A Scroll From the Minister of Magic
Greetings! Welcome! Ascendio 2012 is only ten months away!
That means it’s time to begin planning your formal programming session proposals, scheduling your meet-ups, and creating your entries for our T-shirt design competition. We’re excited to see what you have in store for us, and we’ve got loads of magic and excitement in store for you, too!
The latest news from Ascendio Headquarters is that Mark Oshiro, of MarkReads.net, is going to be attending Ascendio, and you can now reserve rooms at the Loews Portofino Bay Resort via their website — more about those topics below, in the newsletter.
Remember, you have to be registered for Ascendio to attend all of our formal – and many of our informal – programming events. Click here to register, and bring your posse too — one of the best parts of a symposium is seeing old friends and meeting new ones!
In this issue:
- Registration Update
- Calling All Artists!: Ascendio T-shirt Contest
- Find Us on Facebook!
- MarkReads at Ascendio
- Call for Formal Programming Proposals
- Birds of a Feather — Call for Fan Meet-Ups!
- Volunteer for Team Ascendio!
- Staff Spotlight — Meet the Minister of Magic, Flourish
- Local Spotlight — Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
- Other Lodging & Perks
- Ascendio across the Web
Excited witches & wizards have been registering since May, but there are still a few of our special discounted full registrations left! Registration is $200 until 200 people have purchased full registrations, and then it goes up to $225 until May 1, 2012, or until we sell out.
What does a full registration get you? Access to all four days (Thursday to Sunday) of Ascendio activities, including academic and fan-focused programming, our Wizard fashion show, plus:
- The Welcoming and Leaving Feasts
- Our Vendor Room and Art Gallery
- The Common Room
- Wizard Rock in the Portofino Courtyard
- Pickup Quidditch matches
- …and more!
The full registration does not include Keynote Luncheons (those tickets can be purchased via the registration system, in addition to the regular registration), nor any other special events; those tickets can be purchase separately at a future time. The full registration is the most common way to enjoy Ascendio. Please also note your Ascendio registration does not include tickets for admission to Universal Studios Orlando and Islands of Adventure, which incorporates The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Ascendio also has day registrations available. For $75, you can choose to attend either Friday or Saturday and can enjoy any Ascendio events taking place on that day, with the exception of extra-ticketed items. You could also choose both days for $150. A day pass also allows you the opportunity to purchase the extra tickets for events such as any potential event at Universal Orlando or the Keynote Luncheon, provided that event takes place on the day you select for your pass.
Want More? Go all out with the FANCY SCHMANCY registration — Merlin’s Circle!
Want even more out of your Ascendio experience? Consider registering at the Merlin’s Circle level. For $750, you not only get access to all four days of programming and general events, but special events and meals are included, as well. Merlin’s Circle registrants are opting for a “one-click” method of selecting absolutely everything on the agenda, including everything that comes with a Full Registration, PLUS: the improved and re-vamped Night of a Thousand Wizards park event (pending a signed contract with Universal), our highly anticipated musical revue, our Keynote Luncheon, an exclusive reception with our Special Guests, and an additional Merlin’s Circle breakfast, as well as priority seating at all programming.
Calling all artists! We’ve got an opportunity for fame and glory…at least among Ascendio attendees. We are looking for designs for the official Ascendio t-shirt. Our theme is “Flights of Fancy” so let that inspire your creativity.
A few guidelines:
- No larger than 8.5 x 11″ in finished digital form; must be at least 300 dpi
- The artwork and text must be rated PG-13 or lower
- Design should be single-color (for a one-color imprint on blue or purple). Glow-in-the-dark & metallic imprinting is an option, if that inspires you!
- Artwork should include the following elements: the word “Ascendio”, ‘HPEF Presents’ and the event dates (July 12-15, 2012) and “Ascendio 2012″ should be in this font: Jellyka Western Princess (http://www.dafont.com/jellyka-western-princess.font)
- Any characters included in the art should not be identified by name. We strongly encourage using generic magical creatures and characters rather than content directly from the films or books.
- As our theme for Ascendio focuses on flight – metaphorical, literal, animalian and human – we encourage incorporation of those aspects.
- Do not use any of the official “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” artwork or trademark.
Submissions will be accepted until midnight (EST) November 30, 2011 at firstname.lastname@example.org. Any questions can be forwarded to that address as well.
The artist who submits the winning design will win a single-day admission ticket to Universal Orlando Islands of Adventure which can be used during Ascendio.
Find Us On Facebook! (and Twitter)
Ascendio is on Facebook! If you want the latest updates, have a burning question, or just want to connect with other Ascendio attendees, check out or brand new Facebook Page. Monitored by HPEF/Ascendio staff, it’s the quickest way to get the information you want about Ascendio. Same goes for Twitter! Follow us @HPEF.
