With Grinchmas kicking off today at the park, and the new Harry Potter castle show drawing fans, too, the crowd inside the park got pretty big by sundown. I mean really, really big.
That's the queue of people waiting to get into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to see the new Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle projection show — stretching all the way across the Upper Lot of the park back to the Waterworld theater. Universal turned Hogsmeade into a one-way street after dark, pushing people into and through the land to see the show, which runs every half hour in Hollywood. (It runs every 15 minutes in Orlando, due in large part to more permissive local rules on the use of fireworks.)
In case you missed it, or want to see it again, we recorded the show when it debuted last month. (We shot it in Orlando, but the show is the same on both coasts.)
It's a great show, but more than that — it's a new show. If you'll allow me to speak for theme park fans, we love great entertainment, but we love fresh, great entertainment most of all. Disneyland hasn't debuted a major new Christmas production in years. Its most recent one, the Jingle Cruise, didn't return to Anaheim this season. And playing holiday songs on the Cars Land spinner rides doesn't exactly move the needle. The food festival in California Adventure is nice, but that's just extra food for sale. If you want a big new show this Christmas, you've got to head up the 5.
Universal delivered that new holiday attraction experience for fans this season, and they're embracing it. Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a big hit on both coasts and another reminder to anyone who runs a theme park that the "secret" to success in this business isn't hard to find — just keep building great stuff so fans always have something new to enjoy, along with classic favorites.
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