April Meetup – Finite Incantatem!

Join us on Monday April 14th for some mini-golf, and to put a stop to an atmospheric charm gone wrong! The Weasley twins tested a new product called Weather in a Bottle and now this miniature golf course is stuck in between Winter and Summer. The only way to cast the Finite Incantatem counter-spell is to play through the course, battling an enchanted snowman, a hungry clam, snow banks, and sand traps. (Don’t worry – Santa’s house elves have left you clues at each hole on how to break the spell.)

This will qualify for the Physical Strength and Tactics portion of your Auror Training. The cost is $14 for 18 holes. Parking is free. Disney Cast Members and Annual Passholders receive 50% off for themselves and up to 3 others. Slug Club members who offer their discount will receive an additional 20 House Points!

RSVP: Facebook or Meetup

My New Favorite Color is Knight Bus Purple!

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The Knight Bus has arrived at Universal Studios! Can you see the two men working in the bus?

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And guess what? It has lights that turn on inside along with advertisements on the walls inside the bus.

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All Destinations, nothing underwater? Now that bothered my Slytherin counterpart since it can’t be all destinations if it doesn’t include underwater! But I still like it.

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I haven’t been there in a while so I was excited the windows were in place. Then I saw the signs (Charing Cross Rd, London Underground) as well as street lights and trees.

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Leicester Square Station

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Grimmauld Place sign!!

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Full view of the London storefront.

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And then to top off our night we got the see the Hogwarts Express in action! It pulled out of the station we waited about 8 minutes and came around again and then backed into the station again. Totally Awesome!!

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New WWoHP Merchandise Alert!

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Check out this sweet new Slytherin shirt on the market at Universal’s Islands of Adventure! We found this in the massive store up at the front of the park (to the left as you’re going in, to the right as you’re exiting) back in the Harry Potter section. It looks and feels super comfortable. I’ve seen similar designs on shirts on the Internet before, but can you really have too many house pride Quidditch shirts? I think not. (So yes, that’s my way of telling you that they have these available for every house – just in time to add to your summer wardrobe!)

Meetup: Lumos et Nox – March 30th at 4:00PM

You know what your home needs? Some Harry Potter themed light switch plates. You might not notice it yet, but now that we’ve put it out there, you’re going to think about it every time you switch a light off and on. Fix that easily by attending the Slug Club meetup on March 30th at Central Park in Winter Park! Wear comfortable clothes that you don’t mind messing up, because we’ll be sitting on the ground (unless you bring your own chair) and painting.

Materials fees are covered for this event, thanks to a generous donation by Claudia of Gryffindor! We will provide paint, traditional toggle size switch plates and brushes. If your plate switches at home are different than the traditional plates you can bring them with you to paint. http://www.homedepot.com/p/Lutron-Fassada-1-Gang-Toggle-Wall-Plate-White-FG-1B-WH/203782225?N=c6quZ1z0v9zg#.UtXU7P1Z6Yg

Please RSVP by Friday, 3/28/14, at 10:00PM so we can be sure to have enough supplies. We will bring newspaper to lay down to paint on but you may want to bring a chair or blanket to sit on and maybe even a hard surface or old magazine to paint on.

RSVP:    Facebook   /  Meetup

February Events

Valentine’s Celebration at Madam Puddifoot’s
February 10th at 7:00PM

Love is in the air! Join us at Madam Puddifoot’s tea shoppe to celebrate love in all its forms, including romantic love, platonic love, and our mutual love of Harry Potter!

This Valentine’s Day themed meetup will showcase our creative sides by making up silly pick up lines, writing perfected prose and poetry, and ‘chain writing’ where each participant has 2 minutes to write anything before passing it along to the next person. These musings will be used for our newsletter (with permission from the author, of course.) Attendees can also simply enjoy the charming atmosphere and share in our love for all things Potter.

RSVP: FB or Meetup

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Double Feature – Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets
February 22nd at 4PM

Join us for Movie Night in the Slytherin Common Room. We’ll be watching Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets. Guests who bring snacks and/or two liters of soda will receive extra house points. Seating is limited so some guests may be lounging on the floor.

Please be aware that the Slytherin Common Room contains both a dog and a cat. Please take your allergy meds ahead of time. The dog will stay out of the way for the event, but the cat has free roam and will expect love and attention.

RSVP: FB Only. (Location is Unplottable for safety purposes.)

Harry Potter Weekend

Submitted by Slug Club Ravenclaw Leashie Vee

My Kingdom Hearts ringtone sung out through the darkness like a special welcome to the new day. From under the many layers of blankets, I searched with my hand across the mattress for my phone to silence it. The cellphone’s cool surface brushed past my fingertips and groggily, I plucked it from the sheets and turned it off. “Six A.M,” the words expelled from me with a sigh. Today was the day I had been planning all week. I would sit in line for hours–in fact…the whole day if I had to just for the Harry Potter Tribute. Quickly I got out of the bed and into the cold thin air of my bedroom. I cursed under my breath at my roommate for not using the heater as I shuffled my way into the bathroom to get ready.

