Hollywood’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter has new (and the best!) spells
Despite being largely consistent with one another, the three Wizarding Worlds of Harry Potter located across the globe do feature a few exclusive experiences, such as Universal Orlando Resort’s extra roller coaster or Universal Studios Japan’s bevy of events and shows.
Universal Studios Hollywood, for its part, brandishes the still-new Hogsmeade Station store and a more robust list of interactive spell locations. And in case that doesn’t sound quite solid enough for you, worry not – Universal has just today announced that it’s going to be adding to the latter category by importing some of Osaka’s formerly-exclusive spellcasting effects. (Why, yes, this doesn’t add to USH’s unique contents objectively speaking, but, relatively, they’re still exclusive compared to the East Coast!)
Are you not excited for new Wand Magic experiences (as the Japanese refer to them)? You should be – for whatever reason, the Asian lineup is the most elaborate, despite its also being the smallest numerically, and getting even just a few of these spells over here is actually big news for West Coast witches and wizards.
Before we get into what, exactly, is making the migration over the Pacific Ocean, however, it might behoove us to break down all of the Osaka spells – and see how they stack up against Orlando’s, as well.
The Japanese roster of spells
When The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened at Universal Studios Japan four years ago, it had just six interactive wand experiences on hand (compared with Islands of Adventure’s nine and Universal Studios Hollywood’s whopping 11). In April 2016, the park (slightly) rectified this situation by adding on two more locations, including its first-ever water spell and its most elaborate effect yet:
- Cistem Apero – make the luggage next to the Hogwarts Express mock-up open, revealing light and smoke within
- Incendio – a chimney located on Hogsmeade Village’s border wall lights up with flame
- Arresto Momentum – the music box in Dervish and Banges’s window display stops playing
- Meteolojinx – make it snow in front of a fake storefront
- Wingardium Leviosa – the Quaffle ball at Spintwitches Sporting Needs comes to life
- Ventus – a gust of air ruffles Quidditch banners that are lined up in a row
- Aguamenti – a big pile of cauldrons stacked up next to Dervish and Banges squirt out water
- Alohomora – the door that leads to the former Dragon Challenge in Orlando unlocks, awakening a dragon behind it (who shoots out steam from underneath it)
It’s amazing to note the diversity of the magical experiences here. Flames shooting, snow falling, dragons awakening – there’s a surprising impact that your simple little wand has on the environment around you, really selling your newfound status as a member of the wizarding community. (And all of this isn’t to mention the seasonal Wand Magic available during the holidays, which includes the ability to make the ornaments on a giant Christmas tree come to life.)
Of these Universal Studios Japan spells, “Incendio” and “Alohomora” will be coming Stateside, making their home in California. Although not yet announced, it’s currently believed that they’ll be installed in roughly the same locations as their Asian counterparts – and speaking of official confirmations, we did manage to snag this from the company’s press release: “The ‘Incendio’ fire-making spell will conjure flames of varying size based on skill level.”
In other words, with more – and variable! – magical incantations, be prepared for Hogsmeade Village to be even more crowded than ever before.
How the spells stack up worldwide
As previously mentioned, California already boasted the biggest lineup of spellcasting effects even before this expansion; now, it has inarguably the best roster in the world, providing both a quantity and a quality that simply cannot be beat.
But does the fact that so many of its entries are now being shared with its two Wizarding World counterparts undermine its newfound stature? (After all, nearly half of Universal Studios Hollywood’s original 11 experiences could be found at Universal Orlando, while a sixth were also present in Japan.) The answer, we think, is no – not only will most guests never visit Osaka, the overlap between the East and West Coasts features a few small-but-noticeable differences.
Let’s start to run them down:
- Revelio – a giant chocolate-frog box opens, revealing the delicious treat inside (shared with Orlando)
- Incendio – light up The Three Broomsticks’s, well, lights
- Herbicus – the plant in Dogweed and Deathcap’s window display changes colors (shared with Orlando)
- Locomotor Plates/Arresto Momentum – start up or stop the plates at Madam Puddifoot’s from spinning (sort of shared with Orlando)
- Finite Incantatem – stop a quill from writing
- Alohomora – open the locked box at Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment
- Descendo/Ascendio – a measuring tape either unwinds or rolls back up (shared with Orlando)
- Locomotor Music Box – get the music box to start playing at Dervish and Banges (shared with both Orlando and Japan)
- Wingardium Leviosa – the Quaffle ball at Spintwitches Sporting Needs comes to life (shared with both Orlando and Japan)
- Silencio – the bubbling cauldrons outside Ceridwen’s are silenced
- Ventus – Dominic Maestro’s displayed musical instruments start playing
Where do the differences with Florida come into play? In two places: firstly, while Islands of Adventure’s version of Madam Puddifoot’s does, indeed, feature a spell, it’s “Locomotor Snowman” as opposed to “Locomotor Plates,” with the resultant effect being a dancing icing snowman atop a white cake (you’ll notice Orlando only has the one spell instead of California’s two here); and, secondly, Dervish and Banges over there features a second a spell after “Locomotor” – “Arresto Momentum,” which makes the music box turn off. Admittedly, these aren’t much in and of themselves, but when combined with a number of the other little exclusive touches that can be found (USH’s mountain vista that Hogwarts Castle takes advantage of, IOA’s transition area in front of the area’s main gate), they certainly add up to something substantive.
BONUS: What are Orlando’s exclusive spells?
Just for the sake of completion, here is everything that you won’t be able to find at either Hollywood or Osaka:
- Incendio – activate spinning wheels and rockets in Zonko’s Joke Shop’s façade
- Arresto Momentum – tip over a cauldron that’s placed above MacHavelock’s door, revealing a surprise within
- Alohomora – at Tomes and Scrolls, an elaborate copy of Tales of Beedle the Bard unlocks and unfolds itself
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will receive Universal Studios Japan’s new spellcasting locations this summer.
Wait – there’s more?
In addition to the interactive spell announcement, Universal also revealed a few other additions that will be – or already have been – introduced in the coming months. These include new apparel at Gladrags Wizardwear (such as a “high-end replica” of Professor Severus Snape’s robes and Hermione Granger’s Yule Ball dress), the extension of The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle for this summer, and the importing of Madam Malkin’s Talking Mirror from Florida, which will be inserted in the corridor between Gladrags and Dervish and Banges and which will “entertain guests with a variety of complimentary remarks.”
But we should make special note of the new menu changes at The Three Broomsticks, which went live in mid-March. Now, when you walk into the wizarding restaurant for lunch, you can order the following:
- Ploughman’s Lunch – an imported selection of ham, salami, country paté, English cheese, homemade pickles, and a warm scotch egg, served with bread, cranberry chutney, and grain mustard
- Cheese Toastie with Chicken – grilled English Cheddar cheese with chicken, crispy bacon, mustard, and sliced tomato, topped with a sunny-side egg and served with a fresh salad or potato wedges
- Sunday Roast Sandwich – served on a freshly-baked baguette filled with warm prime rib, caramelized onions, English Cheddar, horseradish sauce, and homemade garlic pickles, served with fresh salad or potato wedges