11 Reasons A Celebration Of Harry Potter Is Every Fan's Dream Holiday
It's every Harry Potter fan's dream weekend!
Every year thousands of Harry Potter fans head to Universal Orlando Resort for a huge celebration of their favourite franchise, and we were lucky enough to join them for the 2018 Expo!
A Celebration Of Harry Potter is always an event that leaves fans from all around the world wishing they lived closer to Orlando, Florida.
With activities such as cast Q&As, exclusive access to props and LOADS more, we can see why it's THE place to be for Harry Potter fans around the globe.
This year's celebration proved that they can make it bigger and better every year with even more special activities and things to see.
Check out our round-up of reasons why heading to the A Celebration Of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort is every fan's dream holiday…
1. The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts
The Hogwarts castle at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal’s Islands of Adventure is pretty damn spectacular on its own, let alone when it’s brought to life with a light projection set to amaze everyone that comes to the theme park.
We were lucky enough to get an exclusive first look at the new ‘Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts’ and it was mesmerising. As night fell over Hogsmeade, we got to watch state-of-the-art projection mapping, special effects and lights wrap Hogwarts castle to celebrate all four houses - Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin.
The iconic elements from each house come to life on the castle in a dazzling display set to incredible music based on the original scores in the Harry Potter films. With this year’s theme being centered around the four houses, we now wish we were part of ALL of them.
2. Meet Mina Lima - the creators of all the Harry Potter graphic artwork
Eduardo Lima and Miraphora Mina, of MinaLima, were a big part of the Expo showcasing the graphic artwork from the movies. These two geniuses are behind the likes of The Daily Prophet, Sirius Black’s wanted poster, literally everything printed within the films - pretty cool, right?
The pair held a special workshop, ‘Graphic Design for Film: Creating the Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes’ where they talked through bringing this iconic part of the film to life.
3. Film talent IRL
2018’s line-up of movie stars consisted of Harry Potter Expo first-timer Stanislav Ianevski, who plays our favourite student from Durmstrang, Victor Krum, Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley), another Expo first-timer Natalia Tena (Nymphadora Tonks) and fan favourites James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley).
There were two talent Q&As over the course of the weekend, both of which garnered huge crowds of doting fans, some of which got to ask the cast their burning questions (and show off their amazing cosplay!).
4. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride
Back in the summer of 2014 the geniuses behind Universal Orlando Resort (and all the rides within) decided to bring the iconic escape from Gringotts scene from Harry Potter and the Dealthy Hallows Part 1 to life with a new ride and we think there’s no better time to ride than during the Celebration of Harry Potter weekend.
Throughout Universal Orlando Resort there are a lot of creative queue experiences but this one is definitely one of the most immersive - entering through the glittering Gringotts lobby, fit with animatronic goblins, you’re taken through the office hallways to a room where Bill Weasley gives you instructions for the ‘tour’ before joining Harry and co. as they attempt to escape from Gringotts. The ride is a 3D simulator/dark coaster, making the whole experience even more immersive.
5. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride
We couldn’t head to the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter without taking a ride on Forbidden Journey!
This is one of our favourite rides in the whole of Islands Of Adventure and it was made even more special due to the magical Harry Potter-themed weekend.
6. Travelling on the Hogwarts Express
Whoever came up with the idea to transport guests at Universal Studios over to Islands of Adventure via the Hogwarts Express deserves a medal.
Instead of traipsing through one theme park to get to the other you can simply board the train over to Hogsmeade from Universal Orlando’s very own ‘King's Cross Station’ - fit with the perfect Platform 9 3/4 photo opportunity.
7. Learning wand combat skills from the professionals
Throughout the weekend there were loads of workshops and talks about the world of Harry Potter, including one hosted by Paul Harris where you can learn actual wand combat skills.
Yep, we’re not kidding - for those die-hard super fans who want to put their wand skills to the test, there was a session where they could learn to correct wand combat skills by the actual choreographer from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Excuse us while we quit our jobs and retrain as a wand combat choreographer.
8. Exclusive access to some of the films’ props via the Warner Brothers Studio Tour
Here at MTV, we’re lucky enough to be just around the corner from the Warner Brothers Studio Tour (we might as well get an annual pass we’re there that often!) but for those Harry Potter fans who don’t live in London, they were able to get a glimpse of what the tour has to offer at this year’s expo.
The focus of this year’s exhibition was on the special effects, but not those made with CGI; the ones that involve IRL props and techniques. For example, fans were able to see the ACTUAL Goblet Of Fire used in the movie!
9. First look at Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them VR game
Being the Harry Potter super fans that we are, we’re also thoroughly obsessed with the Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them franchise and we got an exclusive look at their epic new VR experience. Check it out in the video below...
10. Walk down Diagon Alley
There’s no greater feeling than physically stepping into the world of your favourite franchise and nowhere does this better than Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando Resort.
From Olivander's wand shop to Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes you can walk into your favourite Harry Potter shops and get completely submerged into the world of the movies.
10. Witnessing the best Harry Potter cosplay EVER!
Arguably our favourite thing about the whole weekend was seeing everyone dressed up in their Harry Potter cosplay. The dedication and commitment to detail blew us away, so much so that people were asking for photos with cosplayers as if they worked at the parks!
Seeing someone dressed as your favourite character brings so much joy! Shout out to the many girls dressed as Luna Lovegood with her lion hat from the famous Gryffindor quidditch match in Order Of The Pheonix.
CHECK OUT OUR HOGWARTS IN THE SNOW TOUR HERE:
MTV Travelled With... Virgin Atlantic flies from London Gatwick, Manchester, Glasgow and Belfast to Orlando and is offering return Economy fares from £398 per person. For further information contact www.virginatlantic.com or call 0844 2092 770. This fare is available for selected departures during 2018. Prices given are correct as of today and are subject to change.
A Universal Orlando 3 Park Explorer ticket from Attraction Tickets Direct is priced from £236 per adult and £229 per child, including 14 days unlimited admission to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay. To book visit www.attraction-tickets-direct.co.uk.
Rooms at Loews Royal Pacific start from $183 per night for a standard double queen or king room – applicable for seven nights. For more info, head to www.UniversalOrlando.co.uk.