The Making of Harry Potter: Insider’s Guide

Mar 28, 2014 by

A few months back my daughter started planning her 8th birthday party.  What began as Norman tea party in Eyensford castle morphed into taking five friends to Warner Brothers Studio on public transit.   We had the good fortune of having a friend who done the same birthday party with her son (only they went by car) and thought I should put this together for anyone coming from near or far who might like to see the Making of Harry Potter.

Logistics:

Before explaining transit, the tickets have to be purchased weeks in advance.  During the summer, I would anticipate you should book months in advance.

Using transit to get out to Watford is not difficult.  We met at the Wetherspoons in Victoria Station, just above platforms 1-7.  Once we had all the kids together, we took the Victoria line up to Kings Cross and then switched to the 20 minute, step-free train out to Watford (kids are free on the underground, but you will have to purchase tickets for the train from Kings Cross to Watford and plan this into your travel time).  Once in Watford, you wait in a queue for a special Warner Brother Studio Tour coach to shuttle you to the studios (you pay cash, £2 per person for the return journey).  The journey from Victoria to Warner Brothers Studio took about an hour and a half (we waited 15 minutes for the train and 15 for the coach).

Once at the studios, there is a very decent restaurant that is perfect for catering for various finicky food preferences: hot dogs, salads, falafel, various roasts and pies – something for everyone.  There is a sandwich and coffee stand in the middle of the tour offering hot dogs and sandwiches, too.  Also, you can pack a picnic to eat before or after the tour outside.

If you have a pushchair or mobility issues, King’s Cross to Watford is easy.  You could order a mini cab from Watford, although the coach can easily accommodate wheelchairs and pushchairs (you may just get stuck if there are too many and have to collapse your pushchair).

The Tour:

To be honest, I was not very keen on going.  I thought it would be crowds, a bunch of dioramas and sets with mannequins in costume.  In fact, we were short a ticket and I happily volunteered to sit out the tour reading the papers in the café, but the studio was able to sell us an additional ticket so I could go (do NOT bank on this, we lucked out)

I am glad that I did get to go, because  I could not have been more wrong – the tour is what it should be, it is as enchanting as the films, worth every single penny – it is, hands-down, amazing.

There is a long queue to get in as the entrances are staggered so that it is not too crowded; this part is incredibly tedious for little ones.  Once in the studio, it is so captivating, so overwhelming, it makes up for the long wait to get into The Great Hall.  From the very smallest of details in the potions lab to the soaring storefronts of Diagon Alley, big people and little ones alike will be enthralled.

Green Screens:

We spent a great deal of time waiting to go on the green screens, the bit where you fly around on a broom stick like they did in the films.  This took about 40 minutes to get all 5 kids through the queue and to have a go on it.  Time, in my opinion, should have been spent looking at all the fascinating artwork.

Hope this helps anyone thinking of taking their kids out to Warner Brother’s Studios ….

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