The muggles of opening day

Harry Potter fans come together in celebration of Hollywood’s wizarding world grand opening.


Autumn Whitney/THE CHIMES [file]

Autumn Whitney, Writer

It was easy for me to wake up at 4 a.m. on Thursday, April 7. As a lifelong Harry Potter fan, the idea of being among the first people to get into the new Wizarding World at Universal Studios Hollywood was a no-brainer. After all, as a logical Ravenclaw, I figured the grand opening lines would be no different than those of midnight premieres gone by. When my Deathly Hallows watch signaled 5:30 a.m. I had already lined up at the arch leading to Hogsmeade with all the other Potter-crazed people — some of which had been there since Wednesday.

Started from the bottom

I started reading the books in first grade, so it came as no surprise to see small children in Hogwarts attire jumping in an attempt to see the opening ceremonies around the robe-cladded adults blocking their vision. It reminded me of the feeling I experienced whenever J.K. Rowling’s newest installment arrived on my doorstep. When a man next to me in the crowd started streaming “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” on his phone, I gushed with pride. These were my kind of people: Potter fanatics who were willing to cheer for their favorite houses, talk to strangers about their favorite characters and books in the series, and shamelessly carry around wands.

the grand opening

The Wizarding World officially opened at 6:30 a.m. and Hogwarts House-colored confetti shot over the crowd as we walked into Hogsmeade. This land possessed the same qualities of any new Potter book or movie I experienced in my childhood: new and impressive while establishing yet another channel for Potterheads to converse over their shared interests — but with the added bonus of bringing Rowling’s universe to life.

It seemed no one was in a bad mood — and how could they be? This new area of Universal Studios is home to near-exact replicas of buildings found in the movies, a feat that, to me, was more exciting than the land’s two rides. Inside Hogwarts castle, which is part of the line for the Forbidden Journey, people stopped to take pictures of Dumbledore’s office, the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom and Gryffindor common room, along with other trinkets found throughout the films. The queue was equally, if not more, captivating than the ride itself.

Worth the wait

Throughout the park, Harry’s lightning-shaped scar was drawn on countless foreheads, and the scarlet and gold of Gryffindor house, along with the green and silver of Slytherin, blue and bronze of Ravenclaw and yellow and black of Hufflepuff, were represented everywhere. Staff members wore robes and cheered for their house while giving high fives to people in the same colors.

The lines to get into the shops of Hogsmeade and on the two rides were each over an hour long, but no one seemed to mind the wait. A kid played with a miniature Hogwarts Express while his mother slowly pushed his stroller through the line into Honeydukes sweet shop.

Despite the long waits and hordes of people, the muggles inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter were high-spirited in a place where Slytherins and Gryffindors can get along and unite over their commitment to J.K. Rowling’s universe.

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