The Wizarding World Back to Hogwarts celebrations returned to London’s King’s Cross this week for the first time since 2019. The event, hosted by British broadcasters Vick Hope and Sam Thompson, saw hundreds of Gryffindors, Slytherins, Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs gathering to join a live countdown.
The departure board, which signaled the Hogwarts Express train to Hogsmeade, was lit up and special announcements made, with the train finally ‘departing’ at 11:00 a.m. for another year of adventure.
25 years ago, J.K. Rowling introduced us to the mysterious Platform Nine and Three Quarters, the scarlet Hogwarts Express and explained the significance of an 11:00 a.m. departure in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
Since then, the Harry Potter series, which has sold over 600 million copies worldwide, been translated into over 80 languages and brought to life on screen in eight blockbuster films, has built a global community of dedicated fans.
At Back to Hogwarts, fans participated in special Wand Combat workshops (led by Paul Harris, the Wand Choreographer responsible for the instantly recognizable wand combat seen in several of the Harry Potter films) and were treated to a special version of the popular ‘wand dance’ by the West End cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
Fans also snapped selfies with two five-foot, giant-scale book replicas of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, as well as posing for photos with impressive LEGO Harry Potter big builds of the Hogwarts Sorting Hat and Mr. Weasley’s blue Ford Anglia.
For fans who dreamed of making their own journey to Hogwarts, a brand-new Hogwarts Express video booth enabled them to see themselves sitting in the very carriage graced by Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
The celebrations weren’t limited to London King’s Cross… Back To Hogwarts 2022 – A Look Ahead, a special YouTube presentation hosted by Vick Hope, provided fans with a host of exciting start of term announcements. Here’s a run down of what was revealed in the video, which you can watch below.
WIZARDING WORLD BACK TO HOGWARTS ANNOUNCEMENTS
HOGWARTS LEGACY (LAUNCHING FEBRUARY 10, 2023)
Hogwarts Legacy (See on Amazon) is an immersive, open-world, action role-playing-game set in the 1800s wizarding world, which puts players at the center of their own adventure.
An unexpected Hogwarts Legacy easter egg was unveiled in a side quest to castle ruins, the same ruins seen in the Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure ride at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter inside Universal Orlando Resort‘s Islands of Adventure. It is just one of the many references hidden in Hogwarts Legacy for eagled-eyed fans to discover.
Wizarding World fans can also link their Harry Potter Fan Club account with their Warner Bros. Games account to import their house and wand into Hogwarts Legacy.
Based on the Harry Potter Fan Club’s official Sorting Experience, together with the Wand Ceremony, players can bring their authentic self into Hogwarts Legacy.
Linking accounts will also unlock a Beaked Skull Mask and exclusive “House Fan-Atic School Robes” in game, a special set of robes so players can represent their Hogwarts house with style.
There was also a look at the entrances and interiors of the house common rooms at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Starting with Slytherin’s entrance hidden behind a slithering arch of a stone serpent, through the lavish Gryffindor common room set in one of the tallest towers, and the warm, brightly lit Ravenclaw lounge, to the not often seen Hufflepuff common room bathed in natural sunlight through a skylight, players will have plenty to explore in the game.
HARRY POTTER MAGIC CASTER WAND
Coming soon to the UK and the US is the Harry Potter Magic Caster Wand, this wand experience brings spells to life in an all-new way and will make every day magical.
With the wand and companion app, users can connect their smart home devices to create a truly immersive, multi-sensory casting experience, and can master and unlock over 50 spells for hours of interactive fun.
The wand will be available in three different designs, with a limited-edition design available exclusively for Harry Potter Fan Club members.
For more information and to stay up to date with the latest news and announcements, click here.
HARRY POTTER: THE EXHIBITION
The most comprehensive touring exhibition ever presented about the Wizarding World will be coming to Atlanta Georgia on October 21 at 200 Peachtree Street, before making its European debut in the METAStadt, Vienna Austria on December 16.
Tickets for Atlanta and Vienna will go on sale on September 28, fans who are members of the Harry Potter Fan Club will receive exclusive access to presale tickets on September 25.
HARRY POTTER: A FORBIDDEN FOREST EXPERIENCE
Visitors to Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience will discover some of their most favorite moments from the Forbidden Forest, encounter mystical creatures such as Hippogriffs, centaurs, unicorns, and Nifﬂers, and practice casting their very own spells.
The breath-taking light trail will return to Cheshire in the UK (from October 15) and arrive in Westchester, New York (from October 22) and Leesburg, Virginia (from October 29). For more information, head here.
HARRY POTTER: MAGIC AT PLAY
Harry Potter: Magic at Play revealed a special rendering of its Quidditch skills training games space, providing the very first look at this hands-on experience. Guests will be invited to practice the Quidditch fundamentals for various player positions including Seeker, Beater and Chaser.
This brand new, first-of-its-kind interactive experience will make its worldwide debut on November 11 at Chicago’s iconic Water Tower Place. Guest of all ages will be able to climb and play their way through familiar places such as the Dursley’s living room, Hogwarts classrooms and the quidditch pitch.
Click here to join the waiting list and learn about future locations.
HARRY POTTER: A YULE BALL CELEBRATION
‘Have you ever dreamt of attending the Yule Ball?’ This fall, you are invited to the unique celebratory gathering, Harry Potter: A Yule Ball Celebration, coming to select cities across the globe for the first time ever, all the way from Milan and Montreal to Houston and Mexico City with dates starting November 18 in the US.
Co-produced by Warner Bros. Themed Entertainment and Fever, Harry Potter: A Yule Ball Celebration is a spellbinding party where guests will be able to participate in iconic and beloved moments inspired by J.K. Rowling’s magical stories and scenes from the Harry Potter film series.
The experience features several Wizarding World elements and celebrates the Yule Ball moment in a whimsical, elegant way. Although not mandatory, guests are encouraged to dress up in their best formal Wizarding World attire.
With the many different offerings at the Ball, from interacting with hosts to various photo opportunities, you don’t even need to know how to dance in order to partake in the experience and have fun. Throughout the event, attendees can enjoy delicious food and beverages, as well as a market featuring branded merchandise.
For a limited time, the wonderful Paraiso Maravilla in central Houston will light up in an enchanting, festive environment that promises to bring guests together in a celebration to remember. Engaging hosts will get the ballroom going with fun, celebratory interactions happening throughout the entire experience.
Tickets will be available for purchase starting Thursday, September 8, but fans who sign up for the waitlist at HarryPotterYuleBallCelebration.com will unlock exclusive access to secure early tickets. Quantities will be limited.
WIZARDING WORLD FESTIVAL
Wizarding World Festival, an epic celebration of Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts and the entire Wizarding World is coming to the U.S. in 2023.
The 3-day festival will include not-to-be-missed panel discussions, film screenings, special guest appearances, cosplay and trivia competitions, autograph signings, photo opportunities, exclusive merchandise, special announcements, and more magical experiences, all taking place in enchanting environments befitting of the magical world created by J.K. Rowling.
The Wizarding World Festival will be the ultimate fan experience, designed to ignite and engage fans from around the globe.
Further details about the Wizarding World Festival, including location and dates, will be announced soon.
Mirko Parlevliet has been reporting on the entertainment industry since 1998 and founded Vital Thrills in 2018 to cover the latest streaming, movie, TV, and video game news. Mirko previously created the websites ComingSoon, Spider-Man Hype!, SuperHeroHype and ShockTillYouDrop.