Saturday, 25 July 2015

Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio Tour

The most “magical” place on earth

I think the above quote is often associated with Disneyland/World. However, on this occasion, I think the Warner Brother’s Harry Potter tour in Watford takes the crown. Yes that’s right, I’ve FINALLY gone to see the set and props that were responsible for creating the wizarding world seen in the 8 globally popular films. Whoopee and it was indeed an exciting day. Despite having to get up in the early hours to catch the train and then the bus, I managed to arrive at Hogwarts around 45 minutes before the gates were lifted. It made taking photos of the reception area much easier seeing as it wasn’t crowded!

In the reception...
Emphasis on the number of photos taken at the famous door
The great and grand dining hall
After entering the studio, we were greeted by a wall (or cube) of posters that advertised the famous film in multiple languages (think Chinese, French etc.). Having marveled at them and spotted the ones that we could comprehend, the doors to a mini cinema then opened automatically where we watched a short clip that summarized all of the movies with a short commentary by the three protagonists (Harry, Ron & Hermione). Thereafter we walked as a group towards the door of great dining hall, took a few embarrassing (but funny) photos, and began our magical adventure.

Image roll - just a couple of my favorites

One word: breathtaking

I don’t think there was a second where I didn’t feel enchanted by the spectacular items that were on display before me. From statues to staircases, costumes to Crookshanks, and wands to Weasley Wizard Wheezes, every aspect of the studio was utterly bewitching.

The famed cupboard under the stairs
Pottering around the fan store

What I found the most interesting was how the movie was put together. I never knew that a robotic head was placed on a taller Hagrid double, for the original actor was not exactly a 7ft tall giant (he was around 6ft something, still pretty tall though!), or that the room where Potions was held had previously been used as the three-headed canine monster, Fluffy, in the Sorcerer’s Stone. It’s utterly amazing how much they’ve managed to transform a couple of simple types of equipment with just a bit of imagination. If there’s something I’ve learnt from this trip, it’s that magic does exist: in films!

Next stop...

If you ever go to the Harry Potter tour, be sure to try the (non-alcoholic) butter beer (which is also available as an ice cream flavor). It’s sweet, creamy and somewhat fizzy; kinda like a butterscotch soda pop! Definitely hit the spot after a long walk in the first part of the tour. Now if only I could get some more of that in the muggle world…

The perfect beverage for a quick pit stop!

Movie magic at its best

The circle of life wands
In truth, it is immensely difficult for me to pick what my most favorite part of the tour was. Every bit of it was magnificent. But since you so kindly asked me, I’ll say that it was Diagon Alley. Loved how we could wander up and take photos of every single shop there, simply sensational.

I was also charmed by the life size model of Hogwarts; I mean honestly, have you SEEN the detail and time that was needed to construct the school bridge? Dumbledore's office was equally as fantastic - the detail put into every aspect of it was simply incredible.

Hogwarts's exterior and interior (Dumbledore's Office)

And of course, I daresay I was not the only one who was delighted to see a beautifully hand-drawn sketch of Dobby the house elf on the wall (it’s in the photo below).

But aside from the treasures and treats that crafted the fantasy world I was exploring, the absolute highlight of the day for myself personally was being able to visit the studio with some long-lost friends. I like travelling alone, but it’s always a bit more fun to go somewhere with others (it was also useful for me on that day as well seeing as my camera had broken but theirs hadn’t).

Wizard treats and snacks

Educational and entertaining – I went back with a very big smile on my face after a day of catching up with friends and magic at the Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio tour.

All aboard the Hogwarts express

Don’t believe me? Go see for yourself ;)

The most stunning view ever.

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