Fans celebrate Harry Potter at the Universal Orlando Resort

January 29, 2017, 12:54 PM · Thousands of Harry Potter fans gathered this weekend at the Universal Orlando Resort for the annual Celebration of Harry Potter.

Well, to be honest, you can find thousands of Potter fans at Universal pretty much every weekend, but the last weekend in January brings them together with some of the stars of the Harry Potter films, as well as a special expo of Potter merchandise, props and displays from Potter-related attractions around the world.

In case you missed it, or just want to relive it, here was Friday night's opening ceremony:

And a special walk-through the Potter Expo, courtesy the Universal Orlando Resort:

The big news from this year's expo was the announcement of a new Forbidden Forest exhibit at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, the Leavesden facility where the Potter films were shot. The walk-through will open on March 31.

And the most touching moment during the weekend came with a wands-up tribute outside Ollivander's to the late John Hurt, the two-time Academy Award nominee who played Garrick Ollivander in the Harry Potter films, who passed away Wednesday at age 77.

Wand tribute to the late John Hurt
Photo courtesy Universal Orlando

Were you at this year's Celebration of Harry Potter? If so, please share your impressions in the comments.

Replies (11)

January 29, 2017 at 2:36 PM · Can't wait to go back to Wizarding World, when we visit Orlando in the Fall. When is Universal going to get started building Ministry of Magic?
January 29, 2017 at 4:34 PM · I don't think Universal is going to commit to any major new land development in IOA and USF until it figures out what's going into the third park. (Or fourth, if you are counting Volcano Bay as the third theme park.) So... IDK.
January 29, 2017 at 5:14 PM · I was there last year, not for the event, but I enjoyed the amazing costumes by some of the guests. They where truly stunning.
January 29, 2017 at 11:29 PM · Is it certain that there will be a third park? If so, I'm guessing that's where Ministry of Magic would be.
January 30, 2017 at 1:41 AM · @Still a fan It would be a waist of the huge plot of land (475 Acres) they bought feb 2016 if they wouldn't build a new theme park.
January 30, 2017 at 9:31 AM · I would assume the Ministry of Magic would be built where Fear Factor stadium is since it is located in London. I would think that Universal would open it maybe a year or two after the 3 park is completed to get the flow back over to the oldest park. I do hope the Ministry of Magic eventually gets build. There are lot's of things that we didn't get to see in HP-5.
January 30, 2017 at 9:37 AM · Nintendo was rumored to go the fairly large size plot of land on the north east corner across from Men In Black in USF.

After a few years of no new Harry Potter movies (Fantastic Beasts don't count), I wonder if there's the same amount of popularity. One thing the land needs is character meet and greets. The lack of characters removes the most interesting part of the Harry Potter story. It isn't just about the buildings.

January 30, 2017 at 1:51 PM · The next Harry Potter attraction is likely to be a replacement for Dragon Challenge, as that coaster is rumored to be headed for retirement at the end of 2017. Beyond that, I think we'll probably see Nintendo open on both coasts before there is any more Harry Potter development. The reception of the area in California, along with the performance of the Fantastic Beasts movie, has shown that while there is still a lot of interest in Harry Potter, there definitely isn't the same level of enthusiasm there was even a few years ago. Ministry of Magic, if it still happens, will probably be 2023 or later.
January 31, 2017 at 12:06 AM · I thought a Fantastic Beasts attraction is supposed to replace Dragon Challenge?

Actually, I'm disappointed by that news. Those are good coasters. We'll make sure to ride them before they disappear.

January 31, 2017 at 7:28 AM · I love Dueling Dragons as much as anyone, but they are both really past their prime now and should be replaced or possibly redone like Hulk was. They both bang and shudder a lot now, and without the dueling feature and being so short compared to modern B&M coaster just feel like what they are...18 year old coasters. Their last downtime renovation was in 2010 and it shows

I don't want to see them be replaced by yet another screen ride, but they need some TLC for sure.

January 31, 2017 at 2:28 PM · Since they have the car in front as a prop, they can create a ride out of the car. This car was featured in story as having magical powers and can fly so Harry Potter was able to return to school after his evil Uncle didn't let him go to school and he missed his train ride. Of course, might seem like Rock N Roller Coaster, but I'm not comparing.

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