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May24

Libro.fm announces J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World digital audiobooks now available through local bookstores

From Libro.fm --

Libro.fm (www.libro.fm), the digital audiobook platform for independent bookstores, has partnered with Pottermore, J.K. Rowling's digital publishing, e-commerce, entertainment, and news company, to offer eight Wizarding World digital audiobooks through independent bookstores nationwide.

This announcement marks the first time independent bookstores in the United States have been able to offer Wizarding World digital audiobooks to their customers.

"Books Inc. is thrilled to be able to offer J.K. Rowling audiobooks to the loyal customers of our partner stores. With summer approaching, these audiobooks will be perfect for family road trips or long plane rides, and our customers will love being able to immerse themselves in the timeless stories and magical world that J.K. Rowling has created," said Margie Scott Tucker of Books Inc., one of the oldest and largest independent booksellers on the West Coast of the US. 

The Wizarding World digital audiobooks include all seven novels in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series as well as the indispensable introduction to the magical beasts of the Wizarding World, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It is narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Eddie Redmayne who starred as Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the 2016 film inspired by the Hogwarts Library book.

"Harry Potter titles have always held a special place within independent bookstores — on the shelves and in the hearts and minds of booksellers. Now in digital audio, current and future generations of Wizarding World fans can discover and rediscover these stories through their beloved local bookstores," said Stephanie Ballien, Director of Marketing at libro.fm.

The print editions have had great success throughout local bookstores and with the addition of the digital audiobooks, the opportunity to share these stories will only increase.

Oren Teicher, American Booksellers Association CEO, said, "For two decades, the Harry Potter titles have held a singular spot on the shelves of independent bookstores, as young readers — who are now themselves parents of young readers — discovered the wonders of an amazing story and great writing. Indie booksellers look forward to this new opportunity to share J.K. Rowling's remarkable series in digital audio."

About Libro.fm:
Libro.fm is the independent store for digital audiobooks. Based in Seattle, WA, Libro.fm offers tens of thousands of DRM-free digital audiobooks, available for download and through its free iOS and Android apps.

 
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May18

Universal Studios Hollywood Casts a Dazzling Spell on “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” with Its All-New “The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle”

From Universal Studios Hollywood --

 Beginning June 23, guests are invited to see “The Wizarding World of Harry PotterTM” in a whole new light when Universal Studios Hollywood introduces its all-new “The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts TM Castle,” featuring a dazzling light projection experience against the backdrop of Hogwarts™ School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

As night falls on Hogsmeade village, “The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle” will shine brightly with an awe-inspiring spectacle that showcases the four houses of Hogwarts: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin that culminates with awesome beams of lights that fan into the night sky.

The colorful state-of-the-art light display and special effects projection, designed to dance across the stunning Hogwarts castle, will be accompanied by a special musical arrangement created by Academy Award-winning composer John Williams based on his original scores composed for the film series. The musical arrangement that will emanate in a surround sound environment was conducted by prolific arranger William Ross and recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra in London.

This new summertime feature will take place multiple times a night during its run.  Live rehearsals with annual pass previews and very limited guest access will begin in June in preparation for the June 23 grand opening.

            Inspired by J.K. Rowling’s compelling stories and characters that were brought to life in the Warner Bros. films, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” at Universal Studios Hollywood is a masterful recreation, faithful to the visual landscape of the fiction and films, including as its iconic focal point, Hogwarts castle.

From its snow-capped roofs and cobblestone streets to the historic British sensibilities that characterize the whimsical look and feel of the land, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” transports guests of all ages to the very places they watched on the silver screen.

The architecturally stunning land also includes the incredibly captivating and highly acclaimed “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” thrill ride, now enhanced with 4K-HD and ride film projecting at an astounding rate of 120 frames-per-second for an even more immersive glimpse into Harry Potter’s world, as well as “Flight of the Hippogriff™,” Universal Studios Hollywood’s first outdoor family coaster.

“The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” resonates with immense detail, inviting guests to revel in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World with the opportunity to enjoy authentic food and beverages at multiple locations, including Three Broomsticks™ and Hog's Head pub, as well as the Magic Neep and Butterbeer™ carts.

