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The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle at Universal’s Islands of Adventure

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade

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The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle at Universal's Islands of Adventure
The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle at Universal’s Islands of Adventure

Two-sentence insider summary
Hogwarts Castle (home of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey) is transformed into the canvas for a magical projection-mapping show that sees each of the school’s four houses get showcased: Slytherin, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and, of course, Gryffindor. With narration by the Sorting Hat and the musical accompaniment of John Williams’s iconic score, this is a spectacle not to be missed – even if the line to see the six-minute show can be quite long.

Show schedule and other information
Show times aren’t published in Universal’s in-park guide map, and the company only announces when the first performance of the evening will be (on its website, that is). However, that doesn’t stop us from providing you some insider tips and tricks – please see that section below.

7:15 pm – Feb. 7-12, 15-21, 24-26, Mar. 1-3
7:30 pm – Mar. 3-10
8:30 pm – Mar. 11-22, 24-31
8:45 pm – Apr. 1-29
Dusk – May 1-3, 5-7, 9, 12-14, 16, 19, 24-29, 31, Jun. 1, 3-4, 6-9, 10-30, Jul. 1-31, Aug. 1-31, Sept. 1-30, Oct. 1-2, 4-9, 11-15, 17-28, Nov. 1-2
No shows – Oct. 3, 10, 16, Nov. 3-16

NOTE: starting on November 17, and running through to January 6, 2019, The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle will be suspended in order to make room for The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle, the holiday-themed version of the projection-mapping show. Although not officially confirmed by Universal, we fully expect Nighttime Lights to return sometime in January.

OI fun fact
The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle originally debuted at Universal Studios Hollywood in summer 2017, while The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle premiered in Orlando during that year’s holiday celebration. Each location eventually imported the other’s production. (Universal Studios Japan, meanwhile, has had its own exclusive shows during this same time period.)

The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle – tips and tricks

Nighttime Lights has nearly the same exact schedule and setup as its yuletide forebearer, so we’ve lifted some of the secrets from our Christmas page and inserted them here:

  • The Nighttime Lights shows typically start around 7:15 pm (8:15 after the Daylight Savings change), though this can be bumped up to as early as 6:45, and last for approximately five minutes. The performances tend to occur every 20 minutes, with a final showing at park close and, if you’re really lucky, a no-we-really-mean-it final showing at 20 minutes after park close.
  • Traffic flow in and around Hogsmeade is a big deal. Once dusk falls, the entranceway from The Lost Continent is made into the land’s only entrance (though, once inside, you can still leave through this gate), while the doorway with Jurassic Park is a one-way-only exit. If you have absolutely no interest in dealing with the wizarding crowds but you still want to stroll around the park, you’ll need to take the bypass bridge that links Lost Continent directly with Jurassic Park.
  • Tape has been laid out all throughout The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade. The main pathway running straight through the village and up to Hogwarts Castle has two lanes: on the right is generally up, towards Hogwarts (you can try to walk the other way, but you’ll be fighting an incessant wave of people), and the left is down only, toward the land’s main entrance. And lest you think you can bypass this congestion by taking the back alleyway that sneaks behind Dervish and Banges and leads to the Frog Choir stage, think again – Universal closes this off come nightfall.
  • The best viewing area is in front of the Frog Choir/Triwizard Spirit Rally stage. Not surprisingly, this is also the most-crowded area, as well. If you want to minimize the throngs of people around you as much as possible, try going on a less-crowded day (see our FREE crowd calendar for help with that) or, barring that, shoot for the last few showings of the night; not only do you have much more breathing room, Universal recommends these as being the optimum performances, anyway.
  • If you have no choice but to visit on a busy (or busier) day, then we have two recommendations for less-populated-but-still-good vantage spots: the back porch of The Three Broomsticks has a few trees that partially obstruct the view of the castle, but it still provides a good perspective overall; and the bridge that leads from Hogsmeade to Jurassic Park, if you get there early enough to nab a spot.
  • Both Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and (usually) Flight of the Hippogriff are still operational during a Nighttime Lights showing, and their wait times are lessened while everyone else is busy looking at the castle. Take advantage of that either before or after you’ve had your nighttime projection-mapping fill.

The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle – photo gallery

The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle – real guest reviews

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Average rating:  
 3 reviews
by Julie Stewart on Orlando Informer
Magical View of Hogwarts
Date Of Last Visit: Jan 28, 2018

Head to the bridge! not to give away my viewing spot to everyone, but was there for the first night of the lights and we suspected the bridge would be great. You can lean on the rail, take pictures or video without anyone walking in front of your camera. Speakers are still there to hear the music and the sorting hat. Hope this helps someone!! P.S. Yes, it is magical.

by Maggie Self on Orlando Informer
Hufflepuff House Rules!
Date Of Last Visit: 1/28/18

The light show was awesome!Get there early and find a spot.Be sure and have your camera ready to catch a photo of your Hogwarts House when it comes up.

by jon self on Orlando Informer
Date Of Last Visit: jan 28th, 2018

The nighttime light show is good. Be prepared to arrive early or wait for last show of night if you want a good viewing spot. The show is less than 4 minutes and resembles the light show at USH. However if you are a HP fan, then you should not miss this and IOA is/was truly in need of some more nighttime entertainment. Be prepared for huge crowds in a cramped area. Please be nice to team members because they are doing their best with the space/ WB/JK current restrictions in that area.Also if you have not gotten to ride Forbidden Journey that day at IOA then the wait times go down dramatically while people wait for the light show. For example during ACOHP, the wait time for FJ went down from 65 minutes to 15 in the space of 30 minutes while people gathered to view light show. You will have to push through crowd but FJ will be your prize.

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