A Celebration of Harry Potter: Panels, Costumes & Expo Exclusives!

Jan 29, 2018

Posted by: Emma Pocock

Celebration of Harry Potter, Events, Fan Events, Fans, Fantastic Beasts Movie, HP Cast, Ianevski, Movies, News, Phelps, Pottermore, Products, Tena, Theme Park, Trailers, Warner Bros., WIzarding World of Harry Potter Orlando, Wright

A Celebration of Harry Potter returned for another magical lineup of panels, demonstrations and exclusive exhibitions for fans of the series this year, and did not disappoint!

Day One opened the event with an exclusive media Q&A with the cast (James and Oliver Phelps, Natalia Tena, Bonnie Wright and Stanislav Yanevski),  some big announcements, a live performance by CineConcerts and a preview of The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts. The following two days only grew more exciting as guests at the event accessed exclusive material, had their questions answered by film crew and talent at panels, learned wizarding skills like wand combat during live workshops, and navigated their way through the Harry Potter Expo, filled with special activities, art, exhibits and demonstrations.

MinaLima Brings Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes to Orlando

We started with an early preview of the Expo, speaking first to MinaLima:

They later gave a panel discussing their work, and – having brought Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes to their booth this year – explained how they designed what turned into a vibrant shop, filled with uniquely designed and meticulously planned and categorised items for the shop. The duo had to get into the headspace of the Weasley twins to design the shop in an authentic way.

They had to start from scratch a couple of times before they got to grips with the Weasley way of design, looking at oriental tea packaging, firework packaging, cheap food packaging from the 1970s, clashing colours, a mishmash of typography designed to ‘sell as much product as possible’.

Check back for full coverage of our interview and their panel soon!

Audible Recall: Quick-Fire Audiobook Trivia

We took part in a Leaky vs Mugglenet game of Audible Recall by Pottermore and Audible – a game that tested your knowledge of Potter quotes by giving contestants 20 seconds to match quotes from the audiobooks with their corresponding book. Harder than it sounds!

Pottermore’s Art Collection & Previews of Kindle In Motion Illustrated Edition of Fantastic Beasts

Pottermore’s beautiful booth was decorated with Wizarding World Book Club questions,


A GIF creator complemented their previewing of the Kindle in Motion version of the illustrated edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, by Olivia Lomenech-Gill:


A sample of the Art Collection was also on show and available for purchase at the Expo:


Scholastic Shares Honeydukes Scratch & Sniff, Introduces Illustrator Brian Selznick & Opens Up Muggle Wall to Fans

Scholastic’s Muggle Wall continued to build up with moving stories of what Harry Potter means to fans over the course of the weekend. The Phelps twins even left their own messages!

Scholastic were giving out prints of Jim Kay’s The Knight Bus (and 20th anniversary pins!), and showcasing some of the art from the illustrated editions on their booth. They also had a very special visitor – the new illustrator for the 20th Anniversary covers of the U.S. Scholastic editions of the Harry Potter series, Brian Selznick!

We met Brian at his booth, who told us he was a definite Hufflepuff:

Another exciting update from Scholastic at the event was their preview copy of Honeydukes: A Scratch and Sniff Adventure (wow?! pre-order here). Scholastic representatives at the booth told us that in the final book, each page will look like the Chocolate Frog page (below). The book releases July 2018.

Behind The Scenes With Warner Bros Studio Tour London

Warner Bros Studio Tour London were showcasing special effects from John Richardson at the Harry Potter Expo this year, giving demonstrations on Swughorn’s armchair disguise, and a mini-exhibit sampling some of the wondrous live special effects you can see at the Studio Tour in Leavesden:

Their panel went into detail about how the films managed to portray magic so realistically, and how props, special effects and major attention to minor details often help actors do their jobs more easily – a sentiment echoed by MinaLima.

