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Universal Orlando Announces Harry Potter Festival Event for January: Tickets on Sale Aug. 22

Universal Orlando has announced a three-day "Celebration of Harry Potter" fan event for January 24 to 26. Details are sketchy, but ticketholders are promised a few perks, including a "private evening reception held in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter," Q&A sessions featuring "Harry Potter talent," and a wand masterclass imported from the Harry Potter Studio Tour outside London (it's cute—someone guides your kids through a few wand-wielding moves—but nothing elaborate).

Technically, anyone with a general admission ticket can be there, but a few benefits (reserved seating, early admission inthe morning, the evening party) will only be extended to people who purchase packages. Given the number of Potter nuts out there, non-passholders might stand a chance of being crowded out of the more popular events. Packages start at $395 if you stay at an approved off-property hotel and will go on sale August 22 at noon, eastern time.

Some information is posted at www.universalorlando.com/celebration, but details like celebrity attendance are still murky.

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It's smart for Universal on a few levels, the most obvious being that late January is the lowest of low season, and the event will bump up attendance. It also gives Unviersal another ancillary event to rival Disney, which has long hosted specialized fan events such as for Star Wars and, in the past, ABC soap operas.

There's also a third reason. Universal is currently constructing a second Harry Potter land on its Studios lot, and many details have yet to be announced. An event such as this might be just the place to release some much-anticipated confirmations about what the new land will contain.

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