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A Celebration of Harry Potter 2017 – complete insider’s guide

Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. will host the fourth annual “A Celebration of Harry Potter,” a special gathering of Harry Potter fans from around the globe. The three-day weekend event will take place January 27 – 29, 2017 and will feature an array of experiences. On this page you’ll learn all you need to know about the event!

What is A Celebration of Harry Potter?

The event, in it’s fourth year, gives Harry Potter fans a special opportunity to learn more about and be a part of the world of Harry Potter. Last year’s event featured question & answer sessions with talent from the film, panels/demonstrations with the creators of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, artists of the movies, and other special guests. In addition, a special expo is set up in one of Universal’s soundstages with special items from the films and exhibits.

Universal is posed for another great Celebration. First, here’s a look back at last year’s “A Celebration of Harry Potter.” Want to see more? Check out our A Celebration of Harry Potter 2016 recap.

What was the schedule like for last year?

Below is the 2016 schedule for A Celebration of Harry Potter. It is also available in PDF format here.

When the 2017 schedule is released, we will update this page!

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Harry Potter Expo is open from 9am – 6pm at Soundstage 33, which is close to the Mummy ride.
Movie in the Park (Music Plaza) — 1:30pm – 4:30pm
Opening Night Event (Music Plaza) — 7:30pm – 8pm

Saturday, January 30, 2016

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

Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Harry Potter Expo is open from 9am – 6pm at Soundstage 33, which is close to the Mummy ride.
Kids’ Dueling Demonstration & Wand Masterclass with Paul Harris (Music Plaza) — 10am – 10:30am
Kids’ Harry Potter Film Trivia (Music Plaza) — 10:45am – 11am
Harry Potter Props Showcase with Prop Maker Pierre Bohanna (Toon Lagoon Amphitheater) — 11am – 11:45pm
Kids’ Dance Like a Beauxbatons, Battle Like a Durmstrang (Music Plaza) — 11:30am – 12pm
Bringing the Harry Potter Films to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Toon Lagoon Amphitheater) — 1pm –  1:30pm
Kids’ Harry Potter Film Trivia (Music Plaza) — 2pm – 2:15pm
Graphic Design for the Harry Potter Films with MinaLima (Toon Lagoon Amphitheater) — 2pm – 2:30pm
Kids’ Dance Like a Beauxbatons, Battle Like a Durmstrang (Music Plaza) — 2:45pm – 3:15pm
The Global Impact of Harry Potter: The Exhibition (Toon Lagoon Amphitheater) — 3pm – 3:30pm
Behind the Scenes: Harry Potter Film Talent Q&A Session (Music Plaza) — 4:15pm – 5pm

Expanded details on some of the 2016 panels:

Behind the Scenes: Harry Potter Film Talent Q&A – Enjoy a fascinating and interactive question and answer session featuring some of your favorite actors from the Harry Potter™ films. Discover what it was like to work on one of the most successful film franchises in history.

The Global Impact of Harry Potter: The Exhibition – Join us in celebrating the touring attraction that’s visited 13 cities in 9 countries and hosted almost 4 million guests. Harry Potter: The Exhibition is in a unique position to reflect on the global impact of the franchise. Get an exclusive look at the exhibition’s creation and the excitement it continues to deliver to fans around the world. Panel will include exhibition creators, film producers, and film actors who have participated in the openings.

Graphic Design for the Harry Potter Films with MinaLima – Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima, from the graphic design studio MinaLima, will share insights into their role as graphic prop designers, and how their paths crossed at the WB film studios to work for 10 years on the Harry Potter movies.

Harry Potter Props Showcase with acclaimed prop maker Pierre Bohanna – Ever wondered how long it takes to make a wand? Or the inspiration for the hundreds of wand designs in the Harry Potter film series? Warner Bros. Pierre Bohanna will answer these questions and many more. Remember to bring along your wand as there may be a masked visitor or two during the showcase.

The following two panels and demonstrations are geared towards the younger attendees at A Celebration of Harry Potter. They’re recommended for ages 12 and under:

Dance Like a Beauxbatons & Battle Like a Durmstrang – If your younger Harry Potter fans are entranced by the dances performed by Beauxbatons and Durmstrang students in the Harry Potter films, they’ll love this demonstration. A Universal Orlando choreographer, working with Beauxbatons and Durmstrang students who perform here at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, will explain the movements and techniques behind the mesmerizing dance routines.

Harry Potter Film Trivia – How well do your children (or you) know the Harry Potter films? Test your knowledge during this fun audience-interaction game inviting younger fans to shout out the answers to film-specific questions. Perhaps a Harry Potter film marathon is in order before trying your luck?

Do I need to purchase a special package to participate in the event?

Yes and no. Most of the festivities based around “A Celebration of Harry Potter” 2017 are accessible by all park guests. Anyone with a daytime park ticket will be able to attend the film talent question and answer sessions, panels and demonstrations, and the special expo. However, guests that purchase a special “A Celebration of Harry Potter” vacation package are eligible for “special guest access” to the expo and panels. Package holders also receive access to an exclusive question & answer session with film talent.

Although guests without the package have the possibility to attend most events, it’s also important to understand that, in years past, the lines for many of the demonstrations and other sessions were so long that general admission guests were not able to exit the area from one session, get in line, and get back into the area for the next session. In this sense, the HP Celebration package is a better way to be certain you’ll be able to see everything, as it offers “special access for discussions and demonstrations.”

