Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Harry Potter Studio Tour Opens Near London

Studio tour entrance
The massive miniature model of Hogwarts Castle.
(all photos by: Frantzesco Kangaris/The Guardian; except those marked by
asterisk by thisisfakediy.co.uk))

In contrast to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios's Orlando Island of Adventure, is the studio tour that opened this week outside of London where fans can get a behind-the-scenes tour of the Leavesden Studios in England where Warner Bros filmed the seven-book series. Five years after the last book by J.K. Rowling and one year after the last movie, the magic of Harry Potter lives on.

Thank goodness for digital cameras. Fans of the books and films like myself will be snap happy trying to capture the experience in photos.

Visitors to the attraction will experience a three-hour self-guided tour of the sets, props, costumes, models and special effects exhibits from each of the eight "Harry Potter" films. The main attraction is a 50-foot-long model of Hogwarts Castle used primarily to film aerial photography seen in the movies. The castle was created by 86 artists and crew who worked on the 1:24 scale model that features 2,500 lights, hinged doors, miniature birds and live plants. Visitors will be able to view the castle in a day-to-night cycle every four minutes.

Other sets in the tour include:
  • The Great Hall where the tables have been aged with axes and chains and carved with graffiti by Hogwarts pupils.
  • Dumbledore's Office geatures the Sword of Gryffindor, the Sorting Hat, the Pensieve memory basin and portraits of former Hogwarts headmasters.
  • The Ministry of Magic which is the largest set created for any of the "Harry Potter" movies where visitors can walk past the "Magic is Might" statue.
  • Diagon Alley where visitors will find Ollivander's wand shop, Flourish and Blotts, Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, Gringotts Wizarding Bank and Eeylops Owl Emporium
  • Gryffindor Common Room and Boys' Dormitory features the beds of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Neville Longbottom and Seamus Finnigan.
  • Professor Umbridge's pink office filled with cat plates
  • Hagrid's Hut and his flying motorcycle.
  • Professor Snape's potions classroom.
  • Hogwarts Bridge that was destroyed in the last movie.
  • The Dursley's Prive Drive house which reveals Harry's cupboard under the stairs.
  • The Weasley's kitchen with special effects props (self-washing frying pan, self-knitting needles, self-chopping knives).
Some of the props on display includes: the triple-decker Knight Bus; Harry's Nimbus 2000; 160 pairs of glasses and 70 wands Daniel Radcliffe used during the eight films; and creatures (Buckbeak the Hippogriff; Aragog the giant spider; Fawkes the phoenix, the giant Basilisk snake).

The studio is located 20 miles outside of London and tickets must be purchased in advance and cannot be pursed at the door. Visit wbstudiotour.co.uk for more information.

Yule Ball set
(photo credit: Warner Bros.)
*Triple-Decker Knight Bus.
The set of the Great Hall at Hogwarts.
*The entrance to the Great Hall.
The majestic Hogwarts gates.
Diagon Alley
 (photo credit: alexkorting)
*Harry's cupboard under the stairs.
*The clock tower pendulum.
*Magic Is Might statue on the Ministry of Magic set.
*Professor Umbridge's office set.
*Crystal props from the Yule Ball.
*Costumes used for the Yule Ball.
*Boys Dormitory on the Gryffindor set.
*The Great Hall
*The Gryffindor Common Room.
The set of Dumbledore's office.
Visitors ride a broomstick in front a green screen.
Masks of the house elves.


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