Beloved ‘Harry Potter’ Ride Now Closed, Universal Park Confirms Replacement

in Universal Studios Japan

Harry Potter flies over the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan

Credit: Universal Studios Japan

The original Harry Potter theme park ride has officially closed at one Universal theme park.

It’s been nearly 14 years since the first Wizarding World of Harry Potter area opened at Islands of Adventure and Universal shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

A family walks towards Hogwarts Castle in The Wizarding World at Universal
Credit: Universal Studios

Related: ‘Harry Potter’ Changed (And Kind of Ruined) Theme Parks

What started with an über-realistic recreation of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and the neighboring village Hogsmeade has expanded to the Forbidden Forest, Diagon Alley, and Gringotts Bank at Universal Orlando Resort, with a third area – inspired by both the UK and France’s versions of the Ministry of Magic in both Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – set to open with the rest of Universal’s new theme park Epic Universe in 2025.

While other versions of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter only feature recreations of the OG land at Islands of Adventure (at least, that’s the case so far), they all have two rides in common: Flight of the Hippogriff and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. The latter takes place inside Hogwarts Castle itself, making it a bonafide dream come true for Potterheads, and boasts some impressive immersive technology that makes it worth the ride (and long lines) for casual fans, too.

A still from one of the projection sequences in 'Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.' Credit: Universal
Credit: Universal Studios

Several tweaks have been made to the Harry Potter ride over the years, with Universal Studios Hollywood introducing – then axing – 3-D to make the experience even more immersive. However, considering the dedicated Harry Potter fanbase, it’s hard to imagine Universal ever closing such an iconic attraction forever.

That’s what makes the latest closure at one Universal theme park such a blow. As of today (April 18), Universal Studios Japan has confirmed that its version of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is experiencing an unplanned closure due to a system error.

Breaking News) #USJ Due to a system problem today, April 18th, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey will be suspended for the entire day.

■ In addition, USJ has announced that Journey will be suspended until April 20th.
It is scheduled to reopen on April 21, but please note #ユニバ this is just a tentative plan and not a confirmed date.

According to USJ 1, what was originally announced as a one-day closure on the Universal Studios Japan app has since been updated to extend to at least April 20. For now, Universal has said that Forbidden Journey will reopen on April 21, but USJ 1 stressed that this is just a tentative date for now.

The silver lining for the Harry Potter ride’s closure is that the park has temporarily reopened Hogwarts Castle Walk as a replacement to entertain guests in the meantime. This previously suspended experience allowed guests to explore the castle – taking in sights such as the “Moving Portrait Corridor” and “The Portrait of the Fat Lady” – without actually riding Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey moving portraits
Credit: Universal Studios

Related: New Lands and Attractions Needed at Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Universal Studios Japan also recently shuttered another experience in the Wizarding World. The Magical Creatures Encounter closed in January, less than a year after it first debuted at the park. This allowed parkgoers to get up close and personal with fictional creatures from the franchise, including Hippogriffs, Nifflers, Pygmy Puffs, and baby dragons. “Beloved magical creatures appear here and there throughout Hogsmeade!” the park said in a press release announcing its limited-time run in 2023. “Interact with the magical creatures with care, as you create everlasting memories with them!”

What’s your favorite Harry Potter ride? Let us know in the comments!

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