Monday, January 28, 2019

2019's Celebration That Must Not Be Named

You all know how much I love Universal's Harry Potter Celebration, their annual event weekend for the fans. I've covered it every year since it started in 2016, but this year, TRAGEDY: Universal cancelled the 2019 Celebration with no explanation. (And not much notice, either; some fans had already purchased air fare and hotels by the time the news broke!)

Ahh, but Universal didn't count on the tenacity of passionate Potter heads. Since they cancelled so late and a lot of fans had already made travel and costume plans, we pretty much just collectively shrugged and said, "Whatever. We're showing up anyway."

And boy howdy, DID WE SHOW UP:

The letters spell out "The Celebration That Must Not Be Named," which is what the Central Florida Slug Club called the event. Huge shout-out to Melissa and Stephanie of the Club for putting this together, love ya, ladies!

This isn't even the whole group, either; a lot of folks had left by this point because it was getting late and really cold (for Florida).

Everyone was in costume, from basic House scarves and hats to full-on Founders:

I was afraid folks would hold back on their costumes, since Universal has been known to be a little prickly about it. (Though nowhere near as strict as Disney.) Happily I was wrong; there were FANTASTIC costumes everywhere I turned.

Professor Sprout's Herbology class is on a field trip! Great choice for January, too, with those ear muffs and gloves.

 This is such a perfect Dumbledoreand I have to share an extra pic from his account:

"If Dumbledore were alive for the battle of Hogwarts."
[Kermit Flailing] AAAAA!

We mostly stayed away from Diagon Alley as a group, since we didn't want to block traffic or get in trouble. Security would quickly step in if other park guests starting queuing for photos, which was understandable, so we kept to the New York streets section and by the NY Library facade for all our big meetups. 


Ilvermorny Alumni, REPRESENT!

Happily we could take photos of and with each other as much as we wanted; we just had to make sure none of the Muggles around thought we were park employees.

No Grimm this time, just lots of glitter.

Tonks and a dapper Night Bus Driver:

Lucius Malfoy means business:

The Gryffindor Bouncer, on the other hand, is HERE TO PAR-TAY:



(She originally had her Starbucks cup inside her wine glass, which was hilarious.)

(Also I know the character is called The Fat Lady in the books. I just... I can't. :p)

Diane here always puts together some of my favorite costumes; in the past she's dressed as the Wiseacres shop, Honeydukes, and now... ::drumroll, please:: 

The Wonder Witch from the wall outside Weasley's Wizard Wheezes!! (Wow, that's a lot of Ws.) I love how she interpreted those bubbles and flowers on her hat, GORGEOUS.

Here's the rest of her dress:
That's the Wonder Witch logo on her bag, and she's holding a love potion. SO PERFECT.

I love it when fans put their own spin on something. Here's a glamorous Occamy:

 And a relative of Newt Scamander, perhaps?

That Monster Fanny Pack of Monsters, y'all. So much yes.

This little Dudley was running around with Harry's cake AND a pig tail sticking out of his pajamas, which is pretty much the greatest thing ever:

Every now and then he had to put more frosting on his face, but he assured us he didn't mind. Eating frosting all day is just the kind of sacrifice we geeks make for our fandoms.

You might remember this one from last year, I think it was?  Professor Slughorn IN CHAIR FORM:

Brandy gets all the points for being a chair all day - and for her extremely thorough Security screening to get in, ha. She pointed out it was good insulation against the cold, though, so that's a bonus.

It wasn't til after I took this photo that I realized the students are the young Marauders!

That's James, Sirius, and Remus on the end. Love it.

There was a group of magical Foreign Exchange Students running around: Ilvermorny, Beauxbatons, Durmstrang, and even some original student uniforms from Japan and Africa! Here's a small group  of them:

(That's Melissa [mrp1220] on the left, one of the Slug Club leaders!)

A Durmstrang student:

Oh! And Parvati Patil!

Note the Bellatrix group selfie taking place in the background. :D

When you catch young Dumbledore outside the Palace Arcade:

... then you catch the human Snitch a little while later:

He was ready to run. Excellent.

More Founders:

A compendium of Ravenclaws:

(@MademDesigns & @FoolofBeauty on the right)

And a belfry of Bellatrixs:

(Bella #3: @blackclawcosplay,  Harry: @BrickMacklin)

Here's another original character: a travel agent with Globus Mundi, the new shop in Diagon Alley!

