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

Fantastic Beasts Trailer Breakdown

Fantastic Beasts Trailer: Things You Missed

With the excitement over the release of the new trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the Central Florida Slug Club had a discussion and dissection of the trailer on our Facebook page. We wanted to share with you some of the things we noticed. Most of the information below is just speculation and not information from any official sources.

1. Could this be Tina and Queenie’s apartment? We see them magically putting away dishes earlier in the preview. The amount of personal items on the bookshelf and night stand make it seem like a home rather than a hotel. We think Newt and Jacob are staying here.

Fantastic Beasts Trailer Breakdown

2. Notice the book Jacob is reading, “Cassandra and Her Cat Gustavus”. Diane Lewis pointed out the following: “We can further deduce that this is a book about magic since it is in the apartment of two witches. Cassandra in Greek mythology is a seer, cursed by Apollo that her prophecies would be true but no one would believe her. In the Harry Potter universe, Cassandra Trelawney is the great-great-grandmother of Sybil Trelawney, another prophetess no one believes. It is a safe bet that this book is about Cassandra, and apparently her cat Gustavus (although I can find no references to the cat either in mythology or the HP universe.) Do we see here another nod to a future Hogwarts professor?”

Fantastic Beasts Trailer Breakdown

3.Could this shot of Newt working be his office in his suitcase?! It is Newt’s first visit to New York so I can’t imagine he has a working office there. It looks like his, all Hufflepuff and cozy. His journal sitting in a pile of papers. Notice the steep set of steps at the bottom right to the left of Jacob. How cool is this suitcase! We can’t wait to see further into all the animal habitats.

Fantastic Beasts Trailer Breakdown

4. Could Newt be creating a potion to put in the meat to possibly knock out an escapee? Notice the two huge pieces of raw meat on the table in the previous shot, as well as what looks like Newt extracting juices from a plant in this shot. It looks like they are putting a plan into motion.

Fantastic Beasts Trailer Breakdown

5. Could a Demiguise be blasting through a political dinner for Shaw? The Demiguise is listed as peaceful but is also listed as M.O.M. Classification XXXX – Dangerous. After further research we found out according to Harry Potter Wiki Shaw is running for American Senator and this is a rally for his supporters. A fan video of Fantastic Beasts filming captured a group of muggles shouting “We want a second Salem” and holding signs saying “No witchcraft in America”. As well as Shaw candidate posters. Though this seems odd, why aren’t they just using a memory charm on these people to protect the Statute of Secrecy?   Is it possible that this isn’t a creature attack at all?

Fantastic Beasts Trailer Breakdown

6. Why are we seeing a creature that is not in the Fantastic Beasts book?  The group had some pretty strong feelings about the uncreativity of the name Swooping Evil. So why was the evil not in the book?  Maybe the textbook used in schools only has a portion of the creatures Newt has researched and found. Maybe it could only contains more common creatures. Probably not because the book has rare creatures like the Chimaera and Lethifold listed. Or could the Swooping Evil be extinct by the time he publishes the book? Though the Basilisk made it to the book and there was no known sighting for at least 400 years.  Either way, once the movie is released we can hope that a larger more detailed version of the textbook will be released with notes from Newt or even a version of his journal.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Trailer Breakdown

7. What is the Name of the New York Wizarding Newspaper? We took some guesses at the newspapers name only to find out later that MinaLima hashtagged on their Instagram #TheNewYorkGhost. We have an official name!!

Fantastic Beasts Trailer Breakdown

All of the above was created by the members of the Central Florida Slug Club in a joint discussion. Thanks to Diane for the great stills of the preview and pointing out a large portion of the topics discussed above.

Let us know in the comments below what else you noticed! If you live in Central Florida or visit often feel free to join our Facebook group to join in on the discussions.

Melissa P.

King’s Cross Experience

Written by Mark Eaimsirakul, Slug Club Slytherin

Where to start about King Cross here in London… Well, many of you may know that I am a graduate of Hogwarts and now working for the famous muggle, Frank Kincaid, but I still visit time to time to teach first years a special lesson on the History of Hogwarts. To begin, you must have a ticket (Park to Park ticket or annual pass) to even enter Kings Cross station. You can upgrade your ticket to the right of the entrance if you do not have the correct ticket. A Porter will greet you and help you into the appropriate queue after your ticket has been checked. The first part of the queue is a long stretch area with posters about London. One of the poster is for Divine Magic perfume. I remember being told that Harry Potter and Professor Dumbledore stood in front of that poster once… (but it can all be just a rumor). Further up in the queue is a grab and go stand for Muggles to grab something to eat on the train. This is also the area where your luggage is kept prior to departure.