 I already had an idea of what to wear for this joyous day: my Ravenclaw t-shirt, black jeans and, of course, a sweater underneath my t-shirt. The weather forecast predicted a very cold day ahead of me. Nevertheless, I was prepared with a bag I packed the night before with a blanket and a sheet to sit on across the cold pavement. After getting ready for the day, I managed to convince my roommate to drop me off at Citywalk. So with my large bag, and after a quick stop at a gas station for snacks, i arrived in Citywalk. To me Citywalk and the Universal Studios in general didn’t astound me because I am use to seeing it every day. I worked at Universal Studios, so the excitement of rides didn’t thrill me…but the faces of both Weasley twins tickled my mind.

I arrived both breathless and sore from carrying that infernal heavy bag at the Universal Studios gates. It was now eight A.M. The park would be opening in about an hour and I wanted to be the first one in. There were very few people around in line. As I waited, my mind drifted back to Halloween Horror Nights. I remembered waiting under the Universal Studios arch for three hours in the sun just so I could be the very first one entering on the opening of Halloween Horror Nights. I also wanted to see the zombie actors viciously try to tear apart the front Universal gates with their grunts and clawing. It was worth it in the end with the video footage I had. Finally, we were let in. I darted to the music plaza stage and found it devoid of human life. There were just endless iron barricades. I wondered to myself if it was worth it to wait an entire day when no one was here. From the corner of my eye, I found a supervisor and quickly asked him where the best place to wait in line for the Harry Potter Tribute. I wanted the closest spot to the stage as possible.

Surprised and baffled, he pointed to an empty area by Rip Rocket and told me the Event team members would start loading from there. Instantly I thanked him and rushed over to claim my spot. But as I made my journey to the other side of the Music plaza, I noticed a mother and daughter aimlessly looking around with question in their eyes. I asked them if they were here for the Harry Potter Tribute, and they both admitted so in unison. Happily, I shared my secret and had them follow me. We arrived and made camp with blankets and conversations about each other. I discovered they were from South Carolina, and both were at the grand opening of Harry Potter’s Wizarding World. I didn’t work at Universal during the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter; I was actually back home in Palm Bay, Florida, looking for work. In fact, I didn’t even like Harry Potter back then. They both looked at me confused until I explained to them of my story.

I told them that over my childhood I had two very religious parents who viewed Harry Potter as the entertainment of the devil because it had witchcraft. I explained about the time at the library when I checked out Goblet of Fire and my parents instantly made me return it that same night. I even told them about how they confronted the school board over my reading list containing the Harry Potter series. I was soon brainwashed against the magical experience. My sisters both would buy the books and movies and sneak them into our house. They loved Harry Potter. But since my parents didn’t approve, I didn’t want to get involved at all. I sworn my life to despising Harry Potter because of my parents’ wishes. That was until my parents moved to Guatemala to be missionaries and left me to fend myself. I had just lost my job after their move, and I became homeless with poverty following so close behind. I have moved countless of times looking for work for almost two years until a friend invited me to move in with her in Orlando. I applied for work at Universal Studios and got the job. But it wasn’t until my coworker Kelsey invited me out to play in the parks when I was introduced to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The sight of the snow-covered buildings and the small little shops brought me into a magical realm I could only dream of. I was awestruck. It was the magic I needed to get out of the black hole I was in. I felt all of my worries and pain arise from me in surrender of the warm magic around me. I started to cry as I wandered throughout Hogsmeade to the large castle of Hogwarts ahead of me. That lit my obsession to know who this Harry Potter truly was. I rented every Harry Potter movie from the library and read the first book. I was hungry to know more as it numbed my pain.

They both smiled at me and told me it was an inspiring story. Jackie, a spunky woman with a cheerful disposition from Nova Scotia, Canada, soon joined us. She showed us her awesome Harry Potter tattoos. My favorite one was on her forearm; it read “Mudblood” like a cut etched into her skin. I recalled seeing this type of tattoo in the “Order of the Phoenix” movie from the evil quill Hogwarts’ students were made to use as a punishment. We all made camp together on our blankets, just chatting the morning away in the frigid cold air. Soon a few people from Brazil joined us who taught me some Portuguese phrases. One girl from Brazil became a close friend of mine for the day. Her name was Marcella. She was a Slytherin and wore a green Slytherin branded jacket and headband to prove it. She had the new bounded copy of “The Sorcerer’s Stone” in her hand. She told me about her country taxed everything unfairly and about how she purchased most of her Harry Potter merchandise from the United States so she could have them without high costs or the chance of it being stolen in the mail. I felt blessed at that moment to have lived in the United States without that type of problem.

By the end of the day around six, people gathered around us in small camps, but we kept our spot closest to the stage behind the Special Guest package area. I noticed around me that a lot of people had scarfs to represent their Hogwarts’ houses. I wanted one. I always knew that deep down I was a Ravenclaw even though I did not take the Pottermore test. I sacrificed some grocery money and bought one. I was one happy Ravenclaw to be able to represent with more than a t-shirt.

