A Real ‘Harry Potter’ Wizarding School Is Opening Next Year

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Though it’s coming too late for those of us who spent our 11th birthdays waiting in vain for an owl-post acceptance letter, the dream of millions of other Harry Potter fans is finally about to become a reality. Yes, Hogwarts really exists—or at least it will soon!

Next spring, the Potter superfans at the Mimbulus Mimbletonia Association are opening the Muggle world’s first official school of witchcraft and wizardry. According to Metro.co.uk, the school will be housed in an old château (so, basically a castle) in Bourgougnague, in southern France.

The first session is scheduled for May 25-28, 2017. During those four days, students will go under the Sorting Hat, take Quidditch lessons and enroll in classes like Charms and Potions.

“Mimbulus Mimbletonia is organizing an event based on the first book in the saga, ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,'” the Association explained in an announcement on its Facebook page. “Come and take part in the sorting ceremony, enroll for courses in botany, spells, potions, and of course Muggle Quidditch. Do not forget to collect points for your house, so that it can win the cup!’

The Details

Unfortunately, admission isn’t as easy as waiting for a letter-toting owl to arrive. This four-day event is only open to 100 students, reports DesignTAXI. Participants must be at least 16 years old by May 2017, and those under 18 will need parental permission.

The trickiest part, though, is the language. Students don’t need to know Parseltongue, but since Mimbulus Mimbletonia is based in France, all activities will be in French. If you don’t speak French, you might have to keep your fingers crossed for an English-speaking school soon!

Tickets for the program are set to go on sale in December. There’s no information on ticket prices yet, but the costs will cover four days of activities, three nights of lodging and all meals at the school.

Don’t even think about trying to sneak in if you aren’t lucky enough to snag one of those 100 golden tickets, though. All together now, “There’s no Apparating on school grounds!

And here’s some fun facts about the Harry Potter franchise:

Photo by brittreints

Pentatonix’ Rendition Of ‘Hallelujah’ Is All You Need To Hear Today

Grammy Award-winning a cappella group, Pentatonix, has done it again!

After releasing this beautiful “Jolene” cover with Dolly Parton in 2016, the group dropped a holiday album titled, “A Pentatonix Christmas.” On the album is a rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”  And we have to warn you… It will give you serious goosebumps. The cover of this classic song is truly beautiful, making it feel like the holidays year-round! Check out the song and the music video below.

Since its release, the music video has gone viral, and Pentatonix fans have gone wild about the new song.

In addition to “Hallelujah,” “A Pentatonix Christmas” features 10 other holiday songs, each more wonderfully stunning than the last. From a modern twist on the classic tune “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” to a peppy take on NSYNC’s song “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” and a few originals, this is a must-have on your holiday list!

We have a feeling that this version of “Hallelujah” would warm even Scrooge’s heart during the holidays.

Love this song? Make sure you check out this 1,500-person choir singing it with Rufus Wainwright (who performed the version made popular from the movie “Shrek”).

[h/t: TODAY]

The Smithsonian Is Raising $300K To Preserve Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers

Is there a more iconic visual from “The Wizard Of Oz” than Dorothy’s sparkling ruby slippers?

Well it turns out they’re starting to show their years and aren’t quite so eye-popping these days. In order to save the famed footwear worn by Judy Garland in the film, the Smithsonian Museum has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise $300,000 to repair the shoes and create a display case that will better preserve them for future generations.

The Smithsonian had the iconic slippers on display for years, but the decades have taken a toll—the colors are fading and the sequins are falling off.

As you can see here, the museum is already roaring towards the $300,000 Kickstarter goal. Seems like a lot to fix up some shoes, but those funds will go towards research to see how best to preserve them, and for a climate-controlled display case.

Real Simple notes that although the museum is federally funded, these types of restoration projects aren’t—which is why they’re turning to the public. (They used the same type of campaign to restore the Neil Armstrong Apollo 11 spacesuit.)

Don’t worry, Dorothy, your shoes will be back in clicking form in no time!

Photo by dbking

Which Last Name Is Most Popular In Your State?

It seems like we all know someone who is a Smith or Johnson, and that’s because those last names, along with Williams, Brown and Jones, are the most popular surnames in the United States, according to data from the US Census.

When you look at the popularity of last names on a state-by-state basis, those names still dominate, but what about the most distinctive family names beyond the top five?

Researcher Simon Davis decided to dig into this, and he came up with a map of the most distinctive last name by state.

RELATED: This Map Shows The Largest Company In Each State

To come up with this map, he calculated the difference between the state and national prevalence of each of the top 250 last names nationwide, based on Social Security Administration data, according to Mental Floss. The highest value reveals the last name that is most popular in that state.

