Following the incredible grand opening ceremony of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Los Angeles last spring, fans have been begging for a similar nighttime projection show to be brought back to the theme park for everyone to enjoy as Potter’s own “kiss goodnight” each evening. Guess what? Universal listened. Beginning June 23, 2017, guests visiting Universal Studios Hollywood will be treated to a spectacular projection show on the Hogwarts exterior several times each night, after the sun has completely set and it’s dark.
According to Universal Studios Hollywood, the Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle show will showcase the four houses of Hogwarts: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin, with a finale of a fan of lights beaming upward into the night sky. The dazzling visuals will be accompanied by a brand-new state-of-the-art sound system that has been installed in Hogsmeade, as well as other special effects surprises that will “wow” guests viewing the spectacle.
This is something that Universal Studios Hollywood has needed since Potter opened more than a year ago. Still not necessarily a “full day” theme park, most tourists arrive early and leave in the middle of the afternoon or early evening. Even on very busy park days, tourist foot traffic thins out toward the end of the night in Hogsmeade; having the new nighttime projection show will give guests more of a reason to stick around – or to begin their day at Universal Studios Hollywood later and stay until closing.
The traffic patterns at Universal Studios Hollywood don’t at all reflect that the park is having attendance issues or isn’t a world-class destination. It’s simply not a locals park, the way Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, or Six Flags Magic Mountain are. Universal Hollywood’s draw of tourists visiting Los Angeles is just that – tourists visiting Los Angeles in general; USH just happens to be a checkbox on the list of things to see and do in the land of the rich and famous, so folks get in early, hit everything they want to see, and move on to their next LA destination. Eventually, as the theme park continues to expand in the years ahead, there is no doubt in my mind that we will see the traffic patterns shift as Universal does transition to an all-day park. For now, it’s going to be interesting to see how crowd flow is altered by the arrival of the new Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle show. As someone lucky enough to witness a similar show in person during the opening ceremony last year, I am really excited to see the reaction of park guests – because it’s going to be a fantastic nighttime enhancement for the Wizarding World.
Kudos to Universal for listening to its fans and delivering what promises to be one of the best nighttime spectaculars on the West Coast! We’ll see you in Hogsmeade after dark!
- Rick West