Hidden Gems In The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter At The London Waterfront
Outside of Diagon Alley in the London Waterfront area, theres a row of houses on the opposite end from Kings Cross Station. Catch a glimpse of Kreacher, the Black familys house-elf, in the second-floor window of 12 Grimmauld Place. He peers out from the curtains every few moments. Its very subtle and quick . Unless youre looking for the house-elf, you might pass by without even noticing him.
The Phone Booth
Yes, that bright red telephone booth makes the London area feel authentic, and yes, its a perfect Instagram photo-op. But most importantly, it serves as the guest entrance to the Ministry of Magic! Arthur Weasley took Harry Potter into the ministry this way in “The Order of the Phoenix.” Pick up the phone and dial 62442 . Itll connect you to the Ministry of Magic, but unfortunately, you wont be transported there.
The Knight Bus itself isnt exactly hidden, but I feel like its an underrated, must-do experience for “Harry Potter” fans. There arent many character interactions in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but this spot gives you an opportunity to chat with the conductor and the shrunken head. The hilarious duo banter with you and each other, and the conversation is different every time I stop by. While you can’t board the bus, look through the windows to sneak a peek at the passenger beds and chandelier. Theres also a frogtastic photo-op on the stairs at the back of the bus.
Discover The Heavily Jeweled Shell Of A Fire Crab
Fire Crabs are one of the magical creatures that Hagrid used to create Blast-Ended Skrewts. You may be able to catch a glimpse of one of these creatures massive jeweled shells in the queue of Hagrids Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.
Be sure to keep an eye out for all the hidden gems inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort.
So much to see and do! Where to first? Tell us in the comments below.
Head Straight For Diagon Alley
There are loads of worthwhile attractions at both parks. Nonetheless, skip the Flaming Moe and head straight for Diagon Alley. The level of immersion here is unlike anything else youll find at the park. Stand by the opening into the alley near the Leaky Cauldron and watch the unbridled joy that spreads across each visitor’s face as they enter. Its that stunning.
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Ride The Hogwarts Express In Both Directions
As long as were on the topic: ride the Hogwarts Express in both directions. This magical train is more than just transportation between parks: Youll pass through a pillar to enter Platform 9¾ and the sights you’ll see are different in both directions, making it well worth riding twice, even if you dont have to.
The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter Complete Guide
EDITORS NOTE: This blog was originally published in February of 2019 and then underwent extensive updates and editing in the fall of 2020 to remain current and relevant.
Many people have been waiting their entire lives to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. After reading the books and watching the films, actually stepping foot into the stories is a phenomenal experience.
There are two unique lands to explore at Universal Orlando ResortHogsmeade, located in Universals Islands of Adventure, and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida. Each land has unique attractions, experiences, food, merchandise and more, all of which is inspired by the Harry Potter films and books. Whether youre a big fan, or this is your first taste of the Wizarding World, theres so much to do and see! Youre going to want to plan on a few days to experience it all along with reading this guide where weve listed out each and every activity you can enjoy during your trip to the theme parks.
Choose from the links below to head straight to that section:
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Dining Shopping And Other Attractions
Other than the main rides, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is also home to gift shops, restaurants and other tourist attractions. Several of these are re-creations of locations in the Harry Potter books while others have been created specifically for the park. A recreation of Hogsmeade exists in Islands of Adventure with a recreation of Diagon Alley currently under construction at Universal Studios Florida.
Ollivanders wand shop
In the book series, Ollivanders wand shop is located in Diagon Alley, not Hogsmeade however, installations of the shop are present in both areas of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The Hogsmeade attraction re-created the shop as Ollivanders, portraying it as a branch of the original where Harry purchases his wand in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone . Unlike other shops in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, visitors are admitted in groups of 20 to experience the premise from the Potterseries, that “the wand chooses the wizard”. Similar to the first film, the wand keeper and a selected guest test a variety of wands until the right one is found. Effects include flowers drying out or a thunder storm erupting inside the shop. After experiencing the attraction, souvenir wands can be purchased.
The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter Souvenirs
If you want to buy souvenirs, as guests of the Harry Potter amusement park, you should visit all the stores that you know about books:
- Sweetshop Honeydukes and Sugarplum for desserts.
- Zonkos joke shop.
- Owl Post where you can send e-mail.
- Dervishes and the Banges, which is full of robes, Gryffindor scarves, Corvonero shirts, and all kinds of items for sale, as well as fun details like books with cage bites.
