Friday, November 20, 2020

Universal CityWalk Introduces “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter—Sweets & Treats" for the Holidays

With California enforcing strict prohibitions and curfews in an attempt to decrease the spike of cases, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has to make concessions for the Coronavirus pandemic for the holiday season. 

Universal Hollywood's gates to the theme parks remain close for the time being as California enforces strict curfews and guidelines in an attempt to decrease the number of Coronavirus cases. 

However, that doesn't mean that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter can't conjure as much magic as possible. Universal CityWalk is introducing "The Wizarding of Harry Potter - Sweets & Treats" to guests and fans to enjoy magical confections and snacks.

Starting Friday, November 20th, 2020, Butterbeer favortes and more will be served at Universal CityWalk's newest seasonal walk-up location "The Wizarding of Harry Potter - Sweets & Treats" - which will be open for a limited time during the holiday season.

The menu includes traditional, cold, and hot Butterbeer along with Butterbeer-flavord hard pack ice cream, Chocolate frog confections, Gilly Water and classic cinnamon Churros. The Butterbeer beverages will be available for purchase in a cup or souvenir stein. 

"The Wizarding of Harry Potter - Sweets & Treats" will be open on the weekends from Friday through Sunday during CityWalk's operating hours noon to 8pm. Free self-parking is available to all-guests during the initial re-opening phase.

This attraction is currently only available at the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park in California. With Florida having re-opened most of its travel destinations, fans and guests can visit Universal Orlando Resort during the pandemic while maintaining the physical distance.

New health and safety protocols are now implemented at Universal CityWalk. Before you go, it's best to know that the location controls the capacity enforce physical distancing - so parking and entry may be limited. Additional guidelines includes:

  • Temperature checks for all Guests upon arrival. Temperature checks for all Guests upon arrival. If temperatures exceed 100.4° Fahrenheit / 38° Celsius or greater, Guests will not be permitted to enter.
  • Face coverings required for all Guests throughout their visit. Face coverings also will be available for purchase.
  • Controlled occupancy at all CityWalk venues to help enforce physical distancing. Some areas and programs may remain temporarily closed.
  • Physical distancing practices at all locations throughout CityWalk.
  • Cashless payments and “no touch” policies wherever possible.

For more information about Universal CityWalk and Universal Studios Hollywood is available at the official website with regular updates on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

Friday, November 13, 2020

Johnny Depp Exits "Fantastic Beasts" Franchise; Warner Bros Set to Recast

Actor Johnny Depp, who is presently in the throes of legal battles, will no longer be apart of the "Fantastic Beasts" franchise.

In 2016, his ex-wife and actress Amber Heard filed for divorce from Depp citing domestic abuse. Since their contentious split began, Depp continuously denies accusations of domestic violence. He recently lost a defamation case against a UK newspaper publisher who described the actor as a "wife beater." 
Depp's exit from the Harry Potter spin-off comes on the heels of a judge ruling against Depp.

While Depp maintains his innocence and plans to appeal - studio’s film chief Toby Emmerich at Warner Bros. requested Depp to resign from the role of the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald for the upcoming Fantastic Beasts films. The actor confirmed the news on his instagram page.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, after filming one scene for the third Fantastic Beasts film, Depp will still be paid under a "pay-or-play contract, which requires that he be fully compensated whether or not the film is made and even if it is recast."

For those who followed the heated trial that spilled out over summer 2020, evidence brought against both Depp and Heard drew lines in the sand over Depp's innocence versus Heard's guilt and vice versa. Fans for Depp and the Fantastic Beasts series are taking a stand over his departure with passionate pleas social media support and possibly boycotting the series until or if he returns.

A majority of the cast has yet to make announcements regarding the move. Jude Law, who plays a younger Albus Dumbledore and is romantically linked to Gellert Grindelwald, spoke with Entertainment Tonight and remained neutral on the subject saying, "In a franchise like this, it's the studio and the company that make the big decisions...And you have to go along with those, because we're just a member of the team."

With the role of Gellert Grindewald vacated, rumors began for Depp's replacement. MuggleNet cites exclusive news that actor Mads Mikkelsen will take over, however, Warner Bros has not confirmed.

