Friday, 13 April 2012

Review for the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter

On Friday 6th April 2012, only 6 days after opening day, I was one of the first people to go to The Warner Bros Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter. For those of you outside the UK or for anyone who simply doesn’t know Warner Bros have opened the studio’s that they filmed the Harry Potter films in to the public for the first time. The tour itself consists of the actual sets, props, costumes etc. that were used in the films, along with behind the scene’s secrets being revealed for the very first time on how the films were made, a chance for you to try Butterbeer, Chocolate Frogs and numerous other Wizard sweets and treats, go crazy in the gift shop that sells legit Harry Potter merchandise and even take a ride on a broom and/or the Weasley’s car! Me, my friend Rachel and her sister Beth booked our tickets wayyy back before Christmas in 2011 so needless to say this is something we’d been excited about for a very long time! I had a fantastic time and thought I’d share my experience and a little bit about what you can expect and generally just talk about if it’s worth a visit and the price to give you an honest opinion if you’re thinking about going.

outside the studio

Firstly the studio itself is just outside London in Watford. At first we got a little bit lost as there are no signs for the tour until you’re literally only a few minutes away. However we called the tours customer service for help and they were brilliant in giving us directions from where we were (turns out ten minutes away, typical huh? Fun Fact: Whilst waiting they spew you with random Harry Potter trivia, nice one!) Anyway we soon found the place and in the end it wasn’t hard what with the HUGE Harry Potter posters on the outside and all. Then we did all the boring stuff like collecting our tickets and that really impressed me there wasn’t a long queue at all and they seemed to move everything along really quickly which was a bonus. A word of warning you have to have booked your tickets in advance they don’t sell tickets at the studio and you actually won’t be allowed into the car park unless you have your booking confirmation. A standard adult ticket is £28 or for diehard fans like myself you can pay an extra £10 more for a souvenir guidebook and a digital guide which is basically a mini tablet and headphone set that you can listen to as you go around the tour that gives you extra info, this isn’t something you get to keep though so bare that in mind. I went for the Guidebook/Digital Guide ticket and to be honest if I was to go again I probably wouldn’t bother. As a total fan girl I was running around like a loon and couldn’t really be bothered with listening to the extra’s so that was a bit of a waste of money and you can always buy the Guidebook there which again is alright but basically shows you everything you see on the tour with nothing new to offer and is a keep sake more than anything.

When you go into the building you have an allotted time as to when your tour will begin. What I really loved though was instead of waiting in one long queue for ages you could stop in the café to get a bite to eat or visit the gift shop until it’s your turn. And then when you do queue up for your slot it doesn’t take long at all I think we were waiting for around 15 minutes if that and there are plenty of props and pictures around to get the tour going already.

waiting to go in!
The tour itself begins with a screening in a cinema talking a little bit about the making of Harry Potter and then includes a message from Dan (Harry Potter) Rupert (Ron Weasley) and Emma (Hermione Granger) basically introducing the tour and saying this is their second home, the place that they grew up, which I thought was a really nice touch and really amps up the excitement in the room to bursting point. Brilliantly, when the clip finishes, the screen lifts up to reveal the door to the famous Great Hall. The tour guide gives a true to story “Welcome to Hogwarts!” and then the doors open and you step into the Great Hall itself.

door to the Great Hall
The Great Hall was a highlight of the tour for me and a brilliant way to kick things off. You don’t have a tour guide for the whole of the tour just this first section as he tells you a little bit about what you can expect from your visit and the general rules. Fun Fact: Our tour guide was asking some little kids at the front the names of the Hogwarts houses, they seemed like the shy kind and they weren’t really biting so I holla out from the back “Ravenclaw!!” (my favourite house) and had the embarrassing moment where everyone turned to look at me and the tour guide looked kind of bewildered, what can I say? I was excited! A similar situation also happened when he asked what everyone’s favourite moment in the Great Hall was, again tough crowd, although I do think someone mentioned the Yule Ball so I belted out from the back again “When Mcgonagall duelled off with Snape!” yeah…

inside the Great Hall

Anyway I’m not going to tell you about every single part of the tour because we’d be here forever. The tour takes around 3 hours to look around in general and heck I’m 900 and something words in and I’ve only reached the beginning! I will however tell you about the parts that stood out to me.


