A visit to Comcast's (CMCSA) Universal Studios just isn't the same without a visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
If you've been, you probably already know the delight of losing yourself to the magic of the hit films for a day as you wander through this special part of the parks.
You can take a ride on the legendary Hogwarts Express, explore the wizarding village of Hogsmeade, wander down Diagon Alley, and even have a Butterbeer at the Leaky Cauldron.
Another really fun part of visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is that it's highly interactive.
While it's not required for the experience, visitors can buy their wands at several locations within and just outside the parks, including CityWalk and the Universal gift shops on site. The wands can then be used at 16 interactive locations within both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, effectively enabling guests to "cast spells."
Naturally, the business of wands also makes a killing. Not only are they collector's items but they enhance park visits as well. Wands retail starting at $59 and can go as high as $75 for collectors editions.
The wand system is a lot of fun for fans of the books or just general visitors in the mood to cast some of their own magic. But it can be fussy, requiring a very exact kind of movement to get the desired result -- and one that may not be easy for kids or disabled people to manage.
Universal now has a change in the works that could solve that problem.
What Is Universal Changing About Wands?
Universal has filed a patent to make some changes to the wands to accommodate those with special needs, according to a report from the Orlando Business Journal.
This patent is called "Variable Effects Activation in an Interactive Environment." It would enable the wands to pick up on the volume of a person's voice, various ranges of motion, and what it calls "different speed and/or strength capabilities."
If the patent comes to fruition, users will see fewer hiccups in the wand experience. And that's especially important for disabled guests who are unable to perfectly replicate the movement needed to activate the wand at an interactive location.
Kids can also feel frustrated and lose patience as they try to replicate the movement. This change would also eliminate that problem and potentially make a family visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter less stressful.
What Else is New at Universal?
Considering all that Universal has on its plate right now, it's impressive that it's had time to think about quality-of-life changes to its wand system.
The company has been hustling to construct its newest park, Epic Universe, which would contain Super Nintendo World, a Nintendo-themed (NTDOY) park that currently exists only in Japan.
Currently the opening date on the official Super Nintendo World website is early 2023.
But in Comcast's Q4 earnings call on Jan. 27, 2022, Chief Executive Brian Roberts had said the company was expecting to open Epic Universe in 2025. So how Comcast plans to handle that part of the picture with Epic Universe not yet complete is unclear.