Leaky Con: Ten tips for your first visit

Grab your house robes: the Harry Potter fan convention returns to Dallas in 2019!

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Harry Potter fans, lean in. We have to discuss Leaky Con, a Harry Potter fan convention. Leaky Con is a huge extremely well-organized experience of all things from J.K. Rowling’s world of wizards. There are discussion panels, autograph and photo sessions with the films’ stars, meet ups from the houses, potion and wand making, a ton of cosplay and yes, even butter beer.

If you’ve read all the books, seen all the movies, been sorted (or at leas taken the online house quiz) and know which robes to wear, then you are among your people at Leaky Con. In fact, you’ll revel in the panel discussions, and soak up every bit of the reinactments of the Yule Ball and gladly hand over fistfuls of cash for all the wizardy merch you can find in the expo hall.

You need to go. At least once. And maybe even get the Marauders’ Pass for the full weekend of festivities. I even saw that the Hyatt had themed dinner menus for their guests. I might have even seen a photo of Voldemort outside the Omni. Tell me that didn’t shock the muggles of Dallas.

Registration for Leaky Con suggests that just as Harry had to be 11 to enter Hogwarts, so do guests of Leaky Con. My girl was 10.5 and I feel like she was fine and definitely not the youngest conference attendee. While the entire event is geared towards older muggles and wannabe wizards, Leaky Con does have several craft stations to appeal to younger fans. And thankfully, you’ll use the mobile app to select your sessions and gear the discussions to what you think is most appropriate for little ears if you do in fact, have a small wizard or witch sharing your broomstick. (More on that below)

So this was our first year and I’d say that we definitely didn’t know enough to immerse ourselves in the full experience. I wish we had a Leaky Con alumnus with us, but the wizarding world is very kind. Ask anyone and they will help you out if you have questions or don’t know where to go.

I have some tips to share in case you are going next year – because oh hey… if you haven’t heard, it’s returning to Dallas in 2019! In years past, it’s been held in cool places like London, Dublin, and a smattering of large cities in the US. This year was its first time in DALLAS and tickets sold out so quickly, the organizers (Mischief Managed, of course) had to change venues to the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center downtown and offer up more because apparently the number of wizards in our area quite caught them by surprise. And yes, Perot girls already have our tickets. Get yours here before they sell out!

Tips for attending your first Leaky Con!

  1. Dress up. Even if it’s just a hat, a Hogwarts shirt, or your Quidditch scarf, you really do look like the odd-ball if you DON’Thave any fan gear on. I would recommend coming in full costume because THESE ARE YOUR PEOPLE. If you can’t do it here, you can’t do it anywhere. (And it’s cold in there, house robes keep you warm.) Leaky Con had a perfect Snape who stayed in character – people were raving about him and lining up to take photos of him.

    Okay one more of @TexasSnape, because he is perfection and the photo is amazing.

     

    My favorite was the Harry Potter from the Goblet of Fire when he’s about to take the water challenge. I mean, those webbed fingers, REALLY?! Seeing everyone in costume makes this event so much fun. Do your part.

    Day 1 of Leakycon was SO MUCH FUN! I had an absolute blast running around as gillyweed Harry, and I made pretty much everyone either laugh or smile! 😆 I had multiple people complimenting me on the creativity and the originality of my cosplay. I genuinely think I may be the first ever person to cosplay this version of Harry! My only regret is not getting a video of me waddling around or riding the escalators in my flippers. 😂 They surprisingly weren’t too uncomfortable to walk in once I adjusted, but I can’t even tell you how many people asked if my shins or feet were killing me! Might feel it tomorrow, but for now I’m doing great! Looking forward to another awesome day tomorrow in my Quiditch robes! 😄 If anyone recognizes any of the other cosplayers, please let me know so I can tag them! ✨✨✨ 🔮🔮🔮 ⚡️⚡️⚡️ #Leakycon #Leakycon2018 #Leakycon18 #harrypotter #harrypottercosplay #cosplay #cosplayer #Hogwarts #Hogwartscosplay #wizard #gryffindor #gryffindorpride #ravenclaw #slytherin #hufflepuff #gillyweed #gillyweedcosplay #gillyweedharry #gobletoffire #gobletoffirecosplay #gryffindorcosplay #gills #sfxmakeup