The Great Hall
The rest of the tour is self-guided a nice touch as there’s nothing worse than being ushered along by a tour guide. Heck I would probably grab hold of the nearest prop and refuse to be moved until I was finished looking (who am I kidding? I would have refused to move at all and would hide out and live there if I could! “This isn’t a concrete block this is HOGWARTS!” Yes I was THAT girl the one that the people who work there really earned their money with that day.) The whole tour was fantastic but here are some of my highlights in no particular order.

where it all began...

The outdoor section was AMAZING! Privet Drive, Godric's Hollow, The Hogwarts Bridge, The Knight Bus, Hagrid’s Motorbike, The Weasley’s car, The Riddle Grave, the huge Chess pieces and Butterbeer all at the same time?! Yes please! My other favourite part was walking down Diagon Alley which is an actual street! The Great Hall, Diagon Alley and the outdoor area are defiantly the parts that make you feel most like your actually in the Harry Potter Universe and I loved that feeling more than anything else.

Knight Bus

Diagon Alley

Props and set wise my favourite pieces were the Yule Ball ice sculpture which was just absolutely stunning in real life.

so pretty! Yule Ball ice sculpture 

Neville’s cardigan, that his gran knit him, that he challenged Lord Voldemort in, do I need to say anything else about THAT Cardigan!?

THE CARDIGAN!!!

The Invisibility Cloak actually has a lot of detail to it and is designed beautifully which you don’t get to see in the films, what with it, you know, being invisible most of the time.

Cloak of invisibility 


so awesome! Tom Riddle's Diary
Dumbledore’s office was an incredible set and again made me feel like I was actually in Hogwarts. As did Snapes potion room which was suitably creepy and dark. I loved seeing some of
the smaller props like the Horcruxes, The Philosophers Stone, Neville’s remembrall, the golden snitch etc. And I found a nice touch was that some of the sets had things that were moving on their own just like magic! The Burrow had to be my favourite for that with Mrs Weasley’s washing up and knitting going by themselves! There were so many impressive props but the thing that actually made me gasp out loud was the Hogwarts Castle model something you don’t get to see until right at the very end of the tour. It’s huge and beautiful, and you can just see how much work and love and care went into it. It absolutely just took my breath away; in a word it was magnificent. And I loved how the lighting changed from night, to dawn, to day, to dusk so you could see Hogwarts in all its glory. It was just so impressive and definitely one of the biggest highlights of the trip.

just a small part of Hogwarts model

After finishing the tour the last section ideally leads out straight into the gift shop where you can buy SO MANY THINGS!!! And if you’re a crazed fan girl like me can actually end up spending a fortune! You can buy anything from the Harry Potter sweets, to Wands – literally any character you can think of they have their wands available to buy, to the books and DVD’s, to cuddly toy Headwigs and Buckbeaks and Unicorns, to outfits and costumes, to mugs and keyrings and stationary there is everything you could think of. I spent just over £70 on The Marauder's Map, a The Marauder's Map mug which says “I Solemnly Swear That I Am Up To No Good” on it which I love, a Time Turner Keyring, A Chocolate Frog, and a Pink Pygmy Puff cuddly toy. But I could of easily spent so much more if I didn’t stop myself I really wanted the Elder Wand but alas I already have Hermione’s wand which Rachel brought me back from The Harry Potter resort in Florida so I called it a day right there. I’d say the things are fairly priced considering, I mean of course they’re overpriced, but at places like this what isn’t? Basically I think they could have charged a lot more if they wanted and Rachel and Beth told me that some things were actually cheaper over here than the resort in Orlando so considering I didn’t think it was too bad personally, as an ultimate fan girl, but parents of children wanting a chocolate frog for £7 each might disagree! What I like about the tour though is that you can pay a standard ticket price which for an adult at £28 I think is really good and you can build on your experience from there, parking is free, you can bring your own food and drink, so if I wanted I could have spent £28 on a ticket and came away happy after a wonderful day, how much you spend on top of that is entirely up to you.

stuff of dreams!



