Since first watching eyes wide, absorbing every inch of the scene, whereby a cat via Animagus became Professor Mcgonagall, Moo was hooked. We soon enjoyed Saturday nights curled on the sofa watching Harry Potter films. His book shelf filled fast with JK Rowling's books, books on how to play quidditch and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Moo hates dressing up and face paints, but desperately wanted a Gryffindor Robe at his birthday he had house badges and death eater marks painted on his arms. A birthday party straight out of Hogwarts itself. The girls are also massive Harry Potter fans, but for Moo its something special.
We'd planned to go to The Making of Harry Potter in the Summer but the unexpected death of our Grandma and moving house put many things on hold. We made a list of all the places we wanted to go in 2015 and there on top was HP, I just knew it had to happen. One day whilst sat typing in the office I heard a commotion outside. Like the sound of an owl and something flew as if by magic through the letterbox. Perplexed I ignored it until “something came whizzing down the kitchen chimney. Next moment thirty or forty letters came pelting out of the fireplace like bullets” ( Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, pg 34) Trembling I opened one to reveal a special invite to a preview evening of Hogwarts Express.
When M&M opened their invites their faces said it all. After a few discussions we decided not to take Olive it was late at night and she's not great after 8pm! Daddy Moo is also not really a HP fan! I know right! If he didn't make a mean pizza we'd have replaced him long ago! We decided to exchange Daddy with Nanny Moo who loves HP and enjoyed watching Deathly Hallows Part 1 with the Moo's last Christmas.
The drive there wasn't too bad but the excitement levels in the car made it feel like forever as we turned the corner and saw the building, noises only audible to dogs came from the back (OK and the drivers seat too!). I think I actually forgot about the children as I stood mesmerised by 3 of the chess pieces from the Chamber of Secrets. I am totally a giddy fan freak!
Our tour started at 6pm. After being whisked in to a room where you watch a short video on how the story was picked up by movie producers, we shuffled into a cinema where we watched a film with Harry, Ron and Hermione telling us all about the set. How this was their job, home and school for 10 years and how all the magic happens. The screen rolled up to reveal 2 large golden doors. As we all gathered in front of the doors, a shout out for someone who had a birthday was made. Nobody replied. After a few moments I piped up that Moo's birthday was in a week. Moo and Megan were then invited to open the doors. Their little faces when the Great Hall appeared in front of them filled with tables, pews, costumes, all the house colours and banners (and yes I cried!) is one of those things I will cherish forever (thanks to instagram).
The studio tour was amazing! Everything and more any HP fan could want. In Dumbledore's Office we enjoyed hunting for the sword of Gryffindor, we learned all about the different wands all the characters had. We discovered horcruxes and enjoyed making the knife and iron move by magic in The Burrow. M&M had a ride on a broomstick and in the flying Ford Anglia. I felt like such a big kid! Moo and I spent so much time going “oooo” “ahhh” “look at this!!”
Next we ventured into the new feature – Platform 9 ¾. The iconic ending to the Harry Potter story, as 19 year later his son boards the train. "Albus Severus, you were named for two headmasters of Hogwarts. One of them was a Slytherin and he was probably the bravest man I ever knew." (Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, pg 607) echoes through the platform. The Hogwarts Express is breathtaking and who did we spy but Percy Weasley, who was pleased to see M&M in their Gryffindor Robes.
Hogwarts Express sits majestically alongside Platform 9 ¾ but surprisingly sooo tiny inside! The compartments are labelled with different films and show various items from these films, sweets, books, clothing. The real adventure is on the other side of the platform where the ACTUAL compartments with green screen windows are situated. We watched as a chocolate frog leaped about as we rolled across the English countryside. But watch out for the dementors! After nearly receiving a dementors kiss we headed off for some much needed Butterbeer.
End of Part One