You will soon approach a staircase that will lead you to the various platforms (just ask a Porter if you need the lift). The platform is somewhat dim and loud with the sounds of trains. Now here is the tricky part: you need to to go on platform 9 3/4 but you don’t see it right? just walk through the pillar thats marked “platform 9” to get there. I suggest running into it of its your first time. Once you walk into it you will arrive to platform 9 3/4. The first thing you will see is the Hogwarts express greeting young witches and wizards on there journey. A student left some of his luggage and pet owl in the area you wait for a station master assign you a cabin.

You are able to board the Hogwarts Express once you receive a cabin assignment. Each cabin can hold up to 8. Once seated, your journey to Hogsmeade will begin with a beautiful view of London. Through the frosted glass you can see students walking around to find a cabin to sit in. Once you leave the city and enter the countryside you will pass Malfoy Manor. NOW BE CAREFUL! Dementors may try to enter your cabin so have your wand at the ready! Once you pass the countryside you will arrive to the black lake and dark forest with a great view of Hogwarts Castle. At this point its only moments till you arrive to Hogmeade Station.

Its a magical journey and I heard that Muggles are able to visit platform 9 3/4! Please come visit King Cross and the magical Hogwarts Express. Maybe you may run into me there 😉

The Walls Came Down!

Rumor was that the walls were coming down Sunday night and they were correct!

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You can see in the store windows and into Kings Cross and what looked like a lot of railings to wait in line! All the staff standing outside were very nice and offered to take pictures.

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There is a space to stand in the bus to take pictures!! It is blocked so you can’t actually walk in but it is still a nice plus!

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Not sure if the benches around the fountain are a great idea, may block people trying to get photos.

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Grimmauld Place, the fencing around the porch is brown and rusted looking so it stands out from the others! If I remember correctly the doors had different knockers. Kreacher also pokes his head out of the window.

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Is that a brick wall, as in THE brick wall into Diagon Alley lit up by sunlight?! I don’t know for sure but I think so!

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Over at Hogsmeade the walls are also down!

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Is that a school carriage? I think it is!

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This was the window that was wrapped up last week, I honestly can’t notice the changes off of memory alone. The only thing that stuck out was that it used to have labels saying what the plant was and I didn’t see those. Comment if you know what has changed.

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This is the window that is wrapped up this week! I think Lockhart is getting a makeover!

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Sherman Lemon the snowman moved again! I got an update from our HoH today that said she saw the snowman moving! Doing cute figure eights and twirling!! Our prediction was correct, wahoo!

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I also found out today that the dragon is unwrapped and saw a picture on twitter of it breathing fire. There are lots of rumors going around that they will announce the opening date during the media event. There are also rumors of the park actually opening on the 20th the last day of the media event. But I also heard rumors of the 21st as well so we will have to wait and see. Either way, if you have a annual pass get to the parks soft openings and actual openings could happen any time!

 

 

Is It Done Yet?!

Not much to update about this week. They have put up the second dragon wing but it’s to far to get a good picture of. There are lots online. The scaffolding and netting is still up. Hopefully they will take that down this week. Here are a couple shots.

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A ladder lol!

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The wall is out so far on this side we assume they are either working on the stone wall in front of the trees or the flooring?

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The wall in between the building and the trees now has bricks on it , before it was just cement.

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Sorry, we didn’t have time to go to Hogsmeade but I will get you an update next weekend and as soon as there is a soft opening!!

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Don’t Stop Believin’!

So my weekday night time visit started out great when I headed to Hogsmeade and peeked around the space in the wall and saw that there were people in costume back there! Plus there were some polo shirt and dress pants wearing types that were coming out of the temporary worker door at the entrance to Hogsmeade.

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So I decided to stay out there and watch the activity going on since I was a lonely girl waiting for my theme park partner to get through rush hour traffic. Then someone left the door open for a full minute!! Of course people flocked and we saw a large crowd of people heading into or out of the station! We would have taken a midnight train going anywhere but alas we saw no muggles getting pulled into the station. We decided that they all looked young and maybe were just trainees?

