Harry Potter Studio Tour: Animal Actors

Guess where I went again? The Warner Bros Studio Tour, of course! I'd just booked the closest suitable date but when we arrived, it turned out that it was animal actors week. Very exciting!

CAUTION: Tarantula picture ahead!  

Of course, animal week means owls and owls mean breakfast post! The tables in the Great Hall were set up for the morning, complete with boxes of Cheeri-Owls and Pixie Puffs.
Mrs Norris was chilling out in the Gryffindor common room. I was surprised by just how well-behaved the animals were. I know they have to be but it was crazy how still they sat!
I couldn't resist touching the gloves of Snape's boggart outfit. We checked that nobody was around but, no sooner had I pulled my hand back then someone had popped up next to me asking me to keep my hands behind the barrier. Luckily she seemed to find it funny but I swear they are real witches and wizards! Where did she come from?
Fang was a gorgeous silver-haired boarhound. His fur looked so soft! I really wanted to stroke him but, alas, the animals were off limits! 
As it turns out, Gary Oldman has teeny tiny feet!

I've never noticed the Richard Harris Dumbledore lurking at the top of the stairs before!
Caution: The tarantula is coming up!
Apparently this is Rosie the tarantula but I can't for the life of me think of any time when there is a tarantula! I'd imagine it was used as a basis for the acromantula.

These owl socks were used to hide tethers that secured the owls' feet to their posts.

Speaking of owls, they were everywhere!

The owl on the left was my favourite. He's an eagle owl called Jamie and could puff himself up like a huge owly balloon! Jamie, and the barn owl above, didn't have a particular role. He was just used when a general owl was needed, such as the owl post scenes. The owls were filmed against a green screen flying towards a wind machine so then they could be inserted against backdrops of Hogwarts.

This is the Weasleys' owl Errol, who was much bigger than I expected! All the animals used are healthy and well-groomed, so when the script called for a bedraggled owl, such as Errol, the trainers collected all their dropped feathers then bent and ruffled them before popping them back in between the healthy feathers. This gave a scruffy appearance without affecting the owls.

I thought the owls in these cages were models until they started moving! The one above is Ron's owl Pigwidgeon and was specially trained to sit still inside these cages which are much smaller than usual owl enclosures. Of course they got breaks and were carefully assessed to make sure there was no trauma involved!

Yes, this is Hedwig! The real live Hedwig! He's actually called Elmo but he's Hedwig to me!

A new addition to the gift shop is the Umbridge replica cat crockery. You can buy teacups with saucers or a side plate in one of four different designs. I may have bought one...

Next month, the new expansion opens which will include the huge Platform 9 3/4 set with the Hogwarts Express which you can actually board and a new station-themed shop on the platform. You better believe I'll be back again soon!


  1. Oh my god I am so jealous you got to see the animals!! I need to go back and get one of those teacups!!

  2. This looks so fun! I'm going to Florida in September and can't wait to go to the Harry Potter section at Universal! Made my HP-virgin partner watch all the films back to back in preparation!!!

    Amy | Get Glam

  3. Animal week?!?! Very jealous. I thought the tour was already amazing so this must have been something else.


  4. Oh, if I were you, I might not be able to hold myself and would probably stroke Mrs Norris. She's too cute!

  5. This is amazing! I am definitely going to have to put this on my bucket list of things to do!

  6. Fang is so beautiful! I've been wanting to visit their studios for ages. I'm a huge HP geek and this would be a dream come true. I'm going to HP world at Universal Studios in July - I'm so excited!

    Roxie ♥

  7. I've always wanted to go to the studio tour when the animals are there! I've been once and it's amazing but I think I went the day after the animals closed :( Super excited about the train installation as well! xx

  8. omg I couldn't be more jealous right now! I love harry potter but I live way too far from the studios (Portugal).

  9. Oh wow this is incredible! I've been twice but am waiting for the train to open before I return. I am already saving up for the giftshop - those teacups are genius!

  10. This is a great post love Harry Potter and everything about it.. Wish when I went to the tour it was animal week would have loved to have seen Fang... P.s obsessed with your blog its great..

    Love Hayley

  11. Oh my gosh I am so jealous! Every time I go here I cry my eyes out because I love it so much! I really wanted to see the animal actors, but I got a job and couldn't! Mr Norris looks so fluffy! I need to buy one of Umbridge's teacups! I'm going again once they've opened the new display, I want to board the Hogwarts Express!

  12. NO WAY - I never realised the Richard Harris Dumbledore was there either! I just had a look back through my photos and he's there too! haha. Also, can't believe they're bringing in a Hogwarts Express - that does it, I'll just have to go again! :)

    October Eleven

  13. I 100% need to go back - all the new gift shop stuff looks fantastic and there were no animals there back when I went!


  14. ah so love this post. Also was Rosie the Tarantula the one Mad Eye Moody/Barty Crouch JR in GoF practiced the 3 unspeakable curse on in class?

    1. That was a tailless whip scorpion which was also at the studios that day. Confusingly it's neither a scorpion nor a spider!

      The studios tweeted me to say that the tarantula was used in the "follow the spiders" scene of CoS

  15. I am so jealous of you right now, I would love to go there! I love owls so being so close to them would have been so much fun. HEDWIG YOU SAW HEDWIG. *ahem* Yeah I'm a mature adult, totally. Fang looks like the type of large dog that is a lap dog at heart, but maybe I'm projection his "character" onto him.

  16. Ooh whyyy did you have to put the tarantula picture in :( I had to scroll past most of it can't deal with spiders maaan! I was dying to go to this but now I know there's a tarantula I don't think I could haha! Shame cos the others are so cute! xo
    amber love

    1. That tarantula was only there for animal actors week :) Also, I put a warning two pictures before the spider so you know when to skip :)


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