Guest Post: HP Studio Tour

Hello everyone! My name is Rebecca and I’m so happy to be writing a guest post for you today!

I’m turning 28 this year, and like a lot of people my age, I was BIG into Harry Potter as a kid. Midnight releases for books and movies, all the merch, playing Harry Potter games with my sisters, the whole deal.

So when a good friend from University invited me to a conference in London, England, I knew I would have to visit some Harry Potter attractions.

We had a busy trip, and while I didn’t make it to King’s Cross Station (oh look, a great excuse to go back to England!) we did go to the Warner Brother’s Studio Tour to see the sets and props used in the making of the movies.

And it was so worth it.

The Studio Tour is outside of London and the tube doesn’t run there. However, there are lots of travel packages  that offer a bus to and from the tour, departing from convenient places around London (often near major hotels).

The only downside of taking the bus is that you have to catch it to get back to the city! I could have stayed all day! That being said, the timeframe that we had (approx. 3 hours) was reasonable and I never felt like I had to rush by something super fast to be able to make the bus.

The tour is set up a bit like a museum; most of the items are behind railings so you can’t touch, and there are information sheets all over telling you about each item, and fun “behind the scenes” facts. There are also video clips playing –  from the movies, as well as interviews with the cast and crew.

The tour begins in the Great Hall, as if you were a student arriving at Hogwarts for the first time!

One thing I appreciated was that there was no forced Sorting ceremony. While this might be fun for some people, I know that for many adult fans, we know our houses and definitely have strong house loyalty! (Team Ravenclaw here!)

The great hall was amazing, (the whole tour was) but there were two instances in particular that gave me the WOW factor.

Do you remember in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone when Hagrid takes Harry to Diagon Alley for the first time ? That was a magical scene in both the book and the movie, where you really get to experience the magic of the wizarding world.

Walking into the set for Diagon Alley – it all came flooding back. Suddenly I was 8 years old again reading my first Harry Potter book. That magic and pure joy was truly something special.

The second location where I got that feeling was the Hogwarts Castle room. This is where they have the model of the castle that was used for all the external sweeping shots. You can see every tower, all the grounds, Hagrid’s hut. I actually teared up a bit.

Aside from the marvel of all the sets and props, the staff were also amazing. In Ollivander’s wand shop, they’ve written the names of cast and crew on the wand boxes. When I was there, a staff member was sitting with a young child who was asking where all of the character’s wands were. And the staff member knew each one! She was using a laser pointer to indicate the appropriate wand boxes all around the room.  I’m sure that was a special moment for that child, and the staff member sure made an impact on the guests!

I could go on all day, but I don’t want to spoil that magical childhood transportation moment for anyone!

I would highly recommend this tour to any and all Harry Potter fans – no matter your age! I will note that part of the tour does go outside to the Knight Bus, Number Four Privet Drive, and a few other locations, so check the weather and bring a jacket if needed.

Thanks again to Jen, Eric, Dragon, and baby Pegasus for the opportunity to write for you today!

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Men in Black: International – spoiler free

I saw MiB:I last night. It was so much fun; probably helped by how excited we got every time Les Twins (YouTube, Instagram) were on screen (which was often, but not often enough IMHO).

Men in Black: International poster from IMDb.

The cool thing about this movie is that we saw a lot of different locations that would make quite the fun trip.

We start off in New York City.

Take the hyperloop to London.

Travel to Marrakesh in Morocco.

Paris at night is featured several times, specifically the Eiffel Tower.

Hmm… I guess we’ll have to start working on the hyperloop and alien tech to get between places….

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Disney World 2020

Disney World packages will be available to book as of June 18, 2019! This is for bookings from January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020.

Image from yourfirstvisit.net. Please go check out the link. It’s a pretty great assessment of the parks for the next few years.

Have an urge to go to Disney World for Christmas 2020? Book early and save with early booking bonuses.

We’re hoping to go at the end of January 2020, when the crowds are quieter. We’ll have to wait and see what the deals are for Canadians – we’re hoping for free meal plan again. 😀

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

A Haunted Anniversary

The Haunted Mansion in Disneyland is celebrating it’s 50th Anniversary this August, and they’re inviting all of the living to join them!

Celebrating 50 Years of Retirement Unliving The Haunted Mansion Disneyland. Image from disneyfoodblog.com

Well, all the living that manage to buy a ticket, that is.

There are only two dates for this special celebration: August 7th and 8th (until 4am the next morning).

Tickets are priced at $299 USD per person, and while the wording is vague about what is free and what is not for food, they do specify “a commemorative event memento, […] a guide map, event credential, and unlimited downloads of Disney PhotoPass® photos taken during the event [are] included with each ticket.”

