The Harry Potter Studio Tour outside of London is a must for any true and dedicated fan of wizardry and witchcraft. While tickets can be hard to come by, if not planned for well in advance, my diligent youngest sister was able to secure three tickets on the day she arrived in the UK from the States. Warnings about jetlag be damned. This girl was going to see Harry Potter if it didn’t, literally, kill her. One hour after the first wave of family visitors arrived, we turned around and headed out the door.
Warner Bros. has dedicated significant studio space for this permanent exhibition of their beloved Harry Potter. The tour, which I will refer to as ‘The Experience’ is thoughtfully laid out, with just the right amount of self-guided wandering sprinkled in with little bursts of supervised information, video and touch-screen interactions. Truth be told, it feels a little like Disneyworld with every moment carefully prepared for maximum impact.
The Experience begins with a 5-10 minute introduction by a guide, and then you watch a short (5-10 minute) film about the making of the movies. The film ends with the kids (Harry, Hermione, Ron) existing through a door at which point the curtain raises and the door is standing there for the audience to go through into the Christmas-decorated Great Hall. Very cool.
With the waves of visitors entering the full exhibit every 20-30 minutes, it cuts down on the throngs of people, and while not empty, the studio warehouses filled with sets, costumes, props, wigs, models, robots and potions didn’t feel crowded either. About halfway through, there is also a little outdoor reprieve with some of the outdoor sets, and refreshment stands (with Butterbeer of course).