Going Home, 2018

Written By: Jennifer L. Weber

Photos By: Maggie Wang & Melissa P.

Sept 1st, 2018

Back to school is a rush of buying supplies, getting uniforms in check, and making sure that you bought the correct copy of Advanced Potions. (The old editions are numbered differently and may have a wonky spell or two in them.) Once your supplies are all in check, you get the distinct joy of running trolley-first into a wall and to be greeted on the other side by the sight of friends, new and old, and a magnificent scarlet train with golden letters spelling Hogwarts Express.

Central Florida Slug Club Sept 1st 2018

That’s right, September 1st was the official back to school day for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. And leading the pack onto platform 9 ¾’s was none other than the best of the best, The Central Florida Slug Club!

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With robes, wands, and flags at the ready, members of the Slug Club (dressed as Students and Professors) flooded Kings Cross station at Universal Studios Orlando and boarded the train to go home to Hogwarts. All could be heard joyously singing the Hogwarts school song while taking time to pose for all the first year photographs and emotional reunions of friends and housemates. Along the way prefects, head boys and girls, and professors picked up new students and after a brief chat concluded that the Slug Club was the place for them.

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Wandering the line you could see delightful Dumbledores, elegant McGonagalls, and sneering Umbridges, all a testament to the talent and dedication of Central Florida’s largest Harry Potter Fan Club. Special thanks to the coordinators of this extraordinary event! Thank you for helping us all return home to Hogwarts for another exciting year. I look forward to seeing everyone again at Dressed to the 9 ¾’s in November!

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September 1, 2018: A Journey Back to School

By Alexis Peralta

Central Florida Slug Club All Aboard the Hogwarts Express Event

Going back to Hogwarts is always an exciting time, but this year Kings Cross was really a sight to see! I’m amazed the wizarding world didn’t end up in the muggle papers because we were coming in droves all dressed up and ready for the train! Usually students dress in civvies and wait to robe right before arriving at Hogwarts, but today was a special celebration.

For such an occasion, professors from years past were in attendance; including Gilderoy Lockhart, Mad-Eye Moody, and even to most students and staffs disgruntlement, Dolores Umbridge. Of course Dumbledore came to show his support, he even magically seemed to be in different robes throughout the morning, changing as fast as you could spot him. Gryffindors, who always need their ego stroked, had ample support from their Head of House Professor McGonagall and even the Fat Lady was seen strolling through portraits nearby. Rita Skeeter was present, of course, to report on the possible break of The International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy (she let me borrow her Quick-Quotes Quill for this article though!).

Central Florida Slug Club All Aboard the Hogwarts Express Event

Houses took group pictures before boarding the train, and I have NEVER seen so many students entering Kings Cross at the same time! There were at least 44 Gryffindor, 38 Hufflepuff, 49 Ravenclaw, and 46 Slytherin (plus 2 because of course Logan and I missed the picture off dueling in Diagon Alley-don’t tell Snape). Finally, after class pictures, the floating yellow flag beacon was raised and we all followed it drifting into the station. The muggle attendants were definitely surprised by the group entering all together (looking quite mad I bet), but they smiled, let us scan our ticket, and we passed through.

I love King’s Cross. There is always this beauty in the rush of the travelers, the excitement of the students walking by, the old brick on the wall that’s seen so many wizards and muggles alike rush past. Nearing platform 9 ¾ you could feel the heightened anxiety of first years! It was so funny watching two of them in front of us run head first into the column! Way to not bring attention to yourselves first-years, scoff. Logan and I casually leaned against and fell through effortlessly, emerging on the other side where we truly belong!

Central Florida Slug Club All Aboard the Hogwarts Express Meetup

It was a spectacular view! Hundreds of students, parents, and professors all in queue for the train. For the event, the trolley lady made a special appearance and was already on the platform offering sweets and treats before the train arrived (I waited until on board to honor tradition and get my favorite, a Pumpkin Pasty!) Eleven O’clock came nearer and we all hurried to our positions to load up. Then we could see it rolling in, the Hogwarts Express, it always takes my breath away. Call me a sap but I always get goosebumps when I see it coming, knowing that it brings the joy of another school year.

We got on the train, found a compartment that only had 4 other people in it (lucky!) and settled in for the ride. Something was truly extra special this year, the camaraderie seemed so genuine and everyone was happy to be returning to their second home: Hogwarts.

Central Florida Slug Club All Aboard the Hogwarts Express Meetup

By Alexis Peralta