We had an AMAZING time at the Studio Tour, absolutely brilliant. I went with Rich, Jess and Jonny, though I think it was a little wasted on the men!
Harry's Cupboard - This is actually right at the start, at the side of where you queue to go in. Speaking of the queue, it looked very long, but went through quickly. You go through to a sort of holding area (lol) while you wait for the group before you to move on from the cinema, but even here there are screens with pictures and a guide giving light commentary and the very few rules. Then you go into the cinema. Another little bit by a tour guide, ours was quite funny. He told us all to take the seat belts from the left of our seats and strap in. dutifully, everyone went to do it, then looked confused when they couldn't find it. He had a good chuckle!
The short film was the only bit that I thought was a bit naff. There were nice behind the scenes clips and things, but there was a fair bit of waffling from Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint. I was eager to get on!
Doors to the Great Hall. If it's your birthday when you go, you get to be the ones to push the doors! Then it's into the great hall, which has amazing details that you never even see in the films, paintings on the walls and carvings. It seemed much narrower than on screen, but it was amazing, and filled with costumes and all sorts. We learnt that the floating candles weren't all added digitally, they started with them all hanging from wires that were digitally removed. The candles were fake-ish - they were filled with oil that they burnt rather than an actual candle. They removed many of them though when they burned through the wires and fell on people! They still used some, but digitally added the rest.
Neville's cardigan! They also had Harry's first robes, but I had to have a limit on photos!
The detail on all the props and scenery was incredible, this lectern had amazing details right down to the floor.
Ron's bed. All the bedside tables had individual touches.
The mirror of Erised
Gryffindor common room. All the sets had information about them nearby. One of the paintings in the Gryffindor common room is of a young professor McGonagall. You'd never know from the movies, but everything has a little back story.
The giant clock.This was swinging, and it is HUGE. And a teeny bit ominous.
The stairs to Dumbledore's office. This one was just the statue, but there was one built that functioned, with a 12 foot hole under it that the moving stairs came up out of.
The door to the Chamber of Secrets. The snakes on it actually moved, when in front of it you can see the tracks. Next to it is a door from a Gringott's vault, the parts of which also moved. The craftsmanship on them was so intricate, it was so cool.
The Black Family Tree. It's huge, it wrapped around the top of the room.
The Marauder's Map. This was in a case absolutely rammed with props, books, Weasley Wizard Wheezes, copies of The Daily Prophet and all sorts. Including Harry's photo album from Hagrid.
Tom Riddle Snr's grave.
The Potter house.
Dobby. Jess noticed that though his sack/clothes were covered in blood, there's no tear from the knife. Also I've just realised that surely by this film he should be wearing his odd assortment of clothes?
Absolutely amazing concept art. There were walls and walls of it and it was all brilliant. When I'm a gazillionaire I'm going back to buy some.
Giant Hogwarts at the end. Absolutely huge, and the lights change to reflect the differing lights of day and night, and little lights come on inside the windows and on little lanterns.
The time turner I chose in the gift shop. Ah, the gift shop. The snag in the brilliant afternoon. It was ridiculous. Very expensive, though that was sort of expected, no queueing system for the tills, things in multiple spots in the shop with no real order to it at all, skinny aisles, and basically no system at all. And a very grumpy woman who pushed in the queue because she was too stupid to look and see where she was supposed to go.
There was a refreshment place about halfway round selling a small selection of sandwiches and crisps and things, and there was also a butterbeer counter. It was disgusting. some kind of fruity fizzy drink with a sort of ice cream on top, only it just tasted like very cold cream. Jess liked it, I think Jonny thought it was ok, Rich refused to try it. I gave mine to Jess. But it was only £2.95, so I didn't begrudge trying it. Much.
The tour was great, but I think I missed some bits. It's not laid out in a set way to walk around, which is good because you don't get stuck in a line the whole way, but I think it was quite easy to miss bits. I wouldn't take kids, we saw a few bored ones. I also wouldn't take anyone not particularly mad about Harry Potter, the husbands got bored and wandered off LONG before we did.
But my sister Amy didn't get to come with us, so I'll get another chance to go. Yay!
Update: This blog has now moved to www.undomesticaited.wordpress.com - Hope to see you over there!