A foray through the shops adds to the authenticity of the land with eight retail venues and locations, including Honeydukes™, Ollivanders™, Owl Post™, Zonko’s™ Joke Shop, Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment, Dervish and Banges™, Gladrags Wizardwear and Filch’s Emporium™ of Confiscated Goods.

More information is available at www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com. Join the conversation online using #WizardingWorldHollywood. Like Universal Studios Hollywood on Facebook and follow @UniStudios on Instagram and Twitter.

 
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May15

Christmas Is Coming To The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter At Universal Orlando Resort

From Universal Orlando Resort --

The most wonderful time of the year is coming to one of the most immersive theme park experiences ever created. Universal Orlando Resort announced today that a new Christmas experience is coming to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter as part of its destination-wide Holiday celebration.

Plus, a brand-new parade featuring Macy's will also join Universal's epic lineup of Holidays experiences – making Universal Orlando the place to be for Holidays. 

These new experiences will join beloved Holiday traditions at Universal Orlando for the destination's 2017 Holidays celebration, which will run for more dates than ever before from November 18, 2017 to January 6, 2018. 

Click here for a sneak peek at the exciting new Holiday experiences

Celebrate Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Christmas is a special time in the Harry Potter series, and fans from around the world have long wanted to enjoy that part of J.K. Rowling's compelling story for themselves. This November, the new Christmas experience in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will give guests a special opportunity to see, feel and even taste what it's like to celebrate the magic of Christmas in J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World.

As night falls, a magical holiday transformation of Hogwarts castle will take place right before guests' eyes.  Incredible state-of-the-art projection mapping and special effects will wrap the iconic castle – bringing holiday spirit and memorable Christmas moments from the Harry Potter series to life like never before.

Festive décor like ornate garlands will line the streets of both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.  Each storefront will be decked out with uniquely-themed decorations, and guests will enjoy special holiday themed food, drink and entertainment. 

Stay tuned – more details about Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and even more exciting news about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be released soon. 

 
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Mar23

"The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" at Universal Studios Hollywood Elevates "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" to 4K-HD

From Universal Studios Hollywood --

 The spectacularly captivating and highly acclaimed "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" thrill ride at Universal Studios Hollywood's "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™" takes a technological bow with the introduction of enhanced 4K-HD ride film projecting at an astounding rate of 120 frames-per-second and designed to offer guests an even more immersive glimpse into J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World.

This progressive enhancement replaces the earlier 3D film component of the ride to create a seamless integration between the ride's elaborate sets and its spellbinding media. The attraction's storyline remains the same.

Originally projected at 60 frames-per-second, the new ride media now displays at four times the frame rate offering superior clarity and remarkably sharper images than previously shown, with imagery that is stunningly ultra-realistic.

Hailed by press across the globe as a tour-de-force, "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" has enjoyed a vast array of critical acclaim, such as:

"The combination of the stunningly detailed queue and the state-of-the-art ride make Forbidden Journey the best dark ride in the world."

"All roads lead to Hogwarts castle, home to possibly the most immersive, amazing and utterly convincing dark-ride and queue ever invented.
The detail at every turn is exquisite."

An achievement in pioneering theme park ride technology, "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" is a multidimensional thrill ride located within Hogwarts castle. It features a groundbreaking robotics ride system, fused with elaborate filmed action sequences and immersive visceral effects designed to take guests on a once-in-a lifetime whirlwind adventure.

Spiraling and pivoting 360-degrees upon an elevated ride track, "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" ushers guests on a journey alongside Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley as they venture through some of the most memorable scenes from the movie, including a Quidditch match where they narrowly escape a dragon attack, as well as close encounters with Dementors and the Whomping Willow.

A spectacular attraction unto itself, the iconic and picturesque Hogwarts castle sits at the heart of "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" providing access to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Hogwarts castle is a breathtaking reproduction from the movie, housing narrow stone passageways and chambers that invites guests to walk in the famous footsteps of the film's heroic character where they will encounter many familiar places along the way, including the Mirror of Erised, Professor Sprout's Herbology class and a selection of baby Mandrakes, Dumbledore's office, the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, the Hall of Talking Portraits, the Fat Lady portrait at the entrance to the Gryffindor Common Room and the Sorting Hat.

