To celebrate the launch of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the Snook and I took a trip on the Gleewarts Express courtesy of Gleebooks. We joined Amy, Rob, and 800 other people aboard a steam train to a fictional wizarding village. And it was SO FUN!

Sirius Black

Getting up at 4 in the morning wasn’t fun though. We had to be at Central Station at 5:30am so Amy and Rob slept over. Here’s Rob as Sirius Black enjoying his breakfast. He didn’t even have to comb his hair!

Madam Pince

Amy is a librarian and thus went as Madam Pince, Hogwarts Librarian. Pretty witchy, eh?

Sirius the Insane

Sirius works his “insane” face… which might be scarier were he not holding a half-eaten banana muffin in his other hand.

Queueing up!

We walked up to Central Station – getting some weird glances from nightclubbers stumbling home – and found ourselves in the midst of hundreds of wizards. Here we are lining up to board the train.

Sirius and Madam Pince

Yeah, Rob’s already gettin’ tired of makin’ that face.

Quidditch team

Check it out – an entire Quidditch team! These girls definitely had the most memorable costume of the day. Oh, and check out Neville’s Grandma with them…

Next stop: Hogsmeade

One thing I loved was how much everyone at Gleebooks stayed in character and helped maintain the fantasy. We never knew exactly where the train was going other than “Hogsmeade.” They even had that show up on the departure screens! (The Sydneysiders did have a laugh over the fact that the only stop before Hogsmeade was Redfern.)

Mad rush

Of course, having 800 crazy adults and children maintain an orderly queue was a pipe dream. As soon as the train pulled up, all pretense of waiting patiently vanished.

Platform 9 3/4

Check it out – Platform 9 3/4!

Finding our seats

We were assigned to Carriage 8, which seemed to have been reserved exclusively for adults. That was pretty thoughtful of them! There were twenty carriages in all and several of them were the compartment-type design like in the books. It was pretty comfy for an old train, I’ll say!