My company rented Harry Potter’s park at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, for one evening. These are the pics of the day I could visit Diagon Alley for real.
Automattic Grand Meetup 2018
If that sounds random, well it is not! I work remotely from home, but once per year my company hosts a Grand Meetup. All of us gather in the same place from all over the world, so we can spend a week together, work, chat, have face-to-face meetings, create memories to share, and have fun.
While we spent the last two Grand Meetups in the amazing Whistler, BC Canada, 2018 brought us in sunny and humid Florida – in Orlando.
Orlando equals Disney World for many of us, so here it is: our hotel was very close to a huge Disney marketplace, and there were at least 4 Disney parks in the close nearby.
I spent some time after dinner at Disney Springs to have some
fresh humid air and move my legs. Although pretty “fake”, the place is lovely. There’s a big LEGO store, many shops where to grab some food, and there are several bands playing around in the evening. I also snagged a legit Italian gelato my colleague Deric bought me (thanks, Deric! You know how to make an Italian Pinner happy!).
My goal for this year at the meetup was to have all the fun, more fun than last year, if possible. Instead, I ended up working even more than last year, but I didn’t regret it! My colleagues’ enthusiasm and groovy vibes infected me, and time flew. At the end of each days I was so exhausted I could just play some games, have a laugh with my buddies and go to bed with a smile on my face. Nothing crazy at all. That’s also why my pics are few and look so random.
Happy Potter’s park where I visit Diagon Alley
The last day of the meetup we had an awesome closing party at Epcot, and we also watched a firework show that was very exciting.
But the main event was the night we rented Harry Potter’s park, and I was able to visit Diagon Alley. We had dinner in there, and I had two butterbeers! They are soooooo sweet but tasty!
Walking along Diagon Alley has been a real magical experience: the park is exactly the way you would imagine, and it even went beyond my wildest expectations. All the shops have animated objects, Olivander’s shop is huge, and Gringott’s bank is a rollercoaster adventure (and I mean it!).
I wonder how different would be to visit Diagon Alley on the daylight, especially when it’s super crowded by people. Automattic counts less than 800 people so far, and we were spread out all over the park, so the streets looked pretty much empty – or at least not crowded.
The reconstruction of London’s Kings Cross station is also incredible; it’s so well done that it made me wonder why the hell I needed to fly for 9 hours to the other side of the world to basically be at home 😂
On feeling privileged and honoured
I feel so lucky, honoured and privileged to be part of the Automattic family. Not only do I work with the most kind and humble people in the world, but we also do a lot of work within the Open Source WordPress.org community. I am a contributor as well way before joining Automattic; I am though so blessed my company supports my efforts to democratising publishing.
The perk of being able to visit Diagon Alley is just a tiny, wonderful extra detail that piles up to the rest. We have flexible hours, I can work from wherever I want (even if sometimes I’d love to hug my buddies!), we have an open vacation policy and support for parents (maternity/paternity leave), and much more.