Posted on Wednesday, April 6th, 2016 by Peter Sciretta
The grand opening of Universal Hollywood’s version of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter happened last night at the Los Angeles theme park. It was an incredible night, filled with magic and wizardry. Hit the jump to hear more about the opening celebration and also learn about the new Wizarding World now open for everyone to enjoy in Universal Hollywood.
Legendary Oscar, Emmy, Golden Globe, BAFTA and Grammy award-winning composer John Williams conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in front of the iconic Hogwarts Castle, which has been constructed in front of the Hollywood hills. Playing themes from his Harry Potter score, Williams set the stage for an elaborate projection mapping show that projected images on the castle itself, taking us on a journey into the Wizarding World. The presentation showed off the insides of each of the buildings while showcasing the different houses based at the iconic school of witchcraft and wizardry.
Also in attendance at the Grand Opening was some stars from the Harry Potter films, including Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick), Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood) and James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley). Other celebrities were on hand to be the first to experience the West Hollywood Coast version of the Wizarding World, including icon Steven Spielberg.
The show that Universal Studios put on for the grand opening is unmatched. As John Williams conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, animations were projected on Hogwarts Castle, culminating in a one-of-a-kind fireworks show that was created just for this event. You can watch the whole grand opening here:
I almost can’t believe that no guests will be able to experience this projection mapping show. It looked too good and too polished just to be something that was put together for one performance. I know that the surrounding neighborhood restricts loud noises, which means Universal Hollywood will probably never have a regular nighttime fireworks show, but I’d love to see them put together a show like Disney’s World of Color with the projections we saw on Hogwarts – I think guests would love it. I also hope that Universal Hollywood continues to stay open later as Hogwarts looks so beautiful at night with all the proper lighting.
A few weeks back I got a chance to tour the new Wiazarding World before it was open to the public with designer Alan Gilmore, who worked on a bunch of the Harry Potter films. He helped point out some of the differences between this version of Hogsmede and other versions constructed around the world. I know that’ss probably what many people are wondering: how is this Wizarding World different than the one in Orlando Florida or at the international parks?
The answers to that question and more are on the next page.