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.
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.’”
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.