MarkReads at Ascendio
HPEF is thrilled to announce that Mark Oshiro of the world-renowned MarkReads.net and MarkWatches.net will be a special guest at Ascendio, HPEF’s eighth Harry Potter fandom event, taking place at the Portofino Bay Resort at Universal Orlando, Florida from July 12 – 15, 2012.
Mark will be hosting discussions about the Harry Potter series as well as at least one meet-up for discussion of everything and anything from MarkReads and MarkWatches.
In May of 2010, after blogging his experience reading the Twilight series, and after avoiding the Harry Potter books and films for years, Mark took a friend’s suggestion to start Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone, and he was not prepared for the journey the books would take him on. His blog became a group read-along as thousands of Harry Potter fans from around the world tried to avoid spoiling upcoming chapters while sharing in Mark’s reactions to the surprises, revelations, quirks, joys and tragedies of J.K. Rowling’s stories. Mark continues to revisit Harry Potter on Mark Reads and is currently working his way through Sorcerer’s Stone; this time, nobody’s worried about spoilers! Read more about Mark here
Formal Programming – Call For Papers!
The Ascendio Call For Papers is out! Ascendio, and the wonderful programming to attend, is totally and completely in your hands. We welcome proposals from every types of attendee — academics, shippers, crafters, artists, cos-players, fanfic writers, WizardRock artists & fans, authors and more!
Our conference theme this year, Taking Flight, echoes the many breathtaking heights and perilous flights throughout the Harry Potter series: we recall Fawkes’s mournful exodus from Hogwarts after the death of Dumbledore; Harry’s sheer joy on his wild dive to catch Neville’s Remembrall; the thrills of Quidditch (both in and out of the book!); Harry, Ron and Hermione’s escape from Gringotts on the back of a dragon; and the three “flights” that shaped the life of Sirius Black, among many other gravity-defying moments. Beyond the literal flights of fancy, there’s the wider theme of rising above challenges — a common theme in Harry’s life, and that of all his friends and family. The possibilities for discussion are endless.
Proposals are sought for presentations, papers, moderated panels, and workshops on any topic relating to the Harry Potter universe and/or the fan community. Special evening sessions will be scheduled for adult programming, and we encourage proposals for a wide range of content.
We welcome programming of all shapes and sizes, including:
- Experiences within Pottermore
- Workshops, including but not limited to crafts, fanart & writing techniques
- Fan-created media, including WizardRock, vidding and more
- Explorations of book-canon & movie-canon
- Discussions of fanfiction and shipping (both het & slash pairings)
- The real-world implications of Harry Potter, transformative works and fan culture
For more details on what each programming session type entails, please see here.
As you put together your Proposal, please note that our form asks you for the following information:
- the title of your panel/roundtable/paper/workshop (be creative, but keep it brief!)
- a brief summary (75 words or less), for use in the program
- a longer abstract (200-500 words) explaining topics to be covered
- The name you wish to have listed in the program (“real name” or fandom pseudonym), as well as the preferred names of any co-panelists or presenters
- contact email for you and any/all co-presenters
- a short biography of you and any other co-presenters (75 words or less)
- any audio/visual requirements, including but not limited to needing a projector/laptop hookup
If you have an idea, but are looking for additional panelists or co-presenters, you can discuss your idea on HPEF’s Ascendio Programming Forum and/or submit a proposal and select the box asking for our assistance in putting together a panel.
Proposal due date: February 1, 2012
Decision date: You will hear by March 15, 2012 whether or not your proposal has been accepted.
We reserve the right to suggest changes to proposals, including but not limited to combining similar or related topics into panel discussions. If you would like your topic to be a panel discussion but do not have co-panelists lined up, please indicate so on your proposal, and we will be happy to connect you with any other like-minded proposals.
Remember: If no one proposes it, we CAN’T include it on the programming slate! If there’s some programming you particularly want to see at Ascendio, propose it – or convince someone you know to bring it forward!
Birds of a Feather… Call for Fan Meet-Ups
Birds of a feather flock together! Find other like-minded fans at Ascendio by coordinating a meet-up. From shippers to doll enthusiasts, even to fans of other fandoms (Hunger Games! Merlin! Game of Thrones!), meet-ups are a great way to connect with other con-goers who love the same things. Our Meet-Up Chair, Noe, is happy to assist groups in finding space to meet at the convention. We will have limited rooms available during formal programming hours, but most rooms will be available to book after-hours — large and mid-sized meeting spaces will be allocated to groups on a first-come, first-served basis. You can bring your own snacks in, so now’s the time to plan that Remus/Sirius indoor picnic! Meet-up information sent to HPEF before May 1, 2012 will be included in a special section of the program, so like-minded fans can find you. All meet-ups submitted to us by that date will also be included on the Ascendio website.
