It’s the dream, right? That Hogwarts is real, and your letter just got lost with an owl with a sense of wanderlust, and 19 years too late- it’s here! Your acceptance letter to Hogwarts.
No? Did I lose you there? Well, I know I am not the only one. How else would you explain a 45 minute queue at Kings Cross Station to have your photo taken at Platform 9 3/4? Especially when Platform 9 3/4 is no longer actually between Platforms 9 and 10, but at a location a few yards away because too many tourists were making in difficult for people to actually board their trains? And there is a gift shop right next door?
No, I am not the only one.
I thoroughly recommend that all Potter Fans who find themselves in London visit Kings Cross Station for a photo at Platform 9 3/4. Here are the reasons why:
- It’s free! There are very friendly photographers there who will take a professional photo for you, but they encourage you take photos with your own cameras/phones as well. There is zero pressure or obligation to buy one of their photos.
- It’s fun! Sure, the wait is a little long, but it is entertaining. The photographers that were there on the day I visited were true showmen. They talked to the crowd and made sure that people had a bit of an “experience” once it was their turn.
- You won’t feel stupid. Trust me, the people I was traveling with were doing a very good job of making me feel like a big ol’ nerd. Whatever. Once I took a good look at the other people in line with me, I was over the teasing. There were cute kids dressed up in costume, there were also teenagers in groups of friends, and adult couples with no kids in sight. There were all kinds of people! Harry has a wide range in his fandom, and clearly many of us feel comfortable sporting our true (house?) colors.
- You won’t regret it. Sometimes when you’ve been traveling for a bit it is easy to cross a few things off the “To Do” List because you are tired, your feet hurt, your hungry, you’re tired of people… lots of little things like that. Sure, not going to Platform 9 3/4 isn’t like deciding not to see Big Ben. You won’t feel a gaping hole in your trip if you decide not to go. But, if you do go, you will be so happy that you did.
Some tips to make the experience better:
- Go during weird hours, and go on awkward days. I went at about mid-day on July 4th, so it was pretty busy, but I have heard that if you go earlier in the morning or later in evening, the line is considerably shorter. Apologies, but I cannot seem to find the shop’s hours anywhere online. Basically, Tuesday morning it is. Is there anything more awkward and weird than a Tuesday morning?
- Let your friends roam. If the people you are traveling with aren’t interested, don’t make them stay with you. There are lots of places to grab a coffee or a pasty that are within eye-shot of the queue. Just make sure one pops back around in time to take your free picture for you.
- Be ready. Wear comfortable shoes. Feed and water yourself ahead of time. It’s basic adult advice: if you know you will have to wait, be ready to wait.
- Wear something that will look neat in the picture. Clearly, I am not in a costume or any kind of special outfit, but my red sparkly Toms do add a nice touch to the photo. They show my Gryffindor Pride well. : )
Have any of you been to Platform 9 3/4? What did you think?