So my brother and I are in Orlando for LeakyCon 2011. It’s quite an experience to celebrate the release of the LAST HARRY POTTER film with about 3500 fans. It feels appropriate and lucky to be here for the end of something so momentous to so many people, but I don’t think Rob had any idea how big and extensive this fandom is. He was a little shell-shocked, but we’ve both gotten into the spirit of it and enjoyed all the panels and events we’ve been to.

Including early screenings of the movie yesterday, before the official release today. That was clearly the highlight of this week, and I think we took over pretty much the entire 18 screen theater at Universal CityWalk. Our show was at 6:45pm, and as a fan you know it’s going to be an incredible experience when a full-wand salute breaks out moments before the lights go out:

We were practically all crying the minute the lights went down, and I am so mad that I didn’t think to bring my newly purchased wand (of course I bought one!). This was such a thrill; we all knew when to gasp, when to be silent, when to get ready for something big, and when to start crying…inside and out and this crew knew how to do this screening. And the movie…let’s just say I’m seriously considering bumping it to the top of my Favorite Movies of All Time list, but I need to see it 2 or 3 times more to be sure. 🙂

The night before the screening, LeakyCon took over the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal, and that was unbelievably fun and perfect for this convention. At 10pm all the Muggles were kicked out of the park to make way for thousands of us dressed up, sweaty, having fun, or some combination of all 3. The HP park stayed open for us until 1:30am, with free food and all-you-can-drink pumpkin juice and butterbeer (my new favorite beverage). I napped all day to get ready for this, and we impressively stayed out until about 1am. My brother went to Universal around 2pm and didn’t come back for a nap, I thought he would drop. But we both made it through just fine.

It was the middle of the night, so of course photos are extremely difficult with a teeny point and shoot (I traveled light this week), but I actually like how these turned out:

Hogwarts was just incredibly done, btw. It's impossible to get good photos of all the screens with characters, but the technology is so perfect and impressive.

Now this is a dessert table!

Full moon (hard to see, but how perfect is that??). It was gorgeous.

Very blurry, but the only decent photo of the 2 of us together.

Olivander's demonstration was my favorite thing in the park. All the more perfect since so many people were in robes.

Tomorrow I’ll post about the actual convention sessions!