A pair of subtle but significant changes to how Universal Studios Hollywood issues annual passes may signal just when the movie theme park plans to open the highly anticipated Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 2016.

In recent days, Universal has quietly announced that new and renewed annual passes will be good only through March 18, 2016, and that the most expensive passes will no longer offer a parking option – meaning annual passholders must pay to park every time they visit.

Universal officials say they have not yet announced an official opening date for Wizarding World and note that the new season passes culminate at the close of its current 50th anniversary celebration.

Industry watchers have been waiting to see when Universal would drop its Buy a Day, Get a Year promotional offer in advance of Wizarding World’s debut. With Easter 2016 falling on March 27, many theme park observers have circled the week of March 21-25 on their calendars for the grand opening of Wizarding World in California.

Meanwhile, work continues on Wizarding World at a steady rate with many of the asymmetrical rooftops and tilting chimneys visible beyond the construction walls that dominate the theme park’s upper lot. The new land is expected to feature shops and restaurants made famous by the movie series as well as two attractions, the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey dark ride and the Flight of the Hippogriff roller coaster.
10 questions about Wizarding World at Universal Studios Hollywood
10 questions about Wizarding World at Universal Studios Hollywood

In anticipation of the crowds expected to descend on Wizarding World, Universal is also building two new parking structures to handle the additional traffic.

A spring break opening for Universal Studios Hollywood’s Potterverse would be a break from tradition.

The original Wizarding World at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure theme park opened in June 2010 to massive crowds with lines that stretched for 10 hours just to get into the new themed land. The Diagon Alley expansion of Wizarding World at Universal Studios Florida opened in July 2014 right around the same time that a replica of Hogsmeade debuted at Universal Studios Japan.

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