A Celebration of Harry Potter 2018 - Day 1
Updated: Feb 11, 2018
A nerdy and wonderful experience between friends, family, and of course, Harry Potter.
So I have never actually written a blog before. What better place for my audience to get to know me than my fresh new website, and with my recent adventure to Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the Celebration!
I've been to the celebration twice in the past. Generally it was a family endeavor where we examined all Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure had to offer. If any of you have gone to the Celebration of Harry Potter in the past, you know that spreading yourself out too thin by taking on too much to see will lead you to miss out on some amazing things that this event has to offer. Instead, this year, I decided to make the journey with just my mom with the plan of meeting some friends there, and do nothing but Potter.
“The stories we love best do live in us forever, so whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.” - J.K. Rowling
Landing at the airport was an adventure in itself. My very good friend, Peter, better known as @ThePotterCollector was to land just 10 minutes after us. So, we scooped up one of my favorite Slytherins and were on our way!
There wasn't too much planned for our first day at the celebration. Mom and I had premium packages to the event so we had a few things that were scheduled for us, but it wasn't so much that we were going to miss a lot of the other things going on around the parks. First step, breakfast at The Leaky Cauldron. Dressed in my Hufflepuff best, Peter and I set out a game plan for the day over a delicious American Breakfast paired with Pumpkin Juice (naturally). From breakfast, we did something that ended up being quite the failure. You see, I have never been chosen at Ollivander's for a wand. Sure, I have a wand that I claim chose me, but it is not the same as having that amazing glowing magical light with wind open up as THE wand falls into your hand. Peter and I went through Ollivander's twice. Shocker, I wasn't picked. The only sensible course after this would be to enjoy a pick-me-up, so we headed over to The Hopping Pot for a tasty beverage. Ever heard of Fishy Green Ale? Well, if you haven't, it is a hidden gem that is unfortunately overshadowed by its buttery counterpart. This intimidating beverage is a minty green color with matching taste, accompanied by blueberry bursting eggie things at the bottom that pop as they slide up your straw. It's delicious. While enjoying our tasty treats, we decided to just park ourselves on Diagon Alley, people watch, and do live videos on our Instagrams.
At this point, I felt the Hogwarts Express calling my name. It was time to take the journey through Platform 9 and 3/4 to get myself to Hogwarts! Once there, Peter, my mom, and I had to get ourselves into the castle. How could you not? After taking that first glance at this miraculous place, I could hear it like a voice in my head calling me home. The ride was amazing. It always is. It was absolutely magically done. It's one of those rides that I can't wait to be stuck on line to experience every inch of what it has to offer. Wands at the ready, we defeated acromantulas, dementors, and found ourselves in a Quidditch victory. What an amazing ride.
From there, mom and I had to separate from Peter for a bit. Part of the premium package that we held, we had access to a Q&A session with the film talent that were at the event. This year we got to meet James and Oliver Phelps (the Weasley Twins), Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley), Natalia Tena (Tonks), and Stan Yanevski (Viktor Krum). During the Q&A only select people in the audience get to ask questions. I was lucky this year and got picked, but much like my luck at Ollivander's, I ran out of time and didn't get to ask my question.
"If they were to remake the Harry Potter movies in another 20 years with the actors we know today, who would you want to play your character?"
I guess I will save it in my back pocket for next year. When the Q&A was over, we met back up with Peter, who had a mini adventure of his own while we were gone. This summer will mark the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for many countries around the world, including the United States! In celebration of this, Scholastic released news that the collection of Harry Potter books will be released with original illustrations by Brian Selznick. It just so happens that Brian Selznick was at the Celebration this year to announce this wonderful news. AND it also happens that Brian was in the park just at the right moment to crash into my friend Peter while my mom and I were at the Q&A!! Lucky for him, he got a picture and everything, and lucky for us, we discovered that he was going to be at the Expo on Saturday and Sunday doing signings!
After a delicious lunch of turkey legs at The Three Broomsticks, we decided to make our way back to Diagon Alley in order to be in time for the Opening Ceremony. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip. The emcee of the event introduces all of the talent that is going to be there for the weekend. All of the celebrities come out and say hello and discuss how they can't wait to see what sort of fun things will happen during the weekend. In addition, other sponsors of the event discuss what they have to offer, and give an overview of what they will be doing during the event. These included Mina Lima, representatives from Scholastic introducing Brian Selznick, Pottermore and the announcement of the Quidditch Through the Ages audiobook narrated by Andrew Lincoln, and the Orlando Philharmonic who played three pieces along with the corresponding Harry Potter movies. They were all absolutely phenomenal.
When the ceremony was over, the Harry Potter sections of the park were open to only those who were a part of the event. That meant that mom and I got to enjoy unlimited butterbeer, pumpkin juice, and gilly water, all sorts of delicious snacks, and experience the park with far less people that we normally would have! I am pretty sure I bought everything in the park. Come to mention it, I am currently writing all of this snuggled under my pink Pygmy Puff blanket with my pink Pygmy Puff slippers, leaning on my purple Pygmy Puff pillow! With all of the adventures that came along with Day 1, we dragged our sore little feet back to our hotel, eagerly awaiting the adventures that Day 2 would bring. Stay tuned!