by Spencer Bollettieri, freelance writer for Theme Park Magazine
Let curiosity take flight at New York’s Harry Potter: The Exhibition, where the art of filmmaking, the theatrics of the stage, and the magic of the Wizarding World come together to create a unique experience. While New York has been a second home for Harry Potter, hosting various attractions dedicated to “the Boy Who Lived,” this one promises to teach guests about a different kind of magic not typically found in the halls of Hogwarts. Harry Potter: The Exhibition offers a spellbinding lesson about how legends are born, what it takes to bring them to life, and a chance to experience it all in person.
Building Magic: Warner Bros., Imagine Exhibitions, and EMC Events
First published in 1998, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (also known as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) laid the foundation for one of the most beloved stories in modern mythology. From the successful book series to numerous blockbuster movies and a Tony Award-Winning stage show, the Wizarding World has enchanted audiences globally. Now, as part of a collaboration between Warner Bros. Discovery Global Themed Entertainment, Imagine Exhibitions, and EMC Events, visitors can embark on an immersive journey behind the scenes into the Wizarding World.
After The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience set a new standard for themed attractions, Harry Potter: The Exhibition offers an opportunity to learn how J.K. Rowling’s stories come alive on stage and screen. “We have poured our heart and soul into this exhibition, and I am honored and proud to open at this iconic location in New York City to share the magic with millions of New Yorkers and visitors to this incredible city,” expressed Tom Zaller, President and CEO of Imagine Exhibitions. Currently established in New York City and Paris, France (with an upcoming location in Macao, China), Harry Potter: The Exhibition continues to build upon a long-lasting legacy and challenge what’s possible in the world of themed experiences.
Personalizing Your Wizarding Experience: The Interactive Passport
From the start, it’s clear that Harry Potter: The Exhibition is a personalized experience and prides itself on its interactive elements. After being ushered into the exhibition and issued a pass, guests are directed toward a digital kiosk where they’re asked to fill out what is essentially a Wizarding World passport. Having their photo taken and their names entered, visitors proceed to select a wand, a Hogwarts house, and a Patronus, all of which play a role within the various exhibits.
By scanning their pass at stations marked by a Golden Snitch, guests can interact with the Wizarding World and complete challenges to earn points for their respective houses. For example, in Professor Snape’s potion dungeon, aspiring brewers are asked to create concoctions like the iconic Polyjuice Potion, or in Professor Trelawney’s Divination classroom, passersby are encouraged to sit a spell and use a crystal ball as part of a self-guided lesson in scrying. Many rooms offer an opportunity to earn points or see Harry Potter’s world come alive through technological theatrics. However, depending on how many tasks are completed and points are collected by guests, Harry Potter: The Exhibition always ends with Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin winning the house cup with the final scores displayed for all to see.
Although the amount of interaction the exhibition includes makes for an engaging visit, what separates Harry Potter: The Exhibition from most Wizarding World attractions, is its educational elements. Reminiscent of various Hollywood studio tours, Harry Potter: The Exhibition grants guests a rare opportunity to witness a collection of props, costumes, and replicas from the movies, as well as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Alongside these treasures, visitors will learn about the lore behind the characters and objects, gaining insight into the remarkable cinematic creativity employed to bring the wondrous Wizarding World to the big screen and stage. Additionally, because many of Harry Potter’s props are one of a kind, each location throughout the world offers something unique.
Iconic Props and Costumes: A Peek Behind the Cinematic Curtain
However, not unlike Hogwarts, education at Harry Potter: The Exhibition is far from ordinary. Unlike traditional museum dioramas, glimpsed from afar, guests find themselves in the center of Harry Potter’s greatest stories. Among other things, visitors can see the dress worn by Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall as they watch the seasons change in the Great Hall or check out the trappings of Hagrid’s hut while the scent of a roaring fire fills the air. Meanwhile, the particularly brave can learn about the Ministry of Magic while snapping a picture in the infamous pink office of Professor Umbridge or read about the Tri-Wizard Tournament as a giant dragon looms over them. Furthermore, visitors have the option to enhance their Harry Potter experience by purchasing an audio tour for their mobile phones. Overall, Harry Potter: The Exhibition showcases the awe-inspiring set pieces and iconic props the series is known for, immersing guests in an extraordinary adventure in literature and movie magic.
Harry Potter: The Exhibition features a dedicated gift shop that caters to visitors looking to express their Hogwarts pride. Themed around the Wizarding World, guests have a variety of T-shirts, trinkets, and props to choose from, including a few pieces of merchandise exclusive to Harry Potter: The Exhibition. Additionally, if something sweet is needed to end the day, plenty of Honeyduke’s candy is available for purchase, as are bottles of the beloved Wizarding World specialty drink, Butterbeer. Regardless, the shop has something for everyone, whether they wish to bring home the magic of Harry Potter: The Exhibition or gift it to someone else.
Experience the Magic Yourself: How to Visit Harry Potter: The Exhibition
Intended for all ages, at no point does the attraction feel too intense or overly challenging, offering fun almost anyone can enjoy. Additionally, with Harry Potter: The Exhibition encouraging robes and wands, Wizarding World fans will feel at home while embarking on this 90-minute self-guided tour. When compared to what’s offered at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience, or even Harry Potter New York’s VR experience, the new attraction truly distinguishes itself. Harry Potter: The Exhibition proves that magic doesn’t always come from a wand or a bubbling cauldron but rather from the stories we tell and who we share them with.
For information on ticket availability and updates, as well as further details, please visit the official website of Harry Potter: The Exhibition (see Explore More: Resources below).
Explore More: Videos
Discover New York’s Harry Potter: The Exhibition
Harry Potter Attraction Walkthrough in New York City
Explore More: Resources
- Website: Harry Potter: The Exhibition (Official Website)
- Article: Immersive Harry Potter Experience Brings Fans Closer to the Series (Theme Park Magazine 2021)
Unless indicated otherwise, images (including feature image) by © Harry Potter: The Exhibition.
About Spencer Bollettieri: As a biologist, journalist, and writer, Spencer Bollettieri has written for sites such as Screen Rant. Although mostly based out of New York, he’s traveled the world in pursuit of new stories.