The Week Ahead for South Florida 1/29/14

Entrance to WB Harry Potter Studio Tour London
Invisible cloak with green lining at WB Harry Potter Studio
Invisible cloak WB Harry Potter Studio Tour London

I have been feeling the pull of London this week, can’t wait to go back although I don’t think I have a choice.  Those of you who are Harry Potter fans should check out my review of the Harry Potter Studio Tours in London!  If you are headed over the pond anytime soon, this is a must see!  It is an amazing place, even if you aren’t a potter head, but have an interest in movie making.  The detail of the sets and artistry that goes into them is nothing less than incredible.

 

 

My Little Pony Friendship Train ReviewI thought I would re-share the video review of the My Little Pony Train.  My daughter got this Christmas before last and she has been playing with regularly ever since.  I stepped on it last night in the middle of the night and seriously it rivals Lego’s for pain!  She has no idea how close she came to losing this thing.  I don’t think she would ever forgive me for throwing it out though.

This is the week ahead or Click Here for the Full List

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What Geek Families Must See in London, from TARDIS to Platform 9 3/4

Waiting for the Doctor to return to his TARDIS parked outside Earls Court Station in London
Waiting for the Doctor to return to hisTARDIS parked outside Earls Court Station in London

****Update******

We headed back here this past summer to try to stalk the Doctor.  He was nowhere to be found, but the Tardis is still there!  I wanted to add this link for my fellow Whovians.  One of my readers sent it in.  Google Maps lets you enter the Earls Court Tardis and even walk around a little!  Follow this link for a Timey Wimy Wibbly Wobbly look. Thank you Google Maps.

*******
I am truly a geek at heart but luckily my slightly geek family is very understanding and tend to join into my geek like passions, like finding the TARDIS in London and even trying to get onto Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station.

We had the great luck to get to go to London earlier this summer during the Queens Diamond Jubilee.  We were so lucky to get to see some really great places for kids.

For anyone visiting the London area I will be posting over the next week or two many of our favorite family friendly places.

I thought I would start today with a couple of easy and free ones!  The kids love to ride the train and tube so even getting there will be fun!  I know this will probably only appeal to those of you who are geeks like me! But I promise I have more to come that will appeal to everyone!

TARDIS parked outside Earls Court Station in London
Waiting for the Doctor to return to his TARDIS parked outside Earls Court Station in London

Take Ride on the TARDIS:  Okay well maybe you won’t get a ride but, at least you can get your picture taken with it. If you or your family are Doctor Who fans then you cannot miss this! My darling husband found this for me and what a find it is!  Yes, We found the TARDIS. You know the Doctors Time And Relative Dimension In Space Ship? The hubby  earned big brownie points with me for finding this!  It is parked right in front of Earls Court Station.  You can’t miss it!  Earls Court Station is on the Underground Piccadilly Line.

Don’t worry if you can’t make it to London to see it, Google Maps now has a really cool opportunity to see inside the TARDIS.  Check it out!

Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross in London
Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross in London

Platform 9 3/4:  For those of you who are Harry Potter fans!  You must get your photo taken at Kings Cross Platform 9 3/4.  Yes, it is  really there.  Okay, I must remind you not to really run into the wall though because, sadly you are a Muggle and the wall will hurt you.  The Department of Transportation and the Ministry of Magic left a luggage cart half way through so you can find it easily!  Kings Cross is a main Underground and Overground Station so it easy to get to from almost anywhere.

 

 

Muggle husband trying to get onto Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross in London
My muggle husband trying to get onto Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross in London

 

We saw many wonderful places and had an amazing summer. We had the chance to see The Harry Potter Studio Tour ( we loved it) and The Princess Diana Memorial Playground which was the most amazing playground I have ever seen, and The Hedge Maze at Caple Manors Gardens and College in Enfield was one of our favorites!

Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tours in London

Image of WB Harry Potter Studio Tour from entrance
WB Harry Potter Studio Tour
Image of Honey Dukes Shop Window at WB Harry Potter Studio Tour in LondonWe had a chance this summer to visit the WB Harry Potter Studio Tours in London.  I was so excited about this tour!  I was also very nervous that I would be let down, I just didn’t know what to expect!  We have family in Watford so we got dropped off at Watford Junction (closest station to the studios). For some reason I was expecting the Knight Bus, but that was a bit too much to expect. A round trip bus ride to the WB Harry Potter Studios is 2 pounds.
Harry Potter Studio Tour

My nerves were working overtime because I was bringing my 4 year old with me and I just was not sure how that was going to go over.

