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Alohomora: Unlocking the Secrets of the Harry Potter Studios

Did you see what I did with the title there? Dorky Clever, right?

At one point during our June 2012 trip, the mom of the children that I taught asked them, "What was your favorite thing that we've seen so far? And you can't say Harry Potter."

She was hoping against hope that what the kids took away from our intense trip had an element of history, of high culture, of literature. But she was fighting a losing battle because the Harry Potter Studios tour was so cool.

I am a giant, giant Harry Potter fan. I read the first one when I was in the ninth grade and never looking back. Seven books and eight movies later, I can happily say that I am a lifelong Harry Potter fanatic. When the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened in Orlando, you can bet your bottom dollar (whatever that is) that I went to that as soon as I could. 

In order to complete my full Harry Potter bucket list, I knew that I had to go on the Studio tour, which conveniently was opening just a month or two before we headed to England. If that's not a call to action, I don't know what is.

So, the Studio tour. 

London, England

How can you put something so magical into words? I was a little afraid that learning about the behind-the-scenes stuff would somehow ruin it for me, but it didn't. If anything, learning all of that just made the movies that much more awe-inspiring. 

There was frolicking in Diagon Alley. 


There was drooling over the Hogwarts model that was used for exterior shots. 


There were flights over London on the broomstick simulator.


And, there was BUTTERBEER. 

When I'd gone to the Wizarding World in Orlando, I'd tried to frozen version. Here, I tried the liquid version. Both are delicious, but I personally love the frozen version more. Oh, to have some right now...

Let's take a tour, shall we? I'm Natalie, your awesome Harry Potter guide. 

The tour starts with a queue that files past Harry's cupboard under the stairs. Props to Harry for living there. I'm totally claustrophobic and would have had to do some crazy underage wizard magic to make it bigger.

Harry Potter Studio Tour

Your group then files into a large room where you hear about the book-to-movie journey. I may or may not have welled up during the video.

When you think your emotions can't get anymore intense, the giant doors in the wall open, and you suddenly find yourself inside the Great Hall set.

Harry Potter Studio Tours

Make sure to take in all of the detailing in the Hall, including actual uniforms worn by the actors during filming.

 The cups and plates are set for the next schoolwide feast!

Hogwarts Grand Hall

Hogwarts Great Hall


You'll turn to the left at the end of the Great Hall and then you'll begin what I call the Wander. During the Wander, you'll encounter all sorts of props and sets from the movies. Go slowly. Savor every moment. Read the plaques.

Harry Potter Studio Tour
The centerpiece/ ice sculpture from the dance in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The boys' dormitory. Someone's about as good at making his bed as I am.
Something awesome, I guess. I have no clue what I was taking a picture of. HOWEVER. Please note the boy in the middle of the picture. He dressed up IN A CLOAK to visit. He's a man after my own heart. (Sorry, kid, you're like 15 years too young for me. But way to go on being an awesome second generation HP-er!)

I think Dumbledore changed the password because "Fizzing Whizzbees" didn't work. 
Snapes' Potions classroom. The sticks actually stirred themselves! It was totally magic.

Just heading to work at the Ministry of Magic. Department of Awesome. And yes, that is a Harry Potter themed polo shirt. I bought it while I was at the Orlando HP World and hauled it across the Atlantic just for this very moment.

Harry Potter Studio Tour
Dolores Umbridge's sickingly sweet office. Ugh. Cloying.

The poor Ford Anglia. What you can't see in this picture is me practically having to drag my student (inside the car above) because he was obsessed with this thing.

Harry Potter Studio Tour
All aboard the Knight Bus!

Luckily, the Dursleys weren't home.

I could go on and on about all of the stuff that we saw there, but I won't spoil it all for those of you who still have this on your to do list. What I will say is go. Immediately, if possible. Add a day onto your London vacation if necessary. Even if you only have a passing interest in Harry Potter, go. There's enough movie magic explained to keep anyone interested. 

Are you a Harry Potter fan? Have you done the Harry Potter Studio tour?