However, keep in mind that all these activities can be small and get very crowded. Buy items confiscated from goods at Filchs Emporium in the lower regions of Hogwarts Castle which is a much larger store that sells a variety of items. Some Harry Potter items are also available at the large Port of Entry store near the entrance/exit to Islands of Adventure.
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Take Advantage Of The Hogwarts Express
We PROMISE that the Hogwarts Express isnt just for show, even though she is a beaut. During the days that you do want to visit both parks, the Hogwarts Express will drop you off in the center of either Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade so you dont have to walk around the entirety of Universal Studios or Universals Island of Adventure to go from one part of the Wizarding World to the other.
Plus, the Hogwarts Express is its own experience in itself! The rides going either way have separate storylines and experiences, whether youre arriving at Hogwarts or navigating the streets of London. As you walk through the queue areas, youll even find chances to disappear through Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station or admire the British countryside.
Its important to note that you WILL need a double park pass to take advantage of the Hogwarts Express, since it directly connect both parks to one another. Youll also want to be aware that there can be a long line to actually ride the Hogwarts Express! Be sure to check your Universal app to see the wait times before you decide either to ride the train or to do the walking yourself instead.
Rumors And Official Announcement
In January 2007, About.com reported a rumor from a “highly credible source” that the Lost Continent area within Universal’s Islands of Adventure park was to be re-themed “to the stories and characters of one of the most popular children’s franchises”. Other sources followed up in the next few days with unofficial confirmation the new area would involve Harry Potter, and was being developed under the name “Project Strong Arm” in reference to the KUKA robotic arm technology it would utilise.Nikki Finke reported her own confirmation of the Potter park plans in April, followed shortly by a story in The Scotsman both reports were widely relayed by other media sources. On May 31, 2007, Universal officially announced the 20-acre addition recreating Hogwarts, the Forbidden Forest and Hogsmeade, with a planned opening in 2009.
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Hidden Gems In The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter At Diagon Alley
Borgin and Burkes Artifacts
Take a trip down Knockturn Alley if you dare, and enter Borgin and Burkes, the shady store known for selling dark arts artifacts. This is where you can find Death Eater masks, skulls and costume replicas. For those with a sharp eye, dont miss the Hand of Glory, as well as the cursed opal necklace given to Harry Potters quidditch teammate Katie Bell. Also, the Vanishing Cabinet sits in a corner by the registers. Listen closely to hear chirping from the bird that Draco Malfoy used as a test to sneak Death Eaters into Hogwarts.
Gringotts Money Exchange
The Gringotts Money Exchange is exactly what it sounds like. Turn in your muggle money to receive special wizarding bank notes in $10 or $20 denominations. You can actually use these banknotes for purchases in Diagon Alley, Hogsmeade and select locations throughout Universal Orlando Resort. Super rad! Any unused wizard money can be changed back to U.S. currency at Guest Services. While youre at the Gringotts Money Exchange, ask the goblin a question, and hell answer accordingly. I dare you to ask him, Are you a house-elf?
While its not the Mirror of Erised , this magical mirror in Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions can talk. Stand in front of it, and it will comment on your outfit. One time it told me, Merlins beard, you look amazing! But dont always expect a compliment. It can also be brutally honest.
Tips For Visiting Harry Potter’s Hogsmeade & Diagon Alley
Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter is no place for the faint-hearted during high season. The lines for almost everything can risk breaking even the most indomitable spirit, but don’t be deterred: with a little bit of smart planning, a visit to Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley can be magnificently joyful, easy and stress-free.
Stay at a Universal Orlando Resort Hotel Harry Potter attractions open one hour early for guests at four on-site hotels. Arrive at least 30 minutes before the gates open to the general public, and do not dawdle.
Strategize Head to Islands of Adventure’s Hogsmeade on one morning. Hit Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, Flight of the Hippogriff, and finally shops and restaurants . The other morning, zip straight to Universal Studio’s Diagon Alley, hop on Escape from Gringotts, and then explore at leisure. There is an Ollivander’s Wand Shop in both parks on one of the two days, make this your first stop.
Buy a park-to-park ticket This allows you to ride the Hogwarts Express between Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.
Visit during low season Do not go Christmas through early January, March and summer.
- Hoursfrom 9am
- Pricetheme park admission required
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Ride As Many Rides As Possible
The Flight of the Hippogriff isnt anything particularly special, and its probably best suited to younger visitors. But the other three rides are worth enduring the long lines. In fact, youll probably want multiple trips on the Forbidden Journey and Escape From Gringotts, both of which have been ranked among the worlds top five dark rides at the Golden Ticket amusement park awards.