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I got a shot to the right but it was just trees : (. Here is one you can see the uniforms a little better. I also noticed looking through this opening that there is a glass window to the left that says tickets. We headed to the Dragon Challenge and were able to see the train in the station with people waiting to board the train! It was so good and there was no wait so we decided to go just one more time.

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Inside Hogsmeade, the fireworks window I told you that was moving last time was not moving this time so maybe they were just testing it out to work out bugs for the interactive rfid wands. What? Don’t believe that they are getting the windows ready for the interactive experiences? Check out the cauldron below, it was moving! It leaned forward to show a pixie inside. I also think they may add a little water to this as you can see a spout under the pixie on top. Maybe they were doing another test day to make sure it works okay for a length of time?

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Still don’t believe me?! Well this window is all covered up which may mean they are redoing it to make it interactive!

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And guess what? Sherman Lemon the snowman was back in his original position! Maybe other items will move too, that tower of tea cups and spoons that stir? Hey that plate is no longer on the chair! I wonder how long that has been gone I just noticed it. And is it just me or is the spoon inside the creamer dish standing straight up? It used to lean against it and there used to be a sugar dish with two spoons to the right of it but I don’t see it in this picture, but maybe it is just the angle?

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We headed over to Diagon Alley and in perfect time to see the train backing into the station! It was so awesome seeing the London facade at night! The clock had a glow to it and we were really excited to see the King’s Cross sign lit up!

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There were so many lights, you could see all the details in the window so much better.

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Street lights by the water were not on and either were the lights inside the Knight bus.

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The fountain was running! And I heard again that Kreacher was in the window, but I didn’t see him. We also thought we heard Potter music while we were there. We have a friend that took video while standing on a bench and all of the construction equipment was gone, so that is a good sign completion wise!

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I definitely suggest going at night for everyone that wants a thrill before Diagon Alley opens. There were no lines especially an hour before the park closes and plus the sun is not out so that is always a positive in Florida during summer! Sorry I was using my phone as a camera : (

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First’-years! First’-years over here!

Okay so while you won’t be able to have Hagrid take you on a boat to get your first glimpse of Hogwarts (they are totally missing the boat on that ride, by the way, I mean why not!) you can walk through Hogsmeade station into Hogsmeade!

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So they took down the walls across from Hogsmeade Station and pushed back the wall in front of it to reveal the trees and some stone work. There is a gap in the temporary wall and the trees where I got this photo! Looks like they have the fencing to put up still.

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They even took the wall down in the back area where I sneak and climb to get photos!

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I love the new sign out front of the station. And there is a fire hydrant?

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Over on the Diagon Alley side, there was not to much new stuff this weekend. Well, the Dragon of course but I don’t have a good enough camera to get a photo at that distance. You can see it from the Transformers area and Central Park. It is partially covered but I saw on Twitter they added the wings this morning. They are running the train with steam and whistle and everything!

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Looks like they are adding a layer of paint to the wall to age it and I saw they have most of the lighting done so I am going to try and go over there at night next time to get photos of that.

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They also added benches to the front of the fence now all they need to do is take it down!!!Image

I don’t think the King’s Cross sign was on the metal overhang before but can’t remember for sure lol.

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Are you ready? I know I am!

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No really, why isn’t this a ride!!!! Are they that dumb, do they not know us fans at all!

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Diagon Alley Lion Heads

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Went to Universal on Sunday and they are adding a lot of finishing touches and details! They put up the lions on the outlying wall and are starting to paint them.

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But I can’t figure out why they didn’t paint them and then hang them? I was curious how they would paint the ones over the water and saw on Twitter they are using a boat and the painter has to wear a life vest. That doesn’t sound like fun!

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They added details in the windows like stacked books and lamps. They also added the clock in King’s Cross!

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They pushed back the wall again, which is exciting!  They added steps in some places and raised the temporary fence so we can’t jump up to take pics anymore.

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You can also tell that were they pushed the fence back is where this new permanent fencing was put up, so basically they could take down the temporary fence anytime and still block off the area.

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The lights went up on the columns and I think all the lights were on in the London facade area.

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The sign is up!!!

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Well, this is my usual spot to see the Hogsmeade Station progress but it looks like they added a fence and lots of trees. But it’s okay because that means they are almost done!!

I will probably skip going next weekend as it will be a holiday and don’t want to deal with the crowds!

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