Dobby!
My only regret about the trip is that I didn’t get to have a go at flying on a broom. When queuing you can expect to wait an hour and at the time of day we went we just didn’t have that spare time to wait before the studio closed. I think a lot of people who visit at a later time will have that problem as the flying is right in the middle of the studio you can’t really judge how much time you’ll have left to look at everything else. I personally think it would have been better to place the flying separately like the gift shop as something to do either whilst you’re waiting if you get there early or something to do after, that way you’re not worrying about time or what else you have left to see. Despite the hours wait though it did look fun you get a good few minutes riding over London and Hogwarts in a cape and can of course buy pictures at the end. It was really fun to see that adults were just as eager to have a go at flying as the kids!


never realised Helena is so tiny!

So that was pretty much my experience visiting the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter and already I want to go again! If you’ve made it to the end of this mammoth review I salute you! I wanted to try and edit it down but there was just so much that I wanted to talk about and I hope you found it helpful. For more information about the tour you can visit their website here. Please note that I am not in any way affiliated with the tour and this review is simply an honest opinion from a huge fan of everything Harry Potter.If you’ve been to visit the tour let me know what you thought and if you’re planning on going I hope you have as much fun as I did!


P.S This!
me (left) and Rachel (right)

and this!

I SAT WHERE RON WEASLEY SAT A MERE FEW DAYS BEFORE!!!!!!!!!!!!! *cough* that is all.

45 comments :

  1. I am seriously so envious; I want to go!! Maybe one day....

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  2. wowwowwowwow!!!! Obviously I was really excited when I heard about the Harry Potter studio thing but you have just made me INFINITELY MORE EXCITED!!! It sounds AMAZING!!!
    I mean, I went to the Harry Potter resort in FLorida just last summer and that was great but now I can't wait to go here! And you don't have to fly halfway across the world to get to it either, it's in England - the home country of Harry and Hogwarts YAY! :)

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    1. I was really jealous when I first heard about the resort in Florida so really glad that we have something just as awesome in England :-) It was amazing I hope you get chance to visit!

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  3. Okay, I need to see this one. 0_____0 I'm going back to London in November (hopefully) so I might go and check this out :D I'm glad you had fun!!! :)

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    1. If your going to London it's definitely worth the visit!

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  4. eeeeeee I can't wait to go and visit this!!! Me and my friends are hoping to go later in the year! :D

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    1. You will have a fantastic time! Hope you get to go visit too!

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  5. Thanks for your review. I'm taking my 9 year old tomorrow and she is a HUGE HP fan. I can't wait to see the excitement on her face.

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    1. She will love it! Wish it was open when I was little it would definitely have made it even more magical :-)

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  6. I'm going in six days >.< I'm really excited and can't wait :) me and my friends are watching some of the films the night before xD do they sell George's wand on its own? How much is it? Do they sell Slytherin scarfs? How much?

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    1. That sounds like fun! I'm sure you'll love it! I'm pretty sure they sell George's wand on it's own yes and I think they're around £25 something like that. And yes they sell all the house scarf's but I'm not sure how much they are I didn't look, sorry!

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  7. I am going in August with my twin sister and my dad. I am so so so so so so so so so so so so sooooooooooooooo excited. We want to buy a butterbeer and a choclate frog and bertie botts ever flavour beans. I would love a wand but they are a bit expensive. I am coming from Northwich which the train costs a lot and it is also the hotel prices which adds up. I think the prices are very reasonable for Harry Potter. I absulutely love it and cant wait. Also can you go in the night bus? Also i cant wait to sit in hagrids bike!! Bonnie Wright has even sat in it!!! I hope i will absulutely love it as much as I loved all the films. Sorry that this is quite long. I am the biggest Harry Potter fan (Even bigger than you probably) and cant wait.

