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A DREAM COME TRUE

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Back in July, I went to London for my cousin’s wedding. We arrived a week before the wedding to help out with preparations, but—for one day—my sister and I were able to step away from all the preparation to visit one of the best places to ever be created The Harry Potter Studio Tour. Before I went on my trip, I mentioned that I would be visiting the studios and also spoke about my love for the series. So, I’m not going to do that again. Instead, this column will be focused on my experience at the studio tour and be a detailed piece on how the entire day went down. And we’re going to just ignore that I said you wouldn’t be seeing a Tidbits in two weeks. I failed to make the connection that I would be coming in at least once each week and could write my column then. So anyways. My sister and I went to the studio tour on Monday, July 9th. My cousin who had some last minute wedding related errands to run—was the one who dropped us off and picked us up so shout-out to her. When we arrived, we had about 30 minutes until our entrance time (when you purchase tickets you have to choose a time and you cannot enter until your chosen time). We used this 30 minutes to connect to their Wi-Fi—definitely needed it to keep everyone updated on how much fun we were having—and then spent the rest of the time in a gift store. Now normally, I hate shopping. A girl who hates shopping, crazy right? But it’s true—the only stores I really like are book stores, I mean put me in a Barnes and Noble and I could spend all day there. And honestly I never thought I would find another store I loved as much as BN, until I got to the Studio Tour shop. I mean that store was filled to the brim with Harry Potter merchandise. Books, w a n d s , stuffed animals of the creatures in the books, m a g n e t s , p o s t c a r d s and so much more. It was even interactive because there was a room full of boxes of wands—like Ollivander’s in the series—and every so often those boxes would move. And these weren’t just any wands, they were actual character wands. By the way, if you haven’t already realized, I will be using Potter related terminology throughout this piece. When we were finally allowed to go into the studio, we were first led into this tiny room where we basically debriefed on the rules of the tour. You know the basic ‘this is what you can and can’t touch, this is where you can and cannot stand, this is what you can and cannot take pictures of, etc. etc.’ We were then led into this theater looking room, where we watched a short clip of Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint—who played Harry, Hermione and Ron respectively—welcoming us to the tour. And then, to my surprise and delight, the screen used to show us this clip was raised to reveal The Great Hall. Now, the thing that’s awesome about the Studio Tour is that it is located at Leavesden Studios. Leavesden is where the actual Harry Potter films were taped, so we saw the real sets and the real props that were used in the films. I mean call me crazy fangirl—(which I am when it comes to certain things, I can’t deny that)—but knowing that I was standing in the sets that were used in the movie and knowing that I was seeing the actual props from the movie, gave me a feeling of happiness that I can’t even explain. So the way the tour was arranged is kind of hard to explain but it basically had different rooms, all filled with different sets and props, and then an outside area filled with more sets and props. Throughout all the areas, my sister and I saw the sets for the Gryffindor common room, the Weasley house, the Potions classroom, the Malfoy house, 4 Privet Drive (where Harry grew up), the flying car, Diagon Alley, Buckbeak the Hippogriff, Dumbledore’s office and so much more. Each set was exactly how it was in the movie, with all the props just as we saw them in the movies, but the tour even went beyond and included statues of the characters that were relevant to those sets. For example, in the Dumbledore office set had a statue of Dumbledore in it. My sister and I spent hours at the studio tour because we wanted to take in EVERYTHING. Since it is in London and wasn’t cheap, we knew this would be the one and only time we would get to go and we wanted to make the most of it. This is partly the reason why we didn’t tell anyone that we were going because we didn’t want to feel pressured to rush. And the other reason was that we wanted to go, just the two of us, and have a sister day. Writing this article and looking back at my trip has made me realize just how lucky I am. I mean I have always been aware of my privilege, but this is one of those ‘I really am lucky’ moments. Because there are so many Harry Potter fans in the world who dream of visiting this Studio Tour and I was actually lucky enough to be there. I saw everything that was used in the movie. I stood where the actors stood. I was able to immerse myself in that world that I love so much. It is a day that I will never ever forget and I am so grateful I had the opportunity to be there. And for you all to get an idea of the Studio Tour, I am going to add some pictures to this column. This isn’t all the pictures we took, but it’s enough to give you a general idea. So thanks for reading this account of literally one of the best days of my life. I’ve now been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida and visited the Studio Tour. The only two things left for me to do are visit the WWOHP again (because they expanded and added new attractions since I last visited) and actually meet the cast. I mean some of my FAVORITE celebrities are from those movies so getting to meet them would be AMAZING. Oh and Happy New Year! I hope 2019 brings you all happiness and success and good health.

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