I made the pilgrimage that all British millennials make eventually and visited the Warner Bros Harry Potter studios.
It was even better than I'd been expecting. Put it this way, I've just been on holiday to the alps for two weeks. If I had to choose between doing that and visiting the studios, I'd choose to visit the studios.
Even if the world of Harry Potter wasn't utterly magical, even if it wasn't the cornerstone* of my generations culture and my specific formative years, the visit would still have been worth making because Harry Potter is an absolutely unique artifact in film production history. 8 films, across 10 years, with fantastical environments all suited to unique sets, lots of practical effects and routinely involving scenes with hundreds of extras.
Can you imagine the art and design and construction challenge in making all that stuff? They carved 2,000 wands. Each named actor had his own unique wand design. Every school child had to have wizard robes, every set had to be crammed full of doo-dads and artefacts. Snape's dungeon involved hand labelling 500 jars of dressed up toy animals, butchers bones glued together into fantastic creatures and herbs and weeds.
And I can confirm they were absolutely meticulous. The stool the sorting hat stood on had Hogwarts crests carved into its rim. The oil paintings were all painted for Harry Potter and the witches and wizards in them would have things like the Hogwarts crest painted on their broaches. In Ollivander's shop they hand labelled 17,000 wand cases.
Everything, everything had concept art and prototypes and detailed blueprints. There are full architectural plans for a House-Elf suit of armour which is a piece of background element I never noticed.
And the thing is the world of Harry Potteris utterly magical, even if it is the cornerstone* of my generations culture and my specific formative years. So I was geeking out just out the giant chess pieces outside the building (btw the Goblet of Fire is a Pokestop).
It's really well designed too, this is something the American friends will probably understand because I hear that over there you understand about customer service and how to make visitors to theme-parks feel special and treasured - in the UK a theme park is a scattering of roller coasters trudged around in the rain with a couple of miserable soaked safety advisors shaking your seat bindings. But the Harry Potter studios really embraced the Disney idea that you can take our money and have us worshipping at the altar. When I saw the Hogwarts express for the first time, I felt like Harry Potter. There's a scene in the books where Harry is walking through Diagon Alley and three kids are pressing their noses against the window of shop and yelling to each other "It's a Nimbus 2000!", when I was walking through Diagon Alley a couple of kids yelled "It's a nimbus 2000!" and rushed to crowd over the shop with it.
Even the shop is set-up to feel like a place of wonder. You walk into it and it's stacked top to bottom with higgedly piggedly wand cases and each one has a wand inside. I'd never have believed I wanted to own one before, but I only got out of it this time by promising myself that when I come back, I'm buying Luna Lovegood's wand.
Best of all, during film they constructed a full 3D model of Hogwarts that's maybe 30ft wide and 10ft tall. They keep it a surprise till the end of the tour and when I walked round the corner and into that, my jaw literally, actually dropped. I've never seen anything like it. I could have stayed in that room for an hour.
So, if you couldn't tell, I'm very happy today.
*I would very willingly make the case that this is not hyperbole. The whole YA genre is only a thing because Harry Potter existed. Before Harry Potter the idea of kids books making it into bestsellers lists was absurd, now people are complaining about how frequently they dominate. It's the only book which its not only likely kids of a particular age have read, but have read multiple times - and childhood reading is the best indicator for academic success because comprehension of questions and learning material is a _huge_ barrier to school. Without the Harry Potter franchise and the ensuing YA marketing and franchising drive it's possible that Marvel films wouldn't have taken off, or at least that they'd have been delayed in coming and so on.