Event Report: “Harry Potter: The Exhibition”
Harry Potter: The Exhibition in Atlanta, Georgia, is a breathtaking experience that will take you from one world to another and is designed to make you feel as though you are in the movies and in a sense like you are in the books. The tour includes a walk-through of the classrooms, a Quidditch game, and even a glimpse at the cupboard under the stairs. There is also the chance to see some beautiful costumes and props along the way.
When you enter the facility, you are given a ribbon that you are supposed to wear around your wrist, and on it is hidden a personal identifier that is camouflaged with a picture of a Snitch. It is then necessary to walk to a kiosk, scan the Snitch that is on your wrist, and enter your name, zip code, and email address before stepping back to have your photo taken. With the Snitch, you will have the opportunity to interact with the exhibition and later on, save all your highlights and memories that you may have made along the way.
You start in a room that represents the Hogwarts Express, which simulates that you’re on your way to Hogwarts. There are two huge panels that feature scenes from the movies, and one of the scenes shows Hagrid bellowing to the first years to make sure they get to where they are supposed to be. The audio quality and the beautiful high-quality graphics of this video really do create a feeling of excitement as you are about to embark on your own personal tour through the wizarding world.
The Snitch is your gateway to interact with the museum exhibits, but there are three places in which it shines. One of these is the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom.
An extremely large spider is displayed on a large monitor, which in turn allows you to cast a Patronus Charm. After scanning the Snitch token on the side of the display, I traced the spell and was rewarded with the sight of the spider on roller skates, just as Ron is when he casts his Patronus Charm on his boggart. It is worth noting that you do all of this in the middle of a room that is adorned with Lockhart’s professor robes and a suit that Professor Quirrell wears in the movies.
The Divination classroom is another location that is a complete highlight of the tour and not just because of the interactive aspect of the room. It is absolutely stunning and actually gives the feeling of sitting in a Divination class at Hogwarts, with the rest of the students. It consists of several tables that each have a crystal ball, which you are supposed to look at after scanning the Snitch token. The crystal ball then gives you a fortune when you look inside it.
However, the Potions classroom is far and away the most amazing part of the tour. With the help of the ingredients you choose, you find yourself conjuring a real potion from scratch. Each student’s working area has an illuminated cauldron, as well as a shelf of ingredients, a book, and a touch screen monitor. You will then be asked to choose a potion to create once you have scanned the Snitch token.
While there are several potions to choose from, including Felix Felicis, I decided on Polyjuice. It is then your responsibility to choose the ingredients that will be used in an either/or type of scenario. Here’s where the book is useful because it will tell you exactly what ingredients to use. On the shelf, a bottle lights up after every ingredient is chosen. After you have chosen all the ingredients, the cauldron lights up.
I could not recommend this exhibition enough. It gives you the feeling of being a kid again and evokes the feeling of having lived out a day at Hogwarts. For all those who didn’t get their letter to Hogwarts, this is your chance.