RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) -- Thousands of Harry Potter fans flocked to Raleigh for Wizard & Wand: The Great Harry Potter Festival on Saturday, but several people are complaining that lines were too long and that they didn't get what they paid for.
More than 3,000 people attended the event to witness 16 venues in Raleigh transform into Hogwarts. Dozens of attendees have reached out to me with complaints of extremely long lines and hour-long waits to get their tickets and into each bar. Many also shared their frustrations that their tickets did not include everything that had been advertised.
Tickets, which ranged in price from $15-$40 when first sold in November, were supposed to include some items like:
While it stated that these items were included in the purchase of a ticket, I've heard from many viewers that this is not what they received.
Diego Cancel and Tiffany Moore bought tickets to what was first advertised as a Harry Potter Bar Crawl but then became the Wizard & Wand: The Great Harry Potter Festival.
"The line wrapped around two blocks," Cancel said. "It was insane and we got there early and we still waited an hour, and once inside at any bar, it was 20 to 30 minutes."
Moore added, "We spent more time in line than we were actually at an actual bar, I personally think they oversold the tickets."
Cancel and Moore say they were frustrated not getting the Hogwarts scarf.
"When we first bought our tickets, it said you would get a Hogwarts scarf. I'm assuming it would be handed out to you when you did the Sorting Hat so you could find out what house you were in, but I went to every venue and there was no scarf to be found," Moore said.
She said she eventually learned she would not be getting a scarf.
"On the website, there was no mention of the scarf being taken down, it was just taken down and they edited the website like it didn't happen," Moore said.
Moore and Cancel weren't the only ones upset with their experience.
Bailey Bond, another attendee, shared that the "swag" she received was far from what was advertised.
"The swag that was supposed to be included with the ticket was replaced with a wand, which was a chopstick dipped in wax, a small plastic cup instead of a Cauldron Crawler Cup, a welcome shot that was a juice of some sort, and a Butterbeer sample," Bond said.
Many people took to social media to share their negative experiences. However, many claimed that the Wizard & Wand Facebook page was deleting negative reviews or responding rather curtly to complaints.
"It was like they gave the Facebook to a child. They responded so immaturely and so unprofessionally," Cancel shared in regard to what transpired on Facebook.
To learn more about the situation I reached out to Zack Medford, the event organizer.
Medford said he was pleased with the success of the Festival but understands there is room for improvements.
"We had a scarf vendor that fell through and could not deliver the product in time within two weeks of us having the event live," he said. "We pulled the description of the scarf off and tickets were deeply discounted at that time as they were only $15, and we also made sure everyone knew there were not going to be scarves."
While many viewers also complained about the wands, Medford stated, "As far as the wands go that wasn't even listed. My wife and I spent countless nights making wands, hand-dipping them."
To make up for the fact that they would no longer be offering scarves, he said they added things like a magician who would perform for the people waiting in line, the Great Raleigh Trolley which took people from bar to bar, and they even found a Harry Potter-themed band.
In regard to the Facebook comments, Medford shared that a rogue employee took over the Wizard & Wand Facebook page and had been replying to all the negative reviews.
"My biggest regret was we did have a rogue employee who worked his tail off, he had been working since Friday through the night getting everything set up, and when he received some of the complaints, he took it upon himself to respond," said Medford.
Overall, he said that he wants to hear these complaints and get feedback on the event.
"We want to make it better every single year; we don't want anyone to complain. We want to find what the problem was, we want to fix it, and get them through the lines quicker. We want to deliver everything we promise," Medford stated.
Medford said there are already plans to have the event again next year in Raleigh, and he will take all that he learned from this event to make it bigger and better.