Universal Studios Hollywood has been undergoing a $1.6 billion expansion project, which has included new “Despicable Me”-themed rides and attractions. A new back-lot “Fast & Furious” attraction on the world-famous Studio Tour and a new immersive Springfield, which accompanies the long-standing “The Simpsons Ride.”
The highlight of the project is the massive addition of “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.” Construction has been progressing rapidly, with fans posing for pictures in front of work walls for months. In early December, the park literally lit up the night’s sky with an opening date announcement. Start making your travel plans now for April 7.
Author J.K. Rowling’s stories and characters will be brought to life, with incredible detail. Upon entering Hogsmeade, guests will immediately notice Hogwarts towering in the skyline, which can actually be seen from miles away. After you walk under the entry arch, stroll along cobblestone streets and see snow-capped buildings. You can visit numerous shops and dining establishments, straight out of the novels.
Shop until you drop at eight retail venues that will immediately immerse you into Harry Potter’s world. Visit Honeydukes, Ollivanders, Owl Post, Zonko’s Joke Shop, Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, Dervish and Banges, Gladrags Wizardwear and Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods.
Grab lunch or dinner and sample traditional British foods inside Three Broomsticks and Hog’s Head Pub. Grab a Butterbeer or try Pumpkin Juice.
While the sights, sounds, food and drink may be enough to keep you entertained, the highlight of the expansion lies within the walls of Hogwarts. “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” will be an immersive, visually impressive and state-of-the-art ride. The attraction, built on a robotics ride system, will take guests from the classrooms and corridors of Hogwarts through an elevated adventure.
If you have visited the Harry Potter ride at Islands of Adventure in Orlando, you will notice a visible addition to the Hollywood version of the attraction; hyper-realistic 3-D-HD technology. Guests will be given Quidditch-inspired goggles to wear during the journey.
Outside Hogwarts grab a ride on the “Flight of the Hippogriff, which is a family-style rollercoaster, the first of its kind at the Hollywood theme park. Choose a wand at Ollivanders, listen to the Frog Choir, and watch a colorful procession at the “Triwizard Spirit Rally.” Take an early virtual tour at wizardingworldhollywood.com