Saturday, September 08, 2018

A Celebration of Harry Potter Will Not Be Returning in 2019

Photo Credit: Universal Orlando Resort
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?

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