Anyone who knows me, will know how much I love Harry Potter. Well maybe not readers of my blog, because I’m not exactly a die-hard-in-your-face fan. I adore the books, and have seen the movies countless times. Since Warner Bros Studio Tour opened I have wanted to go, I just have never got around to it. Well that was until last week, me, Sam, Toni, and Emily headed off in the morning. We actually got there a whole hour and half early so decided to grab breakfast in the nearby Harvester. I’m actually really glad we decided to head to harvester first, Emily ate lots of food, and it kept her going until about 2 hours into our tour.
When you arrive, you turn off onto the road leading to Warner Brothers Studios. The place was set out really well and the car park attendants were lovely, they check your print out ticket as you drive in. Then we were directed towards the car park, once you’re in the carpark another attendant then shows you to a car park space, it saves so much time driving around trying to find a space. If you booked your ticket online, you simply walk up to the window and pick up your ticket. I like how they ask for ID rather than just going by the print out, it insures no one else can claim your ticket. Once you get inside, they search your bags and use a handheld metal detector on you. The security staff were really polite and happy to make conversation while they did this, I was actually surprised how fast the whole process was.
Once we got through security, we joined the queue for our tour to start, we weren’t actually waiting for that long, while you were in the queue you could see the cupboard under the stairs. I thought it was brilliant they added it in the queue as it was something to look at and keep you distracted. The only issue was it got a little over run as everyone wanted to see it, and I was a little disappointed it wasn’t located in the actual house. We were taken into a little room where a guide told us a little bit about the studio and the history behind the making of the Harry Potter films, they also told us how the studio tour works, and laid down some ground rules, which I found really useful.
We were then taken into a cinema room, where we watched a film clip about the making of the films, this even featured Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint which I thought was a lovely touch. You then head into the studio tour via the Hogwarts doors. Honestly I can’t even begin to tell you how magical it was. The doors lead you into the great hall just like in the film, which is where your tour starts. After we had made it through the great hall, we were kind of left to our own devices, which I actually really loved. It gave us time to explore all the various areas in our own time, which actually took a lot longer than we origionally thought because we had a toddler with us. There were lots of people with digital guides, and tour guides everywhere who were willing to answer your questions which I thought was a lovely touch.
Emily was really impressed with the chocolate bunnies, and the props for the Yule ball. It was nice to see that she enjoyed herself, even though she isn't a Harry Potter fan (yet) and didn't understand much of what was around her. It just goes to show, even if your not a Harry Potter fan there is still the potential to be wowed. I really enjoyed seeing how some of the special effects were created, and the costume department was incredible. It must take hours and hours to create some of the costumes. Hats off to the people behind the scenes - they do a amazing job!
Our next stop was platform 9¾, As soon as Emily spotted Hogwarts Express; she was gone. She kept pointing to the train, and shouting 'Choo Choo'. Many of my readers will know Emily is absolutely obsessed with trains and vehicles, so it was definitely the highlight of her day. We planned on going onto the train, to get a photograph of the four of us on the carriage, but the line was so long, that we decided to give it a miss. There was also quite a few of the trolleys going into the wall set up, There is three, one which is to have a professional photo taken. You can take your own photos at the remaining two trolleys though.
The backlot Cafe and a Butterbeer station is situated between the two studios. We actually took a picnic with us, as Emily is a fussy eater. We did treat ourselves to some Butterbeer, and the Butterbeer ice cream - which were actually really reasonably priced. I wasn't all that keen on the Butterbeer as I found it much to sweet, the ice cream was really nice, and Emily ate most of that. I did like that there is a outside area called the Backlot. Emily was able to run around and burn of some energy, while we ate our lunch. There was also lots of photo opportunities. The Knights bus, Privett Drive, Weasley's car, Hagrids Bike, Hogwarts bridge, and the cottage were all in the backlot. Emily was in her element as she loved the vehicles and really enjoyed playing in the car.
We then walked through to Studio K, where we saw creature effects, the art department, and the model room. I loved looking at the creature effects and could have stayed in there a lot longer. There was a movie playing throughout telling you about all the different effects and how they are created. I did find it was much to loud and busy to actually hear it. I felt like there should be a movie you can buy of that part of the tour, because I actually would find that really interesting.
Diagon Alley was next, and was one of the things my lovely friend Toni was most excited about. I can now see why Harry Potter is a little bit speechless when he is first introduced to Diagon Alley. When stepping onto the magical street, it is hard not to imagine you’re actually there. Every small details have been thought out, with shop signs, displays and the rustic wooden appearance of the stops fronts carefully constructed. It was by far one of the most magical places on the tour.
The last thing you see on the tour is Hogwarts, and it really doesn’t disappoint. We spend a good half an hour walking around the Hogwarts model, taking it in. It was absolutely mesmerising, and you could watch the castle change from day to night. As soon as we finished the tour, both me and Toni said we couldn’t wait to re-read the books.
I do think that the it is an absolutely incredible place to visit, and it is very rare that you can get up and close to the movie props, and find out how all of the special effects were created. In my opinion you definitely won’t regret a trip there. There was so much to do and see, and I definitely think it is worth the adult ticket price of £35. You could easily spend the whole day there exploring. We spent a good 4-5 hours there, and we had a toddler with us. We had such a lovely day, and would recommend the experience to anyone. I found the whole thing fascinating, and really enjoyed learning just how much work went into creating the film set and all of the props.
- I was given tickets to Warner Bros. Studio Tour for the purpose of the review, however all opinions are my own.
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