Today I got up at 7, packed my stuff and found a train to Watford Junction. At Watford Junction there is a shuttlebus for Warner Bros. studio tour – The Making of Harry Potter. My leg is still acting up a bit, but it’s a lot better than yesterday, and also who cares? Cause today was awesome!
I had been told from home that I was to expect an experience of the better, but exactly how amazing the trip behind the scenes of the Harry Potter movies were I had not foreseen. Even if you have not seen the movies or read the books I’m sure it would still be an impressive experience, just to get behind the scenes of a huge movie prodution like that.
I arrived in extremely good time at the studios, so I had a lot of time to look around the gift shop before it was my time to enter the studios at 11:30. The shop is quite large and a lot more impressive than the one at the Doctor Who experience, there are quite a lot of this I would like to have in my home here.
At 11 I didn’t really feel like waiting anymore so I went and asked if I could enter the experience early and was told that this was no problem. While I was in line one of the extremely friendly employees came over and talked to me, inquiring what brought me to London and so on, and I told her that the trip to London was my birthday present for myself and that my birthday was wednesday. This resulted in her equipping me with a small badge that kindly informed people that it was my birthday, and that I was the star of the day. This was kinda fun, but it turns out that the badge also comes with obligations.
The Tour starts with a short film where they tell the story of how the whole movie project started and of course interviews with the stars of the movie about their experience of working here for the last 10 years.
After this the tour starts with a visit to the great dining hall. And this is where I discovered that the badge came with obligations, it turns out that birthdaychildren get to open the great door to the dining room, this felt a bit weird since I’m a grownup, but I’m sure it would have been super exciting if I had been 20-25 years younger.
After the dinig hall the tour continues through a lot of smaller sets and collections of props and costumes, before it gets to a courtyard.
In the courtyard there is a lot more to see, among other things a fullsize version of the Hogwatrs bridge, Number four Privet drive and the Potters house from Godric’s Hollow. This is also the only place in Europe where you can try butterbeer. I sadly did not try it as I was under the impression you could also buy it later, which you can’t, so if you want to try it do i here.
In the next building it was time to look at all teh masks the different characters wore. After that the trip continued to Diagon Alley, this was a very impressive sight to put it mildly. I kinda expected this to be the highlight of the tour, but my audioguide (recorded by Tom Felton/Tom Felton) had hintet at something exciting awaiting me just around the corner, but nobody really wanted to tell me what I had to look forward to. The two guides I talked to just giggelingly told me that I had to see for myself. After having spent a while running around shooting pictures of Gringotts, Florish and Blotts and all the other stores it was time to move on.
The next room was filled with whitemodels (small models of the different sets that are used to building the sets in full scale after) it was very fascinating, but it was not exactly the super exciting thing it had been hyped up to be.
But then I went through a door, and now it totally lived up to the hype. Inside a very large room was a gigantic and super detailed model of Hogwarts castle and it’s surroundings. It’s super impressive, you can look at it for hours and keep discovering new detalis, it may sound ridiculous, but it’s just crazy fascinating to look at, and the lights in the room gradually change so you get to see it at all times of the day. I had always thought that all the clips of the castle were computer generated, but it turns out that in the 6 first movies all the exterior shots were filmed on this model. Accourding to one of the guides it had taken 7 months to build, and it totally shows.
After the castle you exit through Ollivanders and…
Exit through the giftshop
I am super happy that I booked an early entrance, when I got out from the tour the giftshop was crammed, so I am happy I had had a look around before entering, so I could just go pick up the things I wanted, I got a coinset from Gringotts and Luna Lovegoods wand. And now it was time to leave for the airport.
And that is where I am sitting now, there is about an hour till my flight departs.
This has been an awesome week, and I can now say for sure that travelling alone is great and I will absolutely do it again, I don’t know when, but I know it wont be 12 years before I do it again.
PS: todays number is 15617.