Hogwarts in the Snow

It’s New Year’s Eve and what are you going to do? Sit at home, relax, have a lie in, right? Or go to Hogwarts in the Snow at 9am that morning? Well of course we did the latter.

Hogwarts in the Snow

Hogwarts in the Snow is on at the moment at the Warner Brothers Studio Tour in Leavesden. We visited a year and a half ago and I felt like this was a big enough gap between visits. H has now seen all the films, with the Cursed Child play being the thing we haven’t seen.

Hogwarts in the Snow runs until late January and has the set decorated to look festive. There is also a chance to feel the different kinds of snow that was used when it was needed – as well as how fire and ice was made.

Hogwarts in the Snow Fire and Ice stall

This consisted of boxes of the three different types of snow used in the films, the special effects used for ice, and how to recreate fire (which was slightly hot but not fire-hot). One type of snow was like grains of sand, whereas the more gloopy kind was the sort which you could make snowballs from. It’s another one of those things you wouldn’t think about when watching a film. A small part of Diagon Alley also had snow on it, showing some disappearing footprints.

Hogwarts in the Snow, Diagon Alley and the Hogwarts Express
Diagon Alley – Gringotts footprints in the snow (which disappear), Shaun and H chatting, and the Hogwarts Express

For the first time, the set of the Main Hall is decorated like the Yule Ball, complete with Professor Flitwick and an orchestra.

The great thing about the Warner Brothers Studio Tour is how things change. The sets have been moved around to accommodate the Forbidden Forest since we last visited. It wouldn’t surprise me if things are changed around regularly, and indeed on chatting with a staffmember at the end, he confirmed that items from the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movies will be joining the Potter Universe. There’s an extension being built which will house it.

Newt & Porpentia costumes - Warner Brothers Studio Tour
In the main ticket area there’s a Fantastic Beasts area – soon to be part of the main studio tour – hurrah! Here’s Newt and Porpentia.

Let’s stop for a minute here. The last film was completed in 2011. Okay, so that’s only seven years ago – but everyone there was enjoying being there. Even Shaun! There is so much to take in that it’s impossible in one visit. There ware different exhibitions and features being added all the time.

The fact that something finished so long ago that still lives on, finding new fans all the time, well, that’s a great achievement.

I noticed changes from the last time we visited – just little tweaks but changes. H read absolutely everything again. Which took a long time – again! I’d love it if there was a guide you could buy at the end with all the information in there.

Hufflepuff in action at Warner Brothers Studio Tour

There were queues, but we were prepared for it after our last visit. I’d say we got through quicker in some areas too. We stopped for lunch at the Backlot Cafe whose only vegetarian burger option was a mushroom one (sob, not all vegetarians like mushrooms!). Fortunately there are sandwiches too.

Warner Brothers Studio Tour Night Bus, JK Rowling Quote and around a table
The Knight Bus, us around a table and a JK Rowling quote.

As before, H got her passport to look for Golden Snitches and stamp each page when she had spotted them, and even though they were in the same places it still took a while to find them (another good reason to leave a gap between visits!).

The Forbidden Forest was great – and a welcome addition to the tour. Inside is a moving Hippogriff (of course) and several moving Acromantula. Not one for arachnophobics – fortunately we’re not!

Forbidden Forest at WB Studios Tour
One of the smaller spiders in the Forbidden Forest and Buckbeak – a brand new model which moves too!

Over in the second part of the studio tour was a section where it showed the different stages where Dobby was animated. I don’t remember from last time – and it was brilliant. Cue loads of happy kids getting Dobby to Dab. Try saying that quickly…

Dabbing with Dobby at the Warner Brothers Studio tour
There was an interactive Dobby section where you could control him. Cue lots of kids making Dobby Dab.

H got Dobby to do the Macarena. Or maybe it’s the locomotion. I have no idea which song was in her head at the time…

We managed to spend six hours at Hogwarts in the Snow in the end. The model of Hogwarts at the end all decorated in one of the types of snow used in the films was as ever, impressive.

