Since I’ve been visiting Universal Orlando, I’ve never been blown away by the parks at night. While they do take on a new energy, the lack of a good nighttime show has always been an issue. Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular was entertaining enough at Universal Studios Florida, but Islands of Adventure never had a good enough reason to be open later into the evening. That completely changed back in November with the debut of The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle, and now it has been taken a step further with the debut of The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle.
The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle is a stunning projection show hosted by the Sorting Hat and gives guests a chance to show off their house pride during tributes to Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, Slytherin, and Gryffindor. The show is just about five minutes long and while it isn’t quite as impressive visually as The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle, it actually has a more cohesive storyline. I didn’t get to see The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle at Universal Studios Hollywood when it debuted back in summer 2017, but I was rather underwhelmed when watching videos of the show. However, my opinion has been completely altered after seeing it in person in Orlando.
To sum it up, the show is pure magic. Hogwarts Castle doesn’t seem like the best location for a projection show, but Universal has found a way to make it work. The issue with this show will be timing. The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle ran every night from its debut in mid-November all the way through the holiday season. The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle debuted during A Celebration of Harry Potter 2018, and as of right now it is scheduled for January 31, February 1-5, February 7-12, February 15-21, and February 24-26. This really limits the amount of chances you have to catch the show.
If you are lucky enough to catch this show, we recommend watching from one of two different locations. The ideal viewing location is on the hill up to Hogwarts Castle about halfway between the stage at the bottom of the hill and the entrance to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. This spots provides a full view of the castle with very limited obstructions. The other location to watch the show from is the bridge to Jurassic Park. This is technically a side view, but some of the projections on the Great Hall area are easier to see from this location. We do not recommend getting to close to Hogwarts Castle, but Team Members will try to push you up as close as possible. Your best bet is to be further back and have some patience when trying to get to the ideal viewing spots.