You know what's awesome? Knowing other people who love Harry Potter as much as I do. It sounds crazy because, well, everyone loves Harry Potter, right!? Wrong! Apparently I found & married the only person in the world who has no interest in wizards, quidditch, horcruxes or polyjuice potion.
Luckily for me, his relatives don't quite feel the same way. When my in-laws were visiting recently, which coincided with Uri's nephew's 8th birthday, we all (sans non-interested parties, ahem, Uri) went on a celebratory trip to the Harry Potter studio tour!
The tour itself is wonderful. I was worried that it might fall a little short of expectation but you really do get to see and explore loads of sets, costumes, props etc. Above you can see the potions classroom, the yule ball decorations, and the Ministry of Magic. I also poked my head into Hagrid's hut, Harry's dorm, the Burrow, Dumbledore's office, and loads more.
My dad-in-law and I sat on broomsticks in front of green screens (wearing proper wizards robes) and acted out some flying scenes from the films! We even bought some of the overpriced photos, which I haven't had a chance to scan in yet. It was hilarious.
One highlight of the day for me was getting to try butterbeer! It was actually pretty gross & I didn't finish it, but the tour is one of only two places in the world you can buy the stuff (the other being the theme park in Orlando). So I was pretty excited!
I also walked across Hogwarts bridge. :)
We went through the 'creatures' room - in which Buckbeak is actually the best thing, so realistic! - and on to another of my highlights - Diagon Alley!
It really did feel like you were walking through one of the films.
The moment we walked into what is one of the final rooms, I literally welled up. Hey, there was music playing, ok! That orchestral Harry Potter soundtrack music. Like, from the credits.
And there she was: Hogwarts! A 1:24 scale model of the gorgeous castle. It was totally breathtaking, and I really did almost cry.
Thankfully I pulled myself together in time to try on a sorting hat in the gift shop (and buy a chocolate wand!).
It was such a fun day, and I really felt like it brought the magic of HP to life all over again, even though in a way it is dispelling it (no pun intended) by revealing all the 'behind the scenes' stuff. It's just kind of magical that they created this whole world, physically, that Rowling created with words.
Not to mention it's just so wonderfully British. :)