Universal Studios Hollywood “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” officially opens this week and ComingSoon.net attended a special celebration in honor of the West Coast location.
Cast members Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley) were on hand for the magical event that featured the film’s musical score played by John Williams in front of Hogwarts castle.
Alongside the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the legendary composer played a medley of his themes from Warner Bros. Pictures‘ Harry Potter films set to a wondrous light show on the castle and fireworks. Actor Warwick Davis shared his excitement for the performance with ComingSoon.net. “He’s a hero of mine anyway, his film score music is some of my favorite. To be here with John Williams and to see him conduct the LA Phil is just going to be a magical thing.”
After the performance, guests were invited to preview Hogsmeade, the area of Universal Studios Hollywood which boasts shops, restaurants and experiences based on J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” book series. “It is truly magical to be here immersed in the environment again. Somewhere that for me feels like home, having worked on the films for 11 years,” Davis shared. “So to go and be able to walk among it again is something special.” Both he and Felton were on hand for some of the park openings before in Hollywood and are seasoned visitors at this point with go-to spots when they visit.
“I really enjoy the ride. It’s honestly incredible what they’ve managed to do there,” Tom Felton said of The Forbidden Journey, a dark ride that mixes practical animatronic effects and sets with 3D tech to really put you in an adventure with Harry, Ron, Hermione and even Malfoy. As a visiting muggle, you befriend the gang and soar through the Hogwarts grounds and come face to face with the same sort of danger that’s to be expected when you’re rolling with Potter. You know, the Whomping Willow, Slytherin bullies, dragons, giant spiders and truly terrifying Dementors. The whole lot, pretty much, and some amazing moments that are more lighthearted like Quidditch. The ride sets a new bar for rides that Disney’s Star Wars Land has to at least meet. Not only that, they also need to meet the level of commitment to the land immersion.
In Hogsmede you won’t usually find things from “our” world unless it’s brought in by guests. Every single cast member stays in character as witches and wizards of the land. It’s that serious. Like down to the food, serious. Felton praised, “There’s so much. Wherever you look, touch, smell, hear, taste–it’s all from the Wizarding World. My personal favorite is the Three Broomsticks.” The restaurant just like the one in the books, boasts english wizarding fare like Shepard’s Pie and Bangers and Mash but also has concoctions of the world like the famous Butterbeer non-alcoholic drink the characters have in every book. There’s also stuff for big kids, like wizarding world brewed beers like Hog’s Head Scottish Ale, the Dragon’s Scale Pale Ale, and the Wizard’s Brew Stout.
“The Three Broomsticks, it’s truly wonderful food.” Davis recommended, “Have some Butterbeer, you’ve got to do that and ride some rides but do it the other way actually. Ride the rides and then get food and Butterbeer because otherwise it might not have a great outcome.”
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)