It’s Magic! Harry Potter Studios, London

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         Good morning all! It was a great morning for me last Saturday when I bought my tickets to see the Making of Harry Potter: Warner Brothers Studios in London! It was kind of weird going without my HP-crazed mother and sister, but I managed. The studio looks like a giant warehouse, with huge statues of the giant chess pieces used in the first HP movie (the rather violent life-sized chess match at the end ring a bell?). Once you go inside, there’s a Starbucks (very nice touch), and a huge café area boasting normal, Muggle food. Then, across from that is a HUGE gift shop with tons and tons of overpriced, Harry Potter themed goods for sale. I arrived rather early, (via a Harry Potter-decorated double-decker bus complete with Harry Potter soundtrack playing on the inside!), so I decided to spend my excess time reading one of  J.K. Rowling’s lesser know books “A Casual Vacancy” (in the spirit of Harry Potter of course) and nibbled on a yogurt snack until my entry time came.

By the time 11am came around, the lines (ahem… “cues” rather) had grown from kinda longish to extremely long with a lot of the people involved in the line  lacking the concept of personal space. But luckily the excitement of it all led me to be particularly forgiving. The tour starts with a brief video telling audiences how the HP movies were at the studios for 10 years making all of the films. It also sets the tone for the kind of experience we were going to have which was less American theme park-like, and more European museum-like (vibe supported by talking mostly about the people who worked on the film besides the cast, ex: Art Department, Prop Department, Costume Designers, Make-up artists, etc.).

The tour began in the great hall and then led to multiple rooms holding what seemed like thousands of costumes and props (Sorcerer’s Stone, Goblet of Fire, to name a few). Other big attractions were Diagon Alley, the big emerald chutes leading to the Ministry of Magic seen in the last movie, 4 Privet Drive, the Knight Bus, and a giant replica of the Hogwarts Castle itself. I also experienced “Butterbeer” for the first time, and may I say, not J.K.’s finest work. If you like the concept of drinking a foamy, chilled version of melted butterscotch candy then this drink is for you. I forced myself to drink half of it (I did pay for it after all) before I had to throw it away.

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chutes

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I enjoyed myself immensely but I have to say I came away from the tour with less sparkle in my eyes and more ideas to re-market the Studios. After conferring with my mother and sister, it seems that most of the details I was thinking of, can be seen at Harry Potter World at Universal Studios Florida. Who would have thought? I guess no matter how long I live in London, I’m still American at heart (don’t tell anyone!).

Till next time readers!

~A

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