The Potter Pilgrimage: Part I

Harry Potter Studios | Leavesden 2015

Tickets to my Happiest Place on Earth

Tickets to my Happiest Place on Earth

I have absolutely no shame in saying that the Harry Potter parts of our UK trip last year made my 2015. We made several stops in different areas of significance in the Harry Potter series – some were planned, some were not. The first stop was indeed planned. And planned carefully. (Details and tips at the end of this post. Stay tuned for part 2!)

Two months or so before the trip, we had already purchased tickets to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in Leavesden. I knew I wanted to spend the entire day there, so instead of taking a tour package (with transportation, but with a limited number of hours in the studios), I decided we could just go there ourselves, that way we could spend as much time as we wanted inside. It took us about 30 minutes from our hotel in London to Watford Junction, where a shuttle picked us up to bring us to the studios:

Now you can imagine my excitement at being on that bus. I was quite emotional pulling up to the lot in Leavesden because I was in complete awe at seeing the place where the cast and crew of Harry Potter filmed for 10 years. The sight of the unassuming, yet massive building alone made me feel like I was riding on the back of a Hippogriff, and I hadn’t even seen anything yet.

 

Fighting to keep calm as I entered the gate to heaven

Fighting to keep calm as I entered the gates to my happiness

People always ask me which I liked better – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Orlando or The Harry Potter Studio Tour in London. While I will say that being in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter made me feel like a real witch living in a real Wizarding town, there was something truly magical about getting to walk where the cast and crew worked for a decade. The wonderful thing about the theme park, is that you get to go in and out of the shops, you get to visit Hogwarts as if you really are a student there, and you get to experience what being a witch or wizard is like. But the Studio Tour is different. You don’t get to do those things, but stepping into that lot will make you feel truly special – because you will get a glimpse into the love and care and hard work that went into making the films. I personally could not stop touching whatever wall I was allowed to, hoping to get some sort of spiritual souvenir from the cast and crew. And seeing the original sets and props? Wow. I could hardly stop myself from crying.

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Portkey Events | The Team

The Friendship behind the company

 

Portkey Events | The Team

Team photo by Daily Prophet photographer Paw Castillo

 

People who look at this photo for the first time always think that these laughing faces have been the best of friends for several years. But I will let you in on a little secret. Two of these girls I only met in August of last year, and two of them I only met in December. If you actually count the days that we’ve spent together, you’ll probably end up with only a month’s worth of coffee dates, dinner dates, breakfast dates, and sleepovers. But if I’m being honest with you, I’ve rarely felt so free and so comfortable and so happy with new friends as I do with them. You know why? Because long before we met, we were already going on adventures together. Long before we met, we already agreed on our principles and our beliefs. Long before we met, we were already meant to be friends. Because we all grew up with one common friend: Harry.

Some people might find that a very loose and shallow basis for friendship, but I beg to differ. Potterheads make an Unbreakable Vow with each other the moment they open the first book, regardless of distance and circumstance. And as they get older, they find that family easily – people who understand and accept and love them for who they are, because that’s what they grew up with. That’s what they know. That’s who they are. And that’s pretty wonderful if you ask me.

Finding these girls felt like the most natural thing in the world. And even I was fooled by the length of time that we’ve actually known each other. Because to me, they’re already my sisters. And I love them like the sisters I never had.

Portkey Events, Inc. has always been a dream of mine. But truthfully I never knew how to begin. Then all of a sudden this is where I find myself, barely a month in it with this spectacular team, ready to take on the world. Already our plans are moving, and it’s quite funny to think that that fun girls night a few weeks ago would lead to this. A company of five. Actual #squadgoals

“When are you going to get it into your head?! We’re in this together!”                                 – Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

I am so thankful for this group. And I cannot wait to see where life takes us. Let’s do this team!

*For more information on Portkey’s exciting events, tune in to:

portkeyevents.com | ig: @portkeyevents | twitter @PortkeyE | tumblr: http://portkeyevents.tumblr.com

 

 

Troll in the Dungeon

“FRIENDSHIP AND BRAVERY”

“There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Goodbye, Professor

You all know the scene. Harry and Ron running to save Hermione from the troll, Hermione saving their butts from Professor McGonagall, and well – just them saving each other. I’ve always loved that scene, tame it might be compared to the adventures the Golden Trio shared when they got older. But I always loved it because it set the precedent to their entire friendship. They were so wildly different from one another – each of them had their own priorities, their own insecurities, their own fears, but no matter how dark the path ahead was, no matter the odds, they chose to stay together. At the end of the day, they always chose each other. And it was that constant choice that protected, and ultimately saved the entire Wizarding World.

But for me, Harry Potter was never about the saving the world part. It wasn’t about the Boy Who Lived part either. It was always about the in-betweens. The love, the courage, the friendship, the sacrifices, and the choices – always the choices. I grew up admiring Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and wondering if I’d ever have the courage to stand up for myself and for my loved ones like they so often did. And as much as I admired how brave they were when confronting dark wizards, I admired their determination to make simple brave choices in their everyday lives more. How they stood up for each other with Malfoy, or Umbridge, or even with Snape. How they stood by each other when most people turned their backs on them. Their unconditional love for one another was the kind of love I wanted with my friends. And like everything worth having, the journey was quite tough.

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