Well helloooo, you. I have a pile of pretty Potter pictures here, plus a desire to sit and chat. Cool?
I should mention I've decided not to stress (or at least TRY not to) over the fact that Epbot is basically becoming a Harry Potter Christmas blog this month. This is brave, this is mildly obsessive...THIS IS ME.
I promise after the Hufflepuff party and next month's fabulous Christmas con and then the Festival of Trees and everything I'll get back to other fandom things. Probably. [Cut to me running madly through twinkle lights yelling "I'M NEVER GOING BACK YOU CAN'T MAKE MEEEEE!!"]
Oh hey look, my favorite Alley:
I took this a few weeks ago before all the pretty garlands went up, so it's much sparklier now.
I love looking for new angles; pretty sure you could blindly point your camera in any direction in the Wizarding World and find something beautiful:
Look at that crest and plaster work. LOOK AT IT.
If you stand to the right side of the steps during Celestina's show, you can get some lovely crowd-free shots:
I can't wait to see her Holiday Spell show again. Eeeee!
Goblin armor is best armor.
(The tiny suit is the one that assembles itself when you wave your wand, so you have to time this shot just right.)
Ever notice the corbels inside the Forbidden Journey gift shop?
I need to find a place for one of these in our house. And then, you know, steal and/or make one.
(Picturing myself standing guard while John goes at one of these with a chisel is brightening my afternoon. Just sayin'.)
I played with a lot of window reflections, with limited success:
Here's my favorite:
This is looking out from Wiseacres, through that fabulous crystal ball.
And the hardest window of all to photograph: the mandrake over in Hogsmeade:
Honestly, this is the best I've ever managed, so I'm kind of proud!
Ohh hey, big news if you're a park geek like me: have you seen the new store?
Globus Mundi is the Wizarding travel agency, complete with a window of pamphlets that are pure gold to read through:
(click to embiggen)
From my IG Story:
I got my first look inside during Dressed To The 9 3/4s last weekend. It is a TINY shop - mostly selling Hogwarts Express merch - but so well themed:
Look up to the ceiling in the entryway for a fun surprise:
Brooms built for 4!
A whole wall of clocks:
Obviously I am completely and unabashedly in love with this globe:
I have a mighty need, people. A MIGHTY ONE.
There was a big stir a few weeks ago when the first ever Fantastic Beasts merch finally popped up in Wizarding World:
And if you haven't seen the new Fantastic Beasts wands, go Google them for a treat. (They're impossible to photograph; I gave up.) So much Art Deco deliciousness, and Dumbledore's is the stuff of dreams.
And that's just the M!
Not new, I just really love this sparkly phoenix shirt:
Every time I'm in Diagon Alley I try to decide which hanging sign I want to make first. Every time I pick a different sign.
This is the current contender. Thoughts?
Speaking of signs, I think these are both new? It's impressive to me that Universal keeps adding new little tweaks - or maybe I've just never noticed them before:
If you haven't been in a while, the Cauldron Cakes look completely different now:
Much cuter than the old style, though it still bugs the purist in me that knows the Cauldron Cakes in the books were stackable, and probably so named because they were made in or on a cauldron. (Which is why our version is like this.)
::pushes up Nerd Glasses::
::to look down them at you::
Anyone tried these pumpkin pasties? They look like cherry turnovers, but I'm too cheap to buy one and see:
Over to Hogsmeade again:
This clock tower - and the owl inside - is my favorite.
A few garland shots from last weekend:
And another new window display!
Not new, but always pretty:
For my fellow Christmas geeks: there's a HUGE NEW ROOM of Hogwarts Christmas merch in the Port of Christmas shop at the entrance to Islands of Adventure. This is the only place to find all the Potter Christmas stuff, and the only shop I've found in either park that carries the House stockings and garland. So be sure to stop here to drool:
They've themed out the whole place beautifully - look at those alcoves up top! And the wrapped broom!
There are a few new ornaments this year, these two are my favorites:
This is a heavy real metal, and super sparkly.
Also heavy metal (but with less guitars):
Hnnnng. The other Houses are almost as lovely, too! Almost. ;)
If you haven't seen any of the Hogwarts castle projection shows, put it on your list. I finally caught the House showcase one, which is short, but breath-taking:
That's straight off my phone, no edits! I'm sure the Christmas one will start again soon, but I'd love to see them incorporate these House Pride sections into it for a little extra magic.
Well gang, I've rambled on enough, and John is out in the garage wheezing (his cough is back, noooo) and feverishly working on our next big party build, so I better get back in there.
Just a closing thought, though, since I've been reflecting on this the past few days:
I don't think it's a surprise to anyone here that getting older sucks sometimes. There are more things that hurt, more bills, more things to worry about - and the gnawing fear that maybe you've missed out on something, maybe it's too late.
On the flip side, the older you get, the more you realize the things that matter, and the more you learn to grab on to the happy in front of you, and not let go.
About ten years ago I developed a panic disorder literally overnight, and I've spent the last decade skidding down this path of fear, looking for diagnoses, clinging to hope, and mourning the loss of my life as I knew it.
A few years later I'd developed such a severe case of agoraphobia that I could barely get in a car, much less fly or travel, or even go to the movies.
I've been clawing my way back to my "normal" ever since, and you guys have had a front row seat to some of my victories and setbacks.
I don't have either to report today, but I do have this:
It's a little slice of "normal," you guys. Just me in a theme park line, feeling OK.
I still have a ways to go, still have a lot of battles to lose and doctors to see before I win again. But I'm going to keep looking back, and remembering, and hanging on to all the Happy I have right now, right this second. Because stuff hurts, and I'm scared and stressed too much of the time NOT to.
Also I'm gonna dive face-first into magical Christmas stuff for the next 6 weeks. If that makes you happy, too, then I hope you'll join me.
I love you guys. Be good to yourselves this season, k?
And stay tuned for more party progress insanity. :D