If you’ve never been to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour before, this question, or a more child-friendly version of it, will be all you hear until the magic starts to happen. Seriously, you’ll be surrounded by little ones all desperately wanting to know what’s going to happen and while I'm going to give you a sneak peek, try to keep it to yourself, or you’ll ruin the surprise!
So the question is…what DOES lie behind the curtain? There’s so much to see and do on the tour that it’s worth knowing about all the extra special exhibits and features, so here are my top picks:
Behind the Seams
There are countless costumes on display throughout the tour, but the Behind the Seams exhibit allows you to get that little bit more up close and personal with them. Showcased in a workshop, Behind the Seams takes you from first sketches through to finished pieces and even reveals how certain items were made to look old or disheveled.
The talk lasts for around an hour, so small children might not have the patience for it, but older fans of Harry Potter will be fascinated! You can check available dates and buy tickets before you go.
The Forbidden Forest
Who can forget the creepy, spooky and scary Forbidden Forest? Both in the films and the books, it was brought to life with such clarity as the home of various creatures with questionable natures and now, you can actually walk around it, as part of the studio tour.
As the mists swirl around your feet, be prepared to hold your little ones’ hands as Buckbeak, Aragog and a host of other magical creatures pop out to say hello. If you’re really lucky, you might even have Buckbeak bow to you, but he’s picky, so don’t get your hopes up!
Platform 9 ¾
No new school year at Hogwarts can begin without a trip on the Hogwarts Express and anyone that has yearned to push their luggage trolley through the wall, onto the magical platform, can finally live the dream. You can even board the train, walk down the corridor and see the carriage where Ron, Hermione and Harry first met.
There are so many amazing photo opportunities to be enjoyed on Platform 9 ¾, but be prepared to queue a little. You could also take some time to pop into the platform shop, which sells a host of fun Hogwarts Express-related souvenirs.
The Great Hall
I've left this spoiler until last and I'm going to be really careful not to ruin the big surprise as to the Great Hall, but needless to say, the space itself is phenomenal. Always seasonally decorated, filled with staggering prop foods and really setting the tone for the rest of the tour, the Great Hall certainly kicks things off with a bang!
If you’re planning to take the tour this year, take my advice and consider visiting when the Dark Arts exhibit is running (between September 28th and November 10th), as the genius of the props team comes into full focus, with over 100 individually carved and floating pumpkins adorning the Great Hall, in addition to sweet Halloween treats!
Now, here’s a final tip for parents on a budget! You’re going to need to plan well in advance, when it comes to spending limits in the studio shop. It’s no joke to say that absolutely everything you can possibly imagine has been given a Harry Potter twist or theme and little ones are going to go crazy for everything.
From full Hogwarts uniforms through to themed sweets, soft toy familiars and a seemingly endless array of pin badges, it would be shockingly easy to get carried away, but careful budgeting will help! I’d suggest that everyone has their own spending money and understands that there is nothing extra on offer! Especially when you think that you will have already probably bought a round of Butterbeers.
You might think that the Warner Brothers Studio Tour is only for kids, but there’s actually more than enough to keep adults occupied too. As for devoted Potterheads…they’ll never want to leave, so make sure you do a head count in the car park!
Disclaimer: This post is a pre-written collaboration.