Hollywood welcomes Wizard World
Photo by JAIMIE HSU
by MATTHEW BAHK
After its extreme success at the Orlando location, Universal Studios Hollywood will present the same magic and fantasy elements at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Slated to open its gates April 7, this new section of Universal Studios Hollywood gains much of its scenery from the films of the Harry Potter franchise. Upon entering Hogsmeade through immense gates, visitors are plunged into the eternal winter backdrop and setting, with roofs covered in snow and frost. Several shops and an eatery can be found in the streets of Hogsmeade.
Hogwarts is elevated and towers over the area. With great accuracy and detailed design, the school houses a gift shop and also storage lockers for those planning to go on to their main attraction: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. This 4D coaster set on a track with both a 3D screen and visual props, along with some wind effects to add to the ride. Visitors follow Harry through several misadventures, like a Quiddich match or dealing with Dementors while riding on a broomstick, proving to be a magical experience.
The ride utilizes the functionality of the track, similar to that of a robot arm, to create several dynamic movements, turns and artificial drops. Waiting in line for the ride adds to the mystic experience, showing “moving” pictures and a small prerecorded presentation of Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) after the events of the fifth book/film. Riders must be above 48” tall to ride.
Hogsmeade also offers a variety of other wizardly attractions. Active and non-active wands used by the characters of the series can be purchased for different prices (active is approximately $50, while non-active costs about $35). Active wands can be used to cast various spells around specific areas in Hogsmeade, each with its own incantation, wand movement and effect; non-active wands are simply props and do not work interactively. Flight of the Hippogriff, a family-friendly roller coaster, is also available to ride for those seeking thrill (riders must be above 36” tall).
In Universal Studios Hollywood, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter can be found between the Shrek 4D attraction and the Studio Tour. Also scheduled to be added, according to Universal Studios Hollywood’s social media, is a “Walking Dead” horror maze attraction to be opened this summer.
Online one day general admission prices range from $75 to $95, depending on the day. California residents can purchase Annual Passes online for $129, valid for one year from purchase date. Both tickets offer various upgrades with higher pricing. At the gate admission tickets and Annual Pass purchases are $95 and $139, respectively.