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A Celebration of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort

by Amanda La Gringa
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As a huge fan of Harry Potter, I was so insanely excited to be invited to attend the 2018 Celebration of Harry Potter event at Universal Orlando Resort. I had read great things about this event in the past, but was anxious to see if it lived up to all my expectations and all the hype.

Apart from the annual expo, panels, and demonstrations, guests of the 2018 event were treated to the extra special opportunity to see the premiere of The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts™ (which will be running on select nights through Labor Day 2018). Check out this amazing video of the lights show, that really is breathtaking! 

Photo credit: 2018 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

For fans who are considering attending A Celebration of Harry Potter, I wanted to share a basic recap of the events, as well as my tips for how to have the most magical weekend ever!

#1: Amazing access to Harry Potter film talent: 

I was really impressed by the access provided to the Harry Potter film talent! Even as a regular park guest, you are able to get pretty close to the stage as they host the Q&A sessions – on the main stage in Universal Studios Florida. Depending on which ticket package you purchase, you can even meet the film talent in person, take a photo and get their autograph. Each year, they announce different talent who will attend, so make sure you sign up for their email list to get the latest news! If you want to guarantee that you get a photo opp with these stars, then defintely go for one of the more exclusive packages!   

#2: Extraordinary Expo: 

So much to see and do at the Celebration of Harry Potter Expo! My biggest tip for this element of the weekend, is to plan to arrive early so you can avoid the longer lines at some of the more interactive portions of the expo. We arrived first thing in the morning to be sorted by the amazing Sorting Hat Experience…and later in the morning, we noticed 50+ people waiting in line!

The 2018 Expo featuring the following booths/experiences:

  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  • Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter™
  • Pottermore/Audible
  • Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
  • Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
  • The Harry Potter™ Film Concert Series – CineConcerts
  • Scholastic
  • Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter™
  • MinaLima
  • Harry Potter™: The Exhibition

Make sure you set aside plenty of time during the day, so you can explore each booth! Keep an eye out for freebies that they give away at each booth. This year I snagged an adorable print from the Scholastic booth that I already have mounted on my wall!

#3: Magical Panels & Demonstrations

For those who want to dig a little bit deeper into world of Harry Potter – the panels and demonstrations during the weekend set the muggles apart from the wizards! From learning wand battle skills to studying the graphic design techniques from the films, these panels were the most surprising part of the weekend to me. I went in thinking I was a relatively educated Harry Potter fan, only to learn that I’m only in touch with about 5% of all the magic there is to learn!

Here is a summary of all the panels at the 2018 Celebration of Harry Potter event, which change each year:

  • Dance Like A Beauxbatons And Battle Like A Durmstrang
  • Harry Potter™ Knowledge Challenge
  • Learn Wand Combat Skills with Paul Harris
  • Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: Discover Special E–ects Secrets with John Richardson
  • MinaLima: Graphic Design of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes
  • Harry PotterTM: The Exhibition The Magic Of Costumes In Harry Potter
  • Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment: Explore Harry Potter™: Hogwarts™ Mystery
  • CineConcerts: Sound & Image: The Magic Behind The Music, And The Journey To Construct A Complete Score Live To Picture

#4: Creative Cosplay: 

After all of the amazing panels and fun demonstrations, I have to admit that my favorite part of the weekend was just taking some time to sit and people watch! The costumes and cosplay were top notch and everyone that I met was so very friendly and happy to pose for photos!

For the best opportunity to get good photos of the cosplay community, I recommend linking up with one of the local groups – who coordinate group photos and meet-ups, so you can capture all the characters together in the same place! This is defintely a part of the weekend that can be enjoyed by ALL!

Make sure you wear comfortable shoes, stay hydrated and bring an extra cell phone battery…so you won’t miss a minute of all the fun! I defintely will be attending next year’s A Celebration of Harry Potter and I hope to see you there!

Visit Universal Orlando Resort for more information about upcoming events and to purchase tickets! 

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