Yesterday I expressed to my friend about how much of a sad geek I am lately with being a little bit obsessed with Harry Potter, Dr. Who and spending far too much time on Pinterest, to which she replied “Lisa, I am in the middle of crocheting a blanket – when I’m not on Pinterest..” I felt much better. Geeks Together!
This conversation took place after our – EPIC – Harry Potter Tour at the Warner Bros. studios. No children, just four big kids (three to begin with, but four once the reluctant one got into the swing of it).
It was completely not what I was expecting, but then again I wasn’t sure what to expect. The only way I can describe the venue is, being its own ‘Room of Requirement’, a jumble-sale junk room filled with shiny objects just waiting to be touched (but you can’t touch..). I had an image in my head of there being hundreds of rooms that were made up to look like the actual scenes from the films, which just goes to show my naïvety of the film making process.
In reality there was about four-five rooms (technically), first you were lead into the Great Hall and ushered out again pretty quickly, to make way for the next tour group, through to one massive room that held..pretty much everything. There were cabinets and cages with props, some little nooks with scenes set up such as; Gryffindor boys dorm (trick of the camera, galore) Gryffindor common room, potions room, Dumbledor’s office and Umbridge’s office, then it was just a free-for-all see what you can spot kind of set up. The four of us barely saw each other in this room, running from one corner to another taking hundreds of photos, taking everything in, yet today realising that we took none of it in. Not really. You can’t when you’re looking at everything through a lens.
But still, what an experience. You really get a sense of the immense amount of work and effort that goes into every single aspect of what you see on and off the screen. The illusions, the detail, the sheer scale and imagination of the project that was Harry Potter, really is quite humbling.
In the treasure trove room you can also experience riding on a broomstick, learn the right way to cast a spell and take a turn in the flying car. I didn’t actually try these things out but the kids that I saw having a go, looked like they were having a whale of a time.
After the prop room, it’s time for Butterbeer, just make sure you’ve seen everything you want to see in the prop room before you leave as you can’t go back in again. You come into a court yard where immediately on your left is a stand selling food and the all important Butterbeer, be prepared for it to be expensive and sickly (share a cup with someone else, otherwise you will end up throwing it down the ‘liquid waste’ bin). Still in the courtyard you have the Dursley’s house, the Knight Bus, Lily and James Potter’s destroyed house and a section of the wooden Covered Bridge to look at.
The next room, at first glance, appears to be some sort of serial goblin killer’s storage room, but don’t worry, they’re just masks. With animatronics and more props to look at, you get an even deeper understanding of the work that went into the films. Both my husband and I left the tour with an overwhelming urge to get into film making, but short of starting up our own company, it’s definitely not what you know but who you know.
Continue on and enter through an archway and you’ll find yourself walking down the cobbled street of Diagon Alley complete with Ollivander’s and Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. Lots of photo opportunities down this street.
This then leads you through to the ‘money shot’ room, a gigantic miniature of Hogwarts Castle. Simply stunning. It has to be seen to be believed.
The last stop on the tour, before the souvenir shop, of course, is through Ollivander’s. Now, this may sound odd, but, I love boxes. My time working in John Lewis and having the boxes as my section to manage, essentially made boxes – my life – for a while at least and I still hold a special place for them in my heart. So, going into a room filled with ‘magical’ boxes, well, I’ll just say, I was in my element. To me, it was a beautiful room.
It’s a shame I will never get to be in one of the Harry Potter films, but I’ve now got my own little taste of Hogwarts history with a picture of me picking a wand at Ollivanders. You know, sort of, the boxes don’t actually come out, looks convincing though, eh?
Next stop, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and then that will be this Bucket List goal ticked off.