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Tips & Tricks for Universal Orlando’s A Celebration of Harry Potter

It’s January, and you know what that means!? The fourth annual A Celebration of Harry Potter (aCoHP) is just around the corner! So pack your bags, clean your robes, plan your cosplays, and make sure your trunks are Niffler free because aCoHP starts on Friday, January 27.

After four years of celebrating Harry Potter, we cannot wait to see what Universal Orlando and Warner Brothers have in store for this year’s event. While we wait patiently, why not share some tips with some new members of the Central Florida Slug Club.

  1. Get there early on Friday. If you don’t happen to work on Friday or just so happen to get off early, I highly suggest getting to Universal Orlando as soon as the park opens.
  2. Go to the Expo first. Although the Harry Potter™ Expo is open all weekend for the Celebration, I recommend going there first to do everything it has to offer. Saturday and Sunday are the busiest days for the Expo. Plus, you’ll really want to see the panels those days.
  3. Stop by MinaLima. In the Harry Potter™ Expo, you’ll find a bunch of fantastic things to see at the MinaLima booth. From creating The Quibbler to The New York Ghost, MinaLima helped make the wizarding world a reality with their graphic design skills and visual graphic style. Niky Sama suggested getting their “collectible pin as soon as possible.” It’s cute and free! Plus, Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima are an absolute pleasure to meet.
  4. If you want it, buy it. If you see something in the Expo you really like, buy it. They could run out of that very same item the second you walk away. Especially, the special event items. So don’t hesitate. I know from first-hand experience. I waited too long to buy a keychain one year and it sold out.
  5. Buy a portable charger. You’ll thank me for this. Trust me. I bought a charger from amazon for $20. It was the best idea I ever had. You just have to remember to charge it every night! Bryanna Plantier gave this very same advice. She said, “A good one is better, but a $4 stick will work too! It [The Celebration of Harry Potter] can have long days.”
  6. You don’t have to buy a package. You can buy a day pass or use your annual pass to do everything. You name it, panels, discussions, etc. A Slug Club member said, “If you live locally, don’t have to get the package. You get to do the same thing without it.” However, this year I’ll be a package holder.
  7. Get in line 30 minutes early. Now if you were to ask Universal Orlando (UO) Team Members, they’d tell you not to get in line early. I’ll say that I’ve gotten to the line 30 minutes before and seen a small line. I find getting in line 30 minutes before beneficial, and I’ve gotten to see all the panels. *Warning* If a UO team member tells you not to start a line, don’t start a line. Remember to be respectful.
  8. Plan what you want to do to before the celebration starts. Know what you’re dying to see after they release the schedule. It saves time, and you can plan how you’re going to get there. Last year, Universal used two stages, the Music Plaza Stage and the Toon Lagoon Amphitheater.
  9. Remember to have fun. Be silly, dress in your school robes, show your house pride or cosplay. I asked Meg Stump what her favorite part of the aCoHP is. She replied, “The fans. Easily. No one judges you because you’re all doing the same ridiculous things.” Stump also added she “had the most fun with friends she’d met through the Slug Club or through Potter Watch.” So just remember to be yourself and have fun during this year’s A Celebration of Harry Potter!

Bonus Tip: Turn on Tweet and Facebook notifications for Universal Orlando. You never know what magically things can happen during the celebration.

 

For more information regarding A Celebration of Harry Potter, feel free to visit Universal Orlando Resort’s official website.

 

A Celebration of Harry Potter over the years:

 

Johnny Depp in deep controversy

**The following is an individual opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the opinion or stance of the Central Florida Slug Club as an organization**

 

In the beginning of November, the Harry Potter fandom was rocked with news that Johnny Depp had been cast to play a co-starring role in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, which is slated to include five movies. It has seemingly divided us once again, as many fans are hesitant to support an actor with a shaky-at-best personal life. Johnny Depp faced domestic abuse charges when his now ex-wife, Amber Heard, filed for divorce back in May 2016.

These abuse charges were accompanied by disturbing photos of Heard’s bruised face and allegations of long-term physical and emotional abuse. The case was eventually settled outside of court for a cool $7 million. Amber Heard donated this money to several charities.

Those are the facts.

It is completely abhorrent that a movie franchise that stems from Harry Potter would allow an alleged wife beater to have a starring role. It goes against everything that the Harry Potter universe stands for. Harry Potter himself was emotionally abused by his aunt and uncle for years. We see Hermione stand up against what she believes is abuse of House Elves. Good overcomes evil: that is the main theme of Harry Potter. Many fans used Harry Potter as a means to cope with their own personal experiences with abuse, how must they be feeling to see an accused abuser on the big screen in front of them? This sends a message to new fans as well—it’s okay to be accused of beating women, here’s a leading role in a blockbuster movie series.

Many fans have rushed to Johnny Depp’s defense, attempting to separate Johnny Depp the actor from Johnny Depp the person. You cannot appreciate his art without supporting him as a person. In the end, you are helping cut his million dollar paycheck, and essentially giving him a free pass on actions that he should be held accountable for. Johnny Depp the actor and Johnny Depp the person are the same, and trying to separate them is a feeble attempt to quell someone’s own apathy for the situation. Informed silence is a luxury that not all people can stomach.

There are also fans who go a step further, by trying to break down Amber Heard’s accusations. Some insist that Heard photoshopped the bruises underneath her eye so that she could get a big pay out from Depp in the divorce process. This kind of mentality is exactly why abused women don’t come forward with charges in the first place. The skepticism that Heard faces in a jury of social media warriors feeds into America’s rape culture and victim blaming. “No one really knows what happened”—“No one was there to witness it so we really don’t know”—this is the rhetoric that is so dangerous to our society. Women cannot be painted as people who lie and exaggerate just to get what they want. Women deserve respect, not suspicion, especially in the matters of physical and emotional abuse.

For a movie franchise that has just begun, this latest development seems to be the last nail in the coffin for some fans. Johnny Depp hit his wife, and fans made a decision not to watch movies starring him, which is why it’s so upsetting to see his name attached to Fantastic Beasts. I’m here to tell you that your outrage over this is justified. I feel it too. We don’t have to put on a smile and ignore something that makes us uncomfortable. It’s important to get this conversation happening, to speak up. Not everyone has that privilege.

First Post

Hello, and welcome to the brand new blog of the Central Florida Slug Club. Entries will be posted by the 4 HoH’s along with myself, the Ravenclaw prefect. I also edit the newsletter.

We will mostly be posting about meet-ups, sharing fun photos and links, and using this as an additional social media outlet to gain more converts, er, I mean, members.

Stay tuned!