Harry Potter: The Exhibition

Those people that know me well know that I am definitely a nerd at heart. Growing up, I would read just about anything and, as I got older, I leaned a bit more towards the Sci-fi/Fantasy arena. I still enjoy that genre, but I prefer mysteries more now. But, that’s beside the point. I remember when I first read Harry Potter. I was in 8th grade and the first four books had been published already. It was Thanksgiving break and I made it my mission to read the books in that short break (it was 4 or 5 days I think). I accomplished it. My eyeballs felt like they were going to fall out of my head and had been rubbed with sandpaper. But, I finished them. And I haven’t looked back since.

Obviously, we’re all aware of the major phenomena that Harry Potter is. I mean, 8 movies (so far), a musical, untold memorabilia and merchandise. It is still so incredibly popular today, years after they first debuted (does the word “debuted” look weird to anyone else? Just me? Ok).

Any who, enough waxing poetic about an amazing series. When I first got to Germany, obviously I knew that Jon and I would see as many countries and historical sights as we could because, come on, we’re living in Germany for the next 3 years. We should take advantage and do it all! Within reason of course. However, when I saw the ad for the Harry Potter Exhibition, I got so excited. I’ve never visited any of the other Harry Potter themed things in the world. The only Harry Potter themed thing I went to was a book release party at the local Books a Million when some of the books came out.

I begged Jon to please take me. Surprisingly, it didn’t take much begging. I definitely didn’t think it would be something he’d be interested in. But, he said yes, I bought the tickets (and the audio guide, because, come on…) and here we are. We finally went to see it.

This particular exhibition is in Brussels, Belgium and is running through mid-September. We are just lucky enough that Brussels is about a 2 hour drive away. I still can’t get over being able to say things like that. We did have to select an entry time, so we selected mid-morning so we didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to make it to the expo. I will say, if you decide to try to go to this while it’s running, you should allot around 2 hours total for the experience. That includes time in line, the exhibit, and shopping in the store at the end of the exhibit.

We lucked out when we first got there that the parking lot wasn’t too full and were able to find a spot quickly. Where we parked, it was only €6 for the entire day (pleasant surprise when we were paying). We also were lucky that the line to get in wasn’t horribly long. When we came out, it was ridiculous how long the line was, so the morning was perfect.

Once we got in, we were able to take a picture on a green screen that we could look at and purchase a copy of at the end. They then have their audio guides and guide books. I bought an audio guide for €5 extra (Jon didn’t) and I’m glad I did. The guidebook tells you the English translations of the signs while the audio guide gave you some behind the scene insight on some of the things with the series. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it. Jon did say he was a bit lost in the exhibit, but he’s never seen any of the films (may we all die of shock) and the signs were written in French and Flemish, hence the guidebook. Of course, he didn’t read it, so that could have something to do with it.

It was so interesting to walk through and see the costumes and props that were used throughout the movie. I honestly didn’t want to leave the exhibit when we reached the end. If this tells you anything, I didn’t even realize we were at the end until I saw the sign that said “Sortie”. I was very sad.

Even though I was disappointed the exhibit was done, I was excited about the gift shop. I had high hopes that I might be able to find some gifts. Unfortunately, the wasn’t the case. Some of the apparel was missing adult sizes or it was just too darn expensive to see buying multiples. They did have a Marauder’s Map that I seriously considered buying, but I couldn’t bring myself to spend the money on something that would probably end up sitting somewhere folded up unless I framed it. They had a lot more than that though. They had some candy (Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Jelly Beans and Chocolate Frogs to name two), key chains, stickers, beanies, scarves, shirts, sweatshirts, quill and ink sets, robes, wands and much more. I ended up getting a plain blue shirt that said Quidditch Seeker. We also purchased a copy of our picture from the beginning of the exhibition.

You do have the option when you’re at the picture counter to take a different picture taken. They have robes, scarves, and wands you can dress up with and take a single or group photo together. You can then have it made into a wanted poster that asks “Have you seen this wizard?” I was so tempted to have one taken because it was just that cool. But, by that point, I thought Jon might be somewhat annoyed with my fangirling about the entire thing and figured we should head on out.

Overall, if you have the opportunity to see this in Brussels before it’s done or another one that sets up in the near future, I would definitely recommend it. It was so much fun and just an awesome experience in general. In my next post, I will fill you in on what we did once we finished up at the expo.

Anyone out there visited this Expo or one like it? Or, how about the stuff they have in London and elsewhere?

17 Comments

  1. Bre

    It sounds like a smaller version of what is in London, and in London you can see the set pieces where they filmed everything. I think you and Jon would love a trip there.

  2. Brittany

    I’ve never read the books and only seen the first movie. I just couldn’t get on the bandwagon. Maybe I’ll try to read them. For now, Jon and I can be non-HP friends 🙂

    By the way, love reading about your adventures!

    • I’ll let him know. Haha. You should totally read them though! They are so freaking good! Of course, you have to enjoy fantasy to a certain extent…do it!

    • It was! I definitely plan to go to it or some other HP themed things if I get the opportunity. I think I’ll try for the London stuff next since it’s close.

    • It would be a great activity for kids! They had several interactive exhibits and other things that are so interesting! There were a ton of kids there when I visited.

  3. I was also just the right age when the books first came out. I reread the books and watch the movies ever couple of years! Looks like I would really enjoy going here!

  4. Cool experience, Maryanne! My husband and teenage son LOVE Harry Potter! They would love to attend an exhibition like this. And very cool that you are in Europe. I haven’t read your bio yet, but are you guys in the military? We just transitioned out of the Army.

    • It is so worth it! Go if you have the chance! And yes, my husband is active duty. Since we’re here, let’s make the most of it! Haha

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