date, Hogwarts castle was illuminated with a spectacular show of lights and brilliant fireworks.

“We cannot wait for the July 15 opening. ‘The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ will be a wonderful addition to Universal Studios Japan and will contribute to energizing Osaka and the local economy,” said Prime Minister Abe.

“It’s wonderful to be here tonight to celebrate another dimension of the United States-Japan alliance,” said Ambassador Kennedy. “Harry Potter inspired a generation of children to love reading?and when they are not reading, I hope they come to ‘The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.’”

Event Overview

The evening’s celebration began with an “owl” delivering a letter from Hogwarts to President and CEO of Universal Studios Japan, Mr. Glenn Gumpel, who was revealed on stage with the letter in hand to introduce the honored guests.

Guests Evanna Lynch, Stuart Craig, Tadao Ando and SMAP were greeted on stage with loud cheers, and the appearance of United States Ambassador Kennedy was met with thunderous applause.

With distinguished guests from around the world gathered, Mr. Gumpel presented the letter from the wizarding world to Prime Minister Abe and Ambassador Kennedy, who together, reading from the letter, announced “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” opening date. At that moment, Hogwarts castle was illuminated with a radiant light show with fireworks, which unveiled its towering scale and lit up the night sky.

Following additional remarks by Prime Minister Abe, Ms. Evanna Lynch led the guests in casting the spell “Lumos!” followed by more dazzling fireworks to the further the excitement and joy of the crowd.

A special website, where you can begin to explore “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” online, has now launched. Please visit www.usj.co.jp/harrypotter in the official Universal Studios Japan website.

Back covers of new Scholastic Harry Potter editions revealed

Over the past week, Scholastic has been unveiling the back covers of the new paperback editions of the Harry Potter books on their blog, one book each day.

Every cover has a picture on it, done by artist Kazu Kibuishi, and a quote from the book. Check out the covers below.

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From February to the end of July we shared with you each of the seven books’ new cover. Click to view them:  Socerer’s Stone | Chamber of Secrets | Prisoner of Azkaban | Goblet of Fire | Order of the Phoenix | Half-Blood Prince | Deathly Hallows

The box set was also revealed, draped with beautiful artwork depicting the trio at Hogsmeade. You can click here to see it.

The new editions and box set will be released on August 27 to mark the 15th anniversary of the United States publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Pottermore on PlayStation Home adds new Hogwarts locations

Hufflepuff Common Room on Pottermore on PS Home.

Hufflepuff Common Room on Pottermore on PS Home.

The Pottermore Insider has announced the release of new locations on Pottermore on PlayStation Home.

With this release, users can explore Hogwarts, and all that entails with it. According to the Insider, if you’ve been sorted into one of the four Hogwarts houses on Pottermore.com and you’ve linked your account with your PSN ID, “you can now step inside the Great Hall where you will be able view your own Sorting Ceremony beneath the enchanted ceiling and floating candles.” Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?!

Along with this, users can now enter their House Common Rooms and meet and socialize with other members of their house. A new mini-game has also been introduced; with Charms, players can “master the art of levitation”. In the game, players will “levitate a feather and guide it through maze after maze of enchanted obstacles.” You have to beat the clock for maximum points!

Finally, users can now purchase their very own house in Hogsmeade and choose from a wide collection of furniture items to decorate their “wizarding abode” in their own unique way. Unfortunately, these items have to be purchased with Muggle money, not galleons (no word on any exact prices just yet).

These all sound like very fun new features, and we hope players enjoy!

What do you think about the new capabilities? Do you play Pottermore on PlayStation Home? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below.