Dumbledore actor delights fans as Celebration of Harry Potter 2015 kicks off at Universal Orlando

in Entertainment, Events, Theme Parks, Universal Orlando, Universal Studios Florida

For the second year in a row, Universal Orlando is welcoming “Harry Potter” fans for a weekend filled with special exhibits, presentations, and a few familiar film stars.

A Celebration of Harry Potter 2015 kicked off with red carpet arrivals of four popular actors from the movies. Arriving Friday night were Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), James Phelps (Fred Weasley), Oliver Phelps (George Weasley), and Michael Gambon (Albus Dumbledore). Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid) was scheduled to appear, but fell ill the night before on the flight to Florida. He’s said to be recovering in a nearby hospital.

Excited fans got their first look at these celebrities, along with some Potter-inspired entertainment, at a special opening night event at the park’s Music Plaza Stage.


Video: Harry Potter props and costumes at Universal Orlando


Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

We had a chance to chat with the Potter foursome in a Q&A that followed that introduction, located inside Diagon Alley’s Leaky Cauldron restaurant. While Lynch and the Phelps twins have made many appearances at Universal Orlando throughout the construction of both sides of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, this was Gambon’s first return since the original opened in 2010 and his first visit to Diagon Alley.

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

From his initial first impressions immediately after stepping inside the Leaky Cauldron to his hilarious take on why he won’t be riding Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts while he’s here, Gambon definitely was the highlight of the interview session. He noted that Dumbledore didn’t exactly spend a lot of time hanging around Diagon Alley, so it was unusual for him to be there. And, he added, without his beard and robe he doesn’t entirely resemble his character, but being at Universal makes him miss the ensemble, wishing he had it with him to dress up.


Video: Harry Potter stars Q&A at Universal Orlando – Dumbledore, Weasley twins, Luna Lovegood


Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Unique food is a huge draw for Potter fans to Diagon Alley and Oliver Phelps, as a Brit, vouched for Leaky Cauldron’s fish and chips, approving of their authenticity. But Evanna Lynch isn’t quite so happy this trip, as she said she recently went vegan and is now unable to enjoy the delicious Butterbeer ice cream.

These film stars will appear in presentations and autograph sessions throughout the weekend event.

In addition, attending guests can enjoy the Harry Potter Expo, a small “convention” within the park featuring props and costumes from the film series, including the original Horcruxes and Sword of Gryffindor, along with several photo opportunities.


Video: Harry Potter props and costumes at Universal Orlando


Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando’s usual costume restrictions are relaxed for the weekend, allowing fans to show up dressed as their favorite characters.

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter Celebration 2015 at Universal Orlando

A Celebration of Harry Potter continues through Sunday, February 1, accessible by all Universal Studios Florida guests without any additional costs. Additional presentations include wand dueling demonstrations, learning to dance like Beauxbatons and fight like Durmstrang students, and a special look at creating the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

More information can be found at UniversalOrlando.com.

More photos from day 1 of A Celebration of Harry Potter 2015 at Universal Orlando:

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