Where do I even begin?
I was determined to write down everything I was thinking and feeling on my flight home from Orlando to Seattle, but I was so exhausted I slept like a rock from before we took off until the lights came on to announce our landing. So my musings on the time I spent with my Potter friends are happening from my own bed, the morning after, with a heavy heart.
This week was truly perfect. This was my seventh official conference, not to mention all the Wrockstocks and Hallows and Horcruxes Balls and tours I've been on. Every single conference to date has something attached to it, whether it be crying over a boy or having my Parselmouth's set cut due to time or some other variation of Potter Con drama - but LeakyCon was perfect. I felt like every moment i spent there was utilized to the fullest, and each event I attended kept upstaging the previous ones.
Eia and I flew in to Orlando on Tuesday night. Our flights were long; I played games on my iPad to pass the time. We finally landed around 11:30 pm and were immediately greeted by Hayley Hoover, which was a lovely way to begin my trip. We then met up with Whitney and her sister and friend and took a taxi to our little Super 8 hotel we booked for the night before Leaky began. The night was mostly filled with the exhaustion of flying, but we entertained ourselves by watching old game shows on TV before falling asleep.
In the morning, we couldn't get to the Royal Pacific soon enough. The others had left early for Lit Day, so Eia and Hayley and I took a cab over to Universal Resort around noon. It was really overwhelming how quickly we began running into friends. Kayley tackle hugged us within the first few minutes, Ariana and Tyler were shortly after, and way too many more came barreling out to even name. Our rooms weren't ready for us so we had to check our bags, and if I remember correctly, we took our first pilgrimage over to CityWalk for food. Aaron Nordyke and Erinn Lewis accompanied us, as well as Jason Munday, and I had a delicious burrito from Moe's (though it was no Chipotle). Afterwards we headed back to the hotel to get our registration packets, which included the coolest Conference gift I could have ever imagined: our Hogwarts yearbooks. Page after page of memories from past conferences as well as full color photos of every single LeakyCon attendee. It was better than high school. They had a little trouble finding my registration because I'd forgotten I'd listed myself as "Kristina Parselmouth" rather than "Kristina Horner". Ha.
We had a few hours before we needed to be back for the opening ceremonies, so Lauren Fairweather and Eia and I took a water taxi over to Islands of Adventure to get in a little extra Harry Potter theme park time. I remember last year walking in and seeing the Hogwarts Express pumping steam, the immaculate Hogsmeade laid out behind it - it had been so overwhelming I'd burst into tears. This year my experience at the park was a bit drier, but the magic was still there in full force. We ran around the park snapping pictures in front of everything: the train, the Owl shop, Honeydukes, the House banners, the Leaky Cauldron. Then we happened to run into a fan of mine who also works at the park, so he took us onto the Forbidden Journey ride and let us skip to the very front of the line! For those who haven't ridden it, the line generally takes upwards of an hour, so this was incredibly sweet of him, and lucky for us!
After the ride we headed back to the Royal Pacific. The Opening Ceremonies started at 6 and we didn't want to miss a minute of it. I ended up rushing the front of the ballroom and got relatively decent seats with Matt Maggiacomo, Lauren, Eia and Rosianna Halse. I loved what they did with this presentation. The combination of video documentary of the history of the fandom mixed with live performances by Harry and the Potters, Hank, Potter Puppet Pals and Starkid was so awesome. They even played my clip about thanking J.K. Rowling and showed a bunch of people's videos from YouTube saying thanks!
After that was all over, it was time to go back to the park for "Open At the Close", the after-hours theme park event for LeakyCon people. We rode the Forbidden Journey ride again, this time in a huge group of all my friends (though I had the full line experience this time around), and afterwards, I spent way too much money in the gift shop with Eia, Elizabeth Barret and Sammy Galasso. I bought a picture frame the looks like the Mirror of Erised, a good quality Slytherin banner, a Marauder's Map mug (to drink tea out of while my nodes heal!) and a Slytherin Prefect pin. Then it was time to line up for food, which took forever but the payoff was worth it. A feast in Hogsmeade. Too perfect. There was a lot of delicious stuff but my favorites were the Shepard's Pie and Bread Pudding. And the Butterbeer. Oh, the frozen Butterbeer.
I also ended up buying Ginny's wand from the wand shop, as the character wand I bought back in 2007 got broken during the filming of the "World of Warcraft Ruined My Life" music video. It's so pretty. I was saying to someone this week (I don't remember who) that one of my favorite parts about LeakyCon is being in an environment where someone can yell "put your wands up" and EVERYONE DOES. What kind of Potter fan doesn't own a wand? Anyway, back to the theme park...
We were a little on the tired side, so after a quick impromptu dance party in front of the Hogwarts Express, a bunch of us headed back to the hotel to just hang out for a little while before bed. I don't remember exactly what we did this night, but I do remember it involved hotel room party hopping, chatting with good friends like Nick Lang and Jarrod Perkins, and having Hayley tell me the sentence, "in the future, we're going to do shit and we're going to be so good at it." I love her.
More coming soon!
Flights taken: 15
15 hours ago