When we were planning the itinerary for Sugar Bear's first trip to England, we loaded it up with history and iconic landmarks... basically stuff that we thought she should see. After a weekend in Cornwall with my girl-child, we realized that her idea of fun and interesting is a little different from ours. These young people today (sigh).
So discussion and compromise ensued. The Tower of London turned into a drive-by wave from a double decker bus and the Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour was added to the agenda.
She was right on with the Cider Farm and the Otter Sanctuary, so we easily got behind the idea (after a mild nosebleed when we checked out the rates.)
SB is a pretty big fan. TE and I enjoyed the movies but didn't actually see them all. I think I read the first book when it came out.
We scheduled our time, paid £28 for each ticket and added on an audio/visual guide for about £6 each. Tickets must be purchased in advance. We took a train out to Watford Junction, hopped onto the studio bus and after a short trip we arrived at Warner Brothers Studio Tour London to experience The Making of Harry Potter.
From the very beginning, we were drawn into the world of magic that is Harry Potter.
The tour is divided into three sections. Other than the introduction, the tour is self-guided. You can explore each area as long as you want, but once you move to the next section, you can't go back. They say it will take about three hours to see everything and that was right on for us. We spent a majority of our time in the first area. It's chock full of thousands of props, costumes and sets from the films.
You can take pictures to your hearts content. And the audio/visual tour absolutely added to the experience. It was full of extra information and clips. I would definitely recommend it.
The displays are numbered for convenience and so you can coordinate with the audio/visual guide. SB flitted about and explored. TE and I, being the type of people that we are (ahem), had to go through in numerical order. There we several occasions of me looking around in a panic for the next number. SB would roll her eyes (a maneuver she had perfected by the age of two) and point me in the right direction.
There were a lot of people there, but it wasn't too crowded. Sometimes you had to be patient to get an open shot of something. There was quite of bit of dodging teen girls holding up iPhones. The RULES say not to use flash photography and there was this one woman that kept using it with her big honkin' camera. I wanted to shake my finger at her, but instead just mumbled something like "not supposed to use flash," hoping she would overhear me. I'm such a rule follower... and
passive/aggressive a wuss.
The second section is outside in a courtyard and includes some of the larger props. There is a little snack bar if your sugar levels are dropping. Speaking of sugar levels, be sure to taste Butter Beer. It was pretty good... very sweet!
The third section includes special effects, animatronics, and the Diagon Alley set. Absolutely fascinating! There is so much to see, everywhere you look is something amazing.
They have done such a superb job of taking something as complex as making a movie and giving you a good breakdown of the process. They cover every aspect and give you a behind the scenes and very intimate look at the people involved.
There is a WOW moment at the end, but I didn't want to spoil it by showing you a picture. Not to mention the huge Gift Shop at the end including fun Harry Potter memorabilia at every price range.
Our assessment? It was worth every penny. Fascinating, engaging and intimate. They've done a fantastic job. We came out wanting to have a Harry Potter movie marathon.
"This boy will be famous.
There won't be a child in our world who doesn't know his name."
-Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling