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It’s magical! The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ at Universal Studios Hollywood is based on the much-loved Harry Potter bestsellers by JK Rowling and the blockbuster Warner Bros films that followed.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Margie and Judy
Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Margie Barron and Judy Sloane with the Harry Potter Attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood

After five years of planning and building, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter finally had its premiere on April 5th, with Harry Potter favorites Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood) and James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley) in attendance – along with myself and my good friend, Judy Sloane, who works for this website – Film Review online.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Tom Felton
Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Tom Felton who played Draco Malfoy at Universal Studios Hollywood ©2016 Margie Barron
Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood - James and Oliver Phelps
Wizarding World of Harry Potter – James and Oliver Phelps who played Fred and George Weasley, Ron’s brothers at Universal Studios Hollywood ©2016 Margie Barron

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is an overwhelmingly beautiful land that transports visitors to the enchanting settings of the stories: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and Hogsmeade village where magical spells and mysterious places are part of life in that corner of the Scottish Highlands.

Those locations have been meticulously recreated in exquisite detail by the same team of master craftsmen that designed the Harry Potter movie sets in London.

Harry Potter at Universal Studios Park - Alan Gilmore and Stuart Craig
Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood – Alan Gilmore and Stuart Craig. Alan was the Supervising Art Director Wizarding World and Stuart was the Production Designer on the Harry Potter films ©2016 Margie Barron

The endeavor had JK Rowling herself involved with every facet of the project, according to Alan Gilmore, the Art Director on the Harry Potter films. Because of Alan’s knowledge and affection for the stories he took on the duties of Supervising Art Director and he and other great artisans used their creative skills to bring The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park.

The visuals are stunning as you walk through the Hogsmeade gates and see the full size steam locomotive that transported Hogwarts students. As visitors explore the village magic is created around every corner and in all the shops and establishments that are authentic to Harry’s adventures.

Art Director, Alan Gilmore

During a pre-opening tour of the attraction, I chatted with Alan, who told me, “We want everyone to become a character in JK Rowling’s stories. When you enter Hogsmeade village and the Wizarding World you are a wizard. You are becoming part of her storyline and can enjoy the experiences of a wizard.”

Alan went to to tell, “You can work magic with a wand, dine at The Three Broomsticks, Madam Puddifoot’s, and taste Butterbeer. You can send a letter from Owl Post, and visits all the shops like Honeydukes, Wiseacre’s, and Gladrags Wizardwear.”

“You can enjoy exceptional entertainment and do all the same things that Harry, Ron, Hermione, and all the other students at Hogwarts can do. That’s a very important part of the whole experience.”

Hogwarts Castle experience

A visit to Hogwarts Castle and experiencing the passageways roamed by Professor Dumbledore and his students leads to the multidimensional thrill ride, “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.” The realistic 3D-HD ride has guests soaring.

Near Hagrid’s Hut there’s also the “Flight of the Hippogriff,” which is Universal Studios Hollywood’s first outdoor rollercoaster. And magic wands will be waving everywhere at special spots that make everyone feel like a real Wizard.

The goal was to turn one of the world’s biggest film franchises into an unforgettable experience in Hollywood.

Alan proudly reports, “The sets we built in London have been realized here as a real place ready to be discovered. We’ve actually created a facsimile of the film at Universal Studios that continues this amazing story in Hollywood.”

Harry Potter at Universal Studios Park - Judy Sloane and Margie Barron
Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Judy Sloane and Margie Barron and with the Harry Potter Attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood

Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Video Magic

Click here to see me make magic happen (video by Judy Sloane)…

Check out the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra playing live, conducted by John Williams who, of course, composed the music for Harry Potter …and every other great movie franchise.