J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter novel series have sold over 400 million copies worldwide, and the film franchise adaptation of the series has earned over $7 billion in worldwide receipts. The series will continue its streak of popularity when Universal Studios Hollywood’s “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” opens next year on April 7, CNN reports. Actress Evanna Lynch, who plays Luna Lovegood in the film franchise, announced the exciting news in a fun video filmed in the upcoming theme park. Lynch casts a spell with her magic wand, wearing a Ravenclaw scarf, and spills the exciting news to the world.
The very first “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” park opened at Universal’s theme park in Orlando, Florida, back in 2010. Just four years later, a second Harry Potter-themed park opened in the same area. The city of Orlando has gained a lot from the Harry Potter attractions, having attendance increased at Universal Orlando and increasing tourism in the city in general. On the opening week, those who visited the park stood in line for up to five hours just to experience one ride. Osaka, Japan, also received a “Wizarding World” park in the summer of 2014 at Universal Studios Japan. The Hollywood version, whose flagship attraction will be the “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” flight-simulation ride, is going to set itself apart from the rest by incorporating 3D technology. Visitors will wear Quidditch-inspired 3D goggles for the ride, which will be housed in the crown jewel of the theme park, Hogwarts.
Stuart Craig, production designer for the Harry Potter films and the “Wizarding World” parks, says that the Hollywood theme park is going to up the ante for anyone who visits, according to USA Today.
“Opening in Hollywood will be the Wizarding World’s ultimate test. Hollywood is the home of movie magic. Hollywood understands what this takes and will be our most informed critic. Film sets are very temporary, especially in the European climate. There is no requirement for permanence. This is as permanent as it gets for a plywood (film) architect. It’s very gratifying.”
The Hollywood park is going to feature eight retail locations that are taken directly from the Harry Potter series, including Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods, Zonko’s Joke Shop, Honeydukes, Dervish and Banges, Ollivanders Wand Shop, Owl Post — which will serve as a working post office with life-like animatronic owls — Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, and Gladrags Wizardwear. Hogsmeade Village and Town Hall are going to be built as well and will feature Ceridwen’s Cauldrons and Madam Puddifoot’s Tea Shop. The first outdoor roller coaster at Universal Studios, the “Flight of the Hippogriff,” will connect to Hogsmeade Village. Art director Alan Gilmore and his team feel the pressure of delivering an incredible and unforgettable social experience for fans of Harry Potter.
“With the Los Angeles people especially, it’s important to make this the perfect rendition of Harry Potter, a facsimile of the story and films. So when people are within the park, they will be immersed in the story. It’s a spectacle, iconic, the main storytelling location in Harry Potter is now the most amazing castle in Los Angeles.”
As Harry Potter fans impatiently await the opening day for the “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” theme park in Los Angeles, author J.K. Rowling has recently been paying attention to the current American presidential race and sees one candidate as being worse than her villainous character Lord Voldemort. In response to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s recent comments on banning Muslims from the country, the author realized that perhaps the Republican candidate is more evil than one of her fictional characters.
Several Twitter followers have since agreed with her statements, going out of their way to make jokes and create memes based on the comparison.
[Photo by Ken Kinzie/Universal Orlando Resort via Getty Images]