Harry Potter Studio Tour and The House of MinaLima
It’s been a while since I posted a video or updated my blog. I was busy spending the whole of June in London visiting my best friend who moved there 2 years ago! But I won't talk too much about that, as this post is all about HARRY POTTER!
While I was in London I visited the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour, and The House of MinaLima. A lot of people probably already know about the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour, but I hadn't heard about The House of MinaLima until I was on the Warner Bros tour bus, leaving the tour.
What is the House of MinaLima?
The House of MinaLima is a gallery in Soho, London which showcases the graphic designs from the Harry Potter movies, which were all created by a graphic design duo comprised of two people - Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima. So: MinaLima!
They run tours of the gallery several times a day, and your guide explains some fun info about certain pieces.
The tour is a great experience if you’re a fan of the movies and/or interested in the production and HOW they created the world of Harry Potter.
The MinaLima gallery housed 3 levels full of Harry Potter designs - spanning from newspaper spreads of The Daily Prophet, lots of the Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes designs, important props like the Black family tree, the Marauder's Map, the Chocolate Frog packaging, the Diagon Alley map, Ron’s Howler design, and Harry’s letter to Hogwarts. They also designed all the book covers, including A History of Magic by Bathilda Bagshot, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander, Advanced Potions Making, and The Gilderoy Lockhart book covers.
There was also an extra room on the third level dedicated to the new Fantastic Beasts’ movies - including a redesigned version of The Daily Prophet to suit the 1920s theme, as well as some 1920s style posters.
I’m so glad I found out about the House of MinaLima whilst I was in London, because it was such a treat to see all of the designs and be able to go on the tour where the guide gave fun tidbits of information about the designs. It’s especially great because you’re able to get up close and really study some of the designs which you can’t full appreciate in the movies - either because they’re only on screen for a few seconds, or because they’re used for background props.
Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour
The Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour differs a lot from the Universal Studios Harry Potter theme parks. The tour is set at the Warner Bros Studios Leavesden, about an hour out of London, which is where the Harry Potter movies were actually filmed. It focuses on the production of the movies, sharing information into how they achieved the ~movie magic~ throughout the series, and houses some well-known sets from throughout the movies, as well as many costumes, props, and creatures.
I'll be sharing some photos I took on the tour, but if you want to see a bit more, then scroll down to the bottom of the page to watch my video about going on both tours! I really recommend doing the tour, and I believe even only minor Harry Potter fans will enjoy it!
At the time of when I went on the tour (June 2018) the tour was running a Goblet of Fire special. The first room you see on the tour is The Great Hall, and so they had The Goblet of Fire set up in its place for the drawing of the names - complete with Fred and George mannequins with their beards on from trying to trick the Goblet of Fire into thinking they're of age to enter the Triwizard Tournament.
There were 3 kind of main areas of the tour which I’ll run through briefly and show the main highlights of.
The first part of the tour is basically one huge room which is broken up into little sections, each section kind of dedicated to a certain part of a movie. You get to see some of the most well-known sets, including the Grand Staircase, the Gryffindor common room, Dumbledore’s office, the Weasley's House, and then other various tidbits like the characters’ wands, the mirror of Erised, the portrait of the Fat Lady, and many characters’ costumes and wigs.
There was a whole Forbidden Forest section you could walk through, featuring an animatronic Buckbeak and an LED lighting setup on a dog demonstrating how they filmed the Patronuses. After the Forbidden Forest you get to see the Hogwarts train, built with another green screen activity and an interior set of the train you could walk through, where different carriages were dressed for how they looked in various years.
The second section of the tour was outside and housed various exterior sets, such as the Knight Bus, Privett Drive, the Potter’s Cottage, and that bridge from the 3rd movie. You could walk through the interior of Privet Drive - showing Harry’s Hogwarts letters exploding out of the fireplace.
Following on, the final section of the tour was focused on the special effects and concepting and planning of various aspects of the movies. The first room housed various creatures and animatronics - such as Hedwig and baby Voldemort from the Kings Cross Station scene in the final movie - and also special effects makeup for the many goblin characters. Some other items of note in this room included Harry’s blown up Aunt Marge, Dementors, a Hungarian Horntail head, as well as the giant Grawp’s head, and Krum’s shark head.
The next room housed a huge setup of Diagon Alley you could walk through. It included some of the well-known stores like Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, Ollivanders, and Gringott’s. Following on was a room showing various concept art and blueprint plans of the sets, and then a whole bunch of scaled models of various interior and exterior scenes from the movies, including Diagon Alley, the Durmstrang ship, The Owlery, Hagrid’s Hut, the Quidditch World Cup Stadium, and Hogwarts Quidditch tower, as well as a mini Hogwarts.
But what was the most impressive was saved until last… A huge, complete model of Hogwarts that they actually used when filming the movies for capturing certain camera angles and shots of the castle exterior. They had videos playing on screens around the set showing the huge model being assembled.
And then of course the tour was completed with the massive gift shop!
If you want to see more, then check out the video I posted on my YouTube down below!
I really hope some of you found this interesting, and gives a better idea of what you can look forward to on these tours. They really give you a greater appreciation of the love, imagination and sheer work that went into creating the world of Harry Potter.