Warner Bros. Studio Tour of Harry Potter, London.

Hi everyone! First off, I hope you’ve all had a nice holiday and an extremely happy new year with your loved ones. Without further ado, here is my post about when I went to the Warner Bros. Studios in Watford, England for the Harry Potter tour. Now, this wasn’t my first time going to the studio tour, but it felt like it was with how emotional I got, from beginning to end as a huge Potter fan.

Getting there was fun in itself as well. If you’re coming from central London, the best route to go was from Euston station and funnily enough, it’s right next door to the iconic Kings Cross station, where young Harry took some of his first steps into the magical world. There’s even a little area in the actual station where you can take a photo with platform 9 and 3/4, complete with your House scarf and a trolley between the walls. I didn’t stop by this previous trip, but I did for my trip two years ago which I will attach the photo below. Keep in mind though, if you will be stopping at Kings Cross before your scheduled time at the studios, that there’s always a line so plan accordingly.

There’s always someone standing on the side with all the House scarves so whatever your House is, you can proudly represent it. Obviously as you can see, I’m a Hufflepuff.

Once I got to Watford station (the station where the studio is,) it wasn’t hard finding where I needed to go. At the exit of the station, there was a double decker bus that kind of represented the Knight Bus.

This takes you directly to the studios, with a little teaser of the making of the films playing in the bus while you’re on your way.

Once I got to the studios, I was in awe of how big it was on the outside, even having some of the billboard posters of some of the films displayed by the entrance, as well as a sign with that familiar font we Potterheads are more than familiar with. Once inside, photos of the cast can be seen overhead, along with a few props you might recognize.

After walking through the entrance, the workers led us into a room where they showed us a brief glimpse into just how big this story is all around the world, with interviews from the woman herself, J.K. Rowling along with others who helped the story come to life. Later, we were led into a room that looked like a movie theater and they played another short film. This time with the golden trio (Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson) explaining a few things from their perspective. Then to my surprise, the screen was lifted and it revealed the door of the Great Hall. It was this moment that I started to get shivers down my entire body.

Some of the workers even pick out a few lucky members to push on the doors, opening it to reveal the iconic Great Hall. I won’t lie, I got a little tears eyed as I walked down the Great Hall, seeing all the costumes and tables from the films. The photo below is of the Hogwarts staff up at the head table and also the Hufflepuff section of the table and since I went in early October, it was decorated for Halloween.

The entire studio tour after entering the Great Hall was self guided, so everyone was able to take their time with photo ops and just admiring all the props. Throughout the entire studios, there were also little activities for kids and people who were interested. There was even a table where they show you how they made unicorn blood and a bunch of other things from the films. There was also an area where you can ‘fly’ on a broomstick in front of a green screen, which can be seen below.

Next to this quidditch area was also Malfoy Manor, where Voldemort and his Death Eaters devised a plan regarding Harry. Also in the area was the Burrow, Hagrid’s Hut and Professor Snape and Slughorn’s potions classroom.

Let’s not forget the iconic Gryffindor common room.

This year, there was a new addition to the studios that I never got to see, and that was the Forbidden Forest. There was a lot of mist effect, which was pretty cool. Once you walk in, you’ll be greeted by Hagrid, and then you’ll see every creature in the dark forest that was in the films. I’ll admit, it was still really cool to see, but wasn’t really to die for.

From the Forbidden Forest, the pathway led directly into Platform 9 and 3/4 and it’s actually one of my favorite exhibits in the studios. There’s just something about it that makes me feel like I’m actually at King’s Cross station, waiting to board the Hogwarts Express.

You can actually step onto the train itself, hence the line of people in the background of this photo. Inside shows each compartment that we’ve seen in the movies, from the moment where Harry and Ron first met to the infatuation Lavender had with Ron in the Half Blood Prince where she drew their initials on the compartment door. Nearby, they also had an interactive experience where you can sit in a ‘compartment’ right next to a green screen window and shows you how those filming processes were done. To add another note, there is also a ‘barrier’ to enter Platform 9 3/4 so if you didn’t get a chance to stop by the real Kings Cross station for a photo, you can take one at the studios like I did this time around.

Now obviously I could go on and on about the part of my trip, but I think this would be the longest blog post ever written. But I think I’ll end this post here with quite possibly one of the greatest views: Hogwarts. This was what they used to film all the aerial views of the castle that we see in the films and it’s pretty big in person. It spanded from the second floor down to the first floor, and the lighting always changed, showing us how it would look during the ‘daytime’ and ‘nighttime.’

