Day 3 had a single mission. The Making of Harry Potter WB Studio Tour. There are really no words to describe the excitement level.
Then you first get there you not only see the sign for Harry Potter above the entrance and huge posters from movie scenes, you also see three of the huge chess pieces used in the first film. Before you enter the doors there are the hand prints from the trio…my hand is the exact same size and Rupert Grint. Entering the door you are surrounded by the familiar faces from the cast in massive posters around the entrance room. A quick stop in line where you pass by the Cupboard Under the Stairs, and the history of Harry’s origins, and before you know it you are shuffled into a smaller room with screens on the walls that tell you the movie inception and history. From there it’s to a small theater where the Trio explain a bit about what you are going to see. The movie screen rises, and there it is; The entrance to the Great Hall. The doors open, and beyond is the full Great Hall set, sans ceiling.
The only area you are timed in is inside the Great Hall, after that you are on your own. There was just so much to see, so much detail in everything, detail that you never see in the movies, so many nuances’ that make the whole thing real. The props, the Common Rooms, the Potions classroom, Ministry sets, wardrobe, and graphic designs for all the printed material used in the films; and this was just the first sound stage.
Between soundstage 1 and 2 the outdoor area played host to the Knight Bus, Number 4 Privit Drive, the Hogwarts Bridge, the Riddle Tomb Stone, the house from Godric’s Hallow, and of course Butterbeer. Man was the Butterbeer delicious!
The second sound stage held the VFX, animatronics, blueprints, scale models, and concept art. It was also the home of Diagon Ally. Again the detail was just astounding to see. Everything was perfect, everything looked old and used, and real.
A few more rooms from Diagon Ally and we came to a zigzagging dark entrance. I must say turning that last corner brought chills, a gasp, and some tears to my eyes. I think the guy behind us vocalized it well with a “oh fuck”. Around that last corner what the scale model of Hogwarts Castle. Even at scale this thing was massive. You walked down raps that gave you a full 360* view of the castle. Video panels along the way showed you the construction of the Castle, how it was used for aerial shots and composites, and touch screens gave you info on the different locations you where looking at. It was a room I never wanted to leave.
The next room was a tribute room to everyone that had worked on the Potter films from 1-8. It was done up to look like Olivanders Wandshop, and the names of each actor, crew member, editor, and anyone else who worked on the film had their name on a wand box. A great gentleman was working in there to point out specific boxes if you wanted to find a certain person, and he also offered some great trivia and stories.
Last stop was the gift shop, and then back on home. We had spend 6 hours there and it felt like no time at all…in fact the only reason we left when we did is because it was going to close, and the last bus was leaving. It was one of the best experiences of my life, and one of the best birthday gifts ever. THANKS KATE!.
P.S.- I will have a photo of the Castle after I composite it.