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Mental Floss

The regional differences are quite interesting, as they reflect the demographics and immigration history of each state. For example, in the Southwest, Latino names are common, whereas in the Midwest, German and Scandinavian names are more popular.

RELATED: Here Is The Best City In Every State To Buy A Home

To read more information about how this map was created check out this post on SimonKnowz. Do you know a lot of people with the most popular last name in your state?

This Wedding Reception Featured Adorable Disney-Themed Guest Tables

Once upon a time (isn’t that how all Disney stories begin?), Ty proposed to Ashley, right near Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. That alone pretty much guarantees that these two will have a Disney-themed wedding, right?

The bride and groom are both huge fans of Disney, of course, and we love the subtle but special ways they tied various Disney movies into their wedding reception.

These are Carl and Ellie’s chairs from “Up” on the cake. (Awww!)

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7 Centerpieces

The tables at the Houston reception each had a different Disney movie theme.

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Degrees North Images

According to PopSugar, “The Little Mermaid table included a dinglehopper and a snarfblatt, and the “Beauty and the Beast” table featured Lumiere, Mrs. Potts, Chip, and a rose that Ashley made herself. Other tables were inspired by “Tangled,” “Cinderella,” “Frozen,” “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “Alice in Wonderland.”

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Degrees North Images

RELATED: Disney And Toms Team Up To Create The Perfect Shoe Collection

Bride Makes Some Disney DIY Magic

The site 7 Centerpieces notes that many of the centerpieces were the DIY handiwork of the bride.

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7 Centerpieces

What a sweet Disney tie-in!

RELATED: Check out these photos from Serena William’s magical Disney-inspired wedding:

If you’re looking for more Disney wedding inspiration, how about these ideas?

We have 20 magical Disney wedding cakes that will make you want to plan a fairytale wedding. Check out some of our favorites, shared on Instagram by Disney Weddings.

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And check out this Christmas-themed cake that also promises a Disney-style happy ending.

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This “Beauty and the Beast”-themed rose cake might be our favorite.

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If you want to go big, you can actually get married in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom!

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You can also tie the knot at Epcot, as seen in the photo shared below by Disney Weddings:

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And don’t worry, Disneyland lovers! You can tie the not at your favorite theme park, too. Michelle and Brian said they wanted to “share the magic and wonder we feel when we’re at the parks with our closest friends and family,” in a post shared on Facebook by White Rabbit Photo Boutique.

Can’t get enough Disney magic? Check out this video for a little extra pixie dust:

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You Can Visit The Real-Life Halloweentown This Fall

Disney Channel’s “Halloweentown” has become a holiday favorite. If you’re like me, you’ve seen the movie about a million times, and Halloween simply wouldn’t be the same without viewing it at least once during the fall season.

And while watching the movie each year at home is great, wouldn’t it be a dream come true to be able to visit the real-life Halloweentown? Well, for the people of St. Helens, Oregon, this is their everyday reality. St. Helens is the town where “Halloweentown” was originally filmed back in 1998! Each year, starting Oct. 1, the town transforms into the real-life Halloweentown, straight out of the movie.

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The month-long festival is known as “The Spirit of Halloweentown,” and the celebration will be extra-special this year because Kimberly J. Brown, aka “Marnie,” will be returning to host a full weekend of Halloween events!

According to Good Housekeeping, there will be numerous activities throughout the weekend, such as a masquerade ball, haunted tractor rides and a scarecrow contest. And if here is one event that you just shouldn’t miss, it’s the giant pumpkin lighting on Oct. 8!

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And while you unfortunately can’t take a ride on the magical school bus to get to the event, you may be able to catch a haunted cab ride with Marnie and everyone’s favorite skeleton, Benny!

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Tickets for “The Spirit of Halloweentown” are selling out fast, so be sure to get yours before it’s too late! Get the full list of events and tickets here.

[h/t: Buzzfeed]

Hallmark Channel Announces 2016 Christmas Movie Schedule

The Hallmark Channel has rolled out their 2016 Christmas movie schedule, and here’s a look at the original movies they have in store for us. Now, where’s that eggnog…

“A Wish For Christmas”

Show date: Saturday, October 29th, 8/7c

Starring: Lacey Chabert (“Mean Girls”), Paul Greene (“A Christmas Detour”)

Chabert stars as Sara Shaw, who keeps a low profile at work. But when her big Christmas idea is stolen, she asks Santa to help her stand up for herself. Santa grants her wish, but she only has 48 hours to make it happen.

