Quick note from Sam: I’m not as big a fan as Kailey, but this place was legend….wait for it…..dary!
I know probably most of you out there are not super Harry Potter fans, and neither am I or Sam other than we have read all the books (once) and seen all the movies (once), but we both agreed that if in London we should try to go to the Studio tour.
We booked our tickets ahead of time as we were advised by awesome English friend Anneka who is going at the end of the month. It was one of the best tours we both have ever been on thus far in our lives for any attraction.
I will let most of the pictures speak for themselves, but from the moment we hopped on the Harry Potter Tour bus (minus the fighting London Traffic part) it was a great experience. We had an information video on the bus and then once we arrived at the location everything was wonderful. There is a huge gift shop where you can spend time before your tour begins looking at a zillion HP related objects. They pretty much have it all. Sam and I wandered around the shop for a good half an hour just looking at everything and playing around. We did not get anything at that time as we still had the tour to do and also do not have a lot of ability to bring back things that are big and bulky on this trip. We are mainly focusing on small things and pictures for the trip.
So you your tour begins in a room with everyone else at your time and you watch a little video about how the Harry Potter craze has spread throughout the world and how it was nothing that anyone could have predicted. After that you then walk into a movie theater where you get to see a short film from all the directors and Emma, Daniel and Rupert about the past 10 years making the films. From that point on the “magic” just gets better and better as the entire tour unfolds.
IF YOU PLAN ON GOING TO THE HARRY POTTER STUDIO TOUR DON’T READ PAST THIS POINT…I AM GOING TO TELL SOME OF THE AWESOMENESS IN MORE DETAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
OK, here is the awesome nitty gritty….
First off from the theater room you enter into Hogwarts Great Hall through the actual doors into the actual Great Hall all set up with tables and dishes etc. for a feast. There are also many of the characters costumes on display as they would have worn them in the films. IT WAS AWESOME!!! One thing that is extra cool about the whole tour is that they constantly have the lights on a slow rotation from night to day so that you can see how things looked with light changes (you’ll see in pictures).
After the great hall you visit many more full sets, partial sets, and costumes in a quest to find 15 hidden golden snitches and get your HP passport stamped at various locations throughout the tour. The staff here is super helpful and knowledgable about it all as well ( I may have told Sam that I would totally consider working there). A special thing about the sets is that you get to also get to go into this green screen room and fly the car that the Weasley brother’s smashed into the whomping willow and fly on a broom too around London. The tour people take pictures of you doing these activities that you can purchase afterwards (at completely no pressure). We got two pictures and YES sam did go flying on a broom and he drove the car :-).
From the indoor set area you then get to see several of the outdoor sets on the lot, have a snack if you need one and drink Butterbeer. Come on people you would try it too if you were there. Sam thought it was OK and I didn’t really care for it. It is non-alcoholic and kind of tastes like toffee flavored cream soda.
Post Butterbeer experience you then enter the world of anamatronics, sketches, concept art and scale models of just a about anything you can imagine. The anamatronics section has two cast members you follow around a “warehouse” from screen to screen to see how everything works and how they made stuff. It was pretty cool. The drawings of everything was impressive and I can imagine we just saw a glimpse of how many there actually were. The concept art was definitely something Sam and I would consider purchasing if possible, the paintings were as impressive an everything else and the Scale models… WOW talk about detail. I felt like I was in an architects magic world.
After this part you enter the Full set of Diagon Alley with all of it’s shop fronts etc. used in the movie. You can’t go in the shops (apparently in the Orlando Universal Studio HP Ride area you can go in the shops there) but it was still super cool to see and walk Diagon Alley.
Last, is definitely the Gem of the HP Studio Tour. Well walking into the Great Hall was pretty Amazing, but this was definitely breath taking. You get to see and walk around a FULL SCALE MODEL (1:24) of HOGWARTS CASTLE AND GROUNDS. It even has working lights and some landscape. As you can see by the pictures, it was definitely impressive! It was used for filming fly over shots, seasonal shots, and fly through shots when owls or people on brooms etc. were flying around the castle.
To bring the entire tour to a close you then enter an Olivander’s type shop room where everyone who has ever worked on the films of the 10 years of their making has their name on a wand box. It is impressive to see this and how many people it took to make the films over the years.
The wand room dumps you out into the gift shop again where you can decide if you would like to purchase anything. I got a Gryffindor Scarf and Luna’s wand. A side note about the wands. In the first film all the actors were given particular wands, but from the second film on each actor picked their own wand that they felt best fit their character they were playing. I thought that was cool. Luna’s is a tulip as she picked her wand in Spring.
As a last comment about this amazing day. You travel 1.5hrs each way by bus if you decide to take the tour bus (you can also get yourself there if you choose by car, train or whatever). Your return bus ticket is for 3.5hrs after you arrive, upon when you arrive you wondering how is it possible the tour is that long. It is self guided and you could totally run through it, but as with most people there that 3.5hrs was just barely enough time to see it all and to enjoy the experience fully. I now understand why the initial tour guide that lead us in said, some people are there for 8hrs.
I hope you enjoyed the pictures!