Two Dumbledores at the WB Harry Potter Studio Tour. Will there be three soon?
Two Dumbledores at the WB Harry Potter Studio Tour. Will there be three when Fantastic Beasts joins the Harry Potter world?

If you plan to visit and haven’t been for a while, then I think you’ll get a lot from seeing Hogwarts in the Snow. I know we’ll be visiting again once the Fantastic Beasts ephemera has been added, and I can’t wait to see it!

Hogwarts in the Snow Great Hall and Gryffindor common room

Having a Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts Themed Party

H turned seven in August, which we spent at Disneyland Paris. She wanted to have a party, so we decided to keep costs low that we’d have it at home. I thought that a Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts themed party would be a good idea.
Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts themed party birthday cake

A Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts themed party was a good idea with the ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ film opening soon. Once we knew the theme of the party we had to work out how to make it fun.

H and Milo the Giant African Millipede from Wild Fangs

We booked Wild Fangs who were brilliant! Wild Fangs have a great website with all the information you could need and I highly recommend them.

H and Derek the Bearded Dragon from Wild Fangs

Wild Fangs were fantastic. Faik was brilliant when it came to keeping the kids attention. This was quite a job, there being seventeen of them. He brought along five creatures from his selection. The kids all got to meet each one, and H got special attention as she was the birthday girl. Even the shy children were stroking the creatures at the end which was good to see.

H and Tiny the African Bullfrog from Wild fangs

The creatures were only a small part of the Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts themed party. As it was at home it meant we could do bits to make it feel a bit more like Hogwarts. Poundland, Tiger Stores, Hema and Wilko all have a great range of Halloween products in-store at the moment. I stocked up on cobwebs, bunting, spiders, rats and halloween themed sweets at a low cost.

Tiger Stores cobweb bowl

Besides this, I had to create as much Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts themed party ideas as I could. There were some easy ones – Golden Snitches made from Ferrero Rocher. Just stick some greaseproof paper wings on them.

Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts themed Golden Snitch Ferrero Rocher

Train shaped cheese biscuits which H said could be Hogwarts Express cheese biscuits.

Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts themed Hogwarts Express cheese biscuits

Shaun was the creative one – he found some great things. Get a sheet and a bathroom cleaner sponge, and print bricks onto it.

Making Platform nine and three quarters for a party Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts themed

Stick it around your doorway and you’re going through platform nine and three quarters. I may have seen a few Potter-mad kids doing it several times as they thought it was so cool.

Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts themed Platform Nine and three Quarters

How about floating candles? Get the inside of kitchen roll tubes, use a glue gun to make some drips down the side like candle wax. Paint it white, and then make a ledge inside for a battery-operated flickering candle. Hang them from the ceiling using cotton and some good strong sticky tape. It looks fantastic too.

Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts themed party floating candles

Of course, no party is a decent one without party games. Our Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts themed party games included Judge the Odd Socks competition. All kids had to come with odd socks on in honour of Dobby. Sleeping Lions became Sleeping Fluffy, in honour of Hagrid. Musical Bumps was Musical Expelliarmus, and Musical Statues would have been Musical Petrificus Totalus. We had Pin the Scar on Harry – just a simple printed out picture of Mr Potter, and a post it note cut into the shape of the scar. We ran out of time for that one too.

There was an epic Pass the Parcel game too. Inside was a Smiggle glittery ball (£2 in their current sale) which you might find in a Divination lesson at Hogwarts… maybe?

Making chocolate frogs for the Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts themed party

My favourite thing were the frog moulds I bought. We made several chocolate frogs, complete with a cola bottle middle (which tasted SO good). After all, everyone loves a chocolate frog, right? You can get the moulds on ebay for about £8. H enjoyed making them, and initially we tried them with ground up Swizzels sweets which was good too.

All in all, H’s Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts themed party was a success. I’m pleased we managed to pull it off at short notice, and the kids enjoyed themselves.