Inside the studio shop there was so much to take in, lots of props that had been used in the Harry Potter films had been used throughout. The boys were very excited now and wanted to see everything they could in the store. Trying to get them to slow down was a task and a half. Thankfully we came across a member of staff who provided a wealth of information about items in the store and also about the tour itself. He was very helpful and welcoming and answered the boys questions about wands. After a good twenty minutes in the shop we decided to head towards the toilets for a quick toilet break before we checked in properly for the event. We hadn’t long come out of the toilets when I saw Claire from Evans-Crittens and we stopped to say hello.
Having checked in with the event reception we were each handed a lanyard with our names on and a checklist of things to do on the tour. Rowan wasn’t too convinced about wearing his but after a while when he saw everyone around us wearing them gave in. While enjoying some refreshments as we waited to get started I spotted another blogger I recognised and headed over to say hi to boorooandtiggertoo I was quite pleased with myself for doing so as this was my first event I had attended and I was feeling a tad nervous. I needn’t have though because everyone I talked too throughout the evening was absolutely lovely and helped put me at ease.
Suddenly I realised we were being taken through into another room and gathered the children and dad of 3 so we could follow. Inside we had an introduction to the tour and watched a short video about how Harry Potter began. We then went through into a cinema were we all took a seat. Here we were introduced to the animal trainers from the Harry Potter films, Julie Totman and her colleague Guillaume Grange. They both spoke to us about their experience of training animals for the films. It was fascinating to hear about the different animals used in the films and the variety of ways they were trained. Then the floor was opened up for questions. After a few questions from others I was surprised when Trystan suddenly put his hand up to ask a question. He wanted to know which was the easiest animal the trainers had had to train, the response was the Raven’s as they pick up things very quickly. Another couple of questions were asked then suddenly Rowan was talking into the microphone! I was both amazed and a bit worried, Rowan has some speech problems which are improving daily so for him to ask a question in an unfamiliar environment is quite a big thing. He managed to speak clearly and asked ” if they had to help any of the owls fly” the little smile on his face as the trainers answered was fantastic, he was told that “sometimes they had to use wind machines to help”. I can’t tell you how proud myself and dad of 3 were.
Questions over it was time to commence the tour, the room was full of excited people as we made our way towards the great hall. On one side of the hall the tables were set for breakfast and there were boxes of Cheeri Owls, which made the boys giggle. We were treated to more refreshments while we looked around. At the far end of the Great Hall was the teachers table laid out as per the films and in front of the table the costumes of the teachers.
|The Great Hall|
We were then talked through some of the features in the Great Hall like the Hogwarts coat of arms on the fireplace and the fact there is one inside the hearth as well that you don’t really see in the films as the fire is always lit. Along the tables were also the school house uniforms, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, Gryffindor and Ravenclaw. Included in the Gryffindor uniforms was Daniel Radcliffe’s original uniform which he wore on the first film. There was so much to see and take in. The attention to detail was absolutely fantastic, from the costumes to the interior of the Great Hall, nothing had been left to go unnoticed. At one point we had to round up the boys and tell them to stay close as they were getting caught up in the experience and wanted to rush around. Dad of 3 and myself really wanted to look around properly.
Then we were free to walk around the rest of the tour, we were reminded about the checklist on our lanyards. We walked through into another room were there were more props, scenes, costumes from the films to be seen. Just as you look and take in one thing you look up or round a corner and your greeted by so much more, iconic sets like the chamber of secrets door. Dad of 3 went off to one side of the area and I went to the opposite side with the boys milling between us. We did wonder over to each other several times to see what each other had found. It was a kind of divide and conquer scenario with the boys as they seemed to be everywhere at one stage. The had been given passports as they waited for the event to start and inside there are stamps to collect as you go around the tour. Of course these were so important to them especially Trystan who would stop and read each page and then go off in hunt of the stamp he needed. Several times we had to round the boys up and remind them that there was lots to see and plenty of time so they needed to stop rushing us.
One thing that amazed us was that there are some things that appear to be huge in the films however in reality we discovered they are so much smaller. Throughout the tour were guides who were on hand to provide information, answer questions.
It was interesting as we walked around to watch Luc in particular as he took the time to read signs and take in the various items, sets, props etc. He recognised some items before I did and his recollection of which film they had been in was great.
There was the opportunity to ride on a broomstick in robes which the boys really enjoyed doing and they even roped me in. After all you can’t not ride a broomstick at Hogwarts! We must have spent over an hour in the first area of the tour and we could have easily spent longer. We moved outside next were we greeted with Butter beer, Erin seemed to really enjoy hers and couldn’t drink it fast enough.
As we sat down to have our drinks we started to take in our surroundings. The first thing I noticed was Privet Drive where one of the owls who played Hedwig was posing for photographs. One of the items on the checklist was to take a Hedwig selfie, so here’s mine
Moving inside again we were into a section with special effects, make up and various other props. It was fascinating to see the electronics used to make various characters move. Yet again the attention to detail was extraordinary.
The boys enjoyed looking at the various props and especially enjoyed seeing Buckbeak. The amount of feathers used to create his was amazing.
The next section we moved into housed plans, drawings, and paintings of sets, characters. It was amazing to see how much planning right from the early stages and the concepts that were developed. You really feel like you have been given an insight into the world of the films and the process each one took.
Suddenly as we walked through a door we were into Diagon Alley, passing the shops, the cobble street. Again the attention to detail was fantastic, you really felt like you were walking through a real street and could walk straight into the shops.
We also had the chance to meet some more of the animals used in the films including Errol and Pigwidgeon who was tiny. Erin was really funny bless her, I turned to her and said “dweud Nos Da I’r Gwdihw” basically say goodnight to the owl, at which Errol hooted and Erin jumped, she spent the next few minutes watching the owls closely to see if they moved!
When we finally started to move again we found ourselves in a space with a huge scale model of Hogwarts, it was quite breathtaking the size and again the detail. We walked slowly around and down to the bottom of it taking it all in.
Then we were in the Wand shop where everyone involved with the Harry Potter films could be found with their own wand, each box hand inscribed and the guide was able to point out anyone you asked for too. This also marked the end of the tour and as you emerged you found yourself in the studio shop. By this time we suddenly realised it was 9.55pm and we had spent almost three hours looking around. Sadly it was time to head back to the car. We all agreed that we had had a fantastic experience and we could have easily spent more time looking around as there is just so much to take in and look at. I also felt like I could have spoken to more of the guides as each one had such a wealth of information that you felt you wanted to know more. The boys had thoroughly enjoyed themselves too and Erin also seemed to have enjoyed. I had been worried that it would be overwhelming for her and that she may have got bored but that wasn’t the case and she happily walked around and seemed to enjoy looking at everything as much as we did.
Since Friday the boys have talked non stop about our time at the Harry Potter Tour and we all agree that we would love to go back again. There really is so much to see there that two visits can easily be undertaken so that you can see everything. One of the things that we all liked was the fact that you didn’t feel rushed, you could take the tour at your own pace and that there are guides on hand if you need anything at all.
If you are thinking of going to the Warner Bros Studio Tour, go, we can’t recommend it highly enough. It is one of those places that has something for everyone, young and old and is well worth visiting. The Feathers and Flight feature will be taking place until April 27th and you will have the chance to meet Hedwig and some of the other owls used as we did.
For more information and to book your tickets to the Warner Bros studio tour -the Making of harry Potter please visit http://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/
Disclaimer – we were invited to the exclusive launch event for feathers and flight at the Warner Bros Studio tour. However the content of this post is 100% my own.