Harry Potter: The Exhibition – New York, NY, USA
From November 3, 2012, to April 7, 2013, Harry Potter: The Exhibition was hosted at Discovery Times Square in New York City, New York. This was its sixth North American stop and eighth stop overall.
When I arrived at Discovery Times Square shortly before 9:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, there was already an autograph line forming outside of the Harry Potter: The Exhibition. As it grew closer to the time of the exhibition’s 10:00 a.m. opening, the line down 44th Street only grew longer. When the exhibition opened its doors, many visitors decided to continue waiting in the autograph line instead of going in at their ticketed time, risking having to wait a couple of hours until the next available entry. 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 exhibition had their pictures taken before entering. 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 Harry Potter and the 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 the 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 Harry Potter: 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 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, 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.