I bought tickets to the new 'Harry Potter' play but the process was insanely stressful

J.K. Rowling is co-writing an eighth part to the “Harry Potter” series — but it won’t be a book. Instead, fans have to travel to London in 2016 to see the play, titled “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” If the chosen medium wasn’t exclusive enough, purchasing tickets to the production has proven to be a convoluted process, leaving some fans in the dust. 

Special priority tickets for the play went on sale Wednesday, October 28. General tickets go on sale Friday. The exact quantities available is unknown.

However, not just anyone could buy them. You had to go through a number of pre-registration steps beforehand in order to secure your tickets to the anticipated event. 

Here’s what it took to get your hands on tickets.

Step one: Register to be a priority subscriber.

The play’s website and early press releases indicated people could add themselves to a “priority subscriber list” for the “first opportunity to book” tickets. Registration for this list ended at 11:45 p.m. BST (British Standard Time) on October 24. 

Step two: Register for an account with the official ticketing partner, Nimax Theatres.

This is where the process got tricky. On October 25, priority subscribers received an email which contained a message instructing fans of the next steps to take toward purchasing play tickets.

Here’s how the email looked:

Two pieces of critical information were tucked into this email. First, tickets would be on sale at 11 a.m. GMT on October 28. Second, if you wanted to buy tickets, you only had 48 hours to create an account with Nimax Theatres, the play’s official ticketing partner.

Within that 48-hour window, a follow-up email was sent reminding fans to register: 

At 10:45 a.m. GMT on Wednesday 28 October you will receive an email giving you a link to access Priority Booking where you will need to enter the email address and password for your NIMAX THEATRES account to purchase tickets. You will only be able to book if you have created your account with NIMAX THEATRES by 1pm GMT on Tuesday 27 October.

After registering with Nimax, there was no email confirmation. There was a browser window telling you registration worked, and a message stating a “private booking link” would be sent Wednesday morning.

I read the message carefully, and set an alarm for 6:00 a.m. ET in order to coordinate with the 11:00 a.m. GMT ticket release.

We’re only halfway through the process.

Step three: Gather information on how ticketing will work

The website provides a handy (though complex) infographic for buying tickets. This may come as a surprise to some fans, but the play is being produced in two parts. Not two acts  —  two separate parts. As a result, fans must purchase two tickets to two different shows. 

Ticketing infographic Harry Potter PlayHarryPotterthePlay.comThis flow chart explains the complex two-part system for tickets.

There is also a performance schedule available. Ticket prices ranged from £10 to £130 (about $US15 to $US200) depending on best available seating.

Step four: Enter the online queue to purchase tickets at 11:00 a.m. GMT

I woke up early, and hopped on Twitter while I waited for my email notification. Fans were already on Twitter complaining about the lack of email confirmation or instructions about where to buy tickets. Some probably didn’t notice the fine print in the email from Step 2 that said a private booking link would be sent at 10:45 a.m GMT.

Others were ready and raring to go.

At 10:37 a.m. GMT (eight minutes early) — the email arrived in my inbox.

Here’s what I saw:

I clicked “Book Now” and was promptly taken to a new browser tab. The window showed a countdown.

HPP countdown browserHarryPotterthePlay.comThe pre-queue page told me I’d be randomly assigned a spot in the real queue at 11:00 a.m. sharp.

A pre-queue! The line for the line. While I waited, I checked Twitter to see if others had also recieved their emails early. Though some reported being in queue, too, I noticed a lot of panicked tweets from fans unable to locate an email.

Ten minutes leading up to the sale, twitter exploded with fans unable to find their emails. The official “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” Twitter account was trying to do damage control.

Since I was already in the pre-queue, I had nothing to worry about. Right? 

Step five: Enter the actual queue to purchase tickets.

The timer ticked down to zero, and my browser automatically refreshed. I was now in the official queue. With 11,834 users ahead of me. The timer showed 11:00:07 a.m GMT. 

HPP ticketsHarryPotterthePlay.comThe page said I was officially in queue for tickets, and once it was my turn I would have 14 minutes to purchase a maximum of 6 tickets.

I wasn’t the only one shocked by the large volume of people ahead of me.

Step six: The waiting game.

There was no announcement of how many tickets would be sold. Fans only knew each person would be able to buy up to six at a time in a 14-minute window.

I decided to wait it out and see what would happen. 

Others were lucky, and had their tickets purchased within fifteen minutes.

But reports of site bugs began cropping up on Twitter. It seems as though the site was kicking users off, and forcing them to get back in line.

I nervously waited. One hour later, my progress bar was halfway loaded. The site updated, letting me know there was “good availability.”

Step seven: Buying tickets!

Nearly two hours after receiving the initial booking email, it was finally my turn to buy tickets.

I was in. I scrolled through the calendar, and selected the first consecutive tickets I could find. After entering in payment information, I was brought to this happy sight:

HPP ticketsHarryPotterthePlay.comTickets secured!

Despite being 11,000th in line, I was able to get tickets for parts one and two in June — the debut month of the show. And as of 7:30 p.m. GMT, there are still tickets available to priority subscribers for the months of October through January 2017.

Harry Potter fans who weren’t in the priority group will have to wait until October 30 for the public ticket release. The site also promises a daily ticket lottery will allow a luck few to get same-day seats, details forthcoming. 

Either way, it was an exciting (if stressful) morning for the Harry Potter fandom.

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