Ok, I admit it, I had real doubts about whether this would be worth taking a whole day out of our time in London. In fact, several times I took it off our itinerary to make room for other things. I mean, a whole day?? Especially when we have seen the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida, the Props tour that came through NYC, and the special exhibit at the Warner Brothers studio in LA. I figured, this was going to be more of the same, some new things, but overall – a whole day?! I mean, that means that Stone Henge is out. British Museum probably won’t happen. Giving up a day will be hard.
In the end this made it back on our itinerary, mostly because I knew the girls wanted to go. I keep telling myself this trip is a lot about introducing them to international travel, and that means doing some things for them that I normally wouldn’t do if it was just me. Doing things they will be excited about. So, ok. We will go.
So Tuesday morning we walked 1.5 miles to the Euston train station. The original plan was to take the tube – but everyone was up and ready to leave over an hour early, does that give you an idea of how much they were looking forward to this? So instead of taking the tube, we walked through the city. Except the sprinkling we got on the heads, it was good. Then we took the train, then a bus, and we were at the studio. FYI – I only picked a few pictures to put in here, and it was tough to decide. There are many more good ones.
Once the tour started, it was clearly much different than any of those other exhibits. They still have the sets displayed in the two studio lots they filmed in, and everything on the tour is original from the movie. No reproductions. There were repeated reminders that food and drink were strictly prohibited because of this. Granted, things are set up more museum-ish, but you can really stand in the great hall (and the reveal on the great hall is pretty cool), you can stand in Dumbledore’s office, in potions class, in Gryffindor common room, and the Burrow. You get to see how some special effects were done. We found out that the portraits inside Hogwarts – many were professional, handmade portraits of members of the crew, immortalized in the castle. It was very cool and what I thought would take maybe 2 hours, took more like 5 hours.
When we hit the creature area – how they created all the creatures in the movies, KatieRose took pictures of everything, and could have spent all day there. She LOVED it. Giant dragon head, Aragon suspended from the ceiling, an entire anamatronic Buckbeak, Hagrid’s head. (Did you know that was anamatronic? I didn’t!) It really was some fascinating stuff.
When we got to Diagon Alley, it was shorter than I expected, but so intricate and well done, it was amazing. Last was the artists area. Sketches and concept art for all kinds of characters and scenes. I thought it was interesting, the girls picked different pictures they wanted hanging in their rooms. Then we hit the models of all the different sets, and that was amazing. I cannot imagine the hours and hours and days and weeks some of those models took.
But the grand finale, the model of Hogwarts, was mindblowing. I honestly gasped and almost cried. It was overwhelmingly detailed and beautifully done. You really got a sense of the love and passion the crew must have had for their work.
In the end? Totally Worth It. It made the girls and I want to watch all the movies again. Especially knowing some of what we learned there. If you are a Potter fan, totally worth it.
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