This time last year, Universal Japan made waves when it announced that its new 2018 attraction would not only be state-of-the-art, but also Harry Potter-infused: Universal Spectacle Night Parade – Best of Hollywood, which the company proudly boasted was “the world’s first next-generation parade” (thanks to its heavy utilization of projection mapping). Beyond the wonder of seeing a Hogwarts Express in float form work its way down the streets of Universal Studios Japan, it was a noteworthy development since it signaled the very first time that author J.K. Rowling allowed her theme-park compatriots to deploy the Boy Wizard outside of the strict confines of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade – and though this parade hasn’t shown up on American shores (yet, at least), it undoubtedly helped pave the way for Potter’s inclusion in Universal Orlando’s new Cinematic Celebration nighttime spectacular this past summer.
All of which is to say that, when Universal has now pulled the same move again, announcing yet another Wizarding World-centric experience for next year, maybe all of us Stateside should pay attention.
Called Hogwarts Magical Celebration, it is a projection-mapping show in the vein of Florida’s The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle (or its seasonal variation, The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle) that – yup, you guessed it – uses the iconic castle as the canvas for the production. Although we don’t have much in the way of specifics for what this new number will entail, we do know that it’ll showcase the crest, colors, and, even, dormitory of each of the four different Hogwarts houses, making viewers feel as if they’re experiencing the familiar sights and sounds for the very first time all over again. (We also know that Magical Celebration is meant to commemorate the Japanese Hogsmeade’s fifth anniversary, which will technically land on July 15, 2019 – just one week after Diagon Alley’s own fifth birthday here in Orlando.)
While there is certainly the possibility of this spawning or otherwise inspiring some sort of corresponding attraction here in America (on either coast), there’s also the equal possibility that this newest development is just Universal Studios Japan’s version of our Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle, as well – Asia never received that particular production (although it did import the Christmas version last year), and the description of Hogwarts Magical Celebration sounds suspiciously close to the domestic summer show, giving Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin their moment in the (nighttime) sun.
Do you think it’s weird that Osaka never got that particular projection-mapping experience? Don’t – it’s just one of several different examples of region-exclusive attractions that Universal and Rowling have, for some reason, decided to implement around the globe. Japan, for example, has been the sole recipient of a Death Eaters street show, daytime trick-or-treating, and an impressive, multimedia Dementors production (all of which you can read about in our in-depth guide). Hollywood, meanwhile, has the biggest and best lineup of interactive spell-casting locations, not to mention having had an exclusive window (of one year!) with Nighttime Lights – and Orlando, last but not least, has a brand-new Forbidden Forest roller coaster, the entire additional land of Diagon Alley, and the Hogwarts Express to connect them together.
Either way, wizarding fans should still keep their eyes trained on Universal Studios Japan’s latest addition – it seems that it stands only as further proof that Harry Potter will continue to expand its roster of experiences at all three of Universal’s theme-park locations around the world, in ways both big and small and both regional and universal (no pun intended).