Mar 26, 2014

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter (Part 1)


If there's one thing you should know about my handsome husband, it's that he's a huge, unashamed fan of the Harry Potter series. In fact, I remember him reading one of the books from cover to cover during our honeymoon. Sweet, right? I, on the other hand, have been known to be a major Harry Potter hater. I know, I know…shame on me. I blame the HP honeymoon reading for my disdain. Kidding, kind of. Over the years, I've been one to pick at D and my HP lovin' friends about how silly I thought the whole series was. But, don't lynch me yet, Potter fans…this place might have made me change my tune. (Keep reading!) When D and I took an impromptu trip to London (our second trip) back in August of 2012 (see how far behind I am on blogging our travels?), I knew just the perfect thing to wow! the pants right off my Potter-lovin' hubby. It was just 2 weeks after our 5th wedding anniversary, so I booked us 2 tickets to visit the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour as a little anniversary gift for D. The best part about the trip? D had NO CLUE we were going! I'm absolutely no good at keeping secrets and almost spilled the beans a number of times, but I'm so glad I kept my trap shut, because when D realized where we were going, the look on his face was well worth the secrets! I've never seen a grown man become as giddy as D was when he boarded the Harry Potter decked-out bus to the studio. He then skipped all the way to the front door. SKIPPED, people. I've got the video to prove it. Watching him revel with excitement was so good for my heart. I imagine that is what it feels like to view things through the eyes of a child, because even I was excited to tour HP land with him. 


Now, for some tour logistics. I pre-booked our tickets online (no tickets are sold at the studio) and mapped our visit from the WB tour website. We were staying in the heart of London, but the WB studio is located about 40 minutes outside of London in Watford. To get to the studio, we took the tube to Euston Station, hopped a train to Watford Junction, and then caught the HP Studio Tour Bus (£2 roundtrip per person) to the studio. The bus is covered in a giant HP mural, so you can't miss it! For our afternoon at the WB studio, I made sure D was hooked up with everything he could possibly need to enjoy his tour. The tour itself is £30 per person…but for an extra £9.95, I added the digital guide and paperback souvenir guide to his ticket. I didn't want him missing a thing! Turns out, the digital guide was super helpful in giving extra tidbits of info that weren't on any of the signs throughout the tour. D was constantly spouting off fun facts to me as we wandered through. Friggin' adorable.


Ok, so this is where I tell you how I came into this tour a non-HP fan and came out of it just as big of a HP fanatic as D is. It literally only took me 5 minutes into the tour before I had a major change of heart. No joke. In the beginning of the tour, they take you into a small auditorium where they show a video that flashes through all the hoopla of the whole Harry Potter book and movie franchise. It's definitely designed to get you jazzed up and nostalgic…perfect segway for what they do next. After the video, a studio tour worker pops into the room to welcome you and explain how to the tour works. As she finishes her schpeel, the movie screen retracts into the ceiling and behind her stands the doors into Hogwarts. THE actual doors from the movie. At this point, I'm like "Huh, cool." D is positively frothing at the mouth. The tour woman then asked how ready we were to walk the halls of Hogwarts. D died...I was like, sure, let's do this. Then the woman totally blows my mind. She said something to the effect of, "Just like the first words Harry heard when he reached these doors…WELCOME TO HOGWARTS!!" And then the doors swung open and boom…the Great Hall was right before us. No lie folks…I cried. The sheer magnitude and vastness of this room caught me off guard and I couldn't stop the tears. It was like you were walking right into the movie. Just like that, I was hooked. 

Weeks before our trip here, D and I marathon watched all 8 movies over a long weekend…mostly so I could know what the heck I was looking at during the tour. D had no idea why I wanted to watch the movies, but he was thrilled nevertheless. When he noticed I was teary eyed walking through the Great Hall (THE actual Great Hall set), he said "YOU GET IT!! NOW YOU GET IT!!" I did, I totally got it. There's just something magical about this whole Harry Potter thing and I finally let go of my disdain and went all Gryffindor. I even bought a darn Gryffindor scarf at the gift shop and wear it proudly from time to time. What a difference one tour makes.


For the rest of the afternoon, D and I totally geeked out on all things Harry Potter. From the costumes and props, to the larger than life sets and butter beer…we did and tried it all! These are just the first half of the photos I took of our tour. I have lots more to show you tomorrow…but even then, there's so much more to see for yourself! FYI, you had a specific tour time to start, but could take all the time you wanted to leisurely walk the studio and get your fill of the fun. It took us about 3 hours to take our time and see it all. The tour itself was fantastic and a real learning experience. Even I was shocked at how much movie magic went into making the book series a big screen hit! So many secrets were reveled and now that we know them, D loves to point them out when we catch the movies on TV from time to time. If you were ever wondering whether this tour is worth schlepping out from London and spending some dough, listen to this former Harry Potter hater…it SO is!!! I'd go back in a heartbeat. Who am I and where did this girl come from?!?! Oh, the things you do for love. ;)


Stay tuned for more from this tour tomorrow!!

64 comments:

  1. My boyfriend and me went on the Studio Tour just a couple of weeks ago! And as giant Harry Potter fans, we basically had the time of our lives - I think I was just as excited and giddy as your husband! I spend the whole time grinning from ear to ear and no matter in which direction I looked everything was so amazing! Definitely a London must, in my opinion, at least if you're even somewhat interested in HP! :) I think there's just something absolutely magical (pun intended) about seeing all the props and costumes from the movie come alive! :)

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  2. Ahhhhh this is incredible!! I'm DYING to go there! So glad you're a HP convert fan now...welcome to the wonderful, magical world of Harry Potter!! :) Ps. thanks for all your adorable pictures makes me feel like i'm there!! haha

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    1. I've joined the club and there's no going back! You're so welcome, girl! Always happy to share! :)

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  3. I'm so jealous and love this to bits! Welcome to the fold! Haha

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  4. Oh how neat!!! Love how they saved everything from the movie!!

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  5. I love this place! I could seriously live here haha. It's amazing to see all the work that goes in to making the films.

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    1. I agree. It was such an education on the filmmaking process, if anything. Very cool to see laid out like that. :)

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  6. Ahh this would be amazing I am such a Harry Potter fan. Your pictures are awesome, just makes me want to visit even more.

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  7. This. Is. Amazing!! I would absolutely love to visit - and, for the record, my husband would totally geek out, too! I like HP, but my hubs is in a totally different category of fan-dom. What an awesome experience! (And I'm glad you're on the bandwagon now :) )

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  8. I seriously can't wait to go! When we've tried there weren't tickets, it's so popular now! I love how it changed your mind about HP too :)

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    1. Yep, I'm definitely converted. I'm all crazy with you HP crazies, too! :)

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  9. I have been typing an email to my boyfriend in all caps in between looking at these pictures telling him how we need to go to this. That is amazing! Thank you for sharing

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    1. AWESOME. Hope he takes you!!! :)

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  10. So cool!! My kids would LOVE this!! We just went to Universal in Orlando and went to the Harry Potter Castle, rides, and village. It was AMAZING. Harry Potter is such a magical story...so easy to get caught up in it! Your pics are fabulous. ;)

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    1. I can't wait to go to the park at Universal Studios!! Thanks, Suzanne!

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  11. Wow I didn't even know this existed. And here I was dying to go to Harry Potter land in Florida. This would be so much better!

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  12. I'm, at best, indifferent to Harry Potter but that monument thing from the government building is legitimately scary, like that could have been in the USSR back in the day.

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  13. Oh my gosh, I am in love all over again with Harry Potter. When i was younger and the books first came out I started reading them, I got to about the second book and then stopped. I have seen the first 5 movies ( I think) but this post makes me want to go back and not only watch all of the movies but actually read all of the books. This looks like a fantastic trip and even better than you planned it all for your husband. Can't wait to read more tomorrow :)

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  14. I want to go back!!! I love this tour....I even went alone and had a blast! I binged watched the movies again when I got home so I could point out to my husband everything that I saw on the tour :)

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    1. We binge-watched them, too! Such a fun place…I'd totally go back myself.

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  15. OMG we have been debating going to London, JUST FOR THIS TOUR. We are both huge on HP but have heard mixed reviews about the actual tour. Totally going now. Its happening. Looking up flights :)

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  16. I had NO IDEA this place existed....but GOODNESS ME I need to jump across the pond and visit this heavenly place. I can't wait for part 2!!

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    1. Introducing the fantastic WB HP tour, one reader at a time. :) :)

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  17. This is amazing!!! I'm going to London in May and I will have ONE free day there… this is quickly moving to the top of my list of things to do on that one day!

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    1. Oooo it would be a pretty fun thing to fill a day with! :) Enjoy!

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  18. Whee...I love this post! This tour just moved to the top of my must-do list! Looking forward to part 2!

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  19. Man bag I would have given to have this open when I lived in London on my study abroad!!

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    1. Just an excuse to go back then, huh? :)

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  20. You cried?!? It must be good to get that reaction out of a hater! Malcolm totally doesn't get why I love HP, but then he hasn't watched most of the movies, so how can he ;) Looks like such a wonderful tour!

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  21. I seriously cannot even believe this place exists. Geeking out over here.

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  22. I was so late to the Harry Potter craziness that I didn't read the books or watch the movies until they were all out-which is great for binge watching/reading! Just the pictures of the tour have me all giddy, looks like I need to get to London!!

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    1. Needless to say, I was super late to the party, too! :)

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  23. I've never been more jealous of anyone in my life. ever.