It was now time for the tribute, and we were excited as the lights lit up the stage. Jackie and I both had tweeted the Harry Potter celebrities throughout the day and requested a shout out for dedication. We both looked at each other with high hopes. The host welcomed Kazu Kibuishi, the creator of the new book covers of the Harry Potter series. I was astounded from his miraculous story about surviving his coma and leaning how to walk and draw again after. It was truly inspiring. Then just before my eyes, one after another a celebrity from Harry Potter graced the stage. Matthew Lewis, James and Oliver Phelps, Evanna Lynch, Devon Murray, and Mark Williams all took their seats in front of the audience. I could feel my heart racing in shock that the Weasley Twins were not even twenty feet away from me! They were interviewed by the host with a sea of questions that no one could resist laughing at when a witty answer was given. By the end of the tribute, the host shared with us the DiagonAlley blueprints and secrets. I was excited to see that the interior of the train would  look exact from the movie! In closing to the interviews, James Phelps called out to the crows “I just got a message on Twitter. I know there have been people here since 6 AM, and I wanted to thank you all for being supportive and coming out for us.” My heart stopped…James Phelps got our tweet and gave us a shout out. It was a moment of bliss for all of us as we cheered. The Harry Potter tribute came to an end but it began an amazing weekend ahead.

Although I had to work Saturday, I got the privilege to go with my coworkers Kelsey and Jackie to the Wand Combat show and the Harry Potter Expo, where we were joined by my coworker Evee and my roommate. After watching countless of robed Harry Potter fans swishing their wands in combat mode in sync to Paul Harris’s wand lessons, a friend that I met after the wand show was selected on stage with a handful of others to battle Mark Williams and Paul Harris. She was dressed as Bellatrix. Once the wand show was over, I darted to the stage with my poster in hand hoping Paul Harris would sign it. He was signing everything around him as fans hungrily pushed forth their items. But to my dismay even with my poster inches from his face, he didn’t sign it. My coworker Kelsey had her poster signed though, which was enough for me. I was happy for her. We made our way then to Three Broomsticks, where I met the girl dressed like Bellatrix. She had the most amazing story about how her boyfriend proposed to her during the Harry Potter weekend.

Overall, my Harry Potter weekend was filled with meeting new people and learning more about Harry Potter. I created a Pottermore account shortly after, and became a part of the Ravenclaw house. This weekend was what I needed to learn about how to live. Even though I didn’t meet any celebrities or had any special experiences onstage, I had my own special experience with meeting new and awesome people from all around the world who share the same inspiration of Harry Potter as I do.

A Celebration of Harry Potter

What a great weekend at the Potter Celebration at Universal Studios!

Group Shot at the Front Gate

One of my friends asked me what my favorite part of the event was, and I honestly don’t know.

    • Walking into the Starbucks where it was complete CHAOS because there were around 20 of us waiting at the front entrance
    • Our huge line of robed wizards navigating our way to the Expo
    • sdlfkjasd;lfjds DUELING. I missed the actual dueling class, but the mini class inside the expo was fantastic. It was a little section where they put two people in front of mirrors with the instructor (Paul Harris, combat choreographer from some of the movies!) giving instructions via pre-recorded video and a Universal team member helping out from behind.
    • We now have a Slug Club flag that is only one million times better than the flags carried by all of the tour groups visiting (and I must say, our coordinating outfits are cooler.)
    • Warm butterbeer! It’s been over a week and I still crave it. It has the same consistency as a good hot chocolate, but with a flavor similar to the butterbeer topping. It also includes that oh-so-tasty topping we all know and love, so the combination of warm butterbeer and cool topping is just perfect as you’re drinking it. THIS is what I pictured when reading the books!
    • The stars! …okay, so I missed out on each opportunity to see them, but I lived vicariously through everyone else’s stories.
    • WE WERE IN THE POTTERMORE INSIDER. That’s us, second picture down! If you scroll even further, you’ll see a few more members of the Slug Club sporadically throughout.
    • The group pictures! (We look gorgeous, if I do say so myself.)
      Group shot 1
    • The Muggle Wall – This was our opportunity to write down what the Harry Potter series means to us, and to read what other people had to say. Reading each entry was quite touching, with a number of people writing about how the series helped them through a rough time in their lives or how fandom helped them feel like they belong for the first time.
      Muggle Wall

This was also the weekend where we learned the value of a backup plan, as first the bingo game finished way quicker than I expected, as we had way more people than expected meeting and staying with us throughout the day. We also discovered that they closed off the back of The Three Broomsticks, also known as The Slug Club’s traditional meeting spot. We kept trying to go claim our tables at various points in the day only to find that they *moved the tables out* (apparently our traditional tables aren’t good enough for the stars, as fancy couches were moved in for them to sit on. Oh well, they provide us with an amazing weekend and some fun movies over the years, I guess we can give up our meeting spot. So instead we gathered in front of the Hog’s Head, a convenient location for us to go grab more butterbeer throughout the meeting, and headed up for one last ride on Forbidden Journey before the park closed for the evening.

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Thank you to everyone who joined us throughout the day, whether they be club members, organizers from other groups, new members, or even just random fans from around the world that we started conversations with over our mutual love of this amazing series.