Celebration of Harry Potter Day One: Opening Ceremony, Nightime Lights at Hogwarts and Big Announcements

Jan 26, 2018

Posted by: Dawn Johnson

Actor Interviews, Art, Audio Books, Books, Broadway, Celebration of Harry Potter, Companion Books, Cover Art, Cover Artists, Exclusives, Fan Events, Fandom, Fans, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Harry Potter:The Exhbition, HP Cast, Ianevski, J.K. Rowling, MinaLima, Movies, News, Phelps, Pottermore, Publishers, Quidditch Through the Ages, Sam Clemmett, Tena, Theater, Theme Park, Warner Bros., Williams, WIzarding World of Harry Potter Orlando, Wright

Universal Orlando Resort is hosting A Celebration of Harry Potter event this weekend and welcomed fans with a spectacular opening ceremony peppered with exciting announcements!

Before the ceremony, Leaky had the chance to sit down with the cast in attendance at A Celebration – newcomers Natalia Tena (Tonks) and Stanislav Yanevski (Viktor Krum), along with a few of the Weasleys: James and Oliver Phelps, and Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley)!

We’ll bring you a full write-up of interviews following A Celebration!

The ceremony began with an introduction of all the guests featured at this year’s expos, starting with illustrator Brian Selznick, the acclaimed artist selected by Scholastic to create a new cover for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stoneas well as the other six books in the series!–to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its publication in America.

Selznick appeared on stage–and will also appear at the Scholastic booth Saturday–and was extremely gracious, assuring the fans, “I’m putting all my love into the covers,” going on to dedicate the new cover designs to all the Harry Potter fans!

Eddie Newquist, producer of Harry Potter: The Exhibition, was introduced next. He reminded the audience that the exhibition is still open in Madrid, Spain, occupying about 15,000 square feet filled with costumes, props, and creatures that give fans an “up close and personal” experience with the magic of the wizarding world and the beloved Harry Potter films.

Newquist then beckoned fan favorites James and Oliver Phelps to join him on stage to make an exciting announcement about the exhibition, and given that the Phelps twins have attended over 10 exhibition openings, it was fitting they should share the big news that the exhibition’s next stop will be Milan, Italy!


The Phelps brothers revealed the exhibition expo hinted at the move with a fashionable catwalk featuring Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts costumes from designer Jany Temime, who will attend the exhibition panel. Not only can fans enjoy the display of their favorite memorable looks at the expo on sound stage 33, but they can also enter to win a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Milan opening!

Phelps himself said that one of his favorite things about the exhibition is that it is so well done and brings back so many good memories–and it’s always lovely to see the fans’ reactions! If it’s such a special experience for the brothers, one that calls them back again and again, it would undoubtedly be an incredible experience for any Potter fan.

After the Weasley actors left the stage, the host welcomed Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima of MinaLima, the amazing designers who have created the unique graphic style of all the Harry Potter films and now bring their enchanting and unforgettable work to the Fantastic Beasts series. They thanked fans for enjoying their work and showed a video briefly touring the House of MinaLima in London. What began with an iconic letter has blossomed into a full-fledged celebration of magic, and it’s wonderful they were able to return to the event devoted to just that!

Pottermore, the “digital heart” of the fandom, also took the stage for a “year in review,” recapping the news they were honored to break throughout 2017. From UK Bloomsbury’s 20th anniversary celebration of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone; the start of the Wizarding World Book Club; the announcement of an updated Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them edition featuring six new beasts and a new foreword; coverage of the Harry Potter Exhibition: A History of Magic at the British Library, as well as news of the upcoming transfer to New York; the announcement of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child move to Broadway (2018) and to Melbourne, Australia (2019); the Hogwarts Experience “Back to Hogwarts” on Sept. 1 commemorating 19 years later; to breaking the exciting news of Portkey Games’ mobile roleplaying game Hogwarts Mystery coming soon–Pottermore was often the first stop for fans keeping up with the latest developments and news!

Then, in perhaps the biggest news of the night, Pottermore shared a special message from The Walking Dead’s Andrew Lincoln, revealing he will voice the latest audio cover of J.K. Rowling’s series with a reading of the companion book Quidditch Through the Ages, following on the undisputed success of Eddie Redmayne’s audio version of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Fans should also stop by the Pottermore expo to participate in the Audible quiz experience, view (and purchase) Harry Potter posters, get a sneak peek at the Kindle-in-Motion Illustrated Fantastic Beasts, and more!


Speaking of the incredible technology being adapted to give fans the most visually-dynamic experience of the Harry Potter story, the event host also reminded fans of the new Fantastic Beasts VR Experience, which allows players to interact with six magical creatures, including the Niffler, Occamy, and Bowtruckle, and discover hidden surprises!

Likewise, Jam City partnered with Warner Bros. to bring fans the Harry Potter “Hogwarts Mystery” from Portkey Games, previously announced by Pottermore, and fans attending their expo will be treated to a “glimpse at the newest mobile game.”


Meg, from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, then joined the celebration host to announce that a selection of Katrina Lindsay’s beautiful Cursed Child costumes would be displayed at their expo. She also reminded fans the Verified Fan ticket registration for the Broadway production is now open through Jan. 31!

Fans then viewed a special message from Sam Clemmett (Albus Potter) and Anthony Boyle (Scorpius Malfoy) announcing that FIVE attending guests could enter to win tickets to the New York premiere.


Wand Combat Choreographer Paul Harris also appeared courtesy of the WB Studio Tour London. This year he will host three magical activities: a kid-friendly lesson in wand usage, a combat lesson for all ages (including a duel with Death Eaters!), and a new advanced workshop featuring more skilled wand combat movements in which he will choreograph a battle.

He then shared a video message from Special Effects Supervisor John Richardson revealing the WB Studio Tour expo will feature Dolores Umbridge’s infamous charred costume, the practical effects device which fired acceptance letters into Privet Drive, and the working Goblet of Fire! (Richardson also reminded fans to visit “The Making of Harry Potter” tour in London, where “your dreams can become a reality!)

And the moment many had been waiting for–the event host introduced the Harry Potter film stars in attendance! Warm cheers and applause greeted Stanislav Yanevski (Viktor Krum), Natalia Tena (Nymphadora Tonks), James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley), and Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley). Fans will be able to see these Potter alums on and off throughout the weekend!

Finally, the opening ceremony closed with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra playing iconic selections from the “Highlights from the Harry Potter Films Concert Series.” Fans were treated to a piece of “Hedwigs’ Theme” and “Quidditch Match” set to scenes from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Scenes from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire followed with “Potter’s Waltz” playing over the Yule Ball, as well as the harrowing (and triumphant!) score to Harry’s Triwizard encounter with the Hungarian Horntail. The orchestra moved on the Harry’s epic flight over the Black Lake with Prisoner of Azkaban’s “Buckbeak’s Flight.” Last, fans enjoyed music from the final scenes of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, cheering loudly when Harry foiled Lucius Malfoy and freed Dobby!

Finally, we were treated to an exclusive preview of the Nighttime Lights At Hogwarts Castle projection light show in Hogsmeade, the very first showing at Universal Orlando. Watch our livestream of the event below:

What a perfect end to a magical opening! If you’re at A Celebration of Harry Potter with us, what was your favorite part and which expos and panels will you be sure to hit Saturday? If you’re watching at home via livestream, what’s been the best reveal so far? What do you make of the news that Quidditch Through the Ages will be an audiobook?

Join us again tomorrow for another day of exclusive behind-the-scenes fun at A Celebration of Harry Potter!


The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.