VIDEO: Universal Studios Unveils Magical New Entertainment Experience

harry potter a white boy with brown hair in a robe flies over the snowy village of hogsmeade and hogwarts castle on buckbeak a lion bird hybrid gray crrature

An all-new entertainment experience has arrived at this Universal Studios location… Could the Universal Orlando Resort be next?

Since 2010, Universal Studios Florida, and later, Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme parks have invited Guests to step inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, inspired by both the children’s book series by now-controversial exclusionary author JK Rowling and its film adaptations by Warner Bros. The fully immersive lands of Hogsmeade, King’s Cross Station, and Diagon Alley were a huge success, motivating future Walt Disney World Resort expansions such as Toy Story Land, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Pandora – The World of Avatar, and Avengers Campus.

hogwarts at universal studios hollywood

Credit: Universal Studios

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Since then, Harry’s legacy has expanded to other Universal Parks worldwide, including Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Japan. Now, Japan’s Team Members have introduced a unique performance opportunity that showcases some of the most iconic creatures from the Harry Potter universe, including the spinoff Fantastic Beasts franchise.

In fact, Universal Studios kicked off the new show with a grand opening event, in which Buckbeak, the beloved hippogriff from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004). Specifically, within the show, Buckbeak arrives at Hogwarts to interact with students from all four houses under the guidance of their Care of Magical Creatures professor, with a run until December 31, 2023.

Flight of the Hippogriff™ | Universal Studios Japan | USJ

Credit: USJ

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Of course, die-hard Potterheads will know that Buckbeak is a magical creature featuring the head of an eagle, the body of a horse, and large wings. Significantly, the animal was very close to characters such as Hagrid, Harry, and later, Sirius Black.


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Interestingly, the show brings the chimera to life through the use of a creative costume operated by two employees navigating the limbs and puppeteering the moveable beak, eyes, wings, and head. Although some fans have criticized it for looking too “cringey” or unrealistic, others are excited at the prospect of more entertainment opportunities and walkaround interactions similar to those found at Disney Parks and other areas of Universal.

harry potter world hogsmeade islands of adventure

Credit: Universal

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For instance, while other themed lands include meet-and-greets with characters such as Hello Kitty, Po, Frankenstein, Beetlejuice, the X-Men and Avengers, Scooby Doo gang, Jurassic Park dinos, and even Lucille Ball, the Wizarding World is notoriously lacking in character performers due to stipulations from Rowling herself.

While Death Eaters roam the Parks for a limited time during special events, Universal Japan Guests welcome the opportunity to interact with rare magical creatures throughout Hogsmeade Village, like Buckbeak, as well as smaller hand-puppeteered beings like a baby dragon, Niffler, and Pygmy Puff similar to Tango the raptor in its Jurassic World locations. In addition, with Universal set to debut new Harry Potter experiences at Epic Universe when it opens this summer, it’s possible Buckbeak’s show could soon appear in Orlando… As if by magic!



About Spencer Johnette

Spencer is a lifelong lover of theme parks, princesses, and Disney history that recently relocated to Northern California. She completed her undergraduate studies at UCLA, where she was the founder and first president of the campus Disney Club. A former Cast Member still mourning the loss of the Disney Store, she now haunts the Walt Disney Family Museum halls and shares her opinions with anyone who will listen @gothelsflower.