Planning a trip to Hogwarts but can’t seem to find Platform 9¾? Universal Orlando Resort™ has you covered. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, which spans two of the complex’s theme parks, will transport you right into the heart of J.K. Rowling’s imaginary wizard universe.
But as you’re strolling through the streets of Diagon Alley™ or waiting for an ice-cold Butterbeer in Hogsmeade™, it can be easy to miss the secrets that lie all around you. Since you deserve to have the full experience, we’re highlighting the secret sights, sounds and tastes that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ has to offer.
Straight From the Screen
The detail and authenticity of every inch of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ makes it look like it was ripped straight from the films and planted in Universal Orlando Resort™. That’s because, in many cases, it was. The team at Universal Creative spent years combing through warehouses for props and sets from the movies and they can be found throughout the park.
On the second level of the Borgin and Burkes™ store in Diagon Alley™, 90 percent of the props and set dressings are straight from the Harry Potter films. The barometer found in Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment was used twice in Harry Potter films: in Dumbledore’s office in “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” and in the Room of Requirement in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” The Knight Bus at Universal Studios Florida™ is one of the two authentic prop buses used in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.”
When team members couldn’t find exact props from the film, they spent months creating identical replicas. Along the waiting line for the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts™ ride is a bank cart built to the exact blueprints of the real cart Harry, Ron and Hermione rode in the film. Inside Borgin and Burkes™ is a replica of the Vanishing Cabinet from “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” It took Universal team members six months to build the 12-feet tall prop.
With all the sights and sounds of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, it’s easy to miss appearances from some of the story’s most memorable characters. On your way to Diagon Alley™, you have to pass through a street in Muggle London. Step into the classic red phone booth and dial the word “Magic” to hear a message straight from the Ministry of Magic itself. When strolling past Sirius Black’s dismal London residence at 12 Grimmauld Place, take a look at the upstairs window. You can often catch Kreacher, the house elf, peaking out. Moaning Myrtle, who haunted the bathrooms at Hogwarts, has made her way to Universal’s Islands of Adventure™, as well. If you keep your ears open, you can hear her ghostly crying in the Hogsmeade™ bathrooms.
If you really want The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ to come to life, head to the Owl Post™ where you can send a letter complete with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ stamp and special Hogsmeade™ postmark. At the Gringotts Money Exchange™, you can trade your U.S. currency for Gringotts™ bank notes, which can be used within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ and select locations throughout Universal Orlando Resort™. Also, make sure to pick up an interactive wand at Ollivanders™ to see what spells you can cast throughout Diagon Alley™ and Hogsmeade™.
A mug or two of Butterbeer™ is a must when visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™. But don’t think that our favorite cold beverage is the only option. The creative minds at Universal Studios have taken the delicious Butterbeer™ flavors and created some new delectable concoctions.
Frozen Butterbeer™ is your best option for those hot summer days, plus it’s served with a whipped topping. Hot Butterbeer™, with flavors of shortbread and butterscotch, is the perfect cold-weather treat. The smooth, creamy Butterbeer™ potted cream is an ideal dessert. Butterbeer™ fudge offers another sweet bite. And no trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ would be complete with Butterbeer™ soft serve ice cream, a perfect swirl of vanilla and butterscotch.
There are three different beers created exclusively for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™. The Hog’s Head Brew™ is an Irish red, Dragon Scale is an amber lager and Wizard’s Brew is a sweet stout with notes of chocolate and coffee. In addition to custom beer, the park is also the only place to find Pumpkin Juice™. The preferred drink of every wizard, Pumpkin Juice™ is perfect for fall (or any other season) and comes with a collectible bottle. Other exclusive beverages available include Fishy Green Ale, Gillywater, Fire Whisky and more.
Beverages aren’t the only thing unique to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, there are plenty of food items that you’ll only find at the Universal Orlando Resort™ attraction. In Hogsmeade™, Honeydukes™ has all the delicacies to satisfy your sweet-tooth desires including Chocolate Frogs™, Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans™, Exploding Bonbons and Jelly Slugs.
When in Diagon Alley™, be sure to try a scoop or two of Florean Florescue’s ice cream, which includes flavors like Chocolate Chili, Strawberry and Peanut-Butter, and Earl Grey and Lavender Ice Cream. You can also pick up a skiving snackbox from Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, filled with Fainting Fancies, Nosebleed Nougat, Fever Fudge and Puking Pastilles.
Many magical forces created The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™. Just some of them include the 7,456 bricks, weighing more than 37,000 pounds, needed to construct the entrance to Diagon Alley™. In addition, there are 13 different types of creatures inside the Magical Menagerie including Kneazles, Demiguises and Graphorns. The four chandeliers within the lobby of Gringotts™ bank contain nearly 62,000 crystals and the Gringotts™ dragon breathes fire that is 3,560 degrees Fahrenheit, more than 16 times hotter than boiling water.
Planning a trip to Universal Orlando Resort™? Make sure to take advantage of the benefits and savings when you book through AAA.