A Book-Gone-Movie-Gone-Tourist-Site Guide

Now that I’m back to school and getting into the swing of classes again, I haven’t had much of a chance to get out and find new places around Maine. On top of that, it was Harry Potter weekend on ABC Family last weekend, and American Horror Story: Coven just had its season finale this week, so I’ve been in the mood of visiting places from movies and books. Dorky? Yes. Worth it? Mostly yes.

72201_1698789072283_3730889_nThe Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Orlando, FL– No, it’s not in a movie, but it may as well be. Even more enticing this time of year because it’s in Florida and not cold Maine, The Wizarding World is a great attraction. Between the shops of Hogsmeade, The Three Broomsticks, frozen Butterbeer (definitely get the frozen over the regular), and the three rides, it’s a Harry Potter fan’s dream. Be warned though that riding the Forbidden Journey (the ride inside Hogwarts Castle) ad nauseam with the help of the fast-moving single riders line will make you nauseous (pun intended). The park is currently expanding, and I’ve heard that they’re removing the outdated Jaws ride from the regular Universal Studios park to make Diagon Alley, an expanded section of the Wizarding World. Overall, Universal is fun, but there are mostly simulator rides, and these can make you feel queazy after a while.

DSCN3533Leavesden Studios, London– Another tribute to Harry Potter, the Warner Bros. Studios half an hour or so outside of London are an incredible way to see real props, costumes, and sets from the movies. Walking through the sound stages takes about three hours, and there are so many details to see every step of the way. Not only can you look at all of these things, but you can also try your hand at wizard dueling, make a video of yourself riding a broomstick in front of a green screen, and sample more  Butterbeer, which made it back across the pond to its original home (though not frozen).The tour ends in the gift shop, and it’s difficult to resist buying almost everything they have.

945670_10151718354020520_1340843203_nPlatform 9 3/4, London– If you’re a die-hard Harry Potter fan, it’s hard to not look at London and see so many things from the movies (even Westminster Hall and the Thames River call to mind the scene when Harry flies down the Thames in “Order of the Phoenix”), but Platform 9 3/4 is a place where you don’t have to feel bad about seeing the Harry Potter in it. Although the actual platform is closed to visitors as too many tourists were clogging up the platform for commuters, there’s a wall to take pictures in front of. The wait is long, but why not? Also good to know is that the exterior of King’s Cross Station is not the train station filmed in movies, but rather next-door St. Pancras Station.

St. Pancras Station
St. Pancras Station

Sherlock Holmes Museum, London– This last stop in London was a bit of a trap between the eight pound admission and the wait over an hour, but it’s till fun. At 221b Baker Street, visitors tour the would-be house of fictitious detective Sherlock Holmes. The house is filled with wax figures that you can take pictures with and props that you can touch. It’s fun for some of the pictures you end up with.

DSCN3609 DSCN3616

ry=400Sotoportego de le colonne, Venice– This one’s a bit of a stretch (in reality, a complete stretch), but my mom and I stumbled into this little alley which I recognized from the final scenes of my favorite movie Casino Royale on our way to dinner one night. Having just watched the movie on the plane, I knew it looked familiar. It’s really only a dingy alley, but it was funny to randomly pass by an alley which James Bond runs down. St. Mark’s square, Venice’s main piazza, and other alleys and small squares are also shown in the movie.

I think I’ve sufficiently embarrassed myself with these spots. Obviously, there are a lot more, historically important places which have been used in movies, like Rosecliff Mansion and Linden Place in the original The Great Gatsby. Also, it’s pretty clear that some of the things you recognize from movies can be really mundane, like a dirty, smelly alley. But why not?

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