“Books! And cleverness! There are more important things – friendship and bravery”

For the last 2 years I have gone to A Celebration of Harry Potter in Orlando, FL at Universal Studios. The first year, I searched for someone to join me, when no one was interested in committing to attend I gave up and opted to go alone, which was one of the best decisions I could have made. When time came to plan for this past years Celebration, I opted to not even bother to look for someone to join me and instead chose to meet up with people from the previous year.

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I am going to take a brief rabbit trail to say that I always get a lot of questioning looks when I choose to travel solo, a lot of ‘is that a good idea,’ ‘why don’t you wait until someone can go with you,’ that sort of thing. If you are considering traveling alone, do not listen to those people. If you have never traveled alone, I urge you to do it. Be it a weekend away in another city, or a trip to the other side of the globe to climb a bridge. Take the time to go somewhere new, to do the thing you’ve dreamed about. Yes, it may be scary, your anxiety may spike, but the experience is worth it.

As a huge Harry Potter fan, and all around nerd, let me say that A Celebration of Harry Potter is one of the most amazing experiences and it’s not because of the rides (The Forbidden Journey is my favorite!) the Butterbeer (Frozen please!), the chance to meet cast members or the panels (the Mina Lima panel is a must). The thing that makes Celebration so great, is the people, the fandom, the individuals who travel across the globe to take part in this 3 day event.

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I have never been the greatest at making friends. I’ve always been the type to keep a few great friends rather than a lot of mediocre friends. The people I choose to place in my life are people I believe that will bring joy and happiness, who will support me and pour into me, and hopefully I can do the same for them. The thing about Celebration is that you cannot help but make friends. I have never been around such an inclusive group of people. They don’t see labels (beyond your house. Ravenclaw!) and accept you and any quirks you may bring. As of late, areas of nerd (or geek or whatever you choose to identify as) has seen areas of toxic fandom, where sometimes it isn’t fun to be around certain fans, with the Harry Potter fandom I have never seen any of this (and if it exists, please don’t tell me).

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Celebration brings together a group of people that have a shared love for the same thing, where perfect strangers create meet ups just to put a smile on one child’s’ face, or take time out of their day to help a stranger fix a costume. Where solo travelers can make a post about going alone and will have ten plus invites to dinner and game nights. I can’t exactly articulate exactly what Celebration is, but for me it is friendship, laughter, and magic.

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So to the Harry Potter fandom- Thank you for being one of the most accepting groups of people I have ever met. For embracing one another, no matter if you’re Slytherin, Hufflepuff, Gryffindor or Ravenclaw. For bringing the magic to life.

To J.K Rowling- for creating a magical world for each of us. A world that has changed lives, and brought people from all over the world together.

To the friendships I have made over the past 2 years- Thank you for joining me on the adventure. For embracing my quirkiness. For sharing in the experience and celebrating alongside me.

And for those of you I haven’t had the joy to meet yet, see you next year.

Always.

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12 Trips 12 Months: February

I know it’s almost half way into March, and I really slacked on posting my February 12 Trips in 12 Months post. However, better late than never!

February Trip to Universal Studios Florida!

I previously posted specifically about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which you can seeĀ at Nerd Tours Tuesday: Hogwarts Edition.

We spent a day each in Universal Studios, and in Island of Adventures. It was a blast! I am not going to write to much because pictures are more fun! Enjoy!

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Island of Adventures!

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The Delorean!

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The Monster Cafe is a lot of fun! The food is good, and great prices for a theme park, the portions are huge! And they play old Monster movies in the background!

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Who wouldn’t want to be a Minion!

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The Harry Potter portions of both parks were still my favorite! Guess I am just a nerd at heart!

-Elle