I love that jacket, he worked in the orange and teal from the shop so beautifully.

Next are some dapper magical ladies, starting with Luna in a lion-head cloche:

ADORABLE. The pin on her shawl is shaped like her famous Spectrespecs.

After the group photo I made a beeline for this gender-swapped Hagrid, because her outfit is genius:
 Her hair bow is patterned like his tie, and she turned his moleskin coat into a cape! Plus that lantern and umbrella... just A++ all 'round.

Then this Honeydukes ensemble made me drool:


Check out all her pretty candy jewelry:

I mean, I want to dress like this every day.

Can cosplay make you cry? Is that a thing? I guess we're about to find out:


Yes, yes it can.

(Lupin is my favorite HP character, and he's still at Hogwarts teaching happily with Tonks and you won't convince me otherwise so there.)

Speaking of Hogwarts... faculty roll call!

Best. Staff meeting. Ever.

(Jessica on the end is a gender-swapped Quirrell... and she had a photo of Voldemort's face stuck to the back of her turban:

(photo by CF Slug Club)

I'M DYING. Bahahaha!

And finally - because I really do need to wrap this post up even though I have LOTS more pics - here's a fantastic farewell from Newt and Queenie:

I hope you guys enjoyed your virtual visit with me to the Celebration That Must Not Be Named! Even though we were only there for the last 3 hours, John and I immediately felt like we were with family again, as this group continues to be the most welcoming I've ever found. Everyone's chatting and swapping notes on where they bought stuff and waving to newbies and seriously, I wish you could have all been there. John and I did have 4 or 5 readers find us for the first time ever, so there were lots of hugs and laughs and even a happy tear or two, which... oof... you don't know how much that means to me.

Here we are with reader Shannon in the middle - a Hufflehug of Hufflepuffs.

Thank you to everyone there for reminding this agoraphobic hermit that sometimes it pays to leave the house.

Here's hoping the official Celebration is back on again next year, though I suspect we fans will show up again anyway. So see y'all next year!

As always I've put the rest of my photos over on Flickr, so if you don't see yourself here, fellow Celebrationers, head to my album there. You're welcome to download and share any of my pics of you, though a shout-out/credit is always appreciated!
Which reminds me: if you like what I do here and want to see me keep doing it, you can help support Epbot by shopping through our Amazon links (which are free) or go the extra mile by supporting us monthly through Paypal. (You choose the amount, and you can cancel any time.) Just your being here helps, though, so thank you. Truly.  ::mwah::


  1. Monster Fanny Pack for the win! And that Honeydukes dapper outfit is adorable! That looks like so much fun, I do hope they manage it again next year even if the park doesn't. I love seeing your fun outings.

  2. Ha! "Celebration That Must Not Be Named!" Brilliant! I hadn't heard that Universal canceled it. That makes me sad. :( I absolutely love that fans went anyhoo.

  3. Oh wow, that's awesome! That Quirrel turban!!

  4. These are awesome photos, thank you SO much for sharing! Lupin is my favorite HP character too. :)

  5. Newt's cousin had a pixie caught in her hair! 😂 Sure wish I lived closer to such events. What a great fandom.

  6. I was absolutely NOT prepared for Lupin and Tonks and I will blame you for my random sobbing throughout the day now! *sobs*

    1. Right? I had a hard time holding my phone straight for the photos. I told them they were breaking my heart!

  7. PEOPLE ARE AMAZING AND CREATIVE AND WONDERFUL. Sorry for the caps but how lovely this was to see!

  8. Yay! I had such a great time at Celebration and everyone's costumes were phenomenal! The 4 Ilvermorny girls in the back of the Ilvermorny alumni pic are @heyhoforshore, @tanitia_sd, @meli_a_camacho, & @eurekarox01 on Instagram.

  9. Oh mah gosh that's me in the Hufflehug of awesomeness! You guys are everything to me. Thank you!

  10. Okay, did anybody else think, "Hey, that's Dumbledore riding Rumbleroar from Pigfarts!!" Any AVPM fans out there? Anyone...?

  11. That Dudley is melting my heart! What an awesome costume. And I did a double-take on at least two of those Bellatrixes. Helen Bonham Carter doppelgangers!

  12. That Dudley costume made my day!

  13. Absolutely amazing. Hate that Universal cancelled it but love that everyone met anyway. And did so respectfully.



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