Review: Harry Potter: The Exhibition

Every Monday, Gray Line New York will be highlighting a “Partner of the Week” on our blog. We are going to provide a review for a new partner’s product and share our own insights and experiences. This week, our Partner of the Week is Harry Potter: The Exhibition.

harry potter, times square, nyc

Harry Potter: The Exhibition

I have some good news for anyone who is still waiting around for their letter to Hogwarts! Harry Potter: The Exhibition is finally your official invitation. Here’s why…

On a Wednesday morning, I made my way over to 44th Street right in Times Square. It was a cold and windy morning (just about to blizzard), so I was even more relieved and excited to make it to the lobby of The Harry Potter Exhibition than I even originally had been. From reading the Harry Potter series and watching all the movies, I couldn’t believe that I was about to view and see this unique exhibit up-close and in-person.

I arrived at 10 a.m., just when the exhibit opened, and went right up the stairs to the box office. I received a ticket in the mail but needed to exchange that for an actual ticket to enter. However, I was surprised that there was somewhat of a line to receive my ticket, but I then realized that The Spy Exhibit is another exhibit you can walk through by purchasing a separate ticket here in the same line. While waiting I noticed a sign that said “no photography in the exhibits.” I was slightly disappointed because I was looking forward to taking pictures throughout my experience. However, this wasn’t enough to let this ruin my enthusiastic mood.

Once I received my ticket, I headed downstairs to start my experience. Immediately, I was able to take my picture in front of a green screen with a wand and a Hufflepuff scarf. I was then given a number to view my picture at the end of the tour. After having my picture taken, (and almost walking away with the scarf still around my neck), a group of us were escorted into another room which featured The Sorting Hat and a woman welcoming all of us to Hogwarts. If you’ve ever wondered what house you would be put in at Hogwarts, this place gives you the chance to find out.

After a few volunteers were put into their designated houses, the walking portion of the tour officially started. I loved that I was given the chance to walk at my own pace throughout the rest of the exhibit. It gave me the time to read and experience everything at my own leisure. I was incredibly overwhelmed by the countless displays of costumes and props. These displays also were not ordinary. They had set-ups that featured the props inside, such as, Hagrid’s Hut, The Forbidden Forest and The Great Hall, just to name a few. The entire exhibit was extremely well laid out.

It is needless to say that the exhibit had me in awe from start to finish. This is because I wasn’t expecting so much of an experience, but rather just displays. The exhibition featured mood-setting lights, fog, sounds and even hands-on experiences. Much more detail was included in the exhibit but I don’t want to give too many exciting surprises away. But since I want to brag, I did play Quidditch.

The exhibit did range from props to scenery to video and sound to costumes, but my favorite was seeing the three main characters, Harry, Ron and Hermione’s, clothing from the first movie all the way up until the last. Each of their Hogwarts uniform’s, along with casual clothes, were on display from a majority of the films. I loved seeing how small they once were compared to their present size, based on the costumes. Some costumes featured the original wear and tear from the movie. I noticed rips in some of the costumes along with fake dirt and blood. This made it that much cooler to see the real thing right in front of me.

The tour concluded with the expected gift shop which I walked through after my experience. The store not only had the usual key chains, postcards and t-shirts, but one-of a kind Harry Potter items. Various wands, scarves and hats from each house, necklaces and rings, quill and ink set and all types of candy featured in the books and movies. You can get into this gift shop without experiencing the museum. So if you’re in the city with only a few minutes to spare, I recommend at least stopping in the store to deck yourself out in one-of-a-kind Harry Potter gear.

Alas, I want to leave some surprises from the exhibit to you and for you to find out for yourself. Since this exhibit is temporary, I recommend attending this experience while you still can. Harry Potter nerd or not, this is the place to experience. It is not every day that you get the opportunity to experience an exhibit featured from one of the most popular movie and book series in the world.

To pre-purchase tickets for Harry Potter: The Exhibition and skip the line in the beginning, visit our website now: Harry Potter Tickets

Photo Credit: Flickr / ken8303

Review by Megan Ryan

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