What if heading back to school meant taking a ride on the Hogwarts Express? That’s the idea behind Universal Orlando’s “Back to Hogwarts” events planned for September.
While not on the scale of the annual Celebration of Harry Potter, the promotion will offer some new experiences for Harry Potter fans. To kick it off on September 1, Universal will host a “social media fan meet-up” in the Wizarding World sections of the parks, promising the opportunity to “choose your own adventure.”
“This is a limited, special event and will be available on a first-come, first served basis,” Universal public relations representative Ali Beemer wrote on the Universal Orlando blog. Details on how to register will be announced at a later date.
Other fan activities will include a photo scavenger hunt throughout the month and a series of group photo opportunities. These meet-ups will occur every Friday throughout September at different locations throughout the parks:
Sept. 7: Hogwarts Express in Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure, 2 p.m.
Sept. 14: Triwizard Stage in Hogsmeade, 12:45 p.m.
Sept. 21: Carkitt Market Stage in Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida, 12 p.m.
Sept. 28: Knight Bus outside Diagon Alley, 2 p.m.
Beyond the fan events, Universal is encouraging Potter fans to dress up, buy Hogwarts-themed school merchandise and enjoy the nighttime projection show at Hogwarts, which runs on select nights throughout September.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has been a significant driver in Universal’s surging attendance over the past decade. In 2009, before Hogsmeade opened, Islands of Adventure welcomed 4.6 million guests. In 2017, more than 9.5 million guests came through the turnstiles.
Capitalizing on that success, Universal has continued to expand the Wizarding World. The next addition will be a Potter-themed roller coaster taking the place of the demolished Dragon Challenge. While Universal has revealed few details about the new ride, it’s scheduled to open in 2019.