Pop Culture

Immersive Yule Ball Experience at Paraiso Maravilla Is Like “Harry Potter Prom”

Snow from the ceiling, magic in your hearts
Snow from the ceiling, magic in your hearts Photo by Fever

Hogwarts students, young and old – press your finest dress robes and prepare to be whisked into a world of Harry Potter fun for the first ever immersive Yule Ball experience from Warner Bros. Discovery and Fever live-entertainment.

Running through the end of January at Houston’s Paraiso Maravilla on Fairdale Lane, Wizarding World super fans will have multiple chances per day to play part in this two-hour engagement full of food, shopping and dance-party fun.

Producer Kate Poueymirou explains the overview of what guests can expect for their ticket to enter. “So, right when you walk in you’ll be greeted by a very friendly staff and then you’ll have lots of photo opps,” she said. "Then you’ll walk out in this grand ballroom area, decked out in garland and lights and Christmas trees.  It’s very holiday, winter-wonderland.

"Then there is a marketplace, where guests can purchase Harry Potter items. There [will] also be small tasty bites and themed cocktails. Then there’s a dance party. Actors are there interacting with the guests and they learn how to do specific dances and then they do a dance battle. Lots and lots of fun activities through out this two-hour experience.”

With so much on the agenda, will guests be able to experience all there is in one bout? Poueymirou assures there will pockets of down time where guests can roam and plan at their leisure. “Guests can come in and simply watch from the sidelines, or they can participate or walk around or just enjoy the food and drinks or maybe do some window shopping or actual shopping. Or the entire time they can be interacting with the actors. There is a free roaming time which give people, if they want, the time to interact and be part of the experience for the full two hours, they’ll get about 20 minutes or so to walk around and take those photos, eat a couple bites, have a drink and be in the main ball room the entire time.”

While Houston (along with Mexico City, Milan and Montreal) was selected to host WBD’s first ever Yule Ball, the producer shares that Fever has found success with other Potter related magical gatherings. “Fever produces difference immersive experiences, and this is the first Yule Ball we’ve put together,” she explains. “We do work with Warner Brothers on other collaborations, there’s the Forbidden Forest, which is a great one and there’s Magic at Play, which are two other Harry Potter IPs that we’ve worked on which were also immersive experiences. All different, very much with their own uniqueness.”

click to enlarge
Get themed drinks and on-game snacks at Harry Potter: A Yule Ball Celebration
Photo by Fever

According to Kate, the specific venue of the Paraisso Maravilla was selected for a few different reasons. “It’s actually a venue they now use for weddings or photography, a lot of people actually use for quinceaneras. It’s got this beautiful Spanish architecture. It's not like you are just going into a black box, and we’re transforming it into a space. We’re really highlighting the beauty of these unique venues that have been chosen for this Yule Ball for this first year. Adding décor to it and adding the winter wonderland and Harry Potter IP pieces to it, but it really accentuated the beauty of the venue.”

For potential attendees, how you dress appears to be open to debate and might have an impact on how you spend your night. Poueymirou assures that they see all types of get-ups. “It’s a little bit of everything,” she said, laughing. “We have people coming literally in gowns, gowns they’ve sewed together themselves or added pieces to them. People have come as Harry Potter characters themselves, or their favorite house, coming in robes with their favorite house colors. So there isn’t a rule to the dress code, but we recommend people come and enjoy and have fun and dress up and look at it as a fun dance party, almost like a Harry Potter prom.”

And no prom is complete without music and dancing, so on this end, the Yule Ball promises to go all out. “We have music inspired by soundtrack, so there will be pieces from Harry Potter that will be played in the background. We also do have a dance party with kind of poppy music for people to dance to, like radio hits and stuff like that. Things people can dance to through out the dance party.”

While they are catering to all levels of fans, it sounds like the creators of this one-of-a-kind event are especially pleased when they are able to wow their Potter-head superfans. “Yes, we’ve had people come out and say they are going to come back and bring the rest of my family! We’ve actually had people go to multiple different Harry Potter pop up experiences and really express that this has been their favorite.”

Harry Potter: A Yule Ball Celebration runs now through January 20, at a various times including:  6 p.m. and 9 p.m. on most weekdays and 9:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on some weekends. Located at the Paraiso Maravilla at 5714 Fairdale Ln. For more information visit harrypotteryuleballcelebration.com/houston $40 - $104

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Vic covers the comedy scene, in Houston and beyond. When not writing articles, he's working on his scripts, editing a podcast, doing some funny make-em-ups or preaching the good word of supporting education in the arts.
Contact: Vic Shuttee