To request meet-up space and/or submit your meet-up information for the Ascendio program, please use this form.
Have other types of Informal Programming you’re just itching to propose? Please submit your ideas to email@example.com with “Call for Informal Programming” in the subject line.
Volunteer for Team Ascendio!
Emeline, our Volunteer Coordinator, wants to hear from YOU. If you’re interested in helping out with Ascendio, there are many opportunities both as we get ready for our amazing event and on-site, at the event itself.
Click here to fill out the Volunteer Form and be placed in our Database; someone from either the Volunteer Desk or the specific committee you’re interested in will contact you within two weeks or so.
Ascendio is run entirely by volunteers. From the board and senior staff to the on-site volunteers, HPEF events wouldn’t be what they are without help and commitment from its attendees. By volunteering, you can help shape Ascendio, meet fellow fans before the symposium, and gain an insider’s viewpoint to event planning.
Flourish Klink is the Minister of Magic for Ascendio 2012, which basically means she is our BMOC, the woman in charge, our fearless leader! She has been a fixture in the Harry Potter fandom since 2001, and was instrumental in getting Harry Potter added to fanfiction.net, and in starting Fiction Alley. Literally growing up with Harry Potter, Flourish’s first HPEF con was Nimbus 2003, which she attended when she was just 13. In 2009, she was the Co-Chair of Formal Programming for HPEF’s 6th con, Azkatraz. Her most recent fannish project has been writing a text adventure set in the Harry Potter universe, entitled Muggle Studies. Flourish lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her partner Nick. At Ascendio, look for the tall woman, possibly with blue hair, running around and taking care of business!
In each newsletter leading up to Ascendio, we will be spotlighting a different aspect or area of our fabulous venue, from where to eat to the non-Potter activities you will find. For our first outing, we thought we’d tell you a bit more about our host hotel, the Loews Portofindo Bay hotel (and how you can book your room!)
The Loews Portofino Bay hotel is an exquisite resort located right on Universal Studios Orlando’s lot, just steps (or a boat ride!) from Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure (and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!) and CityWalk. The Portofino will transport you to Italy with it’s rustic, romantic features, including cobblestone walkways and outdoor cafes. Guest rooms feature Italian furnishings and marble finishes, and the Portofino is home to not one, but eight restaurants and lounges. We can’t think of a more ideal location to discuss and celebrate the Harry Potter series & world.
Universal Studios Orlando’s Loews Portofino Bay hotel has granted HPEF a special price for groups of up to four people attending Ascendio. The price per room night for each of these hotels will be $210 for up to four people per room, which is a terrific discount from their standard pricing, where they have an additional charge for the third and fourth people in a room. Right now, the room rate for Muggles is over $330 per night for double occupancy – our rate is almost half that price if four people are in the room!
To find out more and to reserve your room, please visit our special reservation page. You can also call the hotel reservation line at 866-360-7395, or you can fax 407-503-9258. You must provide them with our code – HPEF-ASCENDIO.
More Lodging Information & Perks
Those interested in staying at the Hard Rock Hotel can reserve a room with up to four people for $245 per night. These prices are good from July 8 – 19, 2012 for Ascendio attendees, as well as their friends and family. To book your room, call Reservations at 866-360-7395, mention that you’re coming for Ascendio, and enjoy the rate. If you’ve already made a reservation, we recommend calling back whenever you have a chance to ensure you’re going to get the HPEF-Ascendio rate. And don’t forget that there’s a 25% discount on suites at all three hote ls. Some suites can hold up to five people.
If you stay at the Royal Pacific, the Portofino Bay or the Hard Rock Hotel, you’ll be able to enjoy exclusive benefits that Universal provides only to on-site guests. Each room key-card is also your Express Pass; you’ll skip the regular lines at most rides and attractions. It’s the fastest way to ride by enjoy unparalleled access all day long, as often as you’d like, just by showing your hotel room key card at each express entrance; the Express Pass expedites your wait at the Dragon Challenge and Flight of the Hippogryff; by next summer, it may work on Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey, but we don’t yet know for certain. Even if you just stay one night at one of the Universal hotels, you’ll enjoy your Express Pass on both of the days, as it works from the moment you you check in until the parks close on the day you check out.
Ascendio attendees who stay at any of the on-site hotels can also take the complimentary shuttle to nearby SeaWorld Orlando or Wet n’ Wild waterpark and charge purchases made in the Parks and at CityWalk to their rooms; priority seating is also available for hotel guests at certain Universal Studios Orlando restaurants.
And don’t forget, if you stay at any of the Universal Orlando hotels, you’ll help Ascendio - meet our room block, and our commitment to the hotel.
Friend us, follow us, join us!
Ascendio is all over the web so there are many ways you can keep up with everything related to next summer’s fun and magic!