Perhaps my favorite part of Europe. After my master’s test Sunday, I was sitting in the airport trying to find out how to get my tickets to Leavesden Studios. It said preorder only, ok, that works, but they’re sold out until 2015…..WHAT??? I refreshed it and they had ONE ticket left for Monday night. As I’m putting in my credit card info, they start boarding my plane…..rush rush rush, type fast. As the last 5 people are boarding (myself included), my payment goes through. I’m in.
Monday night, I get on the train to go to the studios. There’s a late departure, and we stop in the middle of the route for like 20 minutes, thus putting me at the final stop at 4:55. My tour starts at 5…. At the bus stop (the Studios have their own bus line shuttling from the train station to the studios, aka Harry Potter double deckers ha), they have somebody manning the bus stop. Luckily, tickets are more a guideline, the times aren’t set. So I’m good. I get there, and there’s a tour starting at 5:30, I get in line and I’m the last one in the door. YES.
I walk past the cupboard under the stairs, and into a waiting room. They bs for a while here, then we go into a theater. They show us a short movie from Dan, Rupert, and Emma telling us how we’re about to walk through their childhood home, then the screen goes up into the ceiling and we’re staring at the entrance to the Great Hall. Thus begins the tour…
The doors open to the Great Hall, where I lingered forever. I was the last out, determined to get a photo of the wide open people-less amazingness that is Hogwarts, luckily the staff liked me already and held the next tour 30 seconds more so I could get the photo. Next we’re into the set/prop room. Yule Ball, Gryffindor Common Room, Leaky Cauldron, Dumbledore’s office, the Clock Tower, the Gates, Potions classroom, Hagrid’s Hut, the Burrow, the Ministry of Magic, Malfoy Manor, Umbridge’s office, masses of props from Hogwarts and the Room of Requirement, Paintings of Hogwarts, the Gringotts cart, Sirius’s bike, brooms, Quidditch props, Horcruxes, broom makers (actual dudes who made movie props making brooms), dragon skeletons, there’s so much in this room. It was impossible to list everything. The next part took us outside to the Hogwarts bridge, the Knight Bus, the Riddle grave, Number 4 Privet Drive, chess pieces, and Harry’s parents’ house. You could also get Butterbeer here. Yes it was fantastic! The final station was the art department. Full of models, white cards, mini’s, concept art, robotics, actual masks and creatures. Aragog was huge. After the creature effects department, you end up in the white card room, full of models of EVERYTHING. Then the whole concept art room, AAAAH so much. Diagon Alley was wild too. Walking down the cobblestone streets and standing in front of Olivanders, the REAL Olivanders. Checking out Florean Fortescue’s and Madame Malkins. It was surreal. You finish in the room with the model of Hogwarts. Which I posted first here. It was HUGE. This is the 1/4 scale model that they used for exterior and aerial shots. It was wild! I stayed here forever. Every angle, every nook and cranny that I’ve ever wanted to see I could actually see. I dorked out for sure. You walk out through the walls of wands, each labeled with every name of every person who worked on the movies, ending up in the gift shop. Yes I spent a lot of money. No, I don’t care. When am I going to get back there? So I justified it haha
Seriously, I still can’t believe that I went here. Anyone who knows me knows how big of a Harry Potter fan I am, and this was the experience of a lifetime. It was seriously so cool.