Saturday, September 22, 2012

Harry Potter Tour, Part 3

I started this post several days ago...I think the pictures have been uploaded since Tuesday...but I've spent the week researching for my last two essays for my class and I haven't been feeling 100%.  Lee's had a cold so we're wondering if he shared it with me or what.  But whatever, I have the last batch of the Harry Potter tour pictures today.  I left off with Aragog, who was one of the last creatures we saw before we headed into Diagon Alley.

They had a small model of Gringotts and one that was much larger; the larger one (above) wasn't what you'd call full size but it still looked pretty cool.

Bellatrix Lestrange's "Wanted" posters.  I'm slightly disappointed the pictures don't move.

And here's a view down Diagon Alley.  You can look in all the shop windows so long as you stay behind the barricades...would have been totally AWESOME if we could have gone IN the shops but alas, it was not to be.

Would have loved to get a closeup of all the goodies in here!

There's the shop front for Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, complete with 30-foot-tall Weasley twin mannequin in the front window.

I understand the desire to skip class, but Puking Pastilles are just...gross.

This is the shop front window to Madame Malkin's, who sells wizard robes.

I forget the name of the shop next to Madame Malkin's, but the front window is full of multicolored Pygmy Puffs, which remind me of Tribbles on Star Trek.  Only they have faces.

After the stroll down Diagon Alley, we entered a section of concept art.  I love concept art--Ralph McQuarrie's concept art for Star Wars was stunning.  It's so interesting to me to see the earliest ideas for aspects of the movies.  I think they had a book of HP artwork in the gift shop but I'm sure they wanted gallon of Galleons for it.  On to what we saw:

View of the Owlery with the bridge in the background.  If you watch the first three movies, the Owlery isn't there; it was added in Goblet of Fire since there was actually a scene there (when Harry asks Cho to the Yule Ball).

Picture of Aragog on the left *shudder* and Aunt Marge when she got blown up at the start of Prisoner of Azkaban.  I noticed when we watched it last week that Dudley gets beaned in the head with buttons from Marge's shirt and falls down twice.

The Quidditch pitch during a storm.

And here's a portrait of Fawkes the phoenix--I tried several times to get a good picture but this is the best I could do.  The original artwork has Fawkes' front end in shadow anyway.

Painting of a little knit pegasus toy, which I haven't noticed so far in the movies.  I confess I *meant* to watch all the movies closely after this tour but when we put in Goblet of Fire I couldn't resist cross stitching during the movie : )

This is the statue of the architect of Hogwarts (seen in Chamber of Secrets I think, Harry and Ron hide behind it when they give Crabbe and Goyle the drugged cupcakes).  At his feet are the four animal mascots of the houses but there were too many people for me to stand back far enough to get a full-figure shot.

Here's the Fiendfyre serpent from Deathly Hallows Part 2.  Seriously, I could have wandered through the concept art for an hour if I hadn't been totally starving, but the last thing we saw was probably the most impressive of the entire tour:

That, my friends, is a scale model of Hogwarts, with individually hand-painted bricks, lighted windows, the whole shebang.  It took a team I think 8 weeks to build it and they would make changes to it as necessary like adding the Owlery or touching up the paint.  For most of the movies, when you see big panning shots of the castle, it's this model.  I can't remember when they switched to a digital rendering, I think maybe Half-Blood Prince?  Or else Order of the Phoenix, but no earlier than that.

These photos cannot convey how incredible this model is; Lee and I were in awe.  It's huge and tiny at the same time--if you look at how big the individual steps are in the staircases you can see on the outside, they're tiny, but the model as a whole is ginormous.

I kind of wish this was a real place so we could go there and see it all, know what I mean?  Eventually we had to leave the model room and head towards the exit (and their cafe).  The last bit we saw was a room where all the wand boxes are:

You know the scene in Ollivander's in Sorcerer's Stone where Harry tries out all the wands?  Each of the boxes was really decorated and they have names on them of people associated with the making of the films.  Check it out:

I really, really, *really* wanted to pull one down and see if it had a wand inside, but I managed to restrain myself.  The room had thousands and thousands of boxes in it, imagine that wall behind Lee multiplied by four.

Last up was a quote from J. K. Rowling, and in case you can't read it in the picture:  "The stories we love best do live in us forever, so whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home."


We ate a very late lunch in the studio cafe and then I roamed around the shop, which turned out to be much larger than I thought at first.  It was like they crammed in all of Diagon Alley, Honeydukes from Hogsmeade, and a Muggle clothing store into one huge shop.  You could buy replicas of the wands owned by Harry, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, Snape, Voldemort, and others; the Marauder's Map (I got an oversize coffee mug with designs from the map on it, and on one side it says "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good"), books, movies, video games, keychains, postcards, and allll kinds of stuff for each of the four Houses.  They had a myriad of candies from Honeydukes and a menagerie of stuffed toys:  just-hatched Norbert with his shell, Hedwig the owl and all her owly friends, dragons, Pygmy Puffs, unicorns, and on and on.  I managed to be a good girl though; I only got the mug, a few postcards, and a magnet...the magnet has the kids' first view of the castle, from the first movie when they approach it on the boats with Hagrid.  I chose that one because I think that seeing the castle for the first time would just epitomize the magic of going to school at Hogwarts.  And I kinda wish I could go there...I'd even write scrolls and scrolls of essays for Professor Snape if it meant I got to study magic there : )

Hope you enjoyed the tour!  Seriously, if you get the chance, you should totally go see it for yourself.  Totally worth it.


CCsMom said...

Wow, just the detail involved is absolutely incredible. I can't imagine being involved in that -- I would have LOVED to, though. SO much fun!!!

Alexis said...

I cannot wait to get back to England to do this tour! Have you been to Universal's Islands of Adventure Harry Potter land in Orando? It is awesome!