A little background on myself. I am a self-proclaimed Harry Potter super-fanatic. Not just a fan. Fanatic. I’ve read the books at least four times all the way through and watched the movies God knows how many times. I’ve of course also been to the Harry Potter section of Universal Studios and considered trying to move there. And last semester I went to a Harry Potter festival in some dinky little town in Wisconsin where I geeked out majorly. I know there are others out there who are more obsessed than I am, but I REALLY love all things that relate to the Wizarding World.
So when I realized I was only a short plane ride away from where the Harry Potter films were made, I HAD to go. Not gonna lie, the Warner Brother’s Studios Tour was one of the main reasons I decided to go to London. So my friend and I bought tickets, which were surprisingly only like 39 pounds each. I would have been willing to saw off my ear to see where Fred and George Weasley played pranks on their professors, but my broke college kid’s wallet was content with that price. And my ear.
I spent four full days in London, my last one Harry Potter themed. Or so I had planned.
On Saturday, my cousin and I were walking down the streets of London when we passed a theater. And on the side of that theater was–
OH MY GOD DANIEL RADCLIFFE.
Freaking out internally, we went inside to see if the play he was in was showing that night, and if there were any tickets left. And guess what. There was a ticket left just for me!!!!!
The ticket to Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead was mine, and I was finally going to see Harry Potter in person! Err– I mean Daniel Radcliffe.
The show was about Hamlet’s two friends from school, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern, and their experiences during the Hamlet play. There were actually scenes from the original Hamlet within the play which was pretty cool. It was a really good show, even though I only got to see Daniel Radcliffe from a couple hundred feet away.
OR SO I HAD PLANNED.
Leaving the show, I saw people racing to line up next to the door outside. I had no idea what was going on, so I naturally got in line too. After about five minutes I asked someone else in line what was up, and they explained that there might be a meet and greet.
In the frigid London cold (compared to Sevilla), I stood outside for an hour and half. But I finally made it inside, and there he was!! Signing autographs and taking selfies like a pro. I guess he’s had a lot of practice.
He came up to me and asked me how I was. I smiled dumbly, said nothing, and handed him my ticket to sign. We snapped a selfie, me smiling like an idiot the whole time, and I manage to utter “thank you” to him before I left. I was a total starstruck dork, but I don’t care cause I met Daniel Radcliffe!!!!! He was super nice, and also quite short. And it made my whole weekend. Possibly my whole life.
After that surprise encounter, I wasn’t sure how my weekend could have gotten any better. But as soon as I walked into the Harry Potter Studios, it was infinitely more amazing.
Our tour started at 4:30, so we only spent three hours there. But I easily could have spent ten if we had more time. I took like 173 pictures. Too many? Never.
I’m not gonna bother to explain every picture. If you don’t know what something is, then you won’t fully appreciate my wonderment because you probably haven’t seen the movies, or haven’t seen them enough times.
The tour started with the cupboard under the stairs and a short clip about the making of the movies.
Then we moved into the Great Hall which was filled with original costumes worn by lots of different characters.
We visited Dumbledore’s office
and learned a little about how Quidditch was created for the movies.
A new section had just been opened, The Forbidden Forest. We walked through and saw how the trees were made, and were nearly attacked by a pack of acromantula. But luckily I think they were scared off by Buckbeak.
We waited at platform nine and three quarters for the Hogwarts Express to arrive.
There was a train car themed for every movie, which was pretty cool. Here are some of my favorites.
In the middle of the tour, there was a strategically placed cafeteria where you can buy butterbeer, which we of course had to do. You can’t go to a Harry Potter themed place without drinking a nice, cold butterbeer.
After the food, there’s an outdoor portion of the tour. We saw the Knight Bus
Number 4 Private Drive
the Hogwarts Bridge
and Hagrid’s flying motorcycle and the Weasley’s Ford Anglia.
Brenna’s a horrible driver and almost crashed us into the Whomping Willow.
We took a stroll through Diagon Alley and saw the Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes shop.
There were lots of other cool things too, but by far the best was the miniature Hogwarts. When I say miniature, I don’t really mean that small. I mean it’s obviously not to scale where people could live in it, but its quite large. It’s really amazing, and it made my friend cry when she saw it. I teared up a bit too; it’s very majestic.
It felt so good to be in such a magical place, and leaving was so sad.
On our way home, we stopped at King’s Cross to see the real platform nine and three quarters, but it was a total let down. It was there alright. The platform and a giant line of people waiting to take a picture with a professional photographer. We got pretty much the same pictures at the studio tour, so we hopped back on the tube and headed home.
Now, pretty much all of my Harry Potter dreams have come true. I still realllllyyyyy want to meet Emma Watson, but I’ll have to save that for next time. I think I’ll go home and read the books for a fifth time.