OH MY GOODNESS IT WAS THE BEST THING EVER! ASDHFHFKLKJKJ!!!! I AM STILL NUMB. I DIED A THOUSAND TIMES IN THAT PLACE!
THANK YOU ENGLAND.
*cough cough* Let’s begin.
For those who do not know, the studio where the ‘Potter’ films were created was opened to the public back in March. Not a museum dedicated to the Harry Potter franchise, THE ACTUAL LOCATION OF THE REAL SETS.
Yeah, pretty freakin awesome. Puts the theme park in Florida to shame.
We arrived at Watford Junction Station outside of London around 12:50pm, where a shuttle picked us up to take us to the studio. There was a crowd but we all managed to fit on. 15 minutes later, we arrived!!!
Yes, I was freaking out like a little kid. Anyhoo, we go pick up our tickets and buy a virtual guide (well worth the money). Our time slot was not until 2pm, so we looked around the gift shop for a bit before getting in the queue. As we wait we are treated with the cupboard under the stairs as well as some background history of the books, films, etc.
Finally, it is our turn to enter. About 60 of us go into this room with screens all around, and once the doors close, we are welcomed by one of the tour guides who goes into a speech about the place, etc etc. Then we watched an introductory film about the books and the movies, and yes I was getting a bit emotional. lol
Then we we enter into a theatre where we watch a longer film narrated by Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Daniel Radcliffe and they talk about their time spent at the studio and show behind the scenes footage. It ends with the trio saying ‘Welcome to Leavesden’ as they disappear behind the door into the Great Hall. The screen rises and we see
THE ENTRANCE TO THE GREAT HALL, KILL ME NOW. *cough cough*
But yes, we are greeted by the tour guide who ushers us into the Great Hall and it was amazing.
After taking a million pictures we start the self-guided part of the tour. So we plug in our headphones and start working our way through the 31 stops of the studio. It is narrated by Tom Felton and it was really neat because as you are looking at things he points out ‘if you look to the left you can see, etc.’
I will give a brief summary of the stops (there is no way I am going to talk and post pics of all of them).
First off is the art behind the movies, we see some of the wigs and costume designs of the characters.
We move onto the Gryffindor Boy’s Dormitory:
Mirror of Erised:
Gryffindor Common Room:
We got to the entrance to Dumbledore’s office, only to find out that a guy was in the middle of a MARRIAGE PROPOSAL. She said yes! I mean, c’mon, if a guy is going to propose in front of Dumbledore’s office, you HAVE to say yes.
Then there is the special effects bit, where we see how they filmed the broomstick scenes etc. THEN we were allowed to experience the special effects for ourselves, we we waited in a 45min line in order to fly in the Ford Anglia (feature photo) and BROOMSTICKS. We were given robes (Gryffindor, of course) and they put us on broomsticks and we were flying and the wind was blowing through my hair and it was ridiculously cool. We were not aloud to take pictures of this part of the tour - because they want you to buy the real photos, ha. Worth the money. Although, I looked weird on the broom so I didn’t buy that photo.
We saw The Burrow, Department of Mysteries, Umbridge’s Office, Voldemort and the Death eaters, and the Ministry of Magic portions. Then we head outside - had to be my favorite part of the tour. BUTTERBEER. PRIVET DRIVE. THE KNIGHT BUS.
There was also Hagrid’s motorbike and the Ford Anglia that you can take pictures in, as well as the Potter’s House in Godric’s Hollow and the Chess Pieces from the first film. We took a break to drink our Butterbeer. It tasted like creme soda with a creamy foam and butterscotch syrup on top.
Afterwards we head back inside to see more behind the scences art work into making the characters believeable.
Then we turned the corner and we find ourselves in DIAGON ALLEY. Gringotts. Ollivanders. Flourish and Blotts. Qudditch Supply Store. Weasley Wizard Wheezes. It was ALL THERE. I had to take a moment to let it sink in.
Once we left there we are back in the drawing department where they made the scetched to characters and developed the sets. Then we turn another corner and my heart failed.
It is a life-sized version of Hogwarts. They built this to during those transitions scenes in the movies where they show shots of the castle, they actually used this model. The thing is the size of a small house. I KID YOU NOT.
Finally we enter a room where there are hundreds of wand boxes that represent all of the people who put their time and effort into these movies. It was really neat. Tom Felton says goodbye on our virtual guide people are getting teary-eyed.
We exit and end up back in the giftshop.
I was just so overwhelmed with all the information I just took it about the films, and my finger was sore from taking nearly 500 pictures and my legs tired from wondering around for the past 5 hours.
It was the most unforgettable thing I have ever experienced.
(I hope this post made sense, I only covered the surface of the tour, there was MUCH more that I left out, there was loads to see. If you are ever in London you MUST GO).