SANDY — Witches, wizards and muggles alike need look no further than Sandy to fill their holiday witchcraft and wizardry needs this year.
The Shops at South Town unveiled Nov. 9 the nation’s first-ever Christmas in the Wizarding World, a Harry Potter-themed retail experience created from a partnership between The Shops at South Town, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and GES.
The Christmas-themed wizarding world is set up as a wintry Hogsmeade village, with shops including Ollivanders and Honeydukes. The shops sell an assortment of wands, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, Chocolate Frogs, Hogwarts robes and many other items inspired by Harry Potter and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”
As part of the Hogsmeade experience, customers can step inside Ollivanders, where a wandmaster will lead a magical wand-choosing experience, try their hand at Quidditch with an interactive Quaffle Toss game or have their pictures taken in front of a green screen, then getting to choose from a selection of backdrops from the Harry Potter films and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”
Part of the reason Warner Bros. chose The Shops at South Town to host this first-of-its-kind Harry Potter experience was because of Utah’s family-rich population, according to Heather Nash, marketing manager of The Shops at South Town.
“Warner Bros. looked back and actually, one of our movie theaters here locally was No. 1 in the country when the first Harry Potter movie came out with sales,” Nash said. “That said to them there is a huge audience for (the) Harry Potter brand here and that it would be the perfect place to put this first-in-the-nation experience.”
GES, the company that built the village, worked closely with Warner Bros. to ensure that the Hogsmeade they set up would be authentic, Nash said.
“I think you really want to be able to take people and transport them,” said Robin Stapley, the project’s creative director. “The primary drive of it is that you should really feel like you’ve stepped into this world.”
The project was about one and a half years in the making, though it was just finalized in August that the Harry Potter world would be set up at The Shops at South Town. Nash said a great deal of planning went into figuring out the logistics of setting up the village in the middle of the mall during the holiday shopping season.
“We think we came together with a really good plan on where to put it, how to place it and then what time of year to open it,” Nash said.
Though similar in brand and style to the Hogsmeade villages set up in Universal Studios’ The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Sandy’s version sells products specifically made for Christmas in the Wizarding World, Nash said.
Stapley said it was rewarding to see people’s reactions and excitement as the Hogsmeade village was being set up.
“We’re really thrilled to be in Utah, and I’m hoping fans really enjoy it and nonfans as well,” Stapley said.
Along with the Christmas in the Wizarding World experience, the mall will also host several Harry Potter-themed events throughout November and December. A list of these events is posted on the mall’s website.
Christmas in the Wizarding World will be open through Jan. 31, 2018. The Shops at South Town then plans to host Christmas in the Wizarding World again during the holidays for the next three years.
If you go
What: Christmas in the Wizarding World
When: Nov. 9, 2017-Jan. 31, 2018; Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, noon-5 p.m.
Where: The Shops at South Town, 10450 S. State Street, Sandy
How much: Free