And this is the last view that you see before exiting towards the gift shop, along with some parting words from J.K. Rowling herself.

Not gonna lie, I got a teensy bit emotional at this part. But anyway, that concludes the studio tour and one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. But I also want to know: are you a big Potterhead like me? If so, I’d love to know your thoughts and opinions on the books and movies. And what’s an experience you’ve had that’s memorable to you? Let me know! Bye for now!

Advertisements

My Trip to London!

Hey guys! Ugh, I know. It’s been an extremely long time since I’ve blogged but I’ll admit, it was due to me being lazy and just completely putting it off. But the important thing is that I’m back now and ready to blog again, and won’t put it off for too long like this previous time.

Anyway, the last time I left off was the first day of my trip to London. Of course, there was a lot more during the duration of the trip, but again, I was being a total idiot and didn’t share it with you guys until now. So here it is.

The rest of the trip was so much fun that I didn’t want it to end! I got to do almost everything possible for a tourist even though I felt like such a local there. I’ll admit, I was a little nervous to explore the city on my own but after the first day, I knew how to navigate the city (thank you, Tube Map app!)

One of the great things about this city is that most of the time, I got to just walk everywhere. It allowed me to explore the city at my own pace, and also get some exercise seeing as I’m super lazy when it comes to getting in shape. With that being said, I walked through a few parks to get to where I wanted to go. I think my favorite park was St. James’ Park, mainly because that was basically the center of the city. It was almost like the gateway from Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament and Big Ben to Buckingham Palace. On my last few days there, I always found myself in this park. Even though Hyde Park and Kensington were pretty cool too, but for me, St. James was really up there. You can even see Buckingham Palace in the background of this photo!

Also, here’s a photo from when I took a walk in Kensington Park as well.

Out of all the awesome landmarks in London, I think my favorite is and always will be Tower Bridge. Even from my very first time in this city a couple years ago, I was always drawn to Tower Bridge. I don’t know what it is, but I just love it so much. Honestly, I could spend hours just sitting at a bench in front of the Tower of London just staring at Tower Bridge and I would still consider it as one of the best days. A couple of years ago, I was able to go up to the top of the bridge and see the glass floor looking down at the road. Here’s a picture from that moment back in 2015.

This time around, however, I enjoyed it from the outside. Compared to the photo above, I don’t think I’ve changed much really except that I have shorter and more gingery hair now.

Compared to Tower Bridge, another landmark comes really close to my heart and that is Millennium Bridge. I just love the look of it and it allows people to really see the River Thames rather than just cruise by in a car over a bridge. Also, as a huge Harry Potter fan, I always feel a sense of the Death Eaters close by. Either that or it’s just because every time I’m there, the weather is always gloomy. If any of you are fellow Potterheads and/or you’ve seen The Half Blood Prince, you’ll know what I’m talking about. And of course, no view of Millennium Bridge is complete without St. Paul’s Cathedral in the background.

Speaking of Harry Potter, I was extremely fortunate enough to be able to go to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour “The Making of Harry Potter.” I can’t even put into words how much I enjoyed that experience. Even though I’ve done it before a couple of years ago, it felt like I was going through it again for the first time, and I got just as emotional, if not more. It might just be my absolute favorite day on this entire trip, and since I have so much to talk about during that day, that will be in a separate blog post following this one. But here’s a little sneak peek from that day.

Overall, this trip was definitely one to remember. If I were to use one word to describe this entire trip, I think it would just be the longest word, because I’d squeeze them all together. I’m already counting down the days until I can go back to this beautiful city (and maybe probably live there at some point in my life.) Let’s start a little discussion: if you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? And who would you go with? And if you’ve been somewhere before, why would you want to go back? I would love to know! And keep a lookout for my Harry Potter blog post coming soon. Bye for now!

London Day One-ish.

Hey guys! Sorry I’ve been a little MIA recently but there’s a good reason for that. And the reason is that I’m in London, woohoo! I’ve been spending a lot of my packing, planning and everything in between. Although this is not my first time in London, I was still just as excited as I was the first time because I am absolutely in love with this city.
I landed in London on Thursday afternoon and basically spent the day resting and sleeping, which is why I added the “ish” in the title. I didn’t really go out until Friday, which I count as my day one. But to get to the point, here’s what I’ve been up to so far on this trip.