Additionally, visitors who purchase a special vacation package will receive a few other benefits (highlighted below). Speaking of which…

Exclusive evening in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter AND reception at the expo

One of the major benefits of purchasing a vacation package, guests who have purchased a special vacation package will have access to an exclusive evening at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, complete with desserts and one complimentary Butterbeer. This evening event will take place Friday, January 27. Regular park guests will not be able to partake in this event.

Folks who purchase the premium Celebration of Harry Potter vacation package will have access to a special reception at the expo on Saturday, January 28. This is limited to only the premium vacation package holders, meaning those who purchase any other vacation package or are just there as daytime guests will not have access.

Diagon Alley after darkDiagon Alley after dark.

A Celebration of Harry Potter Vacation Packages

All packages are now on sale! Last year, it was only two weeks prior to the event before packages sold out. In 2014, packages sold out in a few days. In 2013, all packages sold out in two days.

This year, Universal is offering 3 different “A Celebration of Harry Potter” vacation packages. All packages include:

  • 3-night hotel accommodations
  • access to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter evening event
  • commemorative pin
  • special guest access to select panels and demonstrations and the expo
  • commemorative merchandise
  • early park admission
  • breakfast at Three Broomsticks
  • an exclusive talent question and answer session.

Premium Vacation Package

The “A Celebration of Harry Potter” Premium Vacation Package boasts the best offerings and the highest pricing. In addition to the offerings listed above, it also includes:

  • 3-day park-to-park admission
  • Exclusive autograph and photo session with select Harry Potter film talent
  • Shutterbutton’s Photography Studio session
  • Breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron (in addition to breakfast at Three Broomsticks on a separate morning)
  • Reception at expo

For accommodations at the new Sapphire Falls Resort or Royal Pacific Resort, Universal’s on-site preferred hotels, pricing starts at $479 per adult, per night (tax inclusive). (18.3% price increase from 2016)

For accommodations at either Hard Rock Hotel or Portofino Bay Hotel, Universal’s on-site premier hotels, pricing starts at $535 per adult, per night (tax inclusive). (27.7% price increase from 2o16)

Celebration Vacation Package

This is the standard package for “A Celebration of Harry Potter.” It is more ‘budget friendly’, but misses out on the exclusive autograph and photo session with film talent, along with a few other benefits of the premium package. It does, however, include all of the benefits listed at the top and 3-day park-to-park admission.

For accommodations at a Universal partner hotel, pricing begins at $215 per adult, per night (tax inclusive). (8% price increase from 2016)

At Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Universal’s on-site prime value hotel, pricing begins at $249 per adult, per night (tax inclusive). (6% price increase from 2016)

At the new Sapphire Falls Resort or Royal Pacific Resort, Universal’s on-site preferred hotel, pricing begins at $279 per adult, per night (tax inclusive). (8.5% price decrease from 2016)

At Hard Rock Hotel or Portofino Bay Hotel, Universal’s on-site premier hotels, pricing begins at $339 per adult, per night (tax inclusive). (6.3% price increase from 2016)

Annual Passholder Vacation Package

This is essentially the Celebration Vacation Package above, without theme park tickets included. It’s important to note that you will need a valid Annual Pass when you book and visit to be eligible for this package.

For accommodations at a Universal partner hotel, pricing begins at $135 per adult, per night (tax inclusive). (4.7% price increase from 2016)

At Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Universal’s on-site prime value hotel, pricing begins at $169 per adult, per night (tax inclusive). (2.4% price increase from 2016)

At the new Sapphire Falls Resort or Royal Pacific Resort, Universal’s on-site preferred hotel, pricing begins at $199 per adult, per night (tax inclusive). (15.3% price decrease from 2016)

At Hard Rock Hotel or Portofino Bay Hotel, Universal’s on-site premier hotels, pricing begins at $245 per adult, per night (tax inclusive). (4% price increase from 2016)

How to book “A Celebration of Harry Potter” Vacation Packages

Packages are on sale at Universal’s website.

If you’d prefer, Orlando Informer Travel can help you plan your Harry Potter vacation and book your vacation package. You may call Orlando Informer Travel at (844) ORL-INFO or email travel@orlandoinformer.com. We’ll happily do the hard work for you on this one (and for no additional cost – seriously).

Hogsmeade from the distance at sunset
Hogsmeade from the distance at sunset.

Will the packages sell out?

As noted above, all types of the A Celebration of Harry Potter vacation packages will likely sell out. It is especially likely that the premium and annual pass packages sell out.

Which Harry Potter stars will be there?

Here’s the film talent lineup for 2016. Those who purchased the Premium vacation package will have an opportunity for autographs and photos will select talent. There will be no other official autograph or photo sessions.

Once the 2017 celebrity list is released, we will update this page.

  • Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley)
  • Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley)
  • Katie Leung (Cho Chang)
  • Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom)
  • Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood)

Costumes at A Celebration of Harry Potter

Unless something changes this year, attendees may wear costumes at both theme parks on January 27-29, 2017. Here’s what you need to know:

  • No masks, veils, long trains, live animals, swords, or weapons. All home-crafted wands must be rounded on either end.
  • Must not give the impression you are a Universal Team Member.
  • Certain costumes may not be allowed on select rides due to safety concerns.
  • You may not linger in CityWalk with a costume.
  • Universal Orlando will have sole discretion on costumes. You may be asked to change or leave the resort. Any items deemed inappropriate may be retrieved at the end of the day at the CityWalk hub.

Have questions? Post your question in our Facebook group and our vacation planning community will do our best to answer your question.