A Celebration of Harry Potter returns to Universal Orlando kicking off on Friday, January 26 and running through Sunday, January 28. The weekend is sure to be a blast, but it also can be very stressful when trying to see all of the events. If you purchased one of the special Universal Orlando vacation packages for the event then the reserved seating is going to go a long way. The weekend will still be enjoyable even if you didn’t, but here are the things you must not miss.
Opening Night Event
The opening night kickoff for A Celebration of Harry Potter is always extremely exciting. It’s never been the same two years in a row, but there are some consistencies. Plan on seeing the celebrities attending the event as well as a teaser of the panels or exhibits inside the Expo. This year, the opening night event will feature a Harry Potter Film Concert Series performance from CineConcerts and that is not to be missed. The opening night event will happen on 1/26 from 7:15 pm – 8:30 pm.
The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle
The latest projection show to hit Hogwarts Castle at Islands of Adventure will surely be one of the most popular places to be after dusk during this year’s event. Hollywood already had this show running in the summer, but it is the first time we get to see it on this coast and it will be a limited run. You’ll be able to see this projection show starting at dusk on 1/27 and 1/28.
Film Talent Q&A
There will be multiple opportunities throughout the weekend to see the stars of the Harry Potter film series, but catching the intimate panels is the best way to go. Some of the questions will be rehashed from the opening night event and the Saturday evening tribute, but it is still worth catching at least one panel. The film talent Q&A panels will happen on 1/27 from 4:00 pm – 4:45 pm and 1/28 from 5:30 pm – 6:15 pm.
Learn Wand Combat Skills with Paul Harris
We joke about this seminar on the Universal Edition podcast over and over mainly because Paul Harris only did the choreography for one Harry Potter film and has been riding that accomplishment ever since. In all seriousness, people truly enjoy this event and it is cool to be able to say that you learned the same moves as the characters in the film. This demonstration will happen on 1/27 from 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm and 1/28 from 2:15 pm – 2:45 pm.
CineConcerts: Sound & Image: The Magic Behind The Music, And The Journey To Construct A Complete Score Live to Picture
This is the first year for this panel, but I have high expectations for this, because I absolutely love anything that deals with movies and a live orchestra. Even if it is just a run through of what happens when they put together these concerts instead of a performance, it surely will be original and different from anything else we’ve seen during this event in the past. This panel will happen on 1/27 from 4:30 pm – 5:00 pm and 1/28 from 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm.
MinaLima: Graphic Design of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes
MinaLima is the design group behind practically everything printed in the Wizarding World whether you’re talking about the Daily Prophet, Hogwarts Express tickets, or Hogwarts acceptance letters. They have their hand on everything and every year they share more and more of their work. This year they are focusing only on Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes and considering the amount of graphic design in that shop, this will surely be an interesting panel. This panel will happen on 1/27 from 11:15 am – 11:45 am and 1/28 from 3:30 pm – 4:00 pm.
This is just a small sampling of what’s happening during A Celebration of Harry Potter 2018. Of course the Expo will be open throughout the entire weekend and we recommend getting there VERY early or the waits can get extremely long. Other panels happening throughout the weekend include Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: Discover Special Effects Secrets with John Richardson on 1/27 from 10:00 am – 10:30 am and 1/28 from 10:00 am – 10:30 am, Harry Potter: The Exhibition – The Magic of Costumes in Harry Potter on 1/27 from 2:30 pm – 3:00 pm and 1/28 from 11:15 am – 11:45 am, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment: Explore Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery on 1/27 from 3:30 pm – 4:00 pm and 1/28 from 4:30 pm – 5:00 pm. Make sure you’re dressed in your favorite Hogwarts house gear too, because that’s half of the fun!