Welcome to Theme Park Insider! Join the community or log in
Theme Park Insider
Facebook Twitter YouTube Email Newsletter

Universal's The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure theme park opened officially to the public on Friday, June 18, 2010. Since then, Universal Parks & Resorts has announced plans to expand The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to three other Universal theme parks: Universal Studios Florida, Universal Studios Japan, and Universal Studios Hollywood. That leaves Universal Studios Singapore as the only Universal theme park without a Harry Potter land open or under construction. Here's a look at all four of Universal's Wizarding Worlds:

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade, at Universal's Islands of Adventure

Hogwarts Castle in Orlando

The original Wizarding World soft-opened in late May 2010, following a 2007 announcement that Universal has secured the theme park rights to J.K. Rowling's characters and would be bringing them to the Universal Orlando Resort. Themed to the village of Hogsmeade from the Harry Potter books and films, original Wizarding World land was designed by Universal Creative in consultation with author J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter film production designer Stuart Craig. It includes one new attraction, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, as well as two rethemed rides and multiple shops and restaurants.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley, at Universal Studios Florida

Gringotts Bank

In December 2011, ThemeParkInsider.com first published plans for a second Wizarding World of Harry Potter, to be themed to Diagon Alley. Located in Universal Studios Florida, this second Harry Potter land is connected to the original Hogsmeade-themed Wizarding World via a Hogwarts Express train that runs between the two theme parks. Universal confirmed the construction of the new land in May 2013. The centerpiece is the Gringotts Bank, which houses Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. The new land opened officially to the public on July 8, 2014, following a media preview on June 18-19, 2014.

ThemeParkInsider.com previewed the new land in a feature series called "On the Road to Diagon Alley":

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan

Lynch and Felton in Osaka
Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood) and Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) on the red carpet in Osaka. Photo courtesy Universal Studios Japan.

In 2012, before Universal confirmed plans for a second Harry Potter land at Universal Orlando, the company confirmed that it would bring the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Universal Studios Japan in Osaka. The Japanese Wizarding World debuted on July 15, 2014, following the Hogsmeade village design from Universal's Islands of Adventure and lacking only the Dragon Challenge roller coaster from the original land.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood

Hogwarts in coming to Hollywood

The Southern California version of the Wizarding World was the first to be announced following the opening of the original Wizarding World in Orlando, but it will be the last to be completed, with a 2016 opening announced. Universal is building Hollywood's Hogwarts Castle on the site of the now-demolished Gibson (nee Universal) Amphitheater, as part of a $1.6 billion "Evolution" revitalization plan for the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park and production studio property.

What's it like to work at Disney World?

Working at Disney World

Insider's Pick: Ever wondered what it would be like to work at the Walt Disney World Resort? Stories from a Theme Park Insider offers more than 100 pages of fun, insightful, and even sometimes touching stories from people who've worked at Disney World's Magic Kingdom. It's a great way to get in the mood for your next trip to Orlando, or just to keep the memories of a Disney World visit alive.

Get it! In paperback | For Kindle | For iBooks