The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood is adding a holiday light show that splashes images of falling snow, flying owls and wizards on broomsticks on the 200-foot Hogwarts Castle.
The new show, the first Christmas celebration at the Harry Potter land, is free with admission, but it gives the park an excuse to introduce some traditional theme park money-makers: holiday merchandise, food and drinks.
Several times a night through Jan. 7, the park will project a seven-minute light show on the castle facade. The show involves projection mapping technology that uses lasers and computer software to create 3-D images on uneven surfaces.
It will be accompanied by an original musical arrangement inspired by the "Harry Potter" movies.
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"The entire land from Hogsmeade to Hogwarts Castle will transform in the spirit of the holidays," Karen Irwin, president and chief operating officer of Universal Studios Hollywood, told a crowd of reporters and guests before unveiling the light show recently at a special preview.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened in April 2016, and Christmas features were added this year. The park launched its first light show this summer, which inspired the plan to create a light show for Christmas.
Along with the light display, the park is offering a new holiday dinner with roast turkey and pigs in blankets, plus Christmas pudding with brandy butter.
The retail shops are selling Christmas stockings, Christmas tree ornaments, new Hogwarts gloves and scarves and a wooden Hogwarts Express train. The merchandise ranges in price from $24.95 for the train to $38.95 for the scarves.
Industry studies show that food and merchandise generate nearly 30 percent of all revenues at theme parks.
Other Southern California theme parks have also redecorated for the holidays – a big draw for visitors – and have added new food and merchandise.