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Last week, on Monday morning, I woke up annoyed. Not for any particular reason other than the fact that it was Monday, 7:30 in the morning and I had to drag myself out of bed, out of the house and down to work; when all I wanted to be doing was lying in bed all
day. Don’t get me wrong—I love my job. But I would love it more if the day began at, say, noon. In fact, on weekends, I’m normally in bed until 11:00am (give or take an hour). So there I was, scrolling through Instagram, eating breakfast and getting into the work mindset. And then I saw it. An actor I follow—who was a part of the Harry Potter movies (my FAVORITE movie series)—posted co-stars. Now I know what you may be thinking. “So what?” Well, when you are as big a fan of Harry Potter as I am, these cast reunions are a big deal. Maybe it’s just me, but knowing that the cast are still close friends seven years after the completion of the films is a really great feeling. It shows that there was nothing fake about the friendships and closeness fans saw, between the cast, over the ten years that the movies were being released. And being such a huge fan of the series—I can’t even put into words how big of a fan I am—this picture put me in such a good mood. But this week’s tidbits isn’t to talk to you about an Instagram photo. I was just using this photo as a lead in. In last week’s issue I talked about Disney World and ended the article by briefly mentioning the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter. The WWOHP is a theme area located in two different Florida parks—Universal’s Islands Of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida. At the theme parks, the world of Harry Potter comes to life. You can visit the shops that were included in the movies, drink the famed Butterbeer from the movies, take a journey on the Hogwarts Express, through the Gringotts Bank, around the Hogwarts grounds, visit two well-known Harry Potter villages and much more.
With rides for people of all ages, it’s definitely a must visit for any Potter fan. When I visited the park in 2012, only the Islands of Adventure section was open. And boy was it packed! My family and I arrived at the park about 30 minutes before it opened, so we were right at the front when they let everyone in. We ran to the most popular ride—Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey—and there was already a two hour wait. But it was well worth the wait, because the ride was incredible! There was a hologram of the three main cast members “speaking” to riders while we were in line and then the ride itself was a motion dark ride which takes riders through the ground of Hogwarts. Throughout
the ride, you are met by various Potter related creatures and characters making it a dream of a ride for fans like myself. We spent the entire day at the park, visiting the shops and going on the rides, and then we came back the next day to go on our favorite rides one more time. Plus, we couldn’t leave the parks without getting a souvenir—so my sister got a t-shirt and I got a sweater. But then, a few years after our visit, I found out that the WWOHP had expanded and now had new attractions at Universal Studios Florida. And, by way of a park-to-park ticket, people can visit both sides of the WWOHP on one ticket. I haven’t had a chance to go back to Florida since that new side opened but believe me, it’s on my list. However, before that, I get to go somewhere so much cooler than WWOHP. This summer, when I go to London for
my cousin’s wedding, I get to visit the Leavesden Studios; which is where the Harry Potter movies were filmed for ten years. Yes, you read that correctly. I get to visit the actual sets of my favorite film series; the series I followed for ten years, the series that introduced me to many of my favorite actors and actresses (who I am still a fan of today) and the series with films I still watch today. And at the studios, not only will I get to see the places that brought the wizarding world to life, I actually get to see some of the costumes and props that were used in the films. There are no replicas, it’s the real thing. Some of the things I’ll get to see during my visit? The Great Hall where the students ate their meals, the dorm room where the main characters lived during the school year, a model of the Hogwarts Castle, and more. I’ll also get to
“ride a broomstick”, learn about how the various Potter creatures were brought to life, see the wands used by the characters and have my own wand choose me (because, as Potter fans know, “the wand chooses you”). I’ll also get to visit Diagon Alley—which is where the characters would purchase their school supplies, Privet Drive—where Harry lived with his non-wizard relatives, the Burrow—which is the home of one of Harry’s best friend’s, various classrooms around Hogwarts and much more. There’s so much to see, that I can’t even fit it into this issue. Do you hear that noise? It’s me jumping up and down and squealing in excitement. Oh, and you want to hear a secret? I am going to the tour with my sister—who is a huge fan of the movies as well (but maybe not as big a fan as I am)—and we have decided not to tell anyone else we are going. Why? Because we want to spend as many hours there as we want, and we don’t want to be tied down to anyone else’s schedule. I have already told my sister to expect to spend the entire day at the studio tour, my parents know we will be unavailable that day and I told them we could make our way to the location, so as not to disturb the wedding preparations. This is the only time I’ll visit the studio—due to cost and the fact that it’s in London. So I fully intend to make the most of it. Every person who is a fan of the Harry Potter series has their own relationship with the story. And they all have their reasons as to why they are fans and what the series means to them. Personally, while I was a bookworm before I was introduced to the series, I became a true fan of reading and writing after starting to read the series. It was the Harry Potter series that got me into writing; especially knowing that this entire world was created by a female. And though I went down a different route—a reporter instead of an author—the main idea is still there. That if she, a female, can be known for her writing, then so can I. And I think I am, considering that so many of you enjoy reading my stories—tidbits especially. Not to mention that the Harry Potter world is one that I can escape to when the real world is becoming “too much.”—which has been the case lately. Whenever I’m sad or angry or scared, I can just read those books or watch those movies and instantaneously get into a better mood. It’s been (almost) 21 years since the first book
was released, (almost) 17 years since the first movie was released, (almost) 11 years since the last book was released and (almost) seven years since the last movie came out—and I am still as big a fan as I was when the world of Harry Potter was still churning out book after book and movie after movie. But the best part? The world hasn’t come to an end! Between the new Fantastic Beasts series, the new Harry Potter play, the studio tour, the interactive website Pottermore, the Florida theme parks and the millions of fans around the world—the Harry Potter
world will always stay alive, even though the original books and movies that started everything have come to a close. And no matter how old I am, I’ll be a fan.

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