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    1. Some flavours of Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans really are disgusting so make sure you try them with a drink ready! You can go in the Knight Bus and take a look but it's all closed up so you can't walk around. I hope you enjoy your visit!

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  8. This looks like SO much FUN !!! i am SO excited i am actually nervous that i wont take enough photos! i cant wait to go im going in august on my dads birthday i would of loved to go on my birthday it would be brilliant i am only 11 and my sister 7 she told me she didnt want to go so i didnt talk to her for an hour thats like ages for us!!! i really want to go now and by the way what time does the tour actually close? thank

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    1. The studio closes after the last tour of the day which is usually between 4pm and 6:30pm so sometime after then although I don't know the exact time. I hope you have a great time and get lots of photos!

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  9. I think your review is fabulous! It oozes excitement and is a veritable thrill ride of narrative! Having just read it, I absolutely want to visit the studios too!
    Many thanks :-)

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    1. Thank you so much for the lovely comment, you're welcome and I hope you get to visit the studios at some point :)

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  10. Wow...can't wait till Monday now!

    I found your blog when looking up about the guide books as I am hesitant to spend £10 on one as half the time they aren't very informative/useful. haha

    I think I may need more money though...I only have £30 left after buying my train tickets! Ugh haha My father got me a scarf from Florida so least I have that (It cost £25!).

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    1. Glad to see your excited!

      Yeah to be honest I would probably skip the guide book and buy something else there instead! You can always have a flick through when your there and see what you think. Hope you have a great time :)

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  11. I'M GOING! I'VE RAISED £100 TO SPEND SO FAR!

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    1. Haha! You'll have so much fun, spend wisely! There's so much to chose from! :)

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  12. I'm soo excited to go in August, I'm just a kid so i don't have lot to spend so I'm basically taking all my money lol, I don't know what i'm going to get,but anything Harry Potter is awesome!

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    1. Glad your so excited Kate and I hope you have lots of fun :) It will be a tough choice but I hope you find something awesome to buy!

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  13. Hello! It looks just amazing! I so want to got there! I´m from Sweden, not very fun for a crazy HP-fan... Me and my family are planning to visit Warner Bros. in September, and I´m glad I found this page because we´re a bit confused with how to get there, how to get tickets etc. Did you go with one of the arranged buses, or did you get there on you own?
    When you book your ticket, do you choose which time you want go the tour?
    How long before your tour time should one be at the studio? I´ve heard 20 minutes, is that enough? When one get to the studio, do you first go and collect your tickets, and then wait for your time to go the tour? Is there any specific time when one must leave the studio (I hope not!)?
    I would be so grateful if you could answer my questions, I can´t find the answers anywhere else.
    Thank you!

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    1. Hi Hilma we got there on our own by car. As for choosing times I'm not sure as my friend booked the tickets not me but I think you can yes. Yes 20 mins is plenty of time and you collect your tickets outside before entering, once you've paid you can look around for as long as you like until closing time :) I hope these answers are helpful and have a great time in September!

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  14. Hi! thanks a lot for the review! and it looks like sooo much fun and i can not wait to see all of it!!! :D, the thing is im broke and i have to start saving up before i go, i would really like to buy some chocolate frogs, a Ravenclaw scarf or jumper, and maybe something to do with Snape or Hedwig, do they sell Snape figurines? and how much would you recommend i take? would £60 be enough including the ticket?
    and one more thing, was it really really crowded when you went? i know it will be quite crowded but im hoping it won't be too much that it will prevent me from being able to see everything.
    thanks!

