Culture

Universal Orlando to Host Harry Potter Celebration With Film Stars and Wand Masterclass

If you who can't wait to use floo powder to transport yourself to the new Diagon Alley expansion happening at Universal Studios Orlando next summer, Universal has come up with a magically brilliant plan to hold you over.

Announced Wednesday, Universal Orlando Resort will be hosting a Harry Potter Celebration sure to get legions of muggles all fired up. Happening over the weekend of January 24-26, 2014, "A Celebration of Harry Potter" will feature a collection of activities designed to satisfy Potter-heads, taking place across both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.

The event will feature Q&A sessions with actors, filmmakers and "other special talent"; a tribute to the best moments in the Harry Potter films; and a "wand masterclass" in "the art of duelling," led by Paul Harris, a.k.a. the choreographer who trained the Harry Potter cast to shake their sticks.

A similar celebration was held at Islands of Adventure in November 2011 to celebrate the release of the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 on DVD and Blu Ray, but this time, no specific milestone is being celebrated. It's a celebration for the sake of celebrating one of the most beloved franchises of this generation. (Dare we say of all time?)

Similar to the previous Celebration event, Universal is offering two vacation packages. According to the event page, the vacation packages include the following:

Three-night hotel accommodations

Three-day park-to-park ticket

Early park admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter section (one hour before the park opens)

Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks

Entry to a Private Evening Event held in the Wizarding World Saturday night (which includes one Butterbeer and light desserts)

Reserved seating area for the following: Q&A sessions (featuring cast members and filmmakers), Film Tribute, and a wand masterclass with Paul Harris (dueling instructor for the films)

And a City-Walk Party Pass

The only visible difference in package price seems to be the type of hotel that you will get as part of the accommodation. Starting from $395 it will be a Universal Partner Hotel, whereas starting from $675, you would be staying at a Universal Orlando On-Site Hotel. Vacation packages will go on sale to the general public starting at 12 p.m. noon EST, on August 22.

Most events, such as the Q&A sessions and Film Tribute, will be available to regular park guests; non-VIPs will just have to wait in a first come first serve line, so attendance is not guaranteed. However, select special events, like the evening reception, will only be available to those who purchase the packages.

So far no announcement has been made as to which cast members and filmmakers will be in attendance. During the 2011 Celebration, Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), Domhnall Gleeson (Bill Weasley), Warwick Davis (Griphook/Professor Flitwick), and Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy) were among the cast members at the event. Director David Yates and producer David Heyman were also part of the Celebration.

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Carolina del Busto is a freelance writer for Miami New Times. She nurtured her love of words at Boston College before moving back home to Miami and has been covering arts and culture in the Magic City since 2013.