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“The Mistletoe Promise”

Show date: Saturday, November 5th, 8/7c

Starring: Jaime King (“Hart of Dixie”), Luke Macfarlane (“Brothers and Sisters”)

“Every Christmas Has A Story”

Show date:  Saturday, November 12, 8/7c

Starring: Lori Loughlin (“Fuller House”), Colin Ferguson (“Eureka”), Willie Aames (“Charles in Charge”)

Loughlin is a TV personality who really messes up by admitting she “hates Christmas.” While, um, on the air. Afterwards, she’s invited to the “Most Christmas-y town in America” to try and buff up her image.

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Hallmark Channel

“Christmas Cookies”

Show date: Sunday, November 13th, 8/7c

Starring: Jill Wagner (“Wipeout”), Wes Brown (“True Blood”)

Aunt Sally’s Christmas Cookie Company gets sold to a big ‘ol evil corporate conglomerate, and Hannah the exec (Wagner) has to close the deal and shut Aunt Sally’s factory down. The factory happens to be the main business in the town of… wait for it… Cookie Jar. And… she meets the factory owner and falls in love with him.

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Hallmark Channel

“Home & Family Holiday Special”

Show date: Thursday, November 17, 8/7c

Hosted by: Mark Steines and Debbie Matenopoulos

“Journey Back to Christmas”

Show date: Friday, Nov. 25, 8 p.m.

Starring: Candace Cameron Burre, Oliver Hudson

A nurse from the World War II Era travels in time to 2016. She meets Jake, who teaches her that the true meaning of Christmas remains the same, all these years later. The spirit of the season is timeless.

“My Christmas Dream”

Show date: Saturday, November 19, 8/7c

Starring: Danica McKellar (“Wonder Years”), David Haydn-Jones (“A Cookie Cutter Christmas”), Deidre Hall (“Days of Our Lives”)

Christina Masters (McKellar) is the manager of McDougal’s flagship department store. She wants the manager gig of the new Paris location. She’s out to impress her boss by creating the best Christmas holiday window ever. She turns to a recently-fired employee who happens to be a talented artist and single dad with one young son. Business soon becomes personal, and the bells start jingling with love.

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Hallmark Channel

“A December Bride”

Show date: Sunday, November 20th, 8/7c

Starring: Jessica Lowndes (90210), Daniel Lissing (When Calls the Heart)

“Christmas In Homestead”

Show date: Wednesday, November 23rd, 8/7c

Starring: Taylor Cole (The Green Hornet) and Michael Rady (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants)

“Christmas List”

Show date: Thursday, November 24th, 8/7c

Starring: Alicia Witt (“Nashville”), Gabriel Hogan (“Heartland”)

Isobel Gray (Witt) has planned a perfect Christmas holiday with her boyfriend, which includes a “carefully composed bucket list of classic holiday traditions.” Uh-oh, the boyfriend goes AWOL and a “tempting new romance turns her life upside down.”

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Hallmark Channel

“Journey Back To Christmas”

Show dates: Friday, November 25th, 8/7c

Starrting: Candace Cameron Bure, Oliver Hudson, & Tom Skerritt

“A Heavenly Christmas”

Show date: Saturday, November 26, 8/7c

Starring: Kristin Davis, Eric McCormack, & Shirley Maclaine

*This movie is from the Hallmark Hall of Fame.

“Broadcasting Christmas”

Show date: Sunday, November 27, 8/7c
Starring: Melissa Joan Hart, Dean Cain, Cynthia Gibb, Jackée Harry, & Richard Kline

“Christmas Angel in Training”

Show date: Monday, Nov. 28, 8 p.m.

Starring: Kristin Davis, Eric McCormac, Shirley MacLaine

Kristin Davies plays a work-holic who has passed away and is now in training to be a Christmas angel in this Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. To become the angel, though, she has to help a struggling musician use music to help his family come together, and she learns about love and the spirit of the season along the way.

“National Christmas Tree Lighting”

Show date: Friday, December 2, 8/7c

“A Dream of Christmas”

Show date: Saturday, Dec. 3, 8 p.m.

Starring: Nikki DeLoach, Andrew Walker

Penny, a young married woman, is granted a wish to become single again. Everything seems great in her new life. Great job, nice car, but she has never met her husband. So, she decides to track him down and fall in love with him all over again.