    A post shared by Alec Crow (@acrow59) on

     

  2. If you’re into the celebrity experiences, sign up early because they do sell out. Also, show up for the line early, because they do fill up. From what I can tell from social media, the actors are very approachable outside of the venue too – if you happen to run into them. These experiences do cost money, so be aware of that. And depending on your ticket level, you may have them included. Fun story: We were gifted a photo and autograph session with Seamus Finnigan (Devon Murray) because a mom and daughter were leaving and didn’t want to wait for their session. They saw us in our Gryffindor shirts and came rushing over and said they had to give it to a little Gryffindor before they left. My heart about melted! So back to point number one, definitely dress up. And back to my point above about how nice the whole community is… these wizards are legit your people. 
  3. Save up and prepare to shop – for a while. My little witch wanted to retail the whole time, and I do mean the whole time. She wanted everything. There were amazing vendors with things you just don’t see in stores, and much of it was handmade and unique. Alex and Ani was even there with their Harry Potter jewelry. Among our finds? Hufflepuff oven mits and matching apron. I mean…
  4. Get to your sessions super early! There were a couple of sessions (making potions, making house banners) that my little was really interested in, but so was everyone else and we didn’t realize that the rooms for these were smaller capacity. Even though we were early, the doors were closed, seats were full and no one was leaving. There was even a line queued up for the next session in that room – which she also wanted to go to, but she wasn’t a line waiter, so we skipped both. Sad, but she just went back and shopped some more. (Back to point number 3. Bring lots of $.)
  5. If you think the butterbeer line is long, it’s probably not. When we arrived in the morning, the line for butterbeer looked long, so we skipped it. But then it was as if that line was under an expander charm the rest of the day. Every time we went to check, it was three times longer than earlier. My advice, get your $5.50 butterbeer when you arrive.
  6. There are ribbons. This is sort of a non-official challenge that happens at Leaky Con where people have these special ribbons to hang on your badge and they will trade them or give them away. How you find them, is kind of the challenge (I never saw a single one of them being handed out), and getting as many as you can seems to be as well. Even after the event was over, people on social were still trying to trade. So, before you go, you can have some made and bring them and I’m pretty sure you’ll be very popular by handing them out and you’ll get some in return. They’re really creative and I think my little would have loved this. We’ll make some for next year. Here’s a link to a site where lots of people order them, and here’s a whole Facebook group dedicated to Leaky Con ribbon ideas.

  7. Bring snacks. There are a lot of things to look at and to do, and the food at the convention center is fine, but it’s expensive and the lines are long so bring snacks to keep you going. This is especially important if you have a little with you.
  8. Visit your house common room! I so regret NOT doing this. I saw the photos in app afterwards and they looked amazing. People were leaving fun notes in there and little origami. I think my girl would have loved it, and she may have even met another same-aged wizard or witch there.
  9. Use the mobile app. I mentioned it earlier, but it was incredibly helpful to plan our days. The app fully listed the schedule of sessions and events, also the special guest appearances, and I was able to set alerts for what we were interested in so we didn’t miss anything. It had a baked in social conversation section so you can interact with other people attending Leaky Con and share photos. I found myself checking out that part even when I was at home because the cosplay photos were so amazing.
  10. If you ARE going with littles, it would be good to have another adult with you. I found that the programming is really geared towards adultish people, and while it had some really interesting sessions, they were not suitable or interesting enough to keep my almost 11 year old entertained so I missed out. It would have been nice to apparate for an hour or two of the day and catch those.
  11. Okay, one more bonus piece of advice. IF you have the chance to catch Potted Potter, the stage parody of all 7 Harry Potter books, you must go. I haven’t laughed that hard in a month, maybe longer. It came to town along with Leaky Con and we had family date night to attend. It was a 70 minute show, no intermission. The little was giggling the whole time and I thought it was a riot. Definitely catch this act.

I’m sure there’s plenty more wizardly advice to be shared. If you’ve been to Leaky Con, please add it to the comments below!

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