This past weekend we “had” to go to England to support Cole’s ongoing football adventure.  Every other year Stuttgart High School play at Lakenheath (Air Force Base in the UK) and this was our year to go there! Of course we went along!  Though not literally.  Thankfully there are some fantastic budget airlines in Europe (this time we used EasyJet) and as long as you don’t reserve a seat, print your own boarding pass, bring only a backpack, fly at odd hours and order nothing on the plane, it’s completely reasonable.  Cheap even.

Still, I was sad not to go through the Chunnel on the bus, on a train, like the football team.  Cole assures me a plane would’ve been much better.

Our flight got in early-ish on Friday morning.  Rather than drive straight to Lakenheath, we decided to stop and do the tour at Harry Potter.  This is not Harry Potter world with all the rides, but the actual studio set where the movies were filmed. I was pretty excited to go.  Until I got there.  Then I almost popped out of my skin with excitement!  Much like Tess, Dane & even Dave!

12065649_10153082834737441_2269783094553845096_nWe didn’t even get outside before giggling like true HP fans.  The bus! The posters! The chess pieces!


I have to leave out about six million pictures. Including the entry way… I took pictures of pictures.  Of Harry at 11, he was soooooooooo adorable, all the way to Harry the grown-up. Still adorable!  And I’ve left out every picture of the gift shop. I could live in the gift shop.  I need to win the lottery to buy the gift shop.

So the first official, inside Harry Potter, picture I have is, appropriately, in front of the cupboard under the stairs. Nobody excited here. Nope.


I didn’t flash the adorable guy giving the intro, nor was I a total dork so no pictures of the 10 years of movies in review.  And then.  Then we walked INTO THE GREAT HALL.  I almost died.  I walked in the Great Hall.

I also greatly embarrassed myself. The tour guide asked everyone to speak up if they were in Hufflepuff, so I, of course, very loudly  yodeled: ME!  And I was the only one.  In the Great Hall filled with fellow HP fans. Sigh.


New on Friday, the very first day of this new, were roaming, scary Death Eaters.  One stood right by Tess and glared at her.  She jumped out of her skin & made me giggle. This is her posing, on purpose, with a Death Eater and pretending not to be scared.


Guess what this is?  OMG! Everything in every movie is here.  Every. Thing.


The kids also got to fly brooms on a green screen, Dave & I could watch them fly over London, past the Hogwarts Express, over the lake and the castle.  We have the DVDs to prove the flights were really real.  This was Dane’s favorite part.  I could barely drag him out of here.  Plus.  Robe!


The only thing better than pushing a cart halfway through platform 9 3/4 would’ve been pushing a car all the way through platform 9 3/4!


Diagon Alley is the very best of the entire Harry Potter tour for me. It’s Diagon Alley. Nothing has changed. It is the same. It looks just like in the movie. It feels like you are in the book.  The only thing Dane would’ve changed is being able to shuffle the bricks like Hagrid did.  I could’ve gone for a little ride in the Gringotts bank.


The official Harry Potter Wizarding School of Hogwarts. The details on the model are intense.  I could’ve stood here all day staring & pushing buttons on the interactive displays.  The workmanship on this is insane.


At the very end of the tour, just before we got to go in the gift shop again, is Olivanders.  This is a huge room stacked floor to ceiling with wand boxes.  And on every box is a name. A real name of a person who worked on the movie.  An actor, director, producer, prop builder, designer, architect, costume, wardrobe, painter, animal trainer, food, puppets, special effects and more. Much, much more.


Harry Potter has been one of our absolute favorite things to see & do in our entire time stationed in Europe. It is mind-blowingly awesome. I cannot recommend it enough.  Usually my little guy gets bored in tours.  This one could’ve gone for days before he got bored.