The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Restrictions and access
None; no Universal Express Pass or VIP Experience access.
Two-sentence insider summary
Hogwarts Castle (home of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey) is illuminated in a whole new light 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 an experience 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, as the park ONLY announces showtimes on the Official Universal Studios Hollywood mobile app on the day of your visit in the “Park Updates” tab. Show times are also posted on the Studio Directory boards around the park. However, that doesn’t stop us from providing you some insider tips and tricks – please see that section below.
Show Dates: Returns in 2019! The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle returns this November 2018 for “Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
IMPORTANT: please note that, as of right now, The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle is a seasonal experience at Universal Studios Hollywood.
The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle – tips and tricks
The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle 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:
- Employees will be stationed outside of the Wizarding World to control the flow of traffic coming into the land when needed. When that happens, be patient – you’ll only be waiting no more than 10 minutes before being let into the land.
- If you are interested in catching the first posted showtime, you should arrive at the viewing area 25 minutes early. The first posted showing is at 9:30pm (9:25pm mid-July, 9:00pm mid-August), with two unannounced showings 40 and 20 minutes prior. The first posted showing. Shows usually run every 20 minutes until park close. Please check with an employee or refer to the Universal Studios Hollywood mobile app or the Studio Directories in-park for showtimes.
- The first performance of the evening will almost certainly be at capacity; for this reason, we strongly recommend catching the last showing of the night (when Universal says The Nighttime Lights is best, anyway). This way, it’ll be far easier to get a better view of the action.
- If you are aiming for one of the final two showtimes, you should be able to arrive only five minutes before they’re scheduled to kick off and still get a great seat. (This sure beats the two or three hours that many guests will spend camping out at the viewing area before the first performance of the evening!)
- The best viewing spot is by the Frog Choir/Triwizard Spirit Rally performance stage, closest to the Hogwarts/Hogsmeade directional sign pole, and it’s first come, first serve. That’s right – there are no front-of-line or VIP viewing areas, sadly (or not so sadly, as your individual taste may be).
- Once The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts finishes its roughly-six-minute performance, head out of the Wizarding World by using the back exit, the one located next to Ollivander’s and the Butterbeer cart – most guests will exit the same way they entered, which creates a major traffic jam. Give yourself an extra 15 to 25 minutes after the show to make your way towards the front of the park, as crowd flow will be extremely heavy after the first three performances.
- Not interested in the projection-mapping show? You should definitely take advantage of the occasion and use the lower-than-normal crowds at all the rest of Hogsmeade to hop (more) quickly on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. (Please note that Flight of the Hippogriff doesn’t operate during The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle, so you’ll need to add an extra five minutes onto the posted wait time.)