Coffee is life and Pret’s are as to London as Starbucks is to America.
However, a Macchiato does not follow the same equation, as Lucia had the pleasure of finding out. I got my forth Flat White of the trip and we sat in a wee park enjoying the morning air before we shuffled down to the underground. Despite several transfers and line hops, I will say that this tube network seemed far less daunting then some of my previous treks. Partly from experience, lack of urine smell, and from the obvious benefit of understanding the very pleasant automated voice across the intercom letting us know that ALL LINES CLEAR. Even with the recent terrorist attacks, traveling about anywhere really didn’t provoke large amount of anxiety. This benefited us greatly as today we found our way through platform 9 ¾ to the Wizarding Studio of Warner Brothers.
For those of you that are neither avid Harry Potter fans or Disney nuts, I’ll warn you now, you can skip ahead to tomorrow.
Off the “real train” onto a double-decker bus that was fully shrink-wrapped to look like the night bus ready to transport all our wayward wizarding selves to the Warner Brother studio lot. With tickets in hand and audio guides in place, we entered several holding rooms that get you reminded just how fantastic the world-wide phenomenon of the series really was (as if we were already loyal fans). With a magical screen unveiling, the gates to Hogwarts appears and we step into the great hall. From here, I’ll let you roam about some of my favorite pieces of the walking tour from Dumbledore’s office to Butterbeer.
Our 5 hours on set were rich minutes, and we easily could of spent another several had we borrowed Hermione’s time turner (last bad reference).
Alas, we were off to a surprise treat I had in store for Lucia. Many a track-passed-tree later we arrive...
Back in London!
This is perhaps the only exception to my own note about traveling in the Underground. When jetting around down under around the evening rush hours in the heart of London, you are certainly not the only travelers savvy enough to utilize the convenience of the pipes. So this was perhaps the one time I felt real anxiety getting about. Not because I feared someone snagged our valuable Potter souvenirs, just general crowd anxiety and the sudden awareness of the lack of negative space in such a setting.
Thankfully, severe excitement propelled us forward and just in time to Prince Edward’s theater for a West End performance of Aladdin!
Two important notes for this experience
First off on the performance itself, having the privilege of having seen many a Disney on stage, I give this performance the highest marks. Jasmine was, at times, hard to understand during her speaking role but paired vocally quite well with Aladdin, who had an incredible range and stage presence. Genie did not disappoint either. Though often used as the focal point of comedy in Aladdin renditions, this Genie not only had the witty social commentary of West End caliber, but also had the pipes and the acting ability to be truly captivating. Set design also receives high marks in my book, specifically the “cave” interior. All in all well worth attention.
Secondly, if you ever have the pleasure of seeing a show in the Prince Edward Theater, Lodge seats= an introverts dream seat. You are about Mezzanine level however forward in front of the second tier. Great perspective, you are able to catch some of the orchestra with out being all the way on the side like typical box seats. I would actually plan a trip to this theater to see about any well-rated show just to be able to sit here again. No joke.
So we conclude our full day of seemingly less foreign adventure in a foreign land, with a stop in the Fuller House which is at the lobby level in the Mad Hatter Hotel.
At ten thirty, it is as you see here
The bartender (night guard of the hotel) assures me that during their peak season, this is a lively place to be indeed. So as we sip of drinks, we imagine a boisterous crowd, praise the quiet that we actually have, and prepare ourselves for our last half-day in London.
Keywords: adventure, aladdin, harry potter, london, travel, tripkit, warner brothers studio tour, west end, wizarding
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Europe here I come! You can view the pics within each post in a slide show by clicking on one of the images to start.