“Looks Like Christmas”

Show date: Sunday, December 4, 8/7c

Starring: Anne Heche and Dylan Neal

“A Nutcracker Christmas”

Show date: Saturday, December 10, 8/7c

Starring: Amy Acker, Sascha Radetsky, & Sophia Lucia

“Meant to Be”

Show date: Sunday, December 11, 8/7c

Starring: Brennan Elliott

“My Christmas Love”

Show date: Saturday, December 17, 8/7c

Starring: Meredith Hagner, Bobby Campo & Gregory Harrison

“Sleigh Bells Ring”

Show date: Sunday, December 18, 8/7c

Then this is the final (new) original Hallmark Holiday Movie of the season:

“When Calls The Heart Christmas”

Show date: Sunday, December 25th, 8/7c

Starring: Erin Krakow (“Army Wives”), Daniel Lissing (“Last Resort”), Jack Wagner (“Melrose Place”) and Lori Loughlin (“Fuller House”)

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We can’t wait – can you? To see their Hallmark’s New Year shows, click HERE.

 

This Theme Park Is As Close To Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory As It Gets

When I was a kid, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” was one of my favorite movies, and I wanted nothing more than to visit the factory on my own. Sadly, it’s not a real place, but good news—there is a theme park in the United Kingdom that comes pretty close.


One of the largest confectionary manufacturers in the world (Cadbury) has created the appropriately-named Cadbury World, an immersive experience where visitors can enjoy everything chocolate.

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Chee Hiong/Flickr

From learning about chocolate’s historical past to seeing how chocolate is made—and of course lots of tastings—Cadbury World is as close to Willy Wonka’s amazing factory as it gets.

The theme park, which has locations in Birmingham, England as well as Dunedin, New Zealand, allows visitors to see how chocolate is made and packaged, and of course, you can take home lots and lots of chocolate to enjoy later. There’s also a Cadbury Cafe where you can get such delights as a Cadbury Mini Egg Hot Chocolate:

You can take a ride through the chocolate world on a Beanmobile.

There’s even a 4D movie experience that includes motion seats for the full effect.

If you find yourself in one of these two countries, be sure to check out one of their two locations. Willy Wonka may not be real, but this chocolate factory sure is.

And if you want a trip down memory lane, here’s my favorite clip of the original Willy Wonka factory.

Bindi Irwin Posts Sweet Photo Remembering Her Dad On 10th Anniversary Of His Death

It’s been over 10 years since the world lost the adventurous, brave Steve Irwin.

On September 4, 2006, Irwin died doing what he loved. He was attacked by a stingray in a freak accident while filming in Australia. A decade later, it’s his daughter, Bindi Irwin, who reminds us how much of a family man he was.

Bindi was just 8 years old when she lost her father. Now, at the age of 18, she posted a photo of her dad to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of his passing.

The photo shows Irwin holding his daughter in an epic “Lion King” pose. She captioned the photo, “You’ll be my hero for my entire existence. I love you more than words can describe.”

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She’s been open about her struggles coping with his death. According to TODAY, she explained her frustration with the phrase “time heals all wounds” to Australia’s Sunday Style in 2015.

“There really isn’t a greater lie. It’s just not true. It’s like losing a part of your heart,” she said. “And when you’ve lost that, you never get it back. Part of you will always be missing. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with.”

But, it’s her love of the outdoors and the love of her family (she posts about them frequently) that surely would have made her father proud. And that’s something she can be proud of, too.

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Like father, like daughter.

[h/t: TODAY]

Mark Your Calendars! You Can Ride The Hogwarts Express At A Harry Potter Festival This Fall

Cancel your plans for October 21 and 22 because you’ve officially got more important things to do. You’ll be taking a road trip to Philadelphia for the annual Harry Potter Festival at Chestnut Hill College (pictured below).

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The annual celebration is in its fifth year, and you’re not going to want to miss out on the fun. Because seriously, where were you for the other four years? Lucky for you, however, this year’s festival will be the biggest one yet.

Thanks to the SEPTA regional rail lines in the area you’ll be able to literally hop aboard The Hogwarts Express. There will also be a Pub Crawl, a Harry Potter Conference and so much more.

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You can sign up for the October 21 Pub Crawl starting September 28. Most of the activities, aside from the Harry Potter Conference, are free and open to the public. You can pay as you go, depending on which parts of the festival you’d like to join in on.

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There will also be a quidditch tournament taking place. So, if you’ve always wanted to feel as though you were actually attending Hogwarts. Now’s your chance.

Take advantage of not being a muggle for a weekend, and I can pretty much guarantee you, it’ll be the best weekend of your life. Because who wouldn’t choose to be a wizard if given the chance?

RELATED: You Can Now Control Your TV With An Official Harry Potter Wand Remote

Find out more information about the festival and how you can get involved in this welcome reprieve from reality here.

[h/t: Elite Daily]