Universal Orlando’s 2014 Harry Potter Celebration

Harry Potter is EVERYTHING. And that’s exactly what I wrote on the “Harry Potter Means to Me” Wall at Universal Orlando this weekend during the Harry Potter Celebration weekend. Fans from all over joined together dressed in their finest wizarding attire to celebrate our beloved Harry Potter. Special passes for the 3-day event which took place January 24-26 sold out months in advance and there was no shortage of people walking the parks.

This event was to give a glimpse into Diagon Alley, the next addition to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which will be opening at Universal this summer (taking the place of the Jaws ride area)! Not only were we able to see a peek of what’s been built for the park so far, but Universal also announced what the additions will be, including:

  • Kings Cross Station/London (YES, you will be able to ride the coveted Hogwarts Express from Universal to Islands of Adventures – provided you have a 2-park pass)
  • Diagon Alley (featuring all of our favorites – Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, Madam Malkins Robes for All Occasions, Magical Menagerie, Wiseaces Wizarding Equipment, Quality Quiddith Supplies & Scribbulus)
  • Dining at the Leaky Caludron and Florean Fortescues Ice Cream Parlor
  • Knockturn Alley (perfect for Slytherins – Borgin and Burkes, the shop that specializes in the Dark Arts)
  • Gringotts Bank (where you can ride Harry Potter and the Escape form Gringotts)
I can’t even begin to contain my excitement for this new addition! And also think I need to start saving up now for the massive amount of money I’m sure to drop at all of these amazing shops and dining spots!

Universal went all out for this celebration, bringing in even more props from the actual movies such as Mr. Weasley’s car (which we see quite a bit of in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) and the outfits our favorite trio, Harry, Ron and Hermione wore. The line for the Harry Potter Expo was around an hour, and in my opinion, well worth the time!

 
The Expo featured several stops, and although there were some more lines inside, it was absolutely worth it! Scholastic was the first stop, featuring a table with all of the HP books, original and new line of covers. Fans were also able to write on the Muggle Wall, which was really awesome. I loved seeing people of all ages and ethnicities uniting over the greatest work of literature ever written!
Minalima, the company who designed all of the artwork for the Harry Potter films was also present at the Expo, including the two artists who headed the project. I loved having the chance to chat with them on their inspiration and thoughts on designing – no pressure or anything! As expected, designing the Daily Prophet art pieces was their favorite. And if you’re a big fan, you can purchase a duplicate of some of the pieces which is pretty exciting. I think I just might need to do so.
In the Expo, you could also get sorted by the sorting hat (obviously, I was sorted into Gryffindor), check out Pottermore (J.K. Rowling’s gift to us post-series), purchase the official HP stamps from USPS, and learn more about the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London including photo ops, viewing props, and learning how to properly use your wand. I hope that next time around, Universal brings even more to the Expo – what a fun experience!

Saving the best for last, the cast panels at the Harry Potter Celebration were absolutely incredible. Some of our favorite Gryffindors were in attendance: Evanna Lynch (Luna), Matthew Lewis (Neville), Oliver Phelps (George), James Phelps (Fred) and Devon Murray (Seamus). Taking questions from an audience full of fans, the cast seemed to be stumped by several questions (e.g. “If you could Accio anything what would it be” and “If you could create a new HP house what would it be called, what types of people would get in, what would the mascot be?”) but nonetheless, the chemistry between the actors was perfect and they were not only cracking each other up, but the audience as well. SO FUN.

Although it was only 3-days (in my opinion, it should be every day), the Harry Potter Celebration was phenomenal. I really hope that Universal makes this celebration an annual event and adds more to the lineup (including additional cast members). Can’t wait for the opening this summer when you know another amazing celebration will take place!

Did you attend the Harry Potter Celebration? What’re you most excited to see at the Diagon Alley opening at Universal this summer?

* Disclosure: I was provided tickets to cover this event. All opinions are my own.
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  • I'm so excited you shared this. I was wondering what was going on at Universal Studios. I'm looking forward to going there this summer.