Don’t want to miss out on a once in a lifetime (or deathtime?) event in Disneyland California? Tickets are available starting tomorrow, May 23, 2019.

If you’re lucky a ghost might even follow you home.

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Thank You Ottawa ComicCon

Hello Imaginary Friends, Coffee Lovers, Blushers, Fandom Travellers, TARDIS lovers, and Crochet aficionados,

THANK YOU! To everyone who came to see us this past weekend at Ottawa Comic Con. It’s not the venue or the guests that make a great con, but the attendees, and this year you were extra awesome.

Without you ,there would be no JenEric Coffee, Designs, Travelling TARDIS, or Blush. (Aspiring Something would still exist because I don’t think I could stop writing, but it would be much less fun alone.)

Thank you again and see you next year at Ottawa ComicCon 2020!

Éric

Recommendation Wednesday: 25 Beautiful Places to Visit

My brain is fried from Avengers Endgame last night. Here is a great CNN article about twenty five of the most beautiful places around the world.

The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. Image from cnn.com. Picture taken by Roger de la Harpe

Enjoy the beauty! If anywhere sparks your interest, you know who to call.

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

RHPS Castle

Are you a fan of Rocky Horror Picture Show? Do you like to travel?

Because the castle used by Dr Frank-N-Furter in the film is an ACTUAL castle in Windsor, England, and you can actually stay in this luxury manor-turned-hotel.

Oakley Court. Image from www.oakleycourt.co.uk

The castle is called Oakley Court, and it’s just twenty minutes from Heathrow, right on the River Thames.

Every year in August (on the Bank Holiday Weekend), Oakley Court hosts a RHPS picnic and screening of the movie including an overnight stay. 2019 is sold out (unsurprisingly) but their wait-list has room and 2020 hasn’t opened its bookings yet, so keep your eye open if you’re interested!

If you want to stay here on a regular day, you can do that too. There are nine suites within the original structure of the manor, but 118 rooms in total. So you can decide how luxurious you want to be.

Are you interested in travelling to England?

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Shazam film locations

Like the majority of superhero fans, I recently saw Shazam.

By recently, I mean last night.

And then I dreamt about it all night.

There are two ways I could re-live the movie: go see it again (tempted…) or go visit the film locations.

Fortunately, Shazam was mostly filmed in Canada – and not on the West Coast (which is always a beautiful spot to film for outdoorsy shots, but VERY far away).

That’s right, Shazam was filmed mostly in Toronto and Hamilton, with the major shots of the city skyline shot in Philadelphia.

The robbery in a convenience store was recorded in a Busy Bee Food Mart at 524 Barton St E in Hamilton. Image from www.atlasofwonders.com.

This article says that Shazam is set in Fawcett City, but either the author got that information from the comics or the movie changed its mind, because it is actually set in Philadelphia (for the most part). Other than that, the article has a great list of the film locations and when they were used in the movie.

Have you seen the movie yet? What did you think?

If you wish to visit the film locations in Shazam and need travel assistance, you know where to find me!

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Looking for guest writers!

Hello readers,

As you may be aware, we are expecting a baby in July. Our blog doesn’t get a parental leave, but we would love a break from it for a couple months.

This means we need guest posts!

Image from technologytherapy.com. Initially from Beauty and the Beast.

Fandom travel: have you visited a place that was featured in a movie or book? PEI, Petra, New Zealand, etc are all examples.

Blush: these posts can definitely be anonymous! Do you have something that you’d like to contribute? We already have a post about Doulas that has been promised (so excited about that!), but the options are WIDE open!

Travelling TARDIS: I can easily set these up in advance, but if you’re going somewhere exciting, even if it’s just an event in Ottawa, you can ask to borrow the TARDIS to take pictures.

I can’t speak for Éric’s posting days of Tuesday and Thursday, but those are full of variety. If you have an idea for a post, give us a shout.

ETIAS in 2021

This is more of an update than a Fandom Travel post, although if you want to travel to Europe for Fandom stuff, it applies!

In 2021, the European Travel Information and Authorization System will be up and running, and anyone from 61 countries, including Canada, will have to go through a detailed security check if they wish to travel to Europe.

Note: This is NOT a Visa.

You will need your valid passport in order to fill out the application.

Canadian Passport. Image from canada.ca.

After the online submission of your ETIAS application (which they say will take about ten minutes to complete), there is a minimal fee of approximately $11 CAD, and then it will only take a few minutes for it to be processed.

Minors must have a legal guardian complete the ETIAS for them. They are exempt from the fee.

You can check out the full details, including what information is required for the application, on the ETIAS website here.

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca