Wow wow wow this tour was AMAZING! If you don’t care about Harry Potter, I would honestly just stop reading now. If you do care about Harry Potter, book your trip now because it was pretty dang awesome.
Poor Johnny, who I was with, did love Harry Potter, but not anywhere near as much as me. And I started freaking out before we even walked in.
The entryway was surrounded with photos of the cast from throughout the whole series, so both young and old. Then, in line to get in was the cupboard!
*Disclaimer: some of these photos might be really bad. Like I can barely handle how crooked the cupboard is. But with the sheer number of people who don’t speak english sticking their selfie sticks everywhere and the green and blue mood lighting, I did the best I could while still enjoying being there.
We were first in a theater room, with a short clip of Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint. It did a really good job of getting me more hyped up than I already was, actually. In the film, they walked out the Great Hall doors they stood in front of; then, the screen lifted up and there were the doors! So we walked into the Great Hall.
I have hundreds more pictures of everything. The hall had costumes from each house, all actually worn by the actors, as well as costumes of the professors. The ceiling here was actually just a normal ceiling, though, instead of the one in the movies; the ceiling they used to film was separate, in a 1/8 scale of this room that blended perfectly with the walls when it faded down. Then they would add the animation of the sky, bewitched to look like the sky outside (“I read about it in Hogwarts: A History!”) and combine it with the shot of this hall. I learned so much about how things were spliced together and shot in all different places that I could’ve never guessed!
I tried to put the next pictures in sort of chronological order. All the rooms were just randomly around each other; it was so strange seeing Hagrid’s hut across from Dumbledore’s office! It was also crazy imagining that this was where the actors walked and lived through all the movies. It made me want to watch them all again with fresh eyes.
I talked to one of the people guiding the tour about the wands- I never personally imagined the wands to be so different. I can’t imagine Voldemort going into Ollivander’s and picking up that crazy white one (at about 9:00 in the picture). Apparently, the first two movies had basic wands (like what I imagined) then the producer decided to branch out more and make personalized wands. Some of the actors, like for Voldemort and Bellatrix, helped design their character’s wands. Helena Bonham Carter, for example, thought of Bellatrix like a bird of prey, so her wand was designed to look like a talon (above Voldemort’s). Ralph Fiennes asked for the weird hook thing at the bottom of Voldemort’s, so he could hook it around his finger and hold it in that strange way he does in the films.
This classroom was pretty cool- all the details are so intricate, down to all the handwritten labels of the potions ingredients that are actually all filled with various things. Some of the cauldrons even stir automatically. I also learned that this room was originally used as the closet where Fluffy was kept (1st movie), then used as Snape’s office (2nd movie), and last used as the potions room (6th movie). Apparently, many of the rooms are like this!
The snakes were mechanical and actually did slither inwards like the movie.
I just loved this dress so much I had to get a picture. Hermione’s shining moment.
There were descriptions about how the costumes were properly distressed (primarily in the 8th movie) during the battles. There were many many copies of each costume and if they added a wand burn, they had to recreate it on the other versions and keep it in line chronologically.
Next, we were on platform 9 3/4! I’m not sure what parts were actually filmed here, instead of at the real King’s Cross, but it was still cool to see the Hogwarts Express and all the character’s trunks.
Also: when I post some pictures on here and instagram later, you better still like them on instagram. 😉
THEN we finally got to where we could try butterbeer! It tasted pretty much like cream soda, with maybe a bit more caramel. The top was super frothy and creamy and tasted very much like salted caramel.
Johnny thought that Privet Drive was pretty funny. He said it looks like the most standard, basic British house ever. I guess that’s why they designed it that way!
This bus was constructed out of three historical London double deckers.
We knew we were basically at the end of the tour when we saw Hogwarts. I forget what scale size it is, but you can obviously see it’s not full size! Every shot they have of the castle in the movies from above or in the distance uses this model, and the actors on a green screen! So crazy how good of a job they do. It looked amazing up close and had so many incredible details; it could’ve been a proper full sized castle.
This room had wand boxes (that didn’t come out) hand labeled with all the people’s names that worked on the movie.
Possibly my favorite part of the tour, which was in the middle but I wanted to save until the end, was riding a broomstick!!! It was not like they did in the films, obviously, where they had fancy moving cameras and wind and moving brooms, but I still got to wear the robes (Ravenclaw, which would definitely be my house) and look like a fool among all the little kids doing this. But now I have this picture which I just can’t even look at without laughing.
Overall, such a great experience! Sorry that this post was basically just a bombardment of pictures (and I even have loads more if you’re curious). Probably no one will love this stuff as much as I did but I hope it was still interesting!
Also- I got a new SIM card for my phone. I don’t know exactly how it all works honestly because I’m not a super technology driven person, but my number is 07706901102. If you want to get hold of me, try that number over iMessage, or try my old number on Whatsapp!
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.