A little mummy and son date to start off the Easter holidays. Grayson and I went to visit the Warner Bros Studios for the Harry Potter Tour.
I only booked the ticket on Thursday morning for Friday afternoon, so got lucky with availability.
The girls went off to hang out with Auntie Katie and their cousins, and off we went! Gray was so excited, and it was so nice to be spending some one to one time with him. Never an easy thing to do when a single mama of three! But it’s time that’s needed.
On arrival I mentioned to the car park lady that Grayson had autism / adhd and it would be great to be able to park close by – it’s a huge car park! We got directed around to their disabled parking area right at the front by the main entrance.
When we collected my ticket from the ticket desk (I got a freebie carers ticket) the fabulous lady immediately welcomed Grayson. Gave him a lanyard and gave me an autism guide for our visit. She told us about the sensory room and said if we need help with anything to just ask. Off we headed inside. Gray immediately dashed over excitedly to look at something and another staff member magically appeared and offered me ear defenders for him as a just in case. Another amazing act of kindness and awareness, going above and beyond.
We walked through the foyer to the start of the tour and there was a huge line. Oh no I thought, here we go, let the meltdown commence. But I spotted a staff member and asked if we could perhaps skip the queue, explaining that Grayson would struggle. No problem at all, we were whisked off and taken in a side door. All that we would miss was the cupboard under the stairs – but we could pop in and see that at the end of our tour if we liked. She led us to the front of the group of people waiting for the tour to start, had a chat with the staff member waiting with them, and said follow me. She then led us back the opposite way of the crowd so we could see the cupboard under the stairs and we were in front of the public’s barrier, so away from the people, and Grayson got an amazing view! His little face was a picture, he was so excited. Plus you could see he loved the fact he was infront of the barrier when everyone else was behind it 😂
The tour starts with video screens but it was not horribly loud and was fast paced enough to keep a child’s interest which was great. Then we were free to wander as we pleased. This works best for us as we can go at our own pace – usually rapid if Gray has anything to do with it!
We had been given passports at the start and the idea is to collect stamps as you go around. There are also things to look for an tick off in each section. The idea is that it slows a child down and has them looking all around, great idea, but I think we might have looked for one of them! He did however collect all his stamps and loved doing that.
I have visited before probably around the time it opened, and so much had changed. There is loads more to see and do now. I won’t spoil it by whittering on and on about it step by step.
Particular favourites of ours though were making howlers, the train and riding broomsticks. We had lots of fun.
I love seeing all the behind the scenes things, as I see them when working and it always fascinates me what’s used and how they do effects. I did get some time to nosey properly when Gray was distracted, with something that interested him. But this was about him and his enjoyment, so that was my focus.
He did amazingly, there were flashing light moments, some noisy moments and it was busy ish. But he did so well.
The support of the staff was incredible. We saw the queue to get Butter Beer – a photo must – was huge. So after a quick chat with a staff member near the queue we were taken around to the side of the line and given a free Butter Beer in a presentation cup. They really went above and beyond for us.
All the little things to help us do things that we would have probably missed, due to him struggling to queue, and getting restless. It was incredible. I cannot thank or praise the team at the studios more.
We did access and use the sensory room, Grayson actually asked to use it, and we found it easily. Its lockable so you can have it to yourself. Its relatively small, but has bean bags, a rocking type chair with a shade over it, and sensory lights. All in all its a perfect quiet space to chill, regulate and have a break from all things Potter! Although to be fair Grayson, being Grayson wanted the regular lights on so he could see which flavour of the Bertie Botts Beans to trick me with next!
Obviously the tour ends in the shop. The huge shop, absolutely packed with every possible bit of HP merchandise you can imagine. By this point I was such a happy mama that we had made it around meltdown free and had had such a positive experience I gave in and totally upped the budget I had set for shopping! So we left with a wand – which I am damn sure we already have – but I wasn’t arguing, and other treats. Yes the every flavour jelly beans really do have a vomit one and an earth worm one!!!
All in all we had an amazing afternoon and a perfect start to the holidays.
The Important Stuff
Getting there: The studio address is Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, WD25 7LR and is super easy to find if travelling by car. The handy link to the wear to find us page is here: https://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/getting-here/ You can also travel from central London direct to the Studio Tour by bus with Golden Tours, which is great if you are on a staycation or a visit to London.
Tickets: Adults £49.95, Children £39.95, Family Ticket (2 adults and 2 children, or 1 adult and 3 children) £159, Under 4’s free. To book tickets https://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/tickets/
Carers – One free carer ticket can be provided for each paying disabled visitor. Please note that as children aged 4 and under are entitled to free entry, a carer ticket will not be added in this instance. You can collect a carer ticket from the Ticket Window on the day of your visit with a valid Studio Tour ticket and proof of entitlement. The accessibility guide can be found here: https://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/additional-needs/#tickets
All the information you could possibly want and more can be found here: https://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/visitor-information/