16 Jul – Universal Studios has brought the magic to Japan. The theme park's new attraction, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, officially opened last Monday following its grand opening.
Evanna Lynch and Tom Felton, or better known as Luna Lovegood and Draco Malfoy to the Harry Potter fandom, were present at the ceremony along with the park's CEO, Glen Gumpel.
The new 9-acre, USD445 million attraction was finally declared open after a chant of Lumos! spell from the trio.
Thousands of visitors flocked the "magical" attraction, some were even dressed in their favourite characters' costumes. Felton happily acknowledged the enthusiastic fans, "I'm so excited to see the Japanese fans getting the opportunity to walk through this fabulous park. Very pleased to see some Slytherin t-shirts over there as well. Some home support, so thank you very much for having us."
The author of the Harry Potter books, J.K. Rowling, reportedly visited the park the day before it was officially opened. One of the photos taken during her visit particularly caught fans' attention as it shows the famous author visiting Hogwarts.
She had never before been photographed visiting the magic boarding school on any of her visits to a film set or theme park.
Orlando and Japan share largely the same features in both Wizarding Worlds. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Flight of the Hippogriff, Three Broomsticks and Zonko's Joke Shop are some of the shops currently featured in both.
While Japan lacks Diagon Alley, the newly added edition in Orlando, it does have two things the first park does not, live owls and the Black Lake.
The Wizarding World in Osaka is the second Harry Potter park to open but it won't be the last. There are already plans for Universal Studios to open a third one at its Hollywood theme park in 2016.