Happy 1st Birthday to the Wizarding World Hollywood

April 7, 2017, 11:56 AM · The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood officially celebrates its first birthday today, with its grand opening ceremony happening one year ago today — April 7, 2016.

The Wizarding World Hollywood was Universal's fourth Harry Potter-themed land, following the original Hogsmeade in Orlando, which opened in 2010, Orlando's Diagon Alley, which opened in 2014, and the second Hogsmeade, in Osaka, Japan, which also opened in 2014. [Follow the links for our coverage of all those other Harry Potter lands at their openings.]

Harry Potter film stars Warwick Davis, Tom Felton, Evanna Lynch, James Phelps, and Oliver Phelps joined then-USH president Larry Kurzweil at the opening of the Hollywood land, making Felton the only one of the Potter stars present at the media events for all four lands. Let's look back at the opening moment:

Having just returned from Universal Orlando, where of course I spent pretty much all of my (rather limited) downtime at the two Wizarding World lands there, I've got to cast my vote for the Hollywood version as the best of the two U.S. Hogsmeades. The third time (counting Japan) really was the, uh, charm for Universal Creative. With expanded retail and twin theaters for the Ollivander's experience, as well as fully themed bathrooms, more interactive wand opportunities, an expanded menu at The Three Broomsticks, and that wonderful 4K projection on the now blessedly-free-of-3D Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Hollywood's Hogsmeade is the plussed version of the Orlando original. Plus, being 15 minutes from my house instead of a cross-country flight endears it to me considerably, as well.

Now, if we could just get a Diagon Alley out here....

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Replies (1)

April 7, 2017 at 2:07 PM · You have to hand it to USH. That magical reveal of the witches and wizards inhabiting Hogsmeade village was really cool.
I've yet to visit the Wizarding world in Hollywood, but it will be difficult to match the great transition from the rest of the park in Japan. That long walk through the woods really does a great job of place making.

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