Seriously, can you imagine that the train station for Harry Potter Studios in an American city would look like this? Or that you’d be directed to a public bus shelter to wait for the “cash only” bus from this glamorous depot to the studio that held every single Harry Potter movie prop ever? Uh, no.
During the bus trip, a 13 inch monitor at the front showed a short trailer for the studio tour. It was comically undersized, given what was waiting for us …
The big promo for the studios right now is that Hogwarts would be covered in snow and decked out for the holidays. Hence the tree.
I have watched every Harry Potter movie dozens of times–in whole or part–with my kids. I remember cuddling in the “big bed,” snuggling on the sofa, sitting under the stars at the drive-in, snacking on popcorn at the movies; laughing, crying, oohing, ahhing; all with two constants: Harper and Penn. Even more than the books, these movies coincided with my babies growing into children and now into pre-tweens. They’ve been the background ABC Family Marathon to many a Saturday morning over breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes and waffles or to many a Sunday afternoon prepping dinner. So, looking at these doors, as a family, knowing that on the other side was THE Great Hall was so remarkable that it brought tears to my eyes.
And, nothing disappointed! Even Ned, who (kindly) mocked our excitement at going, was impressed. We really walked right into the world of Harry Potter. In the best way, it was super nerd heaven–no rides, no animatronics, just prop after prop, set after set, and costume after costume. Honestly, I took so many pictures, it was almost shameful. Here are just a few:
The Great Hall
The Hogwarts Gate
The Mirror of Esired
The Basilisk Door
The Night Bus
And, then, turn the corner and there it is: the full model of Hogwarts used in the films. So huge it basically takes up a soundstage. Lights twinkling like the students are moving throughout the hallways; snow gently covering the grounds and buildings; waves lapping up against the shore. Truly grand! It was almost as much fun to watch all the Potter-geeks, with wide eyes, circle the gigantic model over and over–running from the bottom to the top to start the journey again.
By the light of Rudolph’s flashing nose, we said goodnight and goodbye to London, and set our alarm for 3:30 am to “Allons-y” to Paris.