of Harry Potter
Brings More Magic to Universal Studios
Story and photographs by Greg Aragon
very magical kingdom needs a good castle, and with the addition of "The
Wizarding World of Harry Potter" attraction, Universal
Studios Hollywood now has one of the best I've seen this side of
Transylvania or even Hogwarts.
Opened in April of this year, the attraction is inspired
by J.K. Rowling's world-famous stories and characters that were brought
to life in eight Warner Bros. films. "The Wizarding World of Harry
Potter" has been masterfully recreated with impeccable detail as
a real-world interpretation at Universal Studios Hollywood. The land,
which took five years to create, is faithful to the visual landscape
found in the movies and books, including Hogwarts castle which serves
as the main focal point.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter took five years
The highlight of the scary fairytale land is the ride
"Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey." A pioneering achievement
in theme park ride technology, the virtual reality coaster is designed
in hyper-realistic 3D-HD to fully immerse guests inside the young, bespectacled
wizard's world. The multidimensional thrill ride features groundbreaking
robotics, fused with elaborate filmed action sequences and immersive
The ride is like falling into a giant kaleidoscope of
colorful, caped characters flying on broomsticks at breakneck speeds
through castles and caverns. It is probably my new favorite virtual
The new Harry Potter ride is hyper-realistic, virtual
reality at its best (image from Universal Studios)
In this updated adaptation of the ride, guests sport
Quidditch-inspired 3D goggles as they venture through journeys experienced
by Harry and his friends, spiraling and pivoting 360-degrees along an
elevated ride track. To get to the ride itself, guests wait in a line
that meanders through Hogwarts Castle. While waiting their turn, visitors
can admire talking portraits and newspapers, medieval architecture and
all things Harry Potter.
"I am delighted to see 'The Wizarding World of
Harry Potter' brought to life in a way that is so close to what I imagined
when writing the books," says J.K. Rowling. "I'm thrilled
that Harry Potter fans can now experience the wonderful immersive experience
created at Universal Studios Hollywood."
People of all ages love Harry Potter and the new
I experienced the new attraction this week and was blown
away by the special effects of the "Harry Potter and the Forbidden
Journey" and by the stunning design of the entire enchanting village.
From snow-capped roofs and cobblestone streets to an historic British
feel, the land is charming, whimsical and is right out of the movies.
To get to "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter"
I just looked for the giant castle peaks rising above the park and followed
them to a large archway, where two gargoyle statures of hogs with wings
are standing guard. Upon entering the land of Hogsmeade, I found everything
one would expect in a quaint little village. There was merchants hard
at work, a train conductor welcoming new arrivals and lots of authentic
food and beverages to sample at multiple locations.
The Harry Potter village is incredibly recreated
at Universal Studios
Tasty highlights of "The Wizarding World of Harry
Potter" the eateries Three Broomsticks, Hog's Head pub, and Butterbeer
carts, all of which are serving up delicious and fun fare. Prepared
by Universal Studios Hollywoods executive chef and culinary team,
the eclectic British menu includes Bangers & Mash; Shepherds
Pie; Beef Sunday Roast (prime rib of beef with Yorkshire pudding and
gravy), Beef, Lamb & Guinness Stew; and Fish & Chips. Rounding
the menu are decadent treats such as Butterbeer potted cream and sticky
Besides rides, the new village also has tasty Butterbeer,
a cool soda-type drink with whipped cream
Also within "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,"
is the fun, family coaster, "Flight of the Hippogriff."
Other rides and attractions at Universal Studios include
renowned, behind-the-scenes Studio Tour featuring the intense "King
Kong 360 3-D" attraction and the "Fast & Furious
Supercharged" thrill ride; the 3D-HD adventure "Transformers:
The Ride-3D," "Revenge of the Mummy The Ride,"
"Jurassic Park The Ride," and "The Simpsons Ride."
Universal Studios is located at 100 Universal City Plaza,
Universal City, CA 91608. The Studio Tour is included with all theme
park admission. For more information on current pricing, specials and
hours, visit: www.universalstudioshollywood.com
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