Harry Potter – Warner Brothers Studio Tour
I didn’t fool you for a minute, did I? It could only be the Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour – my first visit, a return for my daughter, and I think I was more excited than she was! I feel compelled to share some of it with you. It was utterly fabulous, and in comparison with places like Madame Tussaud’s which has similar entrance prices – much more worth it! Even better, is that apart from the mannequins wearing some of the costumes, everything you see was really part of the films – no reproductions. We took copious amounts of pictures, you could just treat it as one long photo op – but I tried to spend time reading at least some of the explanatory texts and watching snatches of video around the tour – but my inner big kid took over a lot of the time… here’s a few snaps of our favourite bits:
You go through the huge doors after watching a short video introduced by Dan, Emma and Rupert into the Great Hall with its real Yorkstone flagged floor. From there you pass into the Aladdin’s cave of props, costumes and smaller room sets. The level of detail in everything is fantastic!
My daughter still loves Hermione’s ball dress from the Goblet of Fire. I was fascinated by the wigs:
We did some obligatory selfies in the mirror of Erised – it didn’t show anything different, but maybe as we were enjoying ourselves so much …
You could spend hours looking at all the items in Dumbledore’s study, but we did spot the Sorting Hat lurking on a high shelf. Likewise the kitchen in The Burrow (home of the Weasleys) complete with all the animated gadgets. Juliet spotted their cereal box – Cheeri-owls! I marveled at the green tiles of the Ministry of Magic, of my favourite sets.
New for 2015 at the studio tour is the arrival of the Hogwarts Express. (Engine plus one carriage on the full platform 9 3/4)
We went through the carriage – which is a revamped original – I remember those compartmented carriages as a child.
I took an obligatory photo of Juliet pushing her trolley through the wall, but we decided not to pay £14 for an official photo of us sitting in the train carriage.
Then it was time to pause in the cafe for a Butterbeer. We had to try this bizarre beverage, which looks like cider, but tastes a bit biscuity with butterscotch froth on top. The froth is essentially unfrozen ice-cream and was a bit sickly sweet, but it was all part of the fun.
Out onto the backlot to see the Knight Bus, and the exterior of No 4 Privet Drive etc. I loved the rickety Hogwarts bridge – they only ever made the one section, special effects made it span the valley.
Then I indulged in a photo op instead of my daughter, getting behind the wheel of the Weasley’s Ford Anglia! This vehicle is the subject of one of my favourite HP film quotes. The Weasley boys are being told off for using Mr Weasley’s car to rescue Harry:
Molly Weasley: “Your sons flew that enchanted car of yours to Surrey and back last night.“
Arthur: “Did you really? How did it go?“
Next came the animatronics and special effects section. All kinds of servo-driven creatures and things were on display – from Buckbeak, to Hagrid’s head, presided over by Aragog hanging from the ceiling!
Then through a gallery of architectural and technical drawings and card models. It’s a shame that some of the drawings weren’t available as prints – I’d have bought one like a shot, but sadly the only art print in the shop was a small sketch of Hogwarts castle for £40 unframed.
The final highlight of the tour is the huge model of Hogwarts Castle which gets a whole room to itself. A spectacular end to a wonderful experience (although the shock of the prices in the shop is a whole other level of experience!)
A brilliant trip! Have you been? If not, I’d recommend it to all Harry Potter fans, young or old.