Double Trouble at Discovery Times Square
by Rachel Beard
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. On February 16, 17, and 19, 2013, James and Oliver Phelps made a special appearance to promote the Exhibition.
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 the 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!
MuggleNet Journalist Jessica Jordan also attended #NYSeeingDouble and reviewed the Exhibition on behalf of MuggleNet. Check out her review!