By: Emily Lovasz
One of my favorite parts of visiting London was getting to visit The Making of Harry Potter at Warner Bros. Studio London. I only began reading the Harry Potter series and watching the movies at the beginning of high school. My family decided to go on summer vacation out West to Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Francisco. While in Los Angeles, we took a tour of the Warner Bros. Studio. At the studio we saw movie sets, the Ellen DeGeneres set and they had a museum of props, costumes and more from the Harry Potter movies.
After visiting the studio and seeing the museum, I really fell in love with the series and I read all seven books in one month. I watched all of the movies multiple times and could not get enough of the stories.
For my senior year spring break my family went to Daytona Beach, Florida. One day during the week, we drove over to Orlando to go to Universal Studios. Here they have the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. With Diagon Alley, stores from the movies, the Hogwarts Express and yummy Butterbeer, I was in heaven. I was finally seeing everything from the movie up close and it was like I was actually living in it.
Fast forward another three years and I am at Michigan State trying to decide what study abroad program to attend. I chose Mass Media and Communication in the U.K. On this trip we got to visit advertising agencies and spoke with professionals in the communication and journalism industry. Not to mention, we got to tour around some of the cities we visited and see the beautiful things each had to offer. I also found out when applying for the program that we would get to visit The Making of Harry Potter at Warner Bros. Studio London.
Upon hearing I would get to visit the studios where they created the magical world of Harry Potter, I was ecstatic. The day finally came at the beginning of our last week to travel to the studio and go on the tour. Courtney and I were about to explode from excitement and it was difficult to hold back tears.
The tour in the studios in London was a lot different than the tour in Los Angeles and the world of Harry Potter in Universal Studios, Orlando. In Los Angeles, they had a lot of recreations of props or replicas of them. Some of the only real things they had from the movies were some of the costumes, wands and smaller props. You also couldn’t take pictures in this little museum, so that was kind of disappointing.
Universal Studios in Orlando obviously was not a museum and did not have any real props or sets from the movies, but instead it was a recreation of Diagon Alley, the Hogwarts Express and other scenes from the movies. You could walk through the streets and ride the train just like in the movie.
The studio tour in London had a mix of everything except my favorite part was that they had actual sets that they used to film. When you first enter, you walk into the Great Hall, which is used in all of the movies. After, you walk through tables and walls full of costumes, props and smaller sets. Pretty much anything you could think of from the movie, it was probably there. They also had Diagon Alley but it was used to film the movies.
While the each Harry Potter experience and tour was different, they were all ways to communicate how the series was made. They were all ways for people to experience and live in the magical world that they love. People would travel from all over the world to experience the world of Harry Potter.
Personally, I liked the tour in London the most. There was a lot more to see and look at from the movies, and it was the most interesting. It was self-guided and you could walk through the entire thing at your own pace.
The tour in Los Angeles was a lot different because you didn’t just see things from Harry Potter. Most of the tour went around the rest of the studios and there was only a small museum with Harry Potter props and other things from the movies. A lot of the items were replicas and not originals. I really enjoyed the London tour because the props and sets were original. The actors used all of them in the movies and they were added to the exhibit once the series ended.
One thing I noticed between the tours is that they were interactive. The museum in Los Angeles was not because it was smaller, but Universal Studios and the London tour were. You could buy Butterbeer, fly on a broomstick and wave a wand to cast a spell. At Universal they had similar interactive experiences and live shows similar to those in the movies.
As our group walked through the tour in London, the movie series grew on a lot of people. A few people went into the tour not really huge fans of Harry Potter and not having read a lot of books or watched a lot of the movies. However, fans or not, walking through the tour and seeing all of the magical things made some people in the group appreciate the series a bit more. I would even say that through the tour we went on, a lot of people even became fans of Harry Potter and it has encouraged them to read the books or watch the movies.
It is amazing to see the power that communication has. Warner Bros. has kept the series of Harry Potter alive by allowing people to experience how the movies were made and the magical world through the tours around the world. The world of Harry Potter has stayed alive and will stay alive because of the thousands of people who visit Warner Bros. Studio and Universal Studios and because of the studios for giving fans a chance to experience the magic.