Again, apologies for the sporadic updates this week… things have been quite hectic. But let’s catch up by going back to Wednesday shall we?
One of the things Kate and I have had planned for a little bit has been a visit to the new Warner Brothers Studio Tour just out of London. “Why go there?” I hear you ask? Well, it is dedicated to the Harry Potter films. Get to go into the Great Hall? Wander Diagon Alley? You betcha we’re there.
So after a slightly lazy start to the day we left our apartment in Tower Bridge, and headed to Euston Station to get out of London and off to Leavesden. On the way we said hello to Caesar, who hangs out at our tube station of Tower Hill. Kate recreated a photo that has been happening with each visit to London. Who am I to argue?
From there we got to Euston and boarded a train (sadly, not the Hogwarts Express) to Watford Junction. There we hopped on a connecting bus (sadly not the Knight Bus) to the studios.
We were like little kids really. “Holy moly! We’re going to Hogwarts!” was the gist of it. We got there nice and early and had a peruse through the store (which was lucky… more at the end of the post). Of course we were going to try on everything… sorting hats, uniforms, and of course robes…
But then our 2pm ticket time arrived… in we go! After a requisite welcome antechamber, it was off to view the obligatory short film about the Potter phenomenon. It was cool and all, but get me to Hogwarts! Almost as soon as I thought of that, up went the cinema screen and the giant doors opened…
HOLY CRAP! It’s the Great Hall! And in we went to the real start of our journey.
Now the rest of this post will be mostly photos, but I will fill you in on parts along the way. The tour of the Studios is mostly self guided. In the Great Hall they tried to get us through quite quickly to let us loose but also get the next group in. Kate and I didn’t have a bar of that… we weren’t rushing for anyone! So we started our epic stroll through the Potter universe.
The Great Hall was pretty impressive… still set up with food from a banquet, as well as school uniforms, teachers outfits, and the rest of the detail you would expect (except for the ever-changing roof… for that we had to use our imagination). We soaked up every detail and then moved into the main soundstage.
The studio tour is made of 3 main parts… first is the Great Hall then the main sound stage. And holy moly, it was chock full of things, both big and small. This set consisted of minor sets within, including things like the Gryffindor common room, sleeping quarters, Dumbledore’s Office, Hagrid’s Hut, Potion Class Room, Umbridge’s Office, Ministry of Magic… you name it. But along with this was every little detail and piece you could think of.
By the time we got through this section at least 2.5 hours had passed. This opened up into the small outdoor section where we could hitch a ride on the Knight Bus, pop into Privet Drive and visit the Dursleys, check out the giant chess pieces, and have a refreshment. What did we have? Butterbeer of course!
I must say, it is a bit of a scam I reckon. Virtually everybody bought a Butterbeer. Of course you would! But it seemed that many cups were being left unfinished. Our photo essay tells the tale…
But of course I drank all mine, as well as half of Kate’s. In fact by the end of it I got the taste for it I think. Very creamy soda-ish.
From here it was into the 3rd section, which was the other main sound stage area. This one was smaller than the first and dedicated mainly to creature designs to start. Then we turned the corner… and we were in Diagon Alley! Woot! It was very cool to swing by Ollivander’s and the other stores. Alas, no one was there to let these wizards find their wands.
After a brief wander through an area full of production art, we were greeted with what I thought was the most amazing and jawdropping part… and full detailed model of Hogwarts that is used for many camera shots that are mixed in with visual effects. The scale of this thing was amazing, a storey or two high and full of amazing detail. It took my breath away. Talk about saving the best to last.
Which is where we were. The last room was quite sweet, full of wand boxes with names on the end for the 1000’s of cast and crew that worked on the movies. It was fun to search them for all the well-known names.
And with that we were done. We started at 2pm and it was after 7pm by the time we finished. Time to rock the store. But it was then we heard an announcement we hadn’t considered… “A reminder that the last bus to the tran station will be departing at 7:35pm”. Crap! 15 minutes to shop! Luckily we had scoped some things out before we started, so a quick dash to buy up and then a run to the bus, goodies in tow. A rushed end to a magic day. If only we had brought our Nimbus 2000’s we could have just flown home…