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  24. Hubby and I are both HUGE HP fans (we went to the Wizarding World of HP in Orlando for our honeymoon) and we have been on the tour twice. It is so amazing, especially with the digital guide! So glad your hubs got to enjoy it and that it converted you!!! Now you just have to read the books because they are much more magical than the movies, even though that is hard to imagine.

    xoxo, Elena
    the20-somethingproject.blogspot.com

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    1. You guys are big fans! Love it!! I really do need to read the books. It's on my to-do list!

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  25. I got goosebumps just looking at the pictures!! What an awesome tour! Thanks for sharing.

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  26. Oh my gosh, this is so amazing! I'm also a HUGE Harry Potter geek so I understand D. Have you read the books?! That's what made me a huge fan--not the movies although I LOVE them too. I had seen the first 2 or 3 movies before reading the books and thought they were fine, but I wasn't HP crazy or anything. I actually read the books after moving to Indianapolis after grad school. It was right after the 7th book came out, and all my friends were obsessed with the series and talking about it all the time. I finally read them because I was so tired of not knowing what they were talking about, and then I became just as bad. :) I moved before the 8th book came out, and my (now) husband and I pre-ordered two of them so we could both read it as soon as possible. It was seriously like Christmas morning the morning it arrived. I read it within 24 hours. The first time we went back to Indiana to visit that following fall, the first thing many of our friends did was corner us to discuss the book, our thoughts, and if our initial theories had been correct. It was actually really awesome. Yes, I'm a total nerd. Glad you can understand that part now. :)

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  27. This is so cool!!!! I absolutely have to go to this. It's on my bucket list...along with Harry Potter World at Universal. Y'all will be able to go once you move to Florida! Just in time for the opening of Diagon Alley!

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  28. I got goosebumps when I read the Great Hall part. How magical! These pictures are amazing. I'm so glad you learned to love them!!

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  29. I can't even!! I am so obsessed with HP it's probably unhealthy! I've read all of the books twice (some more) and have watched all of the movies more times that I care to admit. This would be a dream come true for me! I'm 1000% sure I'd cry and spend my entire day there .... and possibly hide somewhere and stay when they close. P.S. If you haven't read the books, do it! The only movies that are close to the books are 1 & 2 other than that so much is left out and the characters are really well developed in the books :)

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  30. Oh my goodness, I'm geeking out just looking at your pictures. When I saw what the post was about I got a huge smile on my face. I love all things Harry Potter and I totally can imagine what your husband was feeling. Guess I'll need to book a trip to London just for that. How fun!

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  31. This is just amazing! I just found this blog post from Pinterest, and I may just stick around as a fellow blogger to see your story as I am a future nurse wanting to join the Air Force! My friend is studying at Oxford and went to the HP studio yesterday!

    -Brittany
    itsmylife-brittany.blogspot.com

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  32. Oh my goddddd I am so jealous! I didn't even know this place existed until today and now it's somewhere I have to go before I die!

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    1. It's only a few years old…in fact, I think it had only been open a few months before we got to visit!

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  33. Even though I am not into Harry Potter I would love to visit there it looks so cool

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  34. Amazing! I really want to go there! :)

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  35. Amazing, Thanks for sharing this. i would really wish to visit there, and you have took some great amazing pictures.

    my blog: wilsontom.blogspot.com

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  36. Yep - still so, so, so, so, so, so, so jealous! :-)

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  37. I so wanted to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter when I was at Universal a few years ago, but we went to the FL the week before it opened so I didn't get to. I had no idea that this was outside of London. I will so be going whenever we get back to London!

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  38. You literally made me want to go re-read all the books and watch each move. Right. Now. I am a total HP geek, and proud of it. If my hubby and I make it out to England, you can bet we will be hopping on that bus to go the HP studio!:)

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  39. I'm so glad you're behind in your blogging because I wasn't a reader in 2012! I'm obsessed with all things Harry Potter, and I'm SOOOO jealous of you and D! I really hope Beau and I can take this tour one day. I would totally cry tears of joy. :)

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    1. YAY!!! You guys would love it. If this non-Potter fan can be converted, I can only imagine what mega fans would do there! :)

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  40. I could not be more jealous of you if you had met Daniel Radcliff himself...Must get to London!

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    1. HAHAHAHAHAHA…man, now wouldn't THAT be something to blog about!

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  41. This place is pure magic! You're one gold star wife Casey!

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  42. I was so sad when I didn't have enough time to do this when I was in London! The tour had just opened and tickets were so hard to come by. Glad you have become become a HP fan after visiting :)

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  43. I'm a terrible Harry Potter book snob, and as such I really have a lot of disdain for the movies. I don't know if I'd be more likely to freak out with general excitement or to nitpick and bitch out the entire tour...the odds are probably 50/50 either way.

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  44. I read all the books and seen all the harry potter movies but never took the tour. It looks like a lot of fun, on my list for my next visit to London.

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