I realise this post is quite late, but what with coronavirus (I, somehow, have not yet caught it) and not being particularly well myself recently, it hasn’t been on the top of my to-do list!
On Friday 13th March (just before it closed!) my parents and I went to the Warner Bros studios near London for the Harry Potter tour! This was a Christmas present for me, and something I’ve wanted to do for a while. I read the first book when I was seven, and had broken my arm falling off a trampoline just hours before we were due to go on holiday to France. Holidays ruined by me, 3 and counting. I saw the first film for my joint 10th birthday and the final one when I was in first year of university, so it really did bookend my childhood. Obviously rereading the books you can see all their flaws (mostly to do with representation) but at the time they were so important to me. A friend recently sent me the Philosopher’s Stone in Scots, which was a lovely gift!
So, the tour. I really enjoyed it – it definitely exceeded expectations! (Points if you understood that was a Harry Potter reference) I particularly enjoyed the chance to see some of the sets but most interesting of all was all the information about the set design and costume design, the construction and other things that I hadn’t really thought about. I hadn’t really thought about how much work had gone into them before. I think knowing that doesn’t take away from the magic of it all – if anything, it added to it. The destruction of Gringotts was beautifully realised, and I loved the chance to see the Gryffindor common room up close, especially the tapestries!
(Photo description: me looking at a staircase, wondering how disabled people would cope at Hogwarts. Are there just no wheelchair users? Can magical wheelchairs fly? Did they just not think or notice? Who knows!)
My personal highlight came at the very end, with a model of Hogwarts. It was hard not to get emotional at that, and especially because of where it was placed in the tour, just thinking about all the hard work that must have gone into it, as well as the general ‘ahhhh it’s Hogwarts’ vibe may have brought a tear or five to my eyes.
My other highlight came right at the beginning – while we were waiting to go in, we had a drink in a room with pictures of the cast and this huge dragon! It was incredibly impressive, much more so in real life than in the photo I managed to get on my phone.
Another very memorable bit was the Forbidden Forest section – I loved the huge spiders! It’s very easy to avoid if you don’t like spiders though, especially huge animatronic ones which descend from the ceiling! It’s okay, I don’t have a photo of this bit!
In terms of accessibility, most of it was really rather good – there were only a couple of things that I couldn’t do, and most of the tour was flat and more than wide enough for my wheelchair! I even managed not to spend too much money in the gift shop, although I was tempted to get some robes, but as my parents pointed out, when would I actually wear them?
As an end of post photo, this is me and my mum by the Hogwarts Express!