Local 6 Theme World: Plotting Potter's Premiere

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By Ken Pilcher - Producer
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December 20, 2013
Plotting Potter's Premiere

Universal's marketing wizards are at it again. They are doing a masterful job of releasing new details by dribs and drabs to build up excitement for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley -- opening at Universal Studios by next Summer.

Just two days ago -- they released this teaser trailer showing how empty all other attractions will be when Potter 2.0 opens with a wave of the wand (more on the wand part later)


Now today -- a Second trailer popped up on YouTube and Facebook -- this one giving a tantalizing glimpse at the new attractions and experiences.


Last week, during the big announcement about CityWalk's expansion, they also released a few Potter nuggets including this video talking about the detail of London, Diagon Alley, The Leaky Cauldron & The Hogwarts Express.


We are supposed to learn a lot more during a January 23rd webcast. I have it on pretty good authority the Universal Creative team has really topped Potter 1.0, though they will be very different in feel. Look for several other experiences, probably including some of the darker side of the Potterverse, along with a MUCH bigger Olivander's wand shop. The "real" shop in the books and movies IS in Diagon Alley afterall. The one in Hogsmede was invented by Universal Creative as a "branch store" for the purposes of having it at Islands of Adventure's original land.

Universal is also building up excitement just by following the progress of the buildings.
Here's a look at the whole land from across the waterfront I took about a week ago.

Already a lot more has been done in just the week since I was there. The scale and level of detail of the new land is vast.

The idea is that muggle London buildings will be hiding the "secret world" of Diagon Alley.
From the side nearest Men In Black, though, you can see the pointy, crooked details of Diagon Alley.

The big, grey building on the right is the show building for the Gringott's Bank coaster ride.
Construction is moving fast, and in these photos you can't even see the Hogwarts Express ride.

One final way Universal is trying to build up excitement is a Potter Celebration offered for free with park admission January 24-26 of next year, complete with three popular supporting players.

Universal's press release is below. There is more on ClickO from Universal today, including a slideshow of photos I took of Universal's Holiday celebration events. This year. the tagline is Naughty Vs Nice, which sums up Grinchmas & Macy's well.

 Here's a link to the slideshow.

More from Theme World next week, including a review of what may very well be CityWalk's best value.

Keep your emails, questions, tips and comments coming! I always appreciate the feedback.

You can always find all of my blog entries at www.clickorlando.com/themeparks

Here's Universal's Potter Celebration Press Release:

From January 24 - 26, 2014, Universal Orlando and Warner Bros will host "A Celebration of Harry Potter" - a special event that will celebrate all of Harry's adventures, from the beloved books to the feature films. Just announced to appear at the event will be "Harry Potter" film stars James Phelps (Fred Weasley), Oliver Phelps (George Weasley) and Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood).

The celebration takes place just one day after the recently-announced webcast that will reveal new details about the Diagon Alley expansion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. While in town, the Phelps twins and Lynch are likely to be involved in that big reveal.

Lynch was just at Universal Orlando a few weeks ago for the unveiling of the latest "Harry Potter" stamps from the United States Postal Service. A big Potter fan herself, she's always eager to take part in special events and meet with fans.

Included in the special 3-day event will be a variety of experiences, such as a Harry Potter Tribute on Friday night, a Harry Potter Expo, panel discussions with film talent and crew, and more.

Creative talent set to appear includes Kazu Kibuishi, the award-winning artist who recently re-imagined the Harry Potter book covers, and Eduardo Lima and Miraphora Mina of MinaLima, who established the visual graphic style of the Harry Potter films.

Access to "A Celebration of Harry Potter" is included with regular theme park admission or with an annual pass. Those without an annual pass can experience the full offering with a 3-day park-to-park ticket. Admission into panel events will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Event details are below:

The panels will be held in a theater-style setting and will include discussions and Q&A's with Harry Potter film talent and crew. Admission into the theaters will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Specific panel times will be released at a later date.

Panel descriptions are below:

A Harry Potter Tribute
"A Celebration of Harry Potter" will kick off with a special evening event starring several cast members of the Harry Potter film series and award-winning artist Kazu Kibuishi, who recently re-imagined the Harry Potter book covers for Scholastic and beautifully captured pivotal scenes from the enchanting Harry Potter stories. Guests will enjoy film clips, Q&A sessions with cast members, and get a glimpse of new details about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley, opening summer 2014.

My Life on the Harry Potter Film Set: Talent Q&A's
Actors from the Harry Potter films share what it's like to work on a major motion picture and be part of film history.

Duelling Demonstration & Wand Combat Masterclass with Paul Harris
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter will present a spellbinding masterclass with the world's only Wand Combat Choreographer, Paul Harris. Paul choreographed the epic battle scene in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and will be on hand to teach you the technique behind wielding a wand.

Graphic Design for the Harry Potter Films with MinaLima
Graphic designers Eduardo Lima and Miraphora Mina from the studio MinaLima will discuss their ten-year involvement in establishing the visual graphic style on the film productions of Harry Potter and present some of the iconic props they created for the films, including the Marauder's Map, the Daily Prophet and The Quibbler.

Bringing the Harry Potter Films to the Theme Park - Set and Prop Design of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Harry Potter film and theme park Set Designer Alan Gilmore and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Prop Master Eric Baker will present a look at how ideas move from the books to screen, and then become real-life theme park experiences.

Go Behind the Scenes of Pottermore.com from J.K. Rowling
Pottermore's Creative Director gives an exclusive insight into the creation of Moment artwork for Pottermore.com, and a look at the next installment of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Plus, get ready for an exclusive reveal as he shares his favorite upcoming new entry from J.K. Rowling.

The Harry Potter Expo will be held inside a Universal Orlando soundstage and will be open to guests throughout the weekend. The expo will include booths and exhibits that will give guests deeper insight into the various manifestations of the Harry Potter series.

Expo booth descriptions are below:

Harry Potter: The Exhibition
Guests will get an up-close look at the artistry and craftsmanship that went into creating the iconic costumes that have appeared throughout the Harry Potter film series. They will also have the opportunity to get sorted into Hogwarts houses during a Sorting Hat experience.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London
This interactive experience will feature a duelling presentation by the world's only Wand Combat Choreographer, Paul Harris.

Limited edition artworks and reproductions based on original prop designs will be on display, including iconic pieces, such as the Marauder's Map and the Daily Prophet. A selection of original graphic props from the films will also be on display, and on-hand to meet guests will be Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima.

Pottermore from J.K. Rowling
Go behind the scenes of Pottermore.com from J.K. Rowling. Find out how Moments from Harry's story are created from the first sketch to the final splash of color, get an exclusive look at artwork that has not yet been released, and experience Pottermore.com for yourself - defeat your opponent in a wizard's duel or try your hand at brewing magical draughts and potions.

Celebrate the 15th anniversary of the U.S. publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and share your message about what Harry Potter means to you. Award-winning artist Kazu Kibuishi, who recently reimagined the Harry Potter book covers, will be signing posters at limited times throughout the weekend.

United States Postal Service
Guests can check out the limited-edition Harry Potter collection of 20 new Forever stamps, featuring images of Harry Potter, the extraordinary boy wizard, and the adventures he encounters with the friends, heroes, villains and creatures that make up his world. Also, see collectible products featuring the stamps, meet the stamp art director, and get special cancellation postmarks commemorating this celebration.

For more information about the event and tickets, visit www.universalorlando.com/celebration.

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