It’s the most wonderful time of year for Harry Potter fans! No, the next installment of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them wasn’t released. It is finally A Celebration of Harry Potter 2017! This is the fourth year for the annual festival that celebrates all things Harry Potter, including the movie celebrities, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the making of the films, Pottermore, the books, and so much more. If you are a die hard fan who hasn’t attended the event, then do yourself a favor and mark off the last weekend of January 2018 and get to Orlando.
Day 1 of the event is typically slower than the rest of the weekend, because there isn’t a lot that actually happens. The Expo opened up at 9:00 am and stayed open until 5:00 pm, but with the expansion of the Expo into Soundstage 21 in addition to 33, there is a lot more to explore. In fact, there is so much that we haven’t had enough time to properly see it all yet, but the booths included The House of MinaLima, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, Pottermore, Scholastic, and more! We’ll share more of our full coverage on the booths after the weekend is over.
Although A Celebration of Harry Potter 2017 is included for FREE with your park admission, we were invited as media and were able to receive special access to several events, including a special Q&A with the Potter film talent. The celebrities to join us this year were as follows:
Warwick Davis (Filius Flitwick/Griphook)
Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom)
Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy)
Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy)
The panel was absolutely amazing as the celebrities answered all of our questions for about 45 minutes. There was a lot of laughing over funny moments like Warwick Davis discussing his love of Star Wars, and more serious moments like Jason Isaacs distinguishing how important it is to know that the films are not a franchise, but just eight pieces of a whole story. If you’re interested in watching the full question and answer panel, check it out below – it’s worth it!
After the question and answer session, we made our way to the Opening Ceremony. This is one part of the event that definitely needs to be tweaked and adjusted. While it is exciting for fans because it offers the first glimpse of the celebrities attending the event, most of the ceremony is dedicated to announcing the booths and other special guests making an appearance in the Expo or at a panel. We were the first to be told that the Forbidden Forest would be added to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter exhibit, but beyond that the ceremony was a bust.
There were a few other highlights from the opening ceremony. First, the event kicked off with a performance from the Frog Choir, before Warwick Davis joined them on stage to be a special guest conductor. For those out there who don’t know, Davis was conductor of the Frog Choir in the films as Professor Flitwick. You can check out the performances below:
Finally, the Opening Ceremony ended with what can only be described as a blackout of confetti thanks to the Harry Potter film talent and everyone in the audience performing the right spell. You can watch that opening moment below:
Overall, there is an overwhelming excitement of Potter in the air at Universal Orlando, and the rest of the weekend should be a ton of fun and full of panels, Expo exploring, and maybe a Butterbeer!
Check back for our Day 2 and Day 3 coverage of A Celebration of Harry Potter 2017