Harry Potter: The Exhibition – New York, USA
by MuggleNet · Published · Updated
The Exhibition was hosted from November 3, 2012, to April 7, 2013, in New York City, New York, USA. This was the Exhibition’s eighth stop and its second time visiting New York City. It was hosted at Discovery Times Square, the same venue as 2011.
When I arrived at Discovery Times Square shortly before 9 am on Saturday morning, there was already an autograph line forming outside of the Harry Potter Exhibition. As it grew closer to the time of the exhibit’s 10 am opening, the line down 44th street only grew longer. When the exhibit opened its doors, many visitors decided to continue waiting in the autograph line instead of going into the exhibit at their ticketed time, risking having to wait a couple of hours until the next available entry onto the exhibition floor. But for everyone I talked to, it was worth it to be guaranteed a chance to meet James and Oliver Phelps. After waiting outside for over an hour, those of us near the front of the autograph line were moved inside to wait in the lobby—where it was much warmer!—but because of space limitations many fans continued to wait outside. We spent another hour in line inside the building before James and Oliver arrived and began signing autographs in a small room just to the side of where guests visiting the exhibit have their picture taken before entering the exhibition floor. Groups of 12 were led downstairs to meet the twins, and each guest was allowed to have one item signed. Many opted to have the twins sign an exhibition-provided postcard of Fred and George, but others brought Harry Potter books with favorite chapters about the Weasley Twins—I saw more than one copy of Order of the Phoenix—and one creative fan I saw even brought a copy of the Marauder’s Map! When it was finally my turn to meet the twins, both were very kind and appreciative of the fans who had waited so long to see them. The one downside to the way that signing was set up was that you really only got the chance to talk to either James or Oliver, since time was so limited. Still, Discovery Times Square had carefully thought out how to move the crowd through the autographing space, and I didn’t feel too rushed as I moved through the autograph line, actually getting the chance to exchange a few words with each of the twins.
Once I made it through the signing line, I entered into the exhibition with no trouble, even though a couple of members of the group I was in had missed their ticketed time—I had heard from a worker that the exhibition was being more lenient with that today because of the special autographing event. As always, getting to explore the props and costumes of the exhibition was lots of fun, especially since I hadn’t visited the exhibition since they added items from the second half of Deathly Hallows, but it was even more fun to be there after just having just met two of the stars who made the films possible. Clearly many fans felt the same—when I left just after noon, the autograph line was just still all the way down the street.
I attended the Saturday morning #NYSeeingDouble event at Discovery Times Square. My friends and I arrived around 9:40 and ended up waiting outside for a little over 2 hours. It was below freezing and waiting outside like that was only tolerable because of the excitement and the other great fans to pass time with. The Phelps twins arrived right at 11 and it was fun to watch them exit their car, get a quick glance at the masses waiting for them, wave, and then dash inside. Once inside, the line moved relatively quickly and people were ushered into a small room to meet James and Oliver in groups of just a few fans at a time. It made the visit more intimate. We were told that they were not allowed to pose for photos with us, but I introduced myself and shared the fact that I’m a huge fan of the series and that I named my daughter Lily Potter after Harry’s mum. Oliver chatted with me a little bit about that and asked how old my daughter is and if she was reading the books yet (6 and starting Sorcerer’s Stone very soon!). James was very friendly as well. After they finished signing my book, I said “since I’m a big fan and you’re famous for being rule-breakers, can I come back there for a photo?” and they very kindly agreed, as long as we could do it quickly! I ducked back behind the podium and my friend snapped the shot and then we were on our way!
We had purchased the VIP tickets and it was easy to go straight from the signing to the front of the line for the exhibition. We were able to watch a few people get sorted, and my friend Maria achieved her dream of being pronounced a Ravenclaw! After a brief montage of movie scenes in another room, we stepped right in front of the Hogwarts Express and even got snowed on! It was very exciting and you could feel how eager all the fans were, especially after the signing! It was my first time in the exhibit, and with the crowds making our passage slow, I took some extra time for notes on the standout features. We were treated to the singing of the Fat Lady, some artifacts of Gryffindor common room, and Ron and Harry’s sleeping areas first. It was fun to see how Ron had brought so much of his Quidditch gear from home, while Harry had very few personal possessions. Ron’s howler from Chamber of Secrets was tucked away in his trunk and audio tour patrons should know to hold the speaker far from their ear when they listen to track #53 or they will get an earful of Mrs. Weasley’s screaming! We also loved the stars and moons that adorned the inside of the four-poster bed curtains, the authentic wizard candies, and games we spotted. Other fun items we noticed were the grim in the tea leaves at Professor Trelawney’s class, the Half[-]Blood Prince potions book, Lockhart’s ridiculous exam questions, and Harry’s lines of “I must not tell lies,” written in blood! We were not such fans of the gigantic jack-in-the-box boggart or the one thumping around in the wardrobe. Hagrid’s hut was a lot of fun, especially because we were allowed to lift the mandrakes outside the hut and sit in Hagrid’s enormous chair. The true-to-life Buckbeak was amazing looking, too! After Hagrid’s hut, we were able to toss the quaffle and score our first Quidditch goals! The crowd slowed down quite a bit in the Dark Arts area and there was a lot more to listen to on the audio tour. It was a bit too crowded to enjoy, but I did get a good look at the Horcrux display and thought they were all incredible and very authentic looking, especially the diadem!
We ended the tour in the great hall, where we saw remnants of the Yule Ball, the Goblet of Fire, and even Skiving Snackboxes! We passed by Fawkes and though we were sad to leave, we were thoroughly exhausted by the time we emerged from the tour at around 2:00! We picked up some souvenirs in the gift shop, which was comparable to the one in the Orlando airport, but smaller than what can be found at the Universal park, and took a few more photos outside before going on our merry way! It was a great day and I’d do it again in a heartbeat, especially if they brought back any of my other favorite cast members!