After All This Time…Harry Potter Studio Tour

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I am so excited to finally have a new Harry Potter book in my hands!  I picked up my copy of ‘The Cursed Child’ today, and can’t wait to jump into it tonight!

With all of these Harry Potter emotions and memories fluttering about, I thought it was finally time to share my studio tour adventures.  After all, it’s only been three years! 

Guys…you don’t even know…my love for Harry Potter runs deep.  I have literally crossed an ocean to stand on set of this magical world brought to life (wasn’t the sole purpose for my travels, but it was major!).  Guys – this shiz is real!  It’s all still there!  The studio preserved so much from these films it’s just insane!

In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, after the filming of the Harry Potter series ended, the studio decided to keep most of the props and sets up and running for fans to come explore.  Thus, we have ‘The Making of Harry Potter’ Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Leavesden (just outside of London).

Totally overwhelming and magical and beautiful and terrifying…it’s almost too much to take in it’s so real!  Looking back, I so desperately wish we had taken more pictures, but we just spent hours walking around taking it all in; it just felt wrong to dwell on a single photo that could never do the scale of this world justice.

This studio and backlot are huge!  The great hall – real!  After filming at the Oxford dining hall for the first film, they came back to the studio and built the hall, in its entirety, from the ground up with all real materials.  That’s how big we’re talking with these sets.  Full-scale.  No BS.  Ginormously awesome!  Oh and the detail – insane!  From the tiniest prop to the paintings in the background, every tiny, seemingly insignificant detail has been so carefully brought to life.  (Can you tell I’m still excited???)

I’m not even going to try to hide the fact that I shed a tear when those doors opened to the great hall.  It was an absolutely indescribable moment, when something you’ve wanted so desperately to be real, is in fact there before your eyes.  Sure, some of that emotion was from exhaustion and jet-lag, but I’m man enough to say that it was mostly awe at the glorious adventures that stood before me.

The set for the Ministry of Magic was giant!  The way it looks on screen is actually what it looks like in person.  Totally, freaking huge.  Have I said ‘huge’ enough to get my point across?  No, I’m not some nutcase, fangirl.  I mean, yes, I am a fan and a girl, but not totally crazy.  You’ll just have to pardon my excitement.  It’s just that I grew up with Harry Potter.  And while yes, I realize it may be just a tad creepy or weird for a grown woman to be freaking out so much over a fictional world, the truth is that I still believe in that world.  It was my escape when I went through some seriously dark times, and later, it was what helped bring me and my husband together over our love for great literature.  To get to actually go to this world…there just aren’t words.

I even took the most fascinating and enlightening Harry Potter literature course while at university, where you can’t even believe how much detail and history we delved into (J.K. Rowling is a genius!  I bow down to thee!).  This was in the first year that these courses were introduced in colleges around the country, and I can honestly say that I learned more in that one course than I may have in all of my studies for my degree.  So, when I say I know my Harry Potter, I mean it!

Anyway, one of the coolest parts of this studio tour, aside from the obvious, is that many, if not most, of the people working there actually worked on and were in the films.  It was so neat going around and hearing their stories.  While in the dormitory, one Gryffindor told a story of how he made his big screen debut as an extra running in the background of the last film.  During one of the takes, he got stepped on and flew across the set, totally on accident, and got hurt.  Ouch.  But, they loved it so much (I guess that whole dying in pain thing worked for them), they asked him to do it again, and well, it made the final cut.

[Side Note:  If anyone out there is looking to cast someone great at falling on cue, I’m your girl!  Just tell me to walk across a room.  I can promise you I will find a way to fall down, run into something, or get hurt.  Ask anyone who’s ever met me.  Pure gold, right here!]

Oh!  And everything moves!  Like, literally everything!  Even those elements that you might have just thought were CG were actually built and animated.  You walk from room, to room, set to set and everything is real and moving.  Even Buckbeak!  My husband was totally over the moon when he saw Buckbeak!  He was completely built and fully animated.

