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Harry Potter celebration kicks off at Universal Studios with expo and cast chat

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A Celebration of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort kicked off on Friday, January 24, with an expo featuring all things Potter, from Pottermore to sessions with the Sorting Hat to wand combat to meetings with Kazu Kibuishi, the artist behind the re-imagined book covers. Then the evening was capped with a 90 minute tribute that included several members of the cast, as well as Kibuishi and two members of the creative team behind Diagon Alley.

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Click the video accompanying this article for scenes from the expo and the tribute. This event continues on Saturday and Sunday, and it's included with your park admission, so get a two-park ticket to ensure you get to see everything. The expo is at Universal Studios Florida, while a number of panel discussions and presentations run Saturday and Sunday at Islands of Adventure.

The panels will be especially popular, since some will feature the Potter cast members. Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), James Phelps (Fred Weasley), Oliver Phelps (George Weasley), Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom), Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley), and Devon Murray (Seamus Finnigan) are all on hand at the event. If you'd like to see photos of them from their media panel discussion, jump to this article.

Get to the Universal parks early if you plan to attend this event, and be prepared to wait in long lines. The crowd was already on hand on Friday, and it will only grow as the weekend progresses. Also, bring layers so you'll be comfortable in the chill. That way, you can wear your coat or sweatshirt while you're outside and take it off when you're inside warm, crowded spots like the expo or the presentations.

Need advice or guidance from a Central Florida theme parks expert? Check out my ebooks for Kindle and Nook.

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