A few weeks ago, I flew to Orlando to visit Harry Potter.

To be fair, I went to visit The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter, part of the Universal Studios Islands of Adventure park, and to participate in the press day for the release of the "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2" Blu-ray release.  When I was invited, I had no idea who would be there, but I wanted to go and participate in what may well be the last major press event for the Potter series.

Oddly, I've never interviewed anyone associated with the Potter series during the entire run of the thing.  Since 2001, I've been an observer, and that's been fine.  At Ain't It Cool, Quint was the Potter superfreak, and I didn't feel like there was any reason to fight him on it.  And here at HitFix, it's been a matter of timing that's led to other people going to London for various Potter set visits and press days.

It's been okay, though, because it's one of those things that was fun to watch as a finished product all the way through.  I saw the Potter series the same way the public did, and because I never walked through the sets, never sat down with the cast, never really peeked behind the curtain.  Hogwarts is just as substantial to me as it was to any other viewer.

The trip to Orlando was one of the fastest overall I've taken, arriving at my hotel just after 2:00 in the morning, then flying out a little over 24 hours later.  That made the entire day spent at the park a surreal blur, which may have been enhanced by the fact that they had about a zillion Potter fans at the park, all of them aware that we were shooting interviews, all of them determined to see their heroes up close.

Of the three lead actors, the only one who was part of the press day was Rupert Grint, and it was interesting to observe fandom's reaction to Grint live and in person.  Even though they had our interview spot hidden behind some bushes and tucked away in a corner by the Dragon Challenge rollercoasters, he kept getting spotted by passing herds of teenage girls, and almost all of them managed to emit identical screams at a certain glass-shattering pitch.  Grint seems to be used to it, and my impression of him overall is that he is totally unaffected by the international uber-success of the series.

I've got a few more Potter pieces for you this week, but for now, enjoy Ron Weasley's victory lap.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2" is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.