Secrets from filming scenes such as the flying car scene (which happened for real!), the Polyjuice Potion (a mixture of disgustingly coloured, cold, lumpy soups – to get a ‘real’ reaction from actors), the Chamber of Secrets door (a real, practical effect!), the Knight Bus (two triple decker buses were made, one for stunts, and the interior was made in a studio), filming the underwater scenes, fire effects and more:

Natalia Tena later joined John Richardson to talk about the special effects on the movie, including the infamous broom-fittings. He also demonstrated the paper dragon effect, and spoke about choreographing the battle of Hogwarts with the stunt team and cameramen.

Learning Wand Combat With Movement Choreographer Paul Harris

Movement choreographer Paul Harris returned to A Celebration of Harry Potter to teach audiences how to properly compose oneself in wand combat, running through attack and defence movements, and finishing off with a fast-paced duel with Death Eaters!

See a full workshop by Paul below:

Another workshop showcasing the magic of choreography showed guests how to dance like a Beauxbaton and battle like a Durmstrang, showing off the skills of the actors involved in shows at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter:

Harry Potter Cast Q&A Panels

More Q&As with Natalia Tena, James and Oliver Phelps, Stan Yanevski and Bonnie Wright took place, allowing fans to ask questions directly to the actors on stage. Check back for full coverage of ALL panels, including the exclusive media panel on Friday!

Costume Showcase:

The costume showcase brought together amazing costumes made by guests, many of which we were lucky to see firsthand!

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See the full show below:

Fantastic Surprises at Saturday’s Evening Tribute:

The Evening Tribute event included not only another cast Q&A, but also updates from Cursed Child worldwide, and even a new sneak peak at Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald (luckily we managed to get the video on livestream!):

House Pride at the Cursed Child Expo Booth

The Cursed Child booth allowed a look at the costumes, wands and props used in the show, and Cursed Child house banners outside the booth meant fans could show off their house pride as they toured the Expo:




Guests at the event could enter to win one of 5 pairs of tickets to see Cursed Child on Broadway, and – if you couldn’t be present to enter – you can still enter for Verified Fan registration for tickets to the show until January 31st here!

Harry Potter: The Exhibition Showcases Costumes From the Films

The secrets behind some of the wonderful costumes in the Harry Potter films were discussed on a panel by Harry Potter The Exhibition, showcasing some of the finer details in costumes on show at the Expo:

The costumes of Viktor Krum, Tonks, the Weasley Twins, Luna Lovegood, Ginny Weasley, Bellatrix Lestrange, Lucius Malfoy and even Fantastic Beasts characters Seraphina Picquery, Tina Goldstein and Queenie Goldstein were on show at the Expo, and the level of detail in each was absolutely astounding:







The exhibition will be moving to Milan next, as announced by the Phelps twins at the opening ceremony of A Celebration of Harry Potter.

Harry Potter Movie Music Magic With CineConerts:

After their live performance at the opening ceremony, CineConcerts displayed the books used by composer / conductor Justin Freer at shows, including original scores from the films:


Their live panel went behind-the-scenes on the music in the films, and how CineConcerts brings film and music together on stage to immerse audiences in the amazing Potter soundtrack:

A Closer Look at Hogwarts Mystery: 

Also giving a closer look at their work at the Expo were the makers of Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery – a highly anticipated mobile role-play game which allows you to take on the role of a Hogwarts student.

We tried a demo of the game, which you can see below:

Watch their panel for more information, and stay posted for exclusive tips from our chat with the game makers, coming soon!

All new Fantastic Beasts VR Experience

Also demonstrating at the Expo was the newly improved and updated Fantastic Beasts VR experience. The game lets you get up-close with magical creatures as you’re guided by the magi-zoologist. The game lets you perform spells and explore Newt’s case in 360 degrees!



Harry Potter Chalk Art 

If you only went to each Expo once, you probably missed the progress being made on the chalk art over the course of the weekend – there was certainly a lot of Luna love:






Next year we wouldn’t mind a whole Expo dedicated to chalk art… Scratch that, cover the ENTIRE park in chalk art.

Keep checking back for more exclusives from A Celebration of Harry Potter, and check out our coverage of Day One here. Thanks to Universal Orlando Resort for inviting us to cover the event – it was the most magical weekend of all time – here’s to another in 2019!


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.