You’ll also absolutely want to try out Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, an outdoor coaster that streaks through the Forbidden Forest. It’s not only the newest but easily the most thrilling of the Potter rides.
Plan Your Vacation To The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter
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About Lindsay Brookshier
Lindsay is a college English instructor and has years of writing experience through various nonprofits, charities, newspapers, and online magazines. As the editor of Mickey Visit, she oversees article content and leads our fantastic team of writers to meet guest vacation needs. You can still find her writing weekly content to help make your Disney Parks trip fantastic here on Mickey Visit and writing Disney culture pieces on DisneyDose.com- you can also view her recently featured posts on Disney Parks travel on Nerd Wallet and SFGate. Lindsay comes from a dedicated Disney family and enjoys taking her son to the Disney parks as often as possible.
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Every Harry Potter Universal Ride Ranked
Universal well and truly snapped with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The intellectual property has lands in Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Orlando, and Universal Islands of Adventure in America. Internationally, there are Wizarding Worlds in Universal Studios Japan and the newly opened Universal Studios Beijing. The Wizarding World ties in closely to the Warner Bros. movies heavily using the actors and relying on the films’ production designer and art director, Stuart Craig and Alan Gilmore. “It was almost like another movie,” Gilmore told Architectural Digest. “We had no preconceived notions of what a theme park should be, so we approached it as taking the film sets and making them real. We wanted to create a story and a logic for everything.”
Of the many Universal resorts with a Wizarding World, Orlando’s is the most elaborate. They have a Hogsmeade land complete with Hogwarts at Islands of Adventure, as well as a recreation of Diagon Alley at Universal Studios. If guests have tickets to both theme parks, they can travel between them on a Hogwarts Express train/simulator ride. There are five Harry Potter rides between these two parks along with musical performances, an Ollivander’s Wand Shop magic show, several shops and restaurants, and a nighttime projection mapping light show. We’ve ranked all five rides, from worst to best, to help out all the muggles planning their next vacation.
Universal Studios Closes Harry Potter Attraction Indefinitely
Harry Potter fans headed to Universal Studios Orlando to experience Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure have learned some disappointing news, as the theme park recently confirmed that the ride’s preshow has been closed indefinitely. Earlier this month, one fan reached out on social media for information on why the preshow wasn’t operational, with the park confirming that not only was it closed, but that there was also no ETA on when it would resume operations. Luckily, the actual attraction appears to be unaffected by this closure, with it just being the preshow heading into the ride that is impacted. Stay tuned for updates on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
“This experience is currently not available, and we do not have information on when it will return, at this time,” Universal Studios Orlando tweeted in response to the inquiry regarding the preshow. “Please know, your feedback will be documented and shared with the proper Leadership Teams.”
Hi Adam, We apologize for any disappointment. This experience is currently not available, and we do not have information on when it will return, at this time. Please know, your feedback will be documented and shared with the proper Leadership Teams.
Universal Orlando Resort
Stay tuned for updates on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Are you disappointed the preshow is currently inactive? Let us know in the comments below!
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Which Harry Potter Park Should I Go To First
For the most authentic Harry Potter experience, head to Diagon Alley at Universal Studios firstjust like Harry did in the first book. Its a great gateway into the Wizarding World, and you can stock up on all your souvenirs and wizarding supplies at the lands many shops. Then, head to Hogsmeade for your first awe-inspiring view of Hogwarts Castle .
Warner Brothers Studio Tour In London
Although this isnt a theme park in a traditional sense of the word it is definitely worth mentioning. The tour of the studio is an amazing experience for any fan of the series.
The tour offers a unique look into the process of filming the movies. As the visitors walk around the studio they can see most of the sets used in the movies.
Most of them are also filled with different props and costumes from beloved characters. One of the most popular sets on the entire tour is The Great Hall, which always looks exactly as it does in the movies.
An interesting addition is a small souvenir you get once you actually get inside. The Harry Potter passport is a small booklet introducing the visitors to what theyll see ahead accompanied by interesting facts about the exhibits.
The tour also features a model of the Hogwarts castle which you can walk through a few times to make sure you got all the details. Another model feature on this tour is the Kings Cross train station completed with platform 9 3/4 and a perfect photo opportunity for any Potterhead, a wall with half of the luggage cart making you look like someone caught you right as you were rushing to catch Hogwarts Express.
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