The Wizarding World of Harry Potter may seem like the perfect destination for your spring break trip, but vacationing Potterheads be warned: You-Know-Who still reigns in Los Angeles.
For a limited time this spring, Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle, a new projection light show at Universal Studios Hollywood, is bringing the dark magic of Lord Voldemort and his legion of Death Eaters to the skies of the park.
Complete with Dementors, Thestrals, and Acromantulas galore, the highly-anticipated spooky show is a departure from the park’s typically jovial Potter themes.
“After the success of Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle, which told the story of the four houses, and The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle, which was able to express the emotion of the holidays, we were looking for new stories to tell,” Senior Director of Entertainment Production Stephen Siercks explained to Mashable.
“That led us to some of the darker undertones of the Wizarding World, and thus: Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle.”
Projection mapping technology keeps the focus of Dark Arts on Universal Studios’ Hogwarts replica, displaying scary imagery across the castle’s face with startling realism. Using immersive soundscaping, the show also features the narration of Dumbledore and Voldemort, who bring the central storyline of Dark Arts to life.
For the big finale, drones sweep in to create an awe-inspiring — and extremely timely — stag Patronus to the side of the castle, ready to save what remains of the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
(A note for fans eager to see this particular aspect of the show: Be sure to stand further away from the castle, closer to Hogsmeade, rather than crowding in on Hogwarts’ right side. Audience members standing in front of the Flight of the Hippogriff ride will find themselves missing a big chunk of the Patronus and missing out the show’s overall effect.)
Want to catch Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle now? Feel free to check out the footage below, but be aware that the show is far more compelling IRL — and with Butterbeer in-hand.
Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle is running at Universal Studios Hollywood April 13-28 and May 25-27.
East Coast fans looking to check out the attraction can expect it to arrive at Universal Orlando Resort later this year.