One of my family’s favorite things is Harry Potter. It started when my oldest son, Dillon, wanted me to read the first Harry Potter book to him. He was 5 at the time. I hesitated because I wasn’t sure he’d understand what was going on in the book, but I thought I’d give it a shot. Turns out, not only did he understand it, but we both fell in love with the characters and the world that JK Rowling created.

When he was 6, the first movie came out and he wanted to go see it. Again, I wasn’t sure if a 6 year old could sit still that long or really understand what was going on in the movie, but he seemed to understand the book, so I took him. He was completely captivated! We discussed Harry’s adventures the whole way home in the car. I realized that this was the first time he had seen some of his favorite characters from a book come to life on screen.

Fast forward many years later, Dillon and I had gone to see every movie as it came out and every year older he was, the more he began to understand the layers within the story. It was something wonderful that he and I shared. His younger brother, Casey, was too little at the time to care about Harry Potter. He was busy playing with his Star Wars characters and rewatching Return of the Jedi for the 100th time.
Eventually, Casey was old enough and Dillon decided to play the DVD of the Sorcerer’s Stone for him on a long trip to Florida. By the time we hit North Carolina, Casey was hooked and upset that we had “kept this from him” all this time. on the way down and the way back home from Florida, he watched every Harry Potter movie we had on DVD. He was convinced he lived at Hogwarts. I was so excited that he loved these movies and these characters as much as Dillon and I did. We now all had something we could share.
All three of us went to see all of the rest of the movies together and chatted about Harry Potter the whole way home after each one. We each created accounts on Pottermore and got sorted into houses. We’re all Ravenclaw, even though my kids think I’m a Hufflepuff and my husband is a Slytherin.
Even though he’s not as into it as we are, my husband enjoys how much we love Harry Potter and joins in the fun from time to time. Once they opened Harry Potter World at Unviersal in Orlando, we knew we had to get there.
December 2015, we finally got there. We stayed onsite and had early access to the park for 2 days. We were ready to eat, sleep and live in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade for the next two days. (okay,they wouldn’t let us sleep there)
We got up early and if you know my famiyl, we are NOT morning people, but we were up at 6am to get our early access to the park. A thick fog laid over the whole park as we walked in, making it even more magical. Because we are super Harry Potter nerds, we had to do everything in the right order. We started in Diagon Alley, went to Gringotts to get our money and then Ollivanders to get our wands. One of my favorite things we did was get a video made of all of us in robes going through scenes as if we were in the Wizarding World. It is a keepsake I will always treasure.
Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice, while it sounds weird and gross is amazing and I still crave it every time someone mentions it.
After we ate at the Leaky Cauldron, we boarded the Hogwarts Express to Hogsmede.
That vacation and watching my kids live in one of their favortie fantasy worlds, was one of my favorite family memories ever. We had so much fun in those two short days. It’s amazing to me that a book about wizards could bring our family closer together.
Today I just got them their Christmas present. (I know, it’s February!) I got tickets for us to go see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway. We’re going in December this year, so it will be a Christmas present by then. I have been trying to get tickets since it was first announced that it was coming to NY, but the demand is insane and I wasn’t able to get tickets the first time they were released. I am so excited! I haven’t decided if I’ll tell them ahead of time or I’ll just get them on the train and they’ll have to figure it out.
Leave a comment below if you have a good idea. I have 10 months to figure it out!