Fan Report: Warner Bros. Studio Tour London Pre-Opening Press Event
by Josée Leblanc
Nothing compares to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, which I was lucky enough to visit before its official opening on Friday, March 23. I’m sure I must have overdosed on Felix Felicis for this to happen to me.
Getting to the Studio Tour was very smooth and easy. We then experienced our first wow moment when we saw the shuttle bus, painted with images of the Studio Tour, which you can see, poster-sized, throughout London these days.
The two buildings housing the Warner Bros. Studio tour, named “Studio J” and “Studio K”, are positively huge when viewed from the outside. Once inside, you will get a bit of time to admire the entrance hall and its immense posters, as well as the very first props you will get to see (Harry and Ron’s trunks, the flying Ford Anglia, and a few others). After a brief wait in the queue, you will be ushered into a room with screens, then into a movie theatre to watch a short film with the trio, and my mind was blown for the first of what would be countless times that day.
When the movie finishes, you expect to be taken through the small door on your right to whatever is awaiting you next. Wrong! The screen actually lifts and *gasps* here they are, the Great Hall doors. The sheer amount of detail in these doors and in the Great Hall, in general, is incredible.
First, there are dozens of costumes (accessories like shoes, gloves, and jewelry included) worn by the actors. I think the detail that impressed me the most was found on one of Umbridge’s dresses: two little pink bows at the bottom of the dress are adorned with golden buttons.
Then, there are the props, which I think I can accurately say there are thousands of Golden snitches, letters from no one, howlers, U-No-Poo and other WWW merchandise, the time-turner, Mad-Eye Moody and Lupin’s trunk, wands, turkeys (yes, you read that right), books, Cherri Owls boxes, broomsticks, and much, much more.
Also, there are the sets, and the amount of details in them is unbelievable. Also, be sure to use your Legilimency powers on the staff. They are a wealth of information and you won’t even need Veritaserum to get them talking.
Part 2 of the tour takes place outside and you get to buy butterbeer if you wish to. When you get outside, you’ll see picnic tables where you can sit down and relax.
Once you’ve done that, take a moment to look at the large set pieces sitting outside: the Knight Bus, the bridge to Hogwarts, Number 4, Privet Drive, the Potter House (which they were still working on when we visited), the Ford Anglia, and some giant chess pieces. Be sure to stop by the Knight Bus or Hagrid’s motorcycle and in the Ford Anglia to snap a few pictures.
It’s now time for the second and last studio, studio K. Though I’m much more into costumes, sets, and props. You get to see the goblin masks and makeup, dragons, a breathtaking Fawkes model, the scale costumes, the Dobby doll Daniel Radcliffe carried to his grave, as well as quite a few animatronics like a mandrake, the flayed baby Voldemort, and the much impressive Buckbeak.
From the animatronics we walked up Diagon Alley (starting from Gringotts Wizarding Bank rather than the wall behind The Leaky Cauldron) and got to admire the many shop fronts of Ollivanders, Quality Quidditch Supplies, and Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, to name only a few. After the last shop, you enter a room filled with what can only be described as tons of blueprints, concept art and miniature models of everything from the Whomping Willow to the Burrow and the Quidditch World Cup stands.
Once you’re out of that room, you round a corner and are faced with the pièce de résistance of the whole tour: the Hogwarts scale model. I’m sure you’ll recall the reaction the kids had in the Philosopher’s Stone/Sorcerer’s Stone movie when they first caught a glimpse of the castle from their little boats. Well, that’s exactly how you’ll react when seeing this miniature (which is still at least a story high) of everyone’s beloved School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. We thought we had seen attention to detail in the rooms we had visited thus far, but it was nothing, absolutely nothing when compared to what was achieved with the castle.
After the Hogwarts castle room, you enter a room filled with wand boxes, though they’re probably stacked in a more ordered fashion than at Ollivander’s. On many of those wand boxes, you notice a label. The labels list the name of every single person who has ever worked on the Harry Potter films, whether they were actors, sound recorders, drivers, or concept artists. There are 4,000 labels in that room. Seeing that room, you can’t help but say a silent thank you to each and every single label/person for the hard work and dedication they have put into those films.
Then you enter the gift shop, and even there, there are props to see.
I had a truly amazing time visiting the London Studios, and I’d like to thank the Warner Bros. Studio Tour staff, as well as MuggleNet, especially Keith and Micah, for this wonderful and unique opportunity. Be sure to read MuggleNet staff member Keith Hawk’s report as well!