On Wednesday (4/18), Jessie and I woke up early so we could walk down to the London Bridge tube stop, take the tube across town, and take a train out to where a bus picked us up to go to the Harry Potter Leavesden Studios. Going to the studios was Jessie's gift to me to celebrate my 23rd birthday! It was pouring rain, but that just added to the coolness of flying around roundabouts on the top of a double decker bus! When we arrived, the lobby was enormous and had huge photographs of many of the actors all around the room. In addition, they had hung several of the huge set pieces from the ceiling!
|Jessie and the Harry Potter bus!|
|At Leavesden Studios|
We waited in line and shuffled past Harry's Cupboard and some framed pictures of the Dursleys, hanging on the wall. We joined our 11am tour group and were led into a room with a bunch of screens where we watched a video explaining how the Harry Potter movies came to be (how the director discovered the books and how Harry Potter became a huge hit). Next we were brought into a cinema where they showed a video they'd made about the Studios. It was the three main actors who told us about all the work that had been put into making the 8 movies over the 10 years that they had all worked at Leavesden Studios. It would have been so cool to have been a part of the team that made the movies--props, costumes, sets, whatever!! Just to have been a part of the team! At the end of the video, the three actors were standing in front of the doors to the Great Hall and they opened up the doors and said something like, "Come on and see for yourselves!" With that, the screen in our cinema lifted and behind it were the REAL Great Hall doors! It was beyond cool! Jessie and I just looked at each other and grinned! :)
|In front of Harry's cupboard|
|The Great Hall doors!|
|Jessie in the Great Hall|
|The delicious chocolate delicacies! (all fake, unfortunately...)|
|The Boys Dormitory|
|Jessie in the Mirror of ERISED|
|The Gryffindor common room|
|Jessie and the clock thingy|
|The entrance to Dumbledore's office|
|Jessie in the potions classroom|
|The entrance to the Chamber of Secrets|
|Yep, Sirius' motorbike!|
|In the Ford Anglia|
|Jessie gets a "ride" on the Knight Bus|
|Number 4 Privet Drive|
|At the Dursley's house|
|The Potters' house in Godric's Hollow|
|Jessie is a DRAGON!!! (or a Thestral)|
|With Buckbeak, the amazing creation!|
Next we walked right into Diagon Alley! That was surely the coolest part of the tour! We were very sad that the camera was basically out of batteries at this point because it was incredible! It was just like the movie--all the shops (which we couldn't go into, but the window displays were excellent!) and the cobblestone street. Very cool.
And, finally, we walked into a big room that had the model of Hogwarts Castle--the one they used for all the overhead, sweeping shots. It was so detailed--Jessie and I were wishing we could be little fairies so that we could go wander around the castle! The room was fairly dark, but the castle was lit up and the movie soundtrack was playing. It was pretty moving, actually. We watched our last video on the digital guide (about their last day of filming) and then headed through the "wand shop" (a small room that has thousands of wand boxes, each labeled with a name of someone who worked on the films during the 10 years--and there is a box for every single person!) and into the gift shop. We looked around the shop, but very quickly discovered that it was way too expensive for us.
Since it was getting late (4:15pm), we caught the bus back to the station where we caught a train back into London. Since our train came in right next to King's Cross Station, we stopped by to get a picture at Platform 9 3/4!
Since it was my birthday, Jessie and I decided to go out for an early dinner (well, technically all we'd had all day was a tiny breakfast around 8am and then a butterbeer at the Studios). We found a pub that served veggie burgers, so we had a quick dinner (we inhaled that food!) and then walked over to the theatre to meed Carnyn and Jan. They treated us to Noël Coward's comedy, "Hay Fever"--starring Jeremy Northam and Kevin R. McNally. The show was hilarious! Afterwards, Caryn and Jan agreed to stop by the stage door so we could get some pictures with the actors! Then we walked over to a French restaurant and Caryn and Jan treated us to a late dinner (just something small). To top off a fun night, we got to take a cab back to their flat!! Such a great birthday!
|Jessie in Diagon Alley|
|In front of Hogwarts Castle|
|In the "Wand Room"|
|Jessie at King's Cross Station!|
|Heading through Platform 9 3/4|
|With Kevin McNally (Mr. Gibbs from Pirates!!)|
|With our lovely host, Caryn!|
|And, of course, our other amazing host: Jan!!|