Cafeteria at WB Harry Potter Studio Tour in London
WB Harry Potter Studio Tour

We arrive to see a very flashy new entrance with giant pictures of our favorite characters looking down at us.  There is also a huge gift shop where it would be very easy to spend a gazillion Galleons on wands, brooms, and chocolate frogs.  You have to buy your tickets in advance and give a time to arrive, in order to make sure that lines and crowds are kept to a minimum.  We really did not encounter huge crowds and the organization was impeccable!  There is also a cafe with with food and snacks.  We had a snack there after our tour, it was very nice with some great healthy options too.

The front doors of Hogwarts at WB Harry Potter Studio Tour in London
WB Harry Potter Studio Tour

When we entered, we were shown a short film of the actors who play Hermionie, Harry and Ron who tell us how they pretty much grew up on this set, and then “magically” something lifts and we are all standing before the doors to the Hogwarts Great Hall.

This place was amazing!  It is not a theme park so do not expect that! However,  if you have any interest in the craft movie making or are a Harry Potter nut like me, you will be amazed to walk through the Great Hall and Diagon Alley. More than that though, the volunteers and staff members are full of incredible facts about everything you will see, like how all the Wand Boxes are hand labeled and how it took 86 artists to create the 1:24 scale construction of the Hogwarts Castle and Grounds.  The model was used for aerial scenes and even though you can’t see them, I am told there are little tiny owls in the Owlery!

To scale model of Hogwarts Castle used for filming WB Harry Potter Studio Tour in London
WB Harry Potter Studio Tour

Who knew that the Giant Chess game played by Harry, Ron and Hermione were actually built and the pieces are huge!  I thought they were just computer models!

I couldn’t believe I was standing looking into the Weasley’s Kitchen, Snape’s Potions Classroom and I even knocked on the Dursley’s front door! (Petunia wouldn’t let me in though).  The docent outside the Potions Classroom told us how there is actually a recipe to make the dust that covers many of the bottles around the room.

Potions Classroom at WB Harry Potter Studio Tour in London
Potions Classroom WB Studio
Animatronics parts used in filming at WB Harry Potter Studio Tour in London
WB Harry Potter Studio Tour

I was also impressed at how my daughter handled it.  They had a Passport type book for the kids to carry around and get an embossing type stamp at different stations throughout the tour.  She is too young for the books and movies, but she seemed genuinely interested in seeing and hearing about the things we were looking at.

Oh, and yes there was Butterbeer, if you like Rootbeer you may like it. It wasn’t my thing, but others in my group liked it.

Dobby's Feet at WB Harry Potter Studio Tour in London
WB Harry Potter Studio Tour

One of my favorite sections was the robotics that were used.  They have one of Hagrid’s Biting Book on display snapping away, they also have an opened up one so you can see the working parts. Forks was on his perch and Buckbeak was there as well.  I couldn’t possibly name here everything we saw, there is so much. Lastly I will mention the artwork!  The masks of the the House Elf’s  (Dobby specifically) were so amazingly detailed and realistic!  I cannot imagine being an artist on this set and getting to work on so many incredible objects.  The creativity flows out of everywhere all at once.

The Great Hall at WB Harry Potter Studio Tour in London
Great Hall WB Studios

You can see yourself riding on a broom or in the Ford Anglia on a green screen and get a picture taken of it.  You can also get your picture taken for “Most Wanted” in the gift shop.  We did this but please be aware.  The place the rolled up posted (which is thin newsprint) in a square tube that has been stored flat.  Therefore it folds flat again easily and will put creases that remove the printing ink in your poster.  Ours didn’t even make it back to where we were staying, let alone back to America.  Where it was creased it rubbed off the ink and I had to have it scanned and digitally fixed. (Yes I am that big a dork).  It was fairly expensive and I have made the Studio’s aware, but have not heard yet had a response. I hope that they will change the way the posters are handed out. (They never did respond).

By the end of it I couldn’t believe I had thought I would be let down, this place is wonderful!  The staff were knowledgeable and friendly. I could have gone a second day!  I really could have! It was expensive, but well worth it for us! Movie Magic is really an education all in itself and anyone who has any interest in the craft of it will be amazed. (Even if you are not a Potter Head!)

Don’t forget to visit Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station. Yes it is really there!

We saw many wonderful places and had an amazing summer. We had the chance to see The Harry Potter Studio Tour ( we loved it) and The Princess Diana Memorial Playground which was the most amazing playground I have ever seen  We found the The Doctor’s Tardis and even visited Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station!  (Yes, we really did, you can read about it in my blog What Geek Families Must See in London!)  The Hedge Maze at Caple Manors Gardens and College in Enfield was one of our favorites!