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  • Universal Orlando

    A Celebration of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando

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Typical Dates: Late January/Early February
2018 Dates: January 26-28, 2018

The Celebration of Harry Potter brings Harry Potter fans together with the actors and artists who helped create the blockbuster franchise. Similar to sci-fi and comic book conventions held around the country, the Celebration features panel discussions and question & answer sessions where guests can see some of the series' stars in person. Past participants included Michael Gambon (Dumbledore), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), and James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley). Paul Harris, the choreographer who created wand combat for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, has led master classes in wand dueling at past events, and the designers of The Wizarding World answer questions about their craft.

The majority of presentations are free for all park attendees, and are held on Music Plaza stage in Production Central. There is also a Celebration of Harry Potter Expo in Soundstage 33 (accessible from New York near Twister), where fans can get selected for a Hogwarts house by the Sorting Hat, sign up for the Pottermore website, and purchase limited edition memorabilia. Other fan-oriented events include photo meet-ups organized by house, kids' dance and combat classes, and trivia contests.

The celebration currently takes place over only three days, but based on the response to the first few editions, we can see Universal expanding its run, much like Disney’s former Star Wars Weekends.

Celebration of Harry Potter Vacation Packages

We generally advise against buying Universal Orlando vacation packages, but attending the Celebration of Harry Potter is one of the few times when it offers an advantage. Exclusive Q&A and autograph sessions with the film stars, and a private after-hours party inside The Wizarding World, are only open to those purchasing exclusive (and expensive) vacation packages, which go on sale in August and swiftly sell out. (A limited number of packages are also made available to annual passholders.)

The exclusive evening events are held after park closing inside the Wizarding World. Guests have access to all the attractions in both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, including the Hogwarts Express train for transport between the parks. Light desserts and a free Butterbeer are included. Note that the Harry Potter film stars are not scheduled to attend the evening events.

Celebration of Harry Potter package holders are afforded priority access to the expo and reserved viewing at the presentations, which can be a big boon.

Celebration of Harry Potter Touring Advice

The expo can fill to capacity within an hour of opening, so if you don't have a package visit first thing to avoid long waits. To get an optimal viewing spot at Music Plaza stage, plan to arrive a minimum of one hour before showtime.

If you are planning to visit the parks during the Celebration but are not interested in the Potter events, fear not; while the parks will be crowded with robe-clad fans, their presence shouldn't substantially impact wait times for most attractions outside the Wizarding Worlds.

Sample Celebration of Harry Potter Schedule

The detailed schedule for the 2018 Celebration of Harry Potter has not yet been released, so below is the schedule from 2017 that you can use for reference. The 2018 schedule will likely not be released until January 2018.

FRIDAY

  • A Celebration of Harry Potter Expo (Soundstage 33) 9 am – 6 pm
  • Movie in the Park (Music Plaza) 1:30pm - 4:30pm
  • Opening Night Event (Music Plaza) 7:30pm - 8pm

SATURDAY

  • A Celebration of Harry Potter Expo (Soundstage 33) 9am - 4:30pm
  • Kids’ Duelling Demonstration & Wand Masterclass with Paul Harris (Music Plaza Stage) 10am – 10:30am
  • Kids’ Harry Potter Film Trivia (Music Plaza Stage) 10:45am – 11am
  • Bringing the Harry Potter Films to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Toon Amphitheater) 11am-11:30am
  • Kids’ Dance Like a Beauxbatons, Battle Like a Durmstrang (Music Plaza Stage) 11:30am – 12pm
  • The Global Impact of Harry Potter: The Exhibition (Toon Amphitheater) 1pm-1:30pm
  • Kids’ Harry Potter Film Trivia (Music Plaza Stage) 2pm – 2:15pm
  • Graphic Design for the Harry Potter Films with MinaLima (Toon Amphitheater) 2pm-2:30pm
  • Kids’ Dance Like a Beauxbatons, Battle Like a Durmstrang (Music Plaza Stage) 2:45pm – 3:15pm
  • Harry Potter Props Showcase with Acclaimed Prop Maker Pierre Bohanna (Toon Amphitheater) 3pm-3:45pm
  • Behind the Scenes: Harry Potter Film Talent Q&A Session (Music Plaza Stage) 4:15pm – 5pm
  • House Rally (Music Plaza Stage) 5:30pm – 6pm
  • Harry Potter Film Tribute (Music Plaza Stage) 6:45pm – 7:45pm

SUNDAY

  • A Celebration of Harry Potter Expo (Soundstage 33) 9am - 6pm
  • Kids’ Duelling Demonstration & Wand Masterclass with Paul Harris (Music Plaza Stage) 10am – 10:30am
  • Kids’ Harry Potter Film Trivia (Music Plaza Stage) 10:45am – 11am
  • Harry Potter Props Showcase with Acclaimed Prop Maker Pierre Bohanna (Toon Amphitheater) 11am – 11:45am
  • Kids’ Dance Like a Beauxbatons & Battle Like a Durmstrang (Music Plaza Stage) 11:30am – 12pm
  • Bringing the Harry Potter Films to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Toon Amphitheater) 1pm – 1:30pm
  • Kids’ Harry Potter Film Trivia (Music Plaza Stage) 2pm – 2:15pm
  • Graphic Design for the Harry Potter Films with MinaLima (Toon Amphitheater) 2pm – 2:30pm
  • Kids’ Dance Like a Beauxbatons, Battle Like a Durmstrang (Music Plaza Stage) 2:45pm – 3:15pm
  • The Global Impact of Harry Potter: The Exhibition (Toon Amphitheater) 3pm – 3:30pm
  • Behind the Scenes: Harry Potter Film Talent Q&A Session (Music Plaza Stage) 4pm-4:45pm

Last updated by Seth Kubersky on October 23, 2017

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