Some props and puppets were almost too real.  The, hmm, how do you describe this – dead lizard baby Voldemort??  Yeah, he was fully in motion and creeped the hell out of me so much that I had to walk away.  It was like watching your worst nightmare stare you in the face.  Damn, these guys are good!  (Honestly, to me that lizard baby is what all really fresh babies look like…totally terrified of them…I don’t know.)

Anyway, I apologize for these thoughts being so scattered.  There’s just so much to say!  I am absolutely dying to go back!  You almost have to, there’s so much to see.  You must go!

Here are just a few pictures (some old cell phone, sorry) from our visit.  Not sure where the others got off to, but hey!  I guess that means there will be a part two!  Oh, and that one will have video!!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to return to the magical world that is Harry Potter to catch up on the last 19 years!

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(My very own man-Potter.)

Have you been to the Harry Potter studio tour?

VINE & LACE

10 comments

  1. I’ve just picked up a copy of the Cursed Child, I cant wait to dive in! I loved the studio tour, so much so that I would love to go back and do it all again. Your pictures took me straight back, I was so excited to go through those doors to the Great Hall. It was one of the best days out!
    x

    1. Wasn’t it incredible, Catriona?! So glad this was able to take you back for a moment; I know it did me, too! I’m so ready to go back and do it again! I think you have to, there’s just so much to see. I’ll never forget that moment the doors opened to the Great Hall! Hope you’re enjoying the new book!! xo

  2. AHHHHHHHHHH this whole post gives me so many feels!

    My husband and I are actually going to Paris/London in November. I used to live in France, and while there, I spent one full day and two travel days in London, but I was dead broke at the time and mostly did free stuff. This will be my husband’s first time in Europe at all. We have two whole days plus two travel days in London, although I think we’ll try to do an early train there and a late train back.

    I have everything planned except for the first travel day, and I’m trying to convince my husband that we should do the Harry Potter Studio Tour that day. He’s on the fence about it since we just went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter last October, and we can go back to that once a year if we want. (We live in Georgia, so it’s not that far). I feel like I’ve already planned a top-notch itinerary for the other three days to give us plenty of history and culture and architecture. I need Harry Potter too!!!!!!!!

    1. So happy you enjoyed it, Brita! You guys must go while you’re in London! It’s kind of a right-of-passage for both foreigners and Londoners alike 🙂 It’s a quick 20-30 minute train ride from the city and is surprisingly affordable. The town is super cute, too so you can explore before/after. The whole experience is more than worth it and will be for both of you. Honestly, it’s something everyone enjoys, even those who know nothing about the stories (like a few in our party – knew absolutely nothing but loved it!).

      This place is nothing like the park in Florida. The studio tour has everything from all filming departments, from props and sets to puppeteering and animatronics, to engineering, to art, to costuming – everything! My Dad went with us; he’s a hardcore scientist and knew absolutely nothing about the story. I think he had more fun than all of us!

      You guys will have so much fun! Hope you have a great trip 😀

  3. Wow! I had no idea that so many of the sets and props were still there. It sounds like an incredible experience. And I love the photo of you two on the bridge. 🙂

    1. Thanks Kelsey! That’s one of my favorite photos of us 🙂 I love that he’s even wearing some Harry-like glasses he just randomly had lol

      Yeah, it’s crazy how much they kept! Even knowing what I was going to, I had no idea it would be as impressive as it was!

  4. Lovely photos! I definitely want to visit the studios some day, but I need to finish the movies first… I’ve read all the books twice but I’ve only seen a random selection of the films :p (Oh, and I’d need to travel quite far to get there, haha) Thanks for sharing!

    Akino | akinokiki.blogspot.ca

    1. Thanks Akino! Definitely finish the movies – not because you have to before going, just because they’re awesome 🙂 We do a Harry Potter film marathon at least once a year and binge watch all of them in a weekend!

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