Depp's resignation is not the first bump in the road for the Fantastic Beasts series. The film franchise, which began production on the third out of five films in September 2020, was previously delayed in 2019 before the Coronavirus outbreak due to creative setbacks.

J.K. Rowling is once again writing the screenplay, however, she has gained backlash from fans and the LGTBQIA+ community for her controversial and harmful views on sex, gender, and transgender individuals. Rowling, with producer David Heyman and director David Yates, previously defended Depp's casting in 2016 when his divorce and the allegations of domestic violence were first publicly coming to light. So far, they have not spoken out in favor or against Depp's legal pursuits and casting removal.

Fantastic Beasts 3 is set for theatrical release July 2022 until further notice.

Friday, October 02, 2020

Join The Harry Potter Alliance to Rewrite the Story of Our Democracy

The stories we love most have the power to change the world. With their passion for the Harry Potter series, The Harry Potter Alliance has dedicated itself with fellow Harry Potter fans to support literacy, the LGBTQ+ community, and make substantial changes within the political realm. Now, the activist organization is calling on fans to rally together to rewrite and reclaim the story of democracy.

It's no secret that the 2020 Presidential election in the United States is one of the most important events in our lifetime. Throughout October, the HPA is teaming up with fans to connect more than 100,000 young voters to make sure their voices are heard.

Fall Into Democracy teams up with the annual Granger Leadership Academy, will hold a two-day virtual training and organizing conference. The event will take place from Saturday October 17th to Sunday October 18th, with a kick-off event the evening of Friday October 16th.

From the official press release:
Attendees will learn how to cut through clickbait and find out what (and who) are really on their ballots, practice talking to their friends and loved ones about voting, and make an oath to cast their votes. The roster of over 20 expert speakers and panelists include Women's March Co-Founder Paola Mendoza, ACLU Voting Rights Attorney Molly McGrath, and activist, Tohono O'odham Nation member, and Co-Founder of Indivisible Tohono Gabriella Cázares-Kelly.

Fall Into Democracy and the Granger Leadership Academy are organized by the Harry Potter Alliance, an activist organization that over fifteen years has united hundreds of thousands of online members and 250 local chapters across six continents and 30 nations. The event follows the organization’s innovative and idea-driven approach to activism, holding as truth that anybody can change the world.

In addition to daily sessions and interactive workshops such as “Somatic Care for Organizers” and “Utilizing Journaling to Practice Self Care,” there will also be a Jack-O-Lantern Fest and virtual wizard rock concert.

While convened by Harry Potter lovers, Fall Into Democracy is an all-ages event targeted to muggles of all interests, with work groups planned for fans like Star Wars, the Marvel Universe, Star Trek, Avatar: The Last Airbender/Legend of Korra, and more.

Fall Into Democracy works on a Pay What You Can registration model. Attendees may select the registration level that best represents their financial situation, ranging from $25 to $75. For those unable to pay for a ticket, full scholarships are offered. Those interested in scholarships are asked to email [email protected] or send a message to the HPA on Instagram (@TheHPAlliance). There is no scholarship application and no justification is needed.

Registration includes access to all Fall Into Democracy programming, including workshops, panels, actions, and socials and access to an event-exclusive Discord area to chat with other attendees. The first 50 registrations will also receive a free sheet of 4 "I VOTE" stickers.

If you want to be a part of history and learn how to make a difference with your vote, check out the official website here to register.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Warner Bros Games Announces Hogwarts Legacy Roleplaying Game

Hogwarts Legacy Roleplaying Game Harry Potter
Role-playing has always played a major role in the experience as a Harry Potter fan. From the Sorting Hat helping you decide your Hogwarts house to casting spells and conjuring charms, fans have envisioned their journey as a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Now, Warner Bros has announced an open-world action role-playing game that puts players at the center of their own wizarding world story.

