[Alex Jungeling | Contributing Writer]
On the 19th of November I am not going to lie to you, I woke up very over excited. It was the day of the Harry Potter Studio trip. I obviously had other things going on that day related to uni work and assignments, but that whole day was taken over by the prospect of this trip. I’m not going to spoil it for those who haven’t been, as I wouldn’t want to ruin the magic for anyone, but I am going to tell you just how good a trip it is.
If you didn’t know, the studio is where they filmed a great deal of the films, and contains many props, scenes costumes and more, that they used and have put together for our enjoyment. We happened to go during ‘Hogwarts in the Snow season’, and this was a very good time to go. Having been once before, around the time it first opened, they have already made many improvements, adding more exhibits and improving the layout and general experience.
If you haven’t been yet, the tour is made up of two large warehouses, with an outside middle area for the larger things they built outside. In this outside bit, for ‘Hogwarts in the Snow’, it was…well…snowing. This was a fairly warm day in November and they had decided to make it snow. I don’t want to tell you anything specific about what they have in the tour, but the parts they have outside looked even more spectacular with the snow falling over them.
The exhibitions, just as the snow and dark arts they have at the moment, vary throughout the year, sometimes having the animals from the films on site. A few other parts I will tell you about, that I feel don’t spoil it too much, are the fact they have a green screen area, where you can have a go at flying on a broom or in the Weasley’s Ford Anglia, and you can also get a picture. In case anyone doesn’t know, this means that in your picture there is a landscape different to the green behind you in real life. So you look as though you are flying through midair, or being chased by the Hogwarts Express.
Another more interactive part is spell casting, where the person who trained the actors in how to cast spells, has created a video teaching you to do the same. You are given a wand, stood in front of him and a mirror and away you go. You can do this in a group too, so you don’t need to feel quite so silly if you were worried.
There are a few different ticket prices; just the tour, and then one with an audio guide and programme guide. I would highly recommend the audio guide, it is less than a fiver and gives you a full guide of the tour, read by Tom Felton – Draco Malfoy for those of you that aren’t so good with actors names. It includes extra videos, behind the scenes interviews, shots of them filming and picture galleries. It is a good few hours of extra information and good value, or at least I think so.
Overall the tour is worth the trip and the money, but there is just one issue that all of us there had with the experience. The shop. It is right at the end of the tour, and knowing you are giddy with excitement and overwhelmed by everything you have just seen, you have the need to buy EVERYTHING they have on offer! You go between clothes, scarves, wands, books, mugs, stationery, soft toys and practically anything else you can think of. And you want to buy all of it. The only problem with this is that every item in the shop is very overpriced. You could easily spend double or even triple the price you paid to get into the tour in the first place! I was very proud of myself for this time not buying anything whilst ‘high on Harry Potter’ but they do have an online shop, and I don’t think I can hold out forever.
I could go on and on about how amazing the whole thing is, but I wouldn’t want to spoil the almost staggering thrill when you see it all for the first time, so you’ll all just have to see it for yourselves, and, without sounding too cheesy, it truly is a wondrous place with a magical feeling.