Friday, March 25, 2011

A magical piece of paper

Getting into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter truly required a magical piece of paper.
Despite the fact that I had corresponded regularly with the Public Relations department in Orlando weeks before we headed out for our trip, when we arrived at our destination and showed up at Guest Relations to pick up our passes, we only had part of what we needed.
The kindly Brittney who processed my request — which required that I scan and send her a picture of my business card as well as a letter of assignment from one of my very busy editors along with a description of what I intend to do while I'm there — had forgotten to finish putting the request properly into the system.
So Marc and I had two Express Plus passes to the park — good for a whole week — but no proper entry tickets. One without the other is no good.
We had purposefully walked over from our hotel Tuesday evening after our lengthy plane journey to pick up our passes and preview the park, see what the nightlife was, etc.
The boy at the window was confused. "Umm, do you have identification?" he asked.
I did.
"Umm, do you have any confirmation information?" he asked next.
I did, producing my copy of an e-mail giving me a confirmation number and assurances that I and my party would be welcome.
He got on the phone, Then he left his seat. He was gone for a while.
When he returned, it was to say he was sorry but no one knew anything about me and I would have to come back in the morning when Brittney was in.
We tried a different window in another section of the park. Her story was the same. Yes, she could see on my piece of paper where Brittney had intended to provide us tickets but there was nothing anywhere for us.
Irritated and wishing for some floo powder, we trudged back to our hotel.
We came back just before 9 a.m. with a large crowd of Spring Break families ready to stampede through to the Wizarding World.
This time, the new lad at the old window looked at my dog-eared piece of paper and said he was very sorry but could we wait in the VIP lounge until Brittney got in?
I calmly — HONEST, I stayed calm — explained we were here for two days only to do a story and that we'd flown for nearly 2,000 miles to do so. I really thought they could let us in based on my little piece of magic paper.
He got on the phone, He left his seat. He was gone for a while.
When he came back, he apologized and said he would give us one day passes to get us in but we'd have to check later for our real tickets for the next day.
We did so after having searched out yet another window and now, the tickets were in but under another confirmation number.
The girl printed them out. Yah! Legitimate tickets and good for a week (No matter we were leaving at 7 a.m. Friday.)
It felt good to be validated, like The Velveteen Rabbit getting to be real.
And I know from years of working in the media that this kind of thing happens...a lot.
But boy, for a minute there,  I was sure looking for a portkey!

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