I woke up (earlier than I thought I would because I was so jet lagged) and had a quick breakfast. I started my day by finding the location of the Kingsman tailor shop. For the very few of you that don’t know, Kingsman is a film staring Colin Firth, Taron Egerton and many other names. It’s an action movie about saving the world and recently, they released a second film. As a big fan of the movie (particularly, Taron,) finding the Kingsman location was a must on this trip. You can imagine my excitement.


After taking in the moment of seeing the actual Kingsman location, I then walked over to Regent Street which is a very busy street in London (but then again, what street isn’t busy there.) I was both surprised and excited to see the NFL banners hanging over the streets in preparation for the NFL game in London on Sunday between the New Orleans Saints and the Miami Dolphins. As a big football fan (or American football if you’re reading this and you’re someone outside of the US) this excited me to no end. Yes, my team is the New England Patriots but still, it was fun knowing that the NFL was here the same time I am.


Since almost everything in London is walking distance, I figured that I would just walk the rest of  the time to everywhere that I wanted to go. I walked over to Buckingham Palace which was absolutely beautiful, and I love this photo I got of the palace. 

From there, I walked straight to Westminster where Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament are. Unfortunately, Big Ben was getting a little work done and he won’t chime for the next four years, it was still great just to be able to see that view again. He still looked just as grand as when I first saw him two years ago.

Shortly after, I walked a few steps down the path to get this shot of the London Eye, and would go on it shortly after. 

I loved going on the London Eye the last time I was here, so of course I had to do it again. The only difference is that the last time I went on, it was sunny. This time it was cloudy and rainy (there was a torrential downpour shortly after taking the picture above) but it was still just as awesome.

So yeah, that was my first official day back in London! After going on the Eye, I went back to my friend’s house just to rest up a little before meeting up with another friend out to dinner. I’ll try and keep up with my blog posts throughout my trip, but if I skip a day or two or if they’re just delayed, I apologize in advance! But thanks for reading 🙂

Halloween Time at Disneyland.

“The Happiest Place on Earth” is truly, the happiest place on Earth. At least I think so, along with every other person out there who loves Disney. Living in Southern California, you can expect me to have an annual pass at Disneyland. I go almost anytime that I can and never ever get bored of it. This time of year, however, is extra special because everything is decorated Halloween themed, which makes everything more fun.

Walking into the parks and seeing the big Mickey shaped pumpkin on Main Street always brings a smile to my face (unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of it because I was too busy goggling at how nice it was lol.) Also, seeing Main Street lined up with orange ribbon and the pumpkin Mickeys on the lamps are such a joy to look at as well. The fall is also the best time to go to Disneyland as it’s not too hot or too cold, and normally not too crowded.

After spending some time at Disneyland, of course, I had to make a stop at California Adventure just across the way. My spirits were lifted seeing Oogie Boogie from The Nightmare Before Christmas sitting atop the entrance, something I hadn’t seen before. Though I will miss Summer of Heroes over at DCA, I’m excited for all the changes this fall and winter season.

And of course, before I left the parks, I had to run back and take a picture of the iconic Sleeping Beauty castle. Not the greatest of photos, but I wanted to get the historical statue of Uncle Walt and Mickey, and much more of the view you’d see as you walk down Main Street.

This definitely won’t be my last post about Disneyland. Look out for my blog post during Christmastime at Disney as well! Anyway, to those of you who’ve either been to the Disneyland Resort or wish to go, what are your favorite things you like or hope to do at the parks: rides, character meetings, food, all of the above? Let me know! In the words of my pal Tigger, TTFN! Ta ta for now!

 

 

Introduction.

Hello to those of you who decided to come check out my blog! Just a little brief introduction, my name is Sandy. I’m 24 and currently residing in Southern California, originally from Boston, Massachusetts. I’m a huge nerd when it comes to anything Harry Potter or Disney related. I’m also a big fan of watching my sports teams and occasionally (more like definitely) getting really passionate when it comes to cheering for them. I guess everything I’ve stated gives you a little insight of what I’ll be blogging about: things I love, my opinions on certain topics, a little bit of randomness and everything in between. I like to think of this as a journal that I’m sharing with the public. So if you decide to follow me on my blog posts, then thank you! I don’t know how often I’ll post, but I won’t be silent for too long 🙂