As they do every Winter, Warner Bros. Studio Tour has announced their special feature for Hogwarts in the snow. Harry Potter fans are invited to discover how special effects experts make snow that never melts, how set dressers transform locations for Christmas scenes, and how flames are created without fire, as Warner Bros. Studio Tour London opens the doors on its most magical makeover yet. Hogwarts in the Snow will run from Friday 13th November – Sunday 31st January 2016. Tickets must be pre-booked and all extra activities are included in the ticket price.
This festive season, film fans are invited to discover how special effects experts make snow that never melts, how set dressers transform locations for Christmas scenes, and how flames are created without fire, as Warner Bros. Studio Tour London opens the doors on its most magical makeover yet.
Launching on Friday 13th November and running for a limited time only, Hogwarts in the Snow will offer visitors the opportunity to see the Harry Potter film series’ most iconic sets decorated for festive scenes. Eight Christmas trees will line the Great Hall, the Gryffindor common room will be dressed for the season and a blanket of filmmaking snow will be meticulously applied to the majestic Hogwarts castle model.
In the Hogwarts Great Hall, visitors will spot wreaths and garlands, trees decked with golden baubles and topped with witches on miniature broomsticks, as well as a replica feast. One side of the Great Hall will be dedicated to savoury props, featuring roast turkeys, hams studded with cherries and bowls of potatoes, while the other will be devoted to sweet treats including flaming Christmas puddings and iced cakes.
For the first time this year, the Goblet of Fire will emerge from its original jewelled casket, rigged by special effects experts, and will be ‘lit’ with flames that change from blue to red. Featured in the fourth film, the impressive goblet was used as a way to select champions for the Triwizard Tournament. During production, the picture-perfect hero version was sculpted from a single piece of wood by the Prop Making Department, while a special effects replica was moulded in fibreglass and painted to look identical to its wooden counterpart.
The Hogwarts castle model will be transformed for the occasion by a team led by Model Effects Supervisor José Granell, who worked on the Harry Potter film series. The snow is hand-sprinkled onto the incredibly-detailed model and is made from a combination of granulated paper and grains of salt – chosen because it clumps like real snowflakes and catches the light like ice. Visitors will be able to touch samples of the different types of ‘snow’ used during production, each selected for its ability to float like falling snow, crunch under foot or glisten in the light.
The scale model was first built for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, with a team of 80 model makers working for almost seven months to create the original version. The crew updated it over the years when the story required it (the bridge was added for Prisoner of Azkaban, the Owlery for Goblet of Fire, and the Astronomy Tower for Half-Blood Prince), and the model was used for nearly every exterior shot of Hogwarts seen in the first six Harry Potter films. The specialist work was so detailed that it would have taken one person more than 74 years to complete!
Fireplaces throughout the attraction (including those in the Leaky Cauldron and Great Hall) will be ‘lit’ with special effects fire, created by filmmakers using a combination of water vapour and lighting effects. The Gryffindor common room and Weasley kitchen will also be dressed for the occasion with streamers, Christmas crackers and oranges.
The food featured in the feasts throughout the early films was real; however, the Set Decoration Department later used artificial food created from powder and resin.
While the film series’ Christmas scenes feel very festive, many of them were actually filmed at unexpected times of year (even during summer) depending on the production schedule.
Christmas puddings were rigged with real flames for the Great Hall’s Christmas feast, with gas pipes hidden along the floor and running up into the tables. This special effect will be recreated at the Studio Tour this year, especially for the attraction’s festive feature.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London has announced an exciting activity they planned for this Winter. On December 3rd fans will be able to have a holiday themed dinner in the Great Hall! Tickets for this exclusive event cost £230 (roughly €311 or $349). You can book your tickets here and read more information about the evening below.
Join us this Christmas for our first ‘Dinner in the Great Hall’ and experience something extra special as you’re greeted on arrival with welcome drinks and canapés, before dining in the iconic set that is the Great Hall.
The Hogwarts dining room will be dressed for the occasion with the original props used in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, including flaming Christmas puddings and hams studded with cherries. A wand will be waiting for you at your table and you’ll enjoy the first two courses of a delicious Christmas dinner with all the trimmings on the authentic set (vegetarian option also available).
First featured in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the Great Hall was home to Hogwarts’ famous feasts and the setting for many other memorable scenes such as the Sorting Ceremony in the first film where Harry is placed in Gryffindor house and the arrival of the Durmstrang and Beauxbatons students in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
After dinner, you’ll be able to:
Explore the Studio Tour, admiring sets such as the Gryffindor common room and the Weasley’s kitchen at The Burrrow, which will also be dressed as they were for winter scenes.
Enjoy a selection of three festive dessert bowls on Platform 9 ¾, alongside the original Hogwarts Express.
Drink Butterbeer in the backlot café and walk up the wizarding shopping street, Diagon Alley, before taking in the breathtaking Hogwarts castle model (covered in a layer of filmmaking snow especially for the festive season).
Finish the evening with music and dancing, with a bar provided for those who wish to purchase additional drinks.
Our first ever ‘Dinner in the Great Hall’ will take place from 6pm until midnight and is open to over 18s only.
From Monday 20th July – Sunday 6th September, you’ll be able to watch delectable demonstrations on how jelly snakes were moulded, sugar skulls were decorated and ice-cream sundaes were piped during production.
Expert prop makers will be based in the Ministry Munchies kiosk from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and will challenge you to spot the difference between real bakes and prop fakes as you see edible delights being created and get up close to original artefacts.
You’ll be able to:
Learn how props such as the floating pudding from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (that Dobby drops on the Dursleys’ guests) were made
See the Gryffindor common room set decorated as it was for the Quidditch victory scenes in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, complete with decorations, sweet wrappers and a barrel of Butterbeer
Discover how towering ‘frozen’ desserts were assembled outside Florean Fortescue’s ice-cream parlour on the Diagon Alley set
Take a look at some of the graphic designers’ original sketches and designs in our Art Department (they were tasked with creating dozens of unique sweet boxes and wrappers from Honeydukes and Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes – in the end they created more than 120 different items for the Weasley twins’ shop alone!)
Butterbeer ice-cream will also be available to purchase in our backlot café this summer as well as frothy tankards of the drink which is reminiscent of shortbread and butterscotch.
Book your tickets now and see if you can tell the difference between a real bake and a prop fake!
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London has released a video showing the journey the Hogwarts Express is taking to get to the studio
After just under 1 million miles in service followed by an iconic appearance in the Harry Potter film series, the Hogwarts Express is steaming into Warner Bros. Studio Tour London this March! Watch the journey so far here.
To celebrate the arrival of the #?HogwartsExpress we have a competition for you to enter! Click below to be in with a chance of winning four tickets to our VIP launch event. http://bit.ly/WBcompetition
Step on to authentic sets, discover the magic behind spellbinding special effects and explore the behind-the-scenes secrets of the Harry Potter film series. Tread the original stone floor of the iconic Hogwarts Great Hall, encounter animatronic creatures and wander down Diagon Alley. Located at the Studios where all 8 films were produced, the Studio Tour showcases the incredible British talent, imagination and artistry that went into making the impossible a reality on screen. Visitors will relive the magic through the eyes of the filmmakers who brought the Harry Potter film series to life.
For more information on the Studio Tour and to book tickets, please visit www.wbstudiotour.co.uk
Warner Bros Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter have just launched a contest where you can win four tickets to the VIP launch event to celebrate the arrival of the Hogwarts Express. As we posted back in January, in March the studio tour will be expanding to include a recreation of Platform 9 3/4 AND the original Hogwarts Express stream engine! To enter to win, visit the sweepstakes page! Unfortunately the contest is only open to UK residents.
We’re inviting visitors to go behind the station wall this spring and see the majestic Olton Hall steam train from the Harry Potter film series.
The original Hogwarts Express locomotive will be housed in a recreation of Platform 9 3/4; created by many of the original crew including Production Designer Stuart Craig.
To celebrate, we’re offering you the opportunity to win four tickets to the VIP Launch event on Tuesday 17th March, plus three runners-up will receive four gift tickets to visit the Studio Tour!
It has been revealed this morning that this coming March Warner Bros. Studio Tour London will be expanding! This extension is set to include a recreation of Platform 9 3/4 AND the original Hogwarts Express stream engine! Some concept art for the addition may be seen in the gallery.
This March, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter will unveil a 20,000ft2 expansion, including the original Hogwarts Express steam engine and a recreation of Platform 9 ¾. The new, permanent section will offer a glimpse into how some of the films’ most iconic scenes were created as well as give visitors the chance to climb aboard the train’s carriage and to pose with a luggage trolley as it disappears through the platform wall.
Throughout the Harry Potter film series, British steam train no. 5972, ‘Olton Hall’, was used as the Hogwarts Express. Scenes featuring the working engine – including the very last scene to be shot, in which a grown-up Harry, Ron and Hermione wave their own children off as they head to school – were filmed on a soundstage at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden and on a track running the full length of the Studios’ 100-acre backlot. The 78-year-old red engine will return to the series’ production home this spring and will be displayed on a realistic set of tracks, with steam billowing as visitors step onto the platform.
Officially opening on Thursday 19th March, the new, must-see section has been redesigned and will be built by many of the crew members who worked on the most successful film series of all time. Every inch of the platform’s glass roof, yellow brick walls and luggage racks, designed by Oscar® and BAFTA winning Production Designer Stuart Craig, will be painstakingly reassembled by a team led by Construction Manager Paul Hayes and dressed by Set Decorator Rosie Goodwin. Oscar® and BAFTA winning Special Effects Supervisor John Richardson will rig the locomotive with special effects steam.
Visitors will be able to walk along the train’s adjoining carriage and sit in the interior carriage set that was used during filming (complete with ‘windows’ that demonstrate the process used to create iconic train scenes from the films such as the escape of Harry’s first Chocolate Frog and the Dementor attack). A selection of prop luggage will be on show and visitors can find out which character owned which items by turning an interactive dial (characters include Hermione Granger, Draco Malfoy, Luna Lovegood and more). A train-themed souvenir shop will also be open on the platform, stocking a wide range of goodies inspired by the Harry Potter films and, specifically, the Hogwarts Express.
Sarah Roots, Vice President of Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, commented: “We can’t wait to open our first expansion, Platform 9 ¾, just before the Studio Tour’s third anniversary in March. The Hogwarts Express had a starring role in the films so we’re excited that it will be taking centre stage in the new area. It’s the piece that visitors have most requested to see and we’re expecting a fantastic response.”
Stuart Craig, Production Designer on all eight Harry Potter films, added: “The Hogwarts Express was the setting for many iconic scenes, from Harry, Hermione and Ron’s first meeting in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to the moment the trio’s children embark on their first journey to school 26 years later. The wizarding world doesn’t have a need for modern technology so we knew a traditional steam engine would make the perfect school train. Before we began filming in 2000, we scoured the country and found ‘Olton Hall’ at a preservation centre in Lancashire; realising pretty quickly that it was exactly what we had been looking for.”
The new Platform 9 ¾ section, featuring the original Hogwarts Express, will open on Thursday 19th March and entrance will be included in the standard ticket price.