universal california harry potter

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Florida is nothing short of amazing. It’s the kind of stunning, next-generation step forward theme park fans hope to see every decade or so. The sense of place, the small Wizarding community of Hogsmeade and the the nearby Hogwarts Castle, is astonishing. The rides, namely Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, do things we’ve never seen done before. It’s a triumph of design and execution.

It’s also increased attendance at Universal’s Florida parks enough to get Disney nervous, so it was inevitable that Universal would eventually bring their Harry Potter attractions to their California location. Why make mountains of gold Galleons on one coast when you can rake in the big bucks on both? Now, nearly four years after it was announced, a new video tour has been released, giving us our first look at the Universal Studios Hollywood version of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter that isn’t a gallery of construction site photos.

Check out the new video for the Universal California Harry Potter attractions after the jump.

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2016 Universal Studios Hollywood Annual Passes

I’m a Disneyland-fanatic but I’m not one of those hardcores that hates on Universal Studios at every turn. I actually like Universal, and specifically their Studio Tour in Hollywood (although it needs some updates), their 4D Transformers ride and the incredibly detailed immersive experience they have created with Harry Potter. Last month Disney fanatics were sent into a tizzy when the Mouse House announced that they were raising the prices of Annual Passes, including the top pass with no black out days being raised 35% to $1049.

And we expected Universal Studios to raise their prices, especially considering The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be making its way to the west coast in Spring 2016. But I don’t think anyone would have expected them to announce three new annual passes, none of which allow full 365 day access to the parks and free parking privileges. Weekends during the Summer are blocked out even on the most expensive passes. Find out the details on the 2016 Universal Studios Hollywood Annual Passes, after the jump.

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Star Wars Land

It’s been a while since the last Theme Park Bits, and I have a lot of bits saved up to discuss, including the following:

  • Universal Studios Hollywood launches a virtual tour of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
  • FastPass+-style tests being conducted at Space Mountain in Disneyland.
  • Watch a multi-angle perspective video of Fast & Furious: Supercharged.
  • Captain America will be leaving Disneyland next week.
  • Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land permit maps reveal Disney Hollywood Studios changes.
  • Could Disney World’s Star Wars Land open in time for Christmas 2018?
  • Marvel teases a new Haunted Mansion comic book series.
  • Disney World’s Hollywood Studios will launch a Disney villain-only dinner event called Club Villain.
  • New details on Animal Kingdom’s upcoming “Rivers of Light” show.

All that and more, in today’s Theme Park Bits. Hit the jump to board the ride.

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Its been a while since we’re covered the short ends in the world of theme parks, so lets get to it. Here is what you can expect to see in today’s theme park bits:

  • Beijing To build largest Universal Studios theme park
  • See the first poster for Universal Studios Hollywood’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Watch a video and see photos to see how far along The Wizarding World of Harry Potter construction is.
  • An Indiana Jones themed bar will open next week in Walt Disney World.
  • Ariel photos of Avatar Land’s construction in Orlando.
  • Star Wars themed shop “Watto’s Grotto” Opens At Hollywood Studios
  • Walt’s Restaurant has been confirmed for Downtown Disney in Orlando
  • See a video from rehearsals of Tangled: The Musical.
  • Disneyland replaces their popcorn.

All that and more. Hit the jump to board the ride. (watch your step)

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Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood

Harry Potter will be Apparating to Hollywood. Universal Studios Hollywood has officially announced that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be coming to the park in Spring 2016, after opening previously at both Universal Orlando resorts and Universal Studios Japan. Get all the details on the Wizarding World Hollywood debut after the jump.  Read More »

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

It’s not often that Muggles get bragging rights over wizards, but today is one of those rare days. Universal Orlando has just announced that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is now serving hot butterbeer, in addition to their regular offerings of cold and frozen butterbeer.

In contrast, the wizarding world as chronicled in J.K. Rowling‘s original books only offered butterbeer in two forms, cold and hot. Take that, wizards. Hit the jump for details on exactly where to get hot butterbeer.  Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts Bank concept art

Today in Theme Park Bits, we look at the following:

  • First look at a model of Universal Studios Hollywood’s Hogwarts Castle
  • Disneyland will soon open Adventure Trading Company
  • A Night Vision Video of Harry Potter Escape From Gringotts

Read about all of these things after the jump.

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Harry Potter Black Lake

In today’s edition of theme park bits:

  • Exclusive attractions revealed for Universal Japan’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
  • Universal Japan might build a new theme park with a Casino on an island
  • Five hour wait times for the new Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts ride.
  • Dubai Announces “Mall of the World” Project which would include an Indoor Theme Park, 100 Hotels, and more

Read more about it, after the jump.

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Slug & Jiggers Apothecary

This is the fourth and final in our series of posts giving you a tour of Universal Orlando’s new The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley expansion. Part one took a look at the London Waterfront, Diagon Alley Entrance and Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. Part two went into The Leaky Cauldron, Knockturn Alley and Borgin and Burkes.  Part 3 took a look at Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour, Ollivanders Wand Shop, Magical Menagerie and Gringotts Bank.

Today we circle back to the entrance to Diagon Alley and visit Wiseacres Wizarding Equipment, Scribbulus, Eternelle’s Elixir of Refreshment, The Performance Stage, Gringotts Bank Notes, The Hopping Pot, Wands by Gregorovitch, Quality Quidditch, Bowman E Wright Blacksmith, Shutterbutton’s Photography Studio, Quality Quidditch Supplies and other storefronts.

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