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    1. Hi! I didn't see any Snape figurines. For a Ravenclaw scarf or jumper and a chocolate frog I think £60 should be enough but I didn't look at the prices so I can't say for definite. My advice? Take as much money as you can afford just in case. It wasn't too crowded at all when I went, I'd say perhaps 5-10 people were looking at one thing at a time and everyone was really good in making sure you get to see. Plus the groups your put into are fairly small and spaced out making so people have plenty of time to see everything :) Hope this helps and you have a great time!

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    2. Very helpful thanks a lot!

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  15. Oh wow! This sounds amaze balls. I'm am very excited at the moment because I'm going TOMORROW! I honestly believe this will be the highlight of my life! My sisters are soo jealous of me and a making me bring them back a griffindor keyring! I. AM. SO. EXCITED

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  16. Oh wow! It sounds AMAZING! I cannot wait to go... TOMORROW! I am literally buzzing with excitement as its all I can think about! I'm planning in buying: a griffindor scarf, Bertie botts flavoured beans, 3 key rings, a chocolate frog, maybe some other small houses themed merchandise and possibly Hermionie's wand?! How much money would I need for all this??

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    1. Wow I'm honestly not sure, it was a while since I went and I didn't look at the prices of everything so I have no idea how much some of these things cost. At a random guess I'd say anywhere between £50-£100 I know the wands are £25+ I think Bertie Botts were around £7 and I think my keyring was £10. Don't quote me on this though as I don't work there and am only going on memory and guess. My advice? Take as much money as your willing to part with and get what you can afford.

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  17. You can buy wands from Hamleys toy store! I've got six so far, including the elder wand. They're about £25. So you could still get the Elder wand another day if you wanted ;) Thanks for the great review! I'm so excited, i'm going this Sunday :D xxx

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    1. Woah six is quite a collection! I'd love to collect all of my favourite characters and the elder wand is so pretty it's a must! Thanks for including the tip about Hamleys I didn't know that and am sure it would be helpful to a lot of people. Hope you have an amazing time today! :)

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  18. Hi Your Pictures are amazing! I was going to go for my dad's birthday but there weren't any spaces left. :( So I'm going to go on the 6 of January! I know what I'm going to get but I need to know how much the Time turner keyring Is. As you said you brought one,so how much are they? Do they have the plastic light up Triwizard Cup there?

    Thanks
    Ultimate Harry Potter Fan (Major Slytherin Fan)

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    1. Aww thank you :) It was so long ago that I don't remember but I want to say £7? Maybe more, certainly not less. And I didn't see the Triwizard Cup when I went but then I wasn't really looking for it...

      Hope you have a great time when you go!

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  19. Your account is exactly how I would have reviewed my experience, I just loved it and wished i could live there too! I'm still dreaming about it now. Also I have few tears when I was there. I'm going to florida next year, but I don't think it can beat Leavson you know it is the real thing here. Can't wait to have Butterbeer again, it was lovely. The staff there were amazing too, so funny and helpful.

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    1. Thanks Dylan, glad you enjoyed your time there! I agree the staff are amazing!

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  20. Hi Jess, Thanks for the very very informative review post. I never been there but your post is quite helpful and knowledgeable.

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  21. I loved this review! Who cares if it is long; it gave me specific details that I needed to make my decisions of how to spend my time and money. Thanks for suggesting 3 hours, the note about the broom ride being in the middle, and to Rachel about the prices in comparison to Florida.

    I have my answers ready! Ravenclaw and Griffindor were my fav Houses! And the Weasley Twins' Exit, though I guess technically it was the entire school and not just the Great Hall.

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    1. Thanks for the comment! I'm glad you found it useful! I'd be a Ravenclaw!

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  22. I'm going to the studio in the summer and I am more than excited!! I can't wait to see everything and buy loads of souvenirs! This post was so helpful to let me know what is in there and what to expect, and just makes me want to go even more than I did before. I've been raising lots of money to buy what I want, however can I ask how much the Marauder's Map cost? I can't find the price anywhere no matter how much I google, even so they're not very accurate... Thanks in advance! :D

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