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 News Roundup

Harry Potter and the Escape from GringottsOver the past few weeks, there have been a lot of updates surrounding the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme parks in Orlando, Japan and Hollywood. The following is a roundup of some of the small news stories that didn’t get reported, whether because of its relevance or its importance in comparison to other stories.

The main theme park news this week comes from Universal Orlando, who has updated its list of attractions for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley expansion. Newly announced is the menu for The Leaky Cauldron restaurant, and the Gregorvitch Wand Shop, both of which will be featured in Diagon Alley.

Below is a selective list of the coming attractions, with descriptions from Universal’s website. Visit their site to read the full list.

The Leaky Cauldron: Pull up a chair and enjoy hearty British fare in this famous inn, as well as delicious, frothy Butterbeer™. The children’s menu offers items that kids will love, such as chicken fingers and macaroni and cheese.

Cuisine: Cottage pie, fish and chips, bangers and mash, Scotch eggs, stew, and much more.
Children’s Menu: Fish and chips, chicken fingers, macaroni and cheese, and more
Service Type: Buffeteria
Dining Hours: Lunch and Dinner daily

The Leaky Cauldron will be the only restaurant in the new Diagon Alley expansion area.

Wands by Gregorvitch: In this legendary wandmaker’s shop you can purchase your own wand or choose from a wide assortment of Harry Potter™ film character wand replicas, and more. 

Wands by Gregorvitch will be separate from Ollivanders Wand Shop, which will also be featured in Diagon Alley.

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts: Enter Gringotts™ bank at the far end of Diagon Alley™ and walk through the grand marble lobby where you’ll see goblins hard at work. Then, get ready to take a journey through the cavernous passageways that lead deep underground as you climb aboard Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts™. This groundbreaking new multi-dimensional ride puts you right in the middle of the action as you navigate your way through the perils of the Gringotts™ vaults – encountering Harry, Ron and Hermione along the way!

Though the description says that riders will encounter Harry, Ron, and Hermione, neither Dan Radcliffe or Emma Watson have been confirmed to film. Both Rupert Grint and Helena Bonham Carter confirmed that they had done some filming for the theme parks way back in December 2012, and we suspect that the footage will be used for this ride.

In addition to that news, construction pics have been released on the internet from the various theme parks. Click on the links below to view them.

Finally, J.K. Rowling has also been confirmed to appear at the grand opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Japan on July 15, 2014. We will have a full report of her appearance once details are released.

We hope you enjoyed that roundup, and we will continue to keep you updated with the latest over the coming weeks and months.

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.

Theme Park News Roundup: First pics from Japan, new Diagon Alley Orlando promo, more

There were a variety of news updates about the upcoming Harry Potter theme parks and the Orlando expansion this week, and we have a roundup of them all right here!

First things first: A picture of the Universal News brochure was leaked, showing an image teasing the upcoming Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley expansion area. The image, shown below, features the bricks from outside The Leaky Cauldron pub which leads to Diagon Alley. According to SnitchSeeker, “the image was attached to an ad inviting current employees to try out for various new positions set to open for Diagon Alley next spring, including in the Food & Beverage, Merchandise, or Operations sections.”

Secondly, at Universal Studios Hollywood this week, the Gibson Amphitheater was demolished to make room for Hogwarts Castle, part of the upcoming Wizarding World theme park in Los Angeles. See pictures of the demolition below:

 

The pictures were tweeted out by Mike Sington, Director of Operations at Universal Studios Hollywood. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios is rumored to open sometime in 2016.

Finally, photos have been released, the first showing real construction progress  of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan. This theme park is set to open next year, in late 2014, an the attraction will be similar to the original park in Florida, with a replica of Hogsmeade village and Hogwarts Castle. Construction of both are shown in the photos below:

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The photos were taken this past August and were released by Universal Studios this week.

Read all about the Harry Potter theme parks here, at our “Theme Parks” page

Thanks to SnitchSeeker for all the tips!

Are you excited about the upcoming theme parks?! Will you be visiting one? Tell us in the comments below!