The first time I read “Harry Potter and the Philosopher`s Stone” written by J.K. Rowling, I was in my freshmen year at art school in 2000. So I didn`t really grow up with Harry although we are in the same age group. But I love the whole fictional universe of the wizarding world and therefor it was a must, to visit the “Warner Bros Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter”.
The tour is all about the eight movies and how they came to life and I took more than 600 Photos and would like to show you maybe 100?!?
For those of you who would rather be surprised when they will visit the tour, I recommend to skip the photos at the end of this post. I tried to choose pictures that don`t show to much but it`s not possible to tell you about the awesome experience without sharing some snapshots.
However I do have some helpful advice which might be interesting.
First of all, you should absolutely buy the tickets well in advance, because you have to select an entrance time, and it may already be over-boked. We chose the “complete studio tour package” with a paperback souvenir guide book and the digital guide for 44.95£ per adult. Just the ticket costs 35£ but you really need a digital guide for each person because there are 24 different stations where you can watch interviews, making-of`s, behind the scene photos and much more.
Don`t try saving money on the wrong end!
To plan your stay, keep in mind that you will need at least 4 hours (better make it 5 or 6 if you can)! The studio recommends being there 20 minutes before your time but if you would like to visit the souvenir shop and the toilet first and would like to get your digital guide, then make sure you will be there much earlier than that! I think they meant you will have to QUEUE 20min before your time. But we did queue at the right time and weren`t able to get in at 11:30 as planned (it was 12am when we finally got in and I was not amused).
At the souvenir shop at Warner Bros I had planned to buy a Ravenclaw tie to represent my house but of course they had all other houses except mine. I was so heartbroken! So if you plan your outfit in advance buy all the accessories you will need on the internet and make sure they will arrive before you visit Harry!
So when you get in, there are 2 huge halls and in-between there is a restaurant and an outdoor area. The staff told us we could not get back when we leave the first hall but I think we misunderstood her because you actually can go to the restaurant and then go back. The toilets are at the end of the first hall and right before the restaurant. But just to be sure ask a member of staff! I almost died of thirst because I didn`t want to leave the first hall to get something to drink of fear I could not get back.
It took us 3½ hours to marvel at all the things in the first hall and if you check out all the audio and video information on your digital guide it will take you even longer.
You will see the Great Hall of Hogwarts, costumes, the Gryffindor common room, Dumbledore's office, the potion class room and much more! I posted the photos at the end of this blogpost.
I won`t already mention everything you will see and experience so I don’t spoil it for you! But let me tell you, there is so much to examine and the whole atmosphere will suck you in, even if there are too many other tourists around you.
Just before you enter the restaurant there are vitrines with some examples of the graphic work they used for the movies, like books, letters and maps. When we visited London we didn`t know about “the house of Minalima” but a couple of weeks ago I saw some pictures on Instagram. It`s a museum with all the graphic artwork from the movies and I think it would be great to have a look at it.
The restaurant is ok, nothing fancy, and quite expensive, but we weren`t prepared and didn`t take any sandwiches with us. You are actually welcome to bring your own food to consume in the backlot area or outside picnic area, as I found out recently.
I tried a Butter beer and was honestly surprised that it didn’t taste bad at all. My husband didn`t like it and told me it had a flavour like cream-soda, but I think it`s more caramel like. If you visit the studio with a friend and you never tried a Butter beer, you might take one for both, just to be sure!
Outside you have the chance to visit the privet drive where Harry grew up, the Knight bus, Weasley`s Car, the Hogwarts bridge and a lot more.
At that point we (or rather my always overly-punctual husband) realised, that we had to hurry up because we had to get to London to bring the rental car back.
The first room of the second hall contains all the creatures and the masks and I was a bit sad that we hadn`t the time to examine everything. The digital guide gives you so much interesting information.
And then: Diagon Alley!!!
I never visited the Wizarding World in Orlando or the Warner Bros Studios in L.A after they opened the Wizarding World there, but to step in to this magical little street was just perfect!
All these details, all the unbelievable things in the windows...
I took as many photos as I could and forced my husband every 2 minutes to take photos of me or with me. That was maybe the reason we got into a mini fight. But we weren`t the only ones! I think after 4 hours of pure amazement you get tired and the Diagon Alley seems to be the place where the tension unravels.
But after passing all the drawings, drafts, plans and models, in the next room, we got to the huge model of the Wizarding School. And you can feel how the energy comes back to you just by looking at this wonderful view! You can observe how the morning sun glances over Hogwarts and you hope the tour will never end. But as everything in life has to come to an end, the next room was the last. And I already started to feel a bit home sick for a world I’ve never lived in.
I hope I will soon get the chance to visit Orlando, since I read it must be even better, if that is even possible!
Check out all of the awesome picture I took and believe me when I say that’s only a 1/6 of all the photos I took.
So have fun visiting the Warner Bros Studio Tour in Leavesden and let me know in the comments below how it was for you.