Video: Harry Potter New York Store VR Experience Preview
By Dr. Zaius
Wednesday, July 14th, 2021 at 11:48 am
Harry Potter is one of the top intellectual properties in the world. J.K Rowling’s acclaimed book series about a young wizard has sold over 500 million copies, with 8 movies generating $1.2 billion. In early June 2021, Harry Potter landed in the Big Apple, at 935 Broadway right across the street from the Flatiron Building. The new store boasts the largest assembly of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts merchandise under one roof and now offers two incredible virtual reality experiences opening this week! I admit that I am a huge Potter geek, so this was extra special for me. Check out my report below, along with the video I shot in the Harry Potter New York store.
I was invited to try out both VR experiences in the Harry Potter store and to put it simply, I was blown away… literally. Both experiences, “Wizards Take Flight” and “Chaos at Hogwarts,” were created by WarnerMedia in partnership with creative teams at Wevr, Keylight, and Dreamscape Immersive. And immersive is definitely the right word to describe these experiences. “Wizards Take Flight” was up first, located in the lower level of the store.
Wearing hand trackers and a VR headset you take a seat on your broom and prepare to fly around the Hogwarts grounds, around castle towers and buttresses and through the Quidditch pitch before being whisked off to see Hagrid. You then have to follow Harry on a flight through rainy London while being pursued by Death Eaters. Wielding a physical wand in one hand and holding tight to the broom handle with the other, I was yelling “STUPEFY” at the villains. The thrilling experience was exhilarating and left me wanting more and exhausted at the same time. The visuals from the headset are stunning and I can only imagine how much fun this would be with friends, as it seats up to 6 and you have virtual avatars. While guests must be over 48 inches tall and over 10 years old to “ride,” I can imagine this being a bit too extreme for younger Potter fans. But those who enjoy thrill rides will leap at the chance to do this again and again.
Next up was a trip upstairs to Kings Cross Station for “Chaos at Hogwarts.” This time dressed to the nines with a VR headset, backpack, and hand and foot trackers as well as a physical wand, up to 6 people get to follow Dobby the House Elf into Hogwarts for another magical adventure. Once inside you’ll want to stand back and view the incredible virtual world as you move along the rotating staircases past the talking portraits. HP fans will be in awe of this and that’s before you begin to descend down through secret passageways having to use your wand to stun grindylows that Dobby lets out before a final encounter that will leave you breathless.
Both fully immersive experiences cost $34.00 each, but allow you to bypass the virtual queue needed to enter the store due to large crowds. That means reserving a VR experience also allows you access to the amazing Harry Potter NYC store that offers all the bells and whistles you’d expect, including a huge wand shop, personalized dress robes, Quidditch gear from all four Hogwarts Houses, and of course, a Butterbeer bar.
Go to www.harrypotterstore.com/tickets to purchase tickets and reserve your time slot. Reservations are now available from July 15th to August 15th, 2021 and are going fast. I highly recommend both VR experiences and the Harry Potter store to all, from tourists looking for a unique New York attraction and shopping destination, but mainly to Harry Potter fans who will absolutely go wild. All additional info can be found at www.harrypotterstore.com/faq.