THE BIG WIZARDING DUEL!
Within a few months of each other I had the pleasure of visiting both the Harry Potter Studio Tours in London and also the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios Japan.
When it comes to Harry Potter tourism, these two places stand above the rest! Whether you go to Universal Studios in Orlando or Japan, the fact still remains.
But which one is worth the visit? I will give you a run down on what both places have to offer and give you my final judgement.
And on that note, let the match BEGIN!
First let me walk you through each place.
The Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio Tour
Location: Leavesden, near London UK
I have got a short separate blog about this location here https://ramblingminaah.com/2018/12/20/harrypotter/ but let me really spill the tea on this place!
Firstly it is not cheap. Was it worth it? You bet it was worth it!
The experience, wonder and awe you get as you open the doors to the great hall itself is not one you will get at the Wizarding World at Universal Studios.
Here you will;
- See the full length scale of the great hall
- See/ walk through all the real movie sets such as the common rooms, diagon ally, dark forest, Dumbledores office, the Hogwarts express train ect. You will also see the full scale model that they used to film the outside of Hogwarts itself with.
You will get all the behind the scenes stuff that made the films. The amount of work and level of detail that went into those films was amazing, you can only fully appreciate it if you see it for yourself.
I had always assumed most of the film was computer animations of some sort, you will be genuinely surprised to learn just how many of the creatures and objects were real, animatronic creations of stunning intricacy.
All of these vast experiences you can only experience at the studio itself.
One for all Harry Potter geeks.
Wizarding World at Universal Studios Japan
Location: Near Osaka, Japan
Now lets break down the Wizarding World at Universal Studios.
Please note I am only talking about the one located in Japan, it was also raining that day so my experience is limited.
Visiting the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter at Universal Studios is a bucket-list item for all Harry Potter fans.
I’m sure we all know that you have to buy a ticket to the entire park to enter and not buy a ticket for this one section. Did the Wizarding World live up to my expectations? You bet it did!
It is basically very well-done recreations of places from the movies with thrill rides, shops and of course food places. When you see Hogwarts, you will feel like you are actually there and living in the world.
I honestly don’t think this place needs much explanation but for a quick rundown here you are able to;
- See a stunning recreation of the exterior and interior of Hogwarts Castle. You’ll explore classrooms and corridors including defense of the dark arts classroom.
- Hogsmeade! A village where witches and wizards reside.
- Ride on a Hippogriff
- Experience one of the most exhilarating experiences that will completely immerse you (without the 3D glasses… ahh love technology) into Harry Potter and the forbidden journey ride. You will literally feel like you are on a broomstick flying around.
- Hogwarts Castle evening light show.
I will be doing a future blog talking about my personal experience here, so stay tuned!
My final judgement and recommendations if you only had to pick one out of the two?
Honestly each offers a completely different and unique experience so it all comes down to the individual.
For me personally I preferred the Studio Tours in London, walking around Pivet Drive and seeing the actual real scale of Hogwarts was a breathtaking moment that made me cry lots of geek tears. While I did have this moment at Universal and it was truly an amazing experience, the crowds, space and stores trying to sell you everything did impact my time shared at The Wizarding World.
If you are a massive Harry Potter fan then definitely first place on your list I would recommend is the Studio Tours in London. However they aren’t even remotely the same experience, so at least once in your life you need to experience both.
In light of recent events I do know that fires have broken out at the Warner Bros’ studios in Leavesden where the Harry Potter franchise was filmed, and which now houses the HP Studio Tours. I do believe that the HP Studio Tour part remained unaffected by the blaze. So worry not fellow Witches and Wizards!
“Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.” Luna Lovegood