The much-awaited date as to when Muggles (that’s “humans” for you, if you don’t know your Wizard language) will finally be able to enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was announced on April 18 with much fanfare. Universal Studios Japan said that July 15, 2014 is the official opening of the only Harry Potter theme park (so far) outside the United States.
The announcement was made at a special event where the guests of honor included Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy and Irish actress Evanna Lynch, who played Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter movies. When the prime minister and the ambassador announced the date, the backdrop Hogwarts Castle became illuminated followed by a fireworks and light show. Prime Minister Abe said that the new theme park will help in strengthening the economy of Osaka and will also be a big boon to Universal Studios in Japan, which just last month received 10 million visitors for only the second time since it opened in 2001. Ambassador Kennedy credited the Harry Potter books with inspiring a whole new generation of readers. “…and when they are not reading, I hope they come to ‘The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” she added.
The Japanese theme park will reportedly be similar to that of the one at Universal Studios in Florida, which includes a replica of Hogwarts Castle and the village of Hogsmeade. The original Wizarding World in Orlando will also be expanding this summer, with the addition of a Hogwarts Express train and a brand new Diagon Alley.
[ via Rappler ]