Inspired by J.K. Rowling's compelling stories and characters that were brought to life in the Warner Bros. films, "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" at Universal Studios Hollywood is a masterful recreation, faithful to the visual landscape of the fiction and films, including as its iconic focal point, Hogwarts castle.

From its snow-capped roofs and cobblestone streets to the historic British sensibilities that characterize the whimsical look and feel of the land, "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" transports guests of all ages to the very places they read about in the stories or watched on the silver screen.

 
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Mar09

First Look at the Forbidden Forest with Evanna Lynch, Jason Isaacs and James and Oliver Phelps at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

From Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter --

Evanna Lynch, Jason Isaacs and James and Oliver Phelps who played Luna Lovegood, Lucius Malfoy and Fred & George Weasley respectively in the Harry Potter film series hosted a sneak peek of the new Forbidden Forest expansion at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter.

From the moss on the giant trees to the hairs on Aragog, finishing touches are currently taking place to ensure that the Forest is ready for the official opening on 31st March. Entering this impressive set through the Hogwarts Gates, visitors will venture deep into the forest, filled with 19 enormous trees, each with a diameter of over 12 feet and walk beneath the giant entwined roots. On their journey they will pass a bowing Buckbeak and come face-to-face with Aragog, the huge spider, along with his family of spiderlings.

Evanna Lynch commented: “It’s so exciting to step in to the Forbidden Forest again; Production Designer Stuart Craig has perfectly recreated the mysterious and sometimes menacing atmosphere we all felt during filming in the ‘off-limits’ location. Being inside the forest surrounded by magical creatures always felt like a safe place for my character, Luna, so it’s amazing to be back.”

Home to an abundance of creatures, the Forbidden Forest offers shelter and protection to Hippogriffs and Acromantula among many others. It is also well known to beloved half-giant Hagrid in his role as Care of Magical Creatures professor. One of Rubeus Hagrid’s original costumes will be on display, lantern in hand, to welcome visitors through the Hogwarts Gates deep into the forest. Visitors will even be able to control the weather using the same techniques created by filmmakers.

Amongst the imposing trees, visitors will encounter a full size model of Buckbeak, which is new to the tour, and have the opportunity to bow to the majestic creature.  They will see up close the incredible detail and craftsmanship that went into creating the magnificent Hippogriff. Each feather had to be individually inserted and glued by the Creature Effects team who were busy adding feathers right up until the final moment Buckbeak was needed on set for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

As visitors venture deeper into the depths of the forest, they will come face-to-face with Aragog, the Acromantula. Emerging from his dark lair, the enormous spider will appear before visitors along with spiderlings from his family.  Created by Nick Dudman, Creature and Make-Up Effects Designer, with help from Production Designer Stuart Craig, Aragog had a leg span of over 18 feet and was even able to crawl out of a hole and deliver dialogue in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Officially opening on Friday 31st March, the new, must-see expansion has been designed and built by many of the crew members who worked on the hugely successful magical film series including Oscar® and BAFTA winning Production Designer Stuart Craig, Construction Manager Paul Hayes, BAFTA winning Creature and Makeup Effects Designer Nick Dudman and BAFTA winning Special Effects Supervisor John Richardson.

Sarah Roots, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Tours commented: “We are so excited to launch the Forbidden Forest expansion of the Studio Tour, especially on the fifth anniversary of our grand opening. It’s great to be working with so many of the original filmmakers who know so much about the wizarding world. There will be an opportunity to take control of the weather and discover the techniques used to create a realistic forest within a film. We can’t wait to let visitors step into this mysterious set and discover all this amazing detail for themselves.”

Stuart Craig, Production Designer on all eight Harry Potter films, added: “Over the course of the eight films, the Forbidden Forest has played a key role and I think it’s an exciting addition to the Studio Tour. The Forbidden Forest is full of mysterious, fascinating and sometimes threatening forces. It represents the great unknown compared to the comfort and safety of Hogwarts and the Gryffindor Common Room which makes it so interesting and important to the development of the story.”

The Forbidden Forest will open on Friday 31st March and entrance will be included in the ticket price.

 
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