Saturday, September 22, 2018

New Ride Replacing Dragon Challenge at Wizarding World of Harry Potter

New Ride Replacing Dragon Challenge at Wizarding World of Harry Potter
In 2017, Universal Orlando Resort announced the permanent closure of the Dragon Challenge attraction in Hogsmeade Village. Buried in the depths of the forest, the rollercoaster was modeled after the second task in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire where Harry and the other triwizard competitors try to acquire a golden egg dragons are protecting. Not long afterwards, a second announcement was made where the ride would be replaced with an all-new attraction. And, it's just now, with the construction walls up and cranes standing tall into the sky, that we are start to see the new attraction take shape.

Specific deals about the new attraction, set to open in summer 2019, are still unknown. Which leads us to speculate what exactly will be filling in the gap at Hogsmeade Village.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Spellbinding Wand Installation Will Light Up London for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

The countdown has officially begun for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald to apparate into theaters on November 16th, 2018. In anticipation for the adventurous sequel starring Newt Scamander and his magical creatures crossing paths with Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald,  wands from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films will illuminate the walkaway between Millennium Bridge and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. The installation is an effort to help raise awareness for J.K. Rowling’s charity Lumos, whose mission is to end the institutionalization of children around the world.

How big is the installation? When will the event take place? Let's look to the press release for more official details:
Standing fifteen feet tall, the wands – bringing to life those belonging to some of the most beloved characters in the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films – are the centrepiece of the new installation, Fantastic Beasts: Wizarding World Wands supporting Lumos. It is set to light up Peter’s Hill every night at 6:45pm from 18th October to 12th November.

Created in association with Lumos as part of the City of London Arts Initiative for public art, the installation also kicks off a series of exciting activities for fans every “Wizarding Wednesday,” including wand training and a live performance of music from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films by a military marching band.

Josh Berger, President and Managing Director of Warner Bros. Entertainment UK, Eire & Spain, and President, Harry Potter Global Franchise Development said: “We are thrilled to partner with Lumos on this landmark installation, which is sure to delight fans and the tens of thousands of commuters and tourists passing through Peter’s Hill each day.

“London has played a huge role in the on-screen legacy of the Wizarding World, from King’s Cross Station to Millennium Bridge, not to mention the nearby Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden – which has housed countless iconic sets across all ten films and nearly two decades – providing a major boost to the UK film industry.
As part of its efforts to raise awareness for Lumos, the installation is also apart of London’s City Arts Initiative, which considers proposals on artistic and cultural merit to improve and enliven the City's streetscape.

Throughout the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts' series, wands are a source of empowerment and hope for witches and wizards to cast their spells and charms. Earlier this year, the logo for the J.K. Rowling's wizarding world changed to incorporate wands and mark a new era in the phenomenon. As well, the actors of Fantastic Beasts celebrated a release of the teaser trailer with #WandsReady movement across social media. No doubt the extraordinary installation will be spellbinding for witches, wizards, and No-Majs to experience in person this October and November.

Further information will be available at https://www.fantasticbeasts.co.uk/wandsready. Check out this magical video below with Fantastic Beasts's stars Jude Law and Eddie Redmayne.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

10 Animals Named After The Harry Potter Series

Animals Named After Harry Potter Books
J.K. Rowling's wizarding world is full of wonderfully imaginative names. So much so that researchers and explorers around the world have named their very own discoveries after bewitched objects, dangerous spells, and loved (or loved to hate) characters. Did you know that some wasps like the prudent death eater Lucius Malfoy don't sting? Or that a real narwhal tusk shared the same name as a Minister for Magic?  From spiders to dinosaurs, and everything in-between, here are ten animals that were named after the magical world of Harry Potter. This post contains photos of creepy crawlies - please consider this a warning!


Saturday, September 08, 2018

A Celebration of Harry Potter Will Not Be Returning in 2019

For the past few years, Harry Potter fans have anxiously awaited the announcements about A Celebration of Harry Potter, a three-day festival of exhibitions, Q&A with the cast, and live demonstrations held at Universal Orlando Resort. Like clockwork the anticipation to learn what's next for the event began to build again, only to be met with disappointing news: there will be no annual celebration in 2019.

Universal Orlando Resort confirmed in a press release:
Universal Orlando Resort is working on exciting new experiences for guests to continue to celebrate the Wizarding World next year. These include the all-new thrill ride coming to [t]he Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade and additional fan experiences that have yet to be announced. While our focus on these fan experiences means we will not be hosting A Celebration of Harry Potter in 2019, we and other Universal theme parks will always be looking for opportunities to host special Wizarding World experiences.
Currently, there is no further word or specific reasons released why the celebration was canceled for next year, or if it will be revitalized some other way in the future.

The cancellation of A Celebration of Harry Potter, or what could be considered the biggest Harry Potter related convention for fans, is certainly disappointing as the event offered past and future collaborators of J.K. Rowling's wizarding world to interactively spread the word about upcoming news and releases. This past year saw the launch of Hogwarts: Mystery mobile game, Pottermore, Fantastic Beasts Virtual Reality game, Warner Bros Studios Tour London, and Mina Lima graphic design and Harry Potter: the Exhibition. Fans also showed off their extraordinary cosplay, were sorted by the Sorting Hat, and enjoyed the immersive lands of Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, all within a weekend visit.

One can only speculate how or why Universal does not have any current plans to hold the event at least in its current format. While I've attended the past few years and always had a blast, the event had its minor hiccups such as drawing in an enormous attendance throughout the theme parks, often big enough for the event to be held in a convention space where guests didn't have to beat the heat and the long queues for exhibitions. The weekend's activities were also broken up into smaller stages across both Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, which could make it difficult for fans to manage the events calendar.

There still might be hold for future celebrations, as the press release did not hint that fan experiences will be gone indefinitely. Recently, Universal has added smaller fan experiences to the theme parks. For September 1st, the annual date where fans celebrate a return to Hogwarts, the theme parks hosted a social media meet-up and launched a Choose Your Own Adventure scavenger hunt. The theme parks could be looking to add similar events throughout the calendar year that still celebrates the series, just in a variety of ways.

Did you attend A Celebration of Harry Potter? What will you miss from the event?

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Osceola Library Conjures Incredible Harry Potter Magic for Muggles

More than Christmas, Halloween, or even my own birthday, September 1st is my favorite day of the entire year. It's probably easy to guess why. It's the day we all head back to Hogwarts. I've been counting down for the new term even more so this summer because I was invited to join the festivities at Sorcerers At Sunset: An Evening of Muggles and Magic, a spell-binding event at the Osceola Library in Florida.

Teresa and Michelle, heads of the event planning at the library, with the Youth Staff, Circulation Staff, Teen Ambassadors and Friends of the Library transformed the literary haven with decorations from the Harry Potter books and movies. Witches and wizards from age 10 and up spent the evening celebrating the magic of our favorite series with classes and demonstrations.

From the moment you stepped into the library, you were being transported into the wizarding world. All kinds of activities were spread out across the two floors of the library - Quidditch Pong, wand-making craft, artwork, an escape room and so much more. Every activity earned guests raffle tickets to be used later on in the contest to win special door prizes. There was so much to learn and magic to create. Just take a look below and see the incredible work behind this magical event.


A special preview of coming attractions for the evening