Warner Bros. Games today announced Hogwarts Legacy, an open-world, single-player, action role-playing videogame (RPG) set in the 1800s wizarding world. Players will experience life as a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry like never before, as they live the unwritten and embark on a dangerous journey to uncover a hidden truth of the wizarding world. Developed by Avalanche and published by Warner Bros. Games under the Portkey Games label, Hogwarts Legacy will release in 2021 for PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, PlayStation®4 Pro, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One consoles, and PC.

The new trailer offered a magical sneak peek at the game and what fans can expect when they play. More screenshots below show the incredible attention to detail of the game design.

Monday, August 31, 2020

LEGO & Harry Potter Unite To Release Innovative Diagon Alley Set

LEGO inspires children and adults to tap into their imagination and build their dream sets. Along with the magical sets of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, The Knight Bus, and so many more, LEGO is teaming up with Harry Potter once again to bring an innovative new design of Diagon Alley to life.

The magical shopping street in the wizarding world is one of the most iconic locations in the Harry Potter series. It's the first place where Harry Potter crosses the threshold with Hogwarts groundskeeper Hagrid to collect his supplies for his upcoming year at Hogwarts.

The latest innovation designed with the help of the Weasley brother twins James and Olive Phelps is coming to and LEGO stores globally September 1.

 This large-scale LEGO set features: 

  • Buildable QR code to take you “Through the Bricks” that serves as a digital element
  • Top features like a hidden lever to trigger movement of the arm/hat of the statue in Weasley’s shop
  • 14 Minifigures, which include exclusives like Gilderoy Lockhart, Florean Fortescue, Lucius Malfoy and the Daily Prophet Photographer
Fans can also take a dive into imaginative LEGO's AR experience to travel "Through the Bricks" by building your very own QR code, just like the Phelps brothers!

Friday, August 28, 2020

Pottermore Publishing Celebrates Harry Potter in free immersive audio experience

September 1st marks the annual event of Harry Potter fans celebrating their return to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. And Wizarding World is offering a slate of new activities for fans to enjoy for Back to Hogwarts Day .

This year's events will come to fans' homes digitally with a remote celebration for fans around the world who are practicing lockdown and social distancing during the pandemic. 

Pottermore Publishing kicked off the Back to Hogwarts 2020 event with a special immersive Harry Potter audio experience.

Journey to Hogwarts uses acoustic techniques to create an immersive soundscape. The sound technicians at Molinare, who worked on the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films, designed audio that takes fans to Kings Cross Station alongside Harry and the Hogwarts Express with music composed by James Hannigan. 

Fans can be instantly transported to Kings Cross Station with a smooth wave of sounds such as a rattling trolley and flapping wings of Harry's beloved owl companion, Hedwig, and include encounters with fellow students. The audio series journey Harry's memorable returns to Hogwarts including scenes from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, and Order of the Phoenix

You can listen to Journey to Hogwarts at WizardingWorld for free if you're a Harry Potter Fan Club member. From September 1st, it will also be available for free and will make a perfect companion to reading the books and celebrating our return to Hogwarts.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery Introduces Clubs Feature For Players

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is dedicated to creating to bringing new mobile and video game experiences to players throughout the Wizarding World and helping them create magical adventures.

Before the summer officially closes for 2020, the long-awaited Clubs feature has arrived. Players can now choose between three groups - Hippogriff, Dragon, or Sphinx. 

Each accompanies in-game attributes, milestones, rankings, and rewards. The bubble-tapping mechanism will be outlined with different club colors, allowing your choices to have an impact on your club attributes. When you join a club, there will also be new environments, destinations, and opportunities to interact with other characters. 

Year 6 players will also be treated to a brand new Head Boy/Head Girl TLSQ scheduled to go live later this month. During the event players will receive a visit from an old friend who inspired them to embark on a journey down memory lane in an effort to become Head Boy / Head Girl. Players will learned about the history behind this prestigious title and will receive a special prize after tackling the responsibilities of the role.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery continues to bring the magic for players to live out their RPG fantasy of attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. From being sorted to exploring the secrets of Hogwarts and its grounds, players experience the rites of passage of being a student at the famed wizarding school while attending classes, forming friendships, and facing rivalries with other students.

For more details on Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery and to connect with other players, visit their official FacebookTwitter, and Website for more information.