Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley have set their sights on L.A., and by way of Apparition, Portkey and the Floo Network they have finally landed in the City of Angels. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which has been thrilling witches, wizards and Muggles alike at Universal's theme park in Orlando since 2010, is about to open at Universal Studios Hollywood and the anticipation is high. Since Wizarding World Hollywood was announced in December 2011, we've tried to remain patient while watching the metal framework at the top of Universal City transform into glistening snowy rooftops and a familiar Gothic castle — a surreal vision while driving down Olive Avenue in Burbank.
When The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which includes the village of Hogsmeade and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, officially opens its gates on April 7, attendance in Universal City is likely to go through the roof. However, a soft opening that began a few weeks ago has allowed lucky visitors to the theme park early access to this truly magical experience without the crowds that are almost guaranteed to swoop in on their broomsticks once spring break begins.
Universal Studios Hollywood invited L.A. Weekly to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for an official sneak peek at the new “land” inspired by J.K. Rowling's magical novels and the wildly successful film franchise. From the mind-blowing motion-based 3-D ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey to the cold and foamy Butterbeer, we can tell you first-hand that the wait for Harry and his friends to arrive in L.A. has been worth it. All photos by Jared Cowan. Prior to the April 7 grand opening, Wizarding World is accessible only on select days. Follow #PotterWatch to get more info.