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The Best Harry Potter Things Brought To Life In Universal's Wizarding World

Constructed around one of the biggest franchises in the world, it's no surprise the Wizarding World of Harry Potter also boasts some of the most impressive theme park lands.

The opening of Hogsmeade in 2010 and Diagon Alley in 2014 at Universal Orlando Resort signaled the beginning of a new standard in theme park attractions. With recreations of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Gringotts Banks and the Hogwarts Express, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter leveled up the industry to focus on immersing guests in cinematic experiences.

The Wizarding World also exceeded Universal parks' tagline of "riding the movies" by letting visitors experience stories as their favorite characters did. In Hogsmeade (which is also at Universal parks in Hollywood and Japan), guests can drink butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks, shop for magical confections at Honeydukes and join Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger in an adventure around Hogwarts during a Quidditch match. In Diagon Alley, guests can venture through Gringotts Bank in a dark coaster, shop for Hogwarts house robes, get matched with a wand at Ollivanders and peruse the quirky Weasley's Wizard Wheezes.

In both parks, the outside world and the rest of the theme park is tuned out, letting guests feel as if they're really in the magical world of Harry Potter. Here are the best things from the Harry Potter books and films that Universal's Wizarding World brings to life so vividly.


Universal's butterbeer is arguably the greatest theme park drink ever created. The recipe is highly-guarded, though the taste is like a butterscotch-flavored cream soda with hints of shortbread. The topping is sweet and sticky with an marshmallow-like texture.

In Universal's Wizarding World, butterbeer is sold in The Three Broomsticks and The Leaky Cauldron and at several pop-up stands. Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley are the only places in the parks where you can get butterbeer on tap, in either plastic cups or souvenir mugs.

The beverage is also served in frozen and hot forms, with the former being perfect for a hot Florida park day and the latter tasting like a cup of melted butterscotch marshmallows. While hot butterbeer was originally only sold in the winter months, all three versions of the sweet libation are now available year-round. There are also other butterbeer-flavored items, including fudge from Sugarplum's Sweetshop and Honeydukes, ice cream from Florean Fortescue's and potted cream from the Leaky Cauldron and Three Broomsticks.

When butterbeer was being created for the Wizarding World, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling had the final say on the land's signature beverage. According to the Orlando Informer, Rowling told the Universal flavor overseer "Yes, Chef, this is it," after sampling butterbeer before the land opened. 


Besides butterbeer, another essential experience at Universal's Wizarding World is choosing your own interactive wand to play with around the park.

There are several options for wands at Universal, depending on if you want to cast spells in Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley or if you simply want to collect the wands of famous Wizarding World characters. There's also the full wand choosing experience at Ollivanders, where you learn the art, science and magic of wand creation.

There are dozens of different wands, based on favorite characters from the "Harry Potter" and "Fantastic Beasts" films, and others that have been created just for the Universal parks. Each interactive wand is fitted with a small sensor at its tip that lets you "cast spells." Wands also come with double-sided maps showing spell-casting locations in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.

The map and the gold medallion on the ground at the spell location illustrate where to stand and how to swish and flick your wand to cast — from using wingardium leviosa to levitate a feather quill in the window of Scribbulus to employing aguamenti to activate a stream of water from a frog's mouth in the mermaid fountain. There are also spells hidden in Knockturn Alley, like using locomotor to get a house elf to scurry up a chimney and casting mimblewimble to silence a group of talking shrunken heads.

Knockturn Alley

Blink and you might miss the entrance to the cool, shadowy corner of Diagon Alley that is Knockturn Alley — a must-see spot in the Wizarding World dedicated to the darker side of magic.

The anchor of Knockturn Alley is Borgin and Burkes, a stunning recreation of the famous Dark Arts shop seen in several "Harry Potter" films. Here you can buy Death Eater masks, Deathly Hallows merchandise and replicas and collectibles for popular dark wizards and witches. Borgin and Burkes also boasts several recreations and props from the films, including the Vanishing Cabinet, the Gigantic Hand from Warner Bros. Studios in the U.K. and a second floor packed with masks, trunks, cages and costumes used in the movies.

Elsewhere in Knockturn Alley is the display window of Dystyl Phaeleanges, Purveyor of Fine Bones and Tusks, which features skulls of a pixie, a house elf, a goblin and a giant. There are also five spell-casting spots in Knockturn Alley, ranging from getting a skeleton to dance along to your moves and silencing a group of shrunken heads to using alohamora to try to unlock a door in the courtyard.

In the films, Knockturn Alley was seen in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," when Harry accidentally lands in the shop via Floo Powder, and in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," when Harry, Ron and Hermione followed Draco Malfoy and discovered the Slytherin teen was letting Death Eaters into Hogwarts through the Vanishing Cabinet.

Honeydukes & Sugarplum's Sweetshop

The most immersive shops in Universal's Wizarding World might be the candy shops — Honeydukes in Hogsmeade and Sugarplum's Sweetshop in Diagon Alley. They're both recreations of the shops in the Harry Potter films, though Honeydukes is larger and arguably more famous.

The candy shops are bright, colorful delights that always smell like sugar. Inside are shelves of Wizarding World candies and little else that signals the outside world. The most popular confections are Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans and Cauldron Cakes. The Chocolate Frogs are especially popular, as each box comes with a collectible card of great wizards and witches such as Albus Dumbledore and the Hogwarts founders.

Honeydukes and Sugarplum's also sell Acid Pops, chocolate skeletons and wands, Exploding Bon-Bons, Fizzing Whizzbees, Fudge Flies, Jelly Slugs, Pumpkin Juice, Sugar Quills and other sweets made famous by the books and films. They both have bakery cases of various flavors of fudge (get the butterbeer flavor), cupcakes and chocolate-dipped pretzel wands.

Honeydukes first appeared in the "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" book and film when Harry uses the Marauder's Map and invisibility cloak to sneak into the shop in Hogsmeade to hang out with his friends. Sugarplum's Sweet Shop is seen briefly in the "Chamber of Secrets" and the "Half-Blood Prince" films.

The Leaky Cauldron & Three Broomsticks

The two eateries in Universal's Wizarding World are recreations of the ones seen in the films and books. In Hogsmeade, there's the Three Broomsticks restaurant, while Diagon Alley features the Leaky Cauldron.

Both restaurants have the same menu with English dishes like fish and chips, bangers and mash and Guinness stew. The restaurants also serve up breakfast plates like the egg, leek and mushroom pasty and a traditional English breakfast with blood sausage and baked beans.

The Leaky Cauldron and Three Broomsticks are both filled with Wizarding World decor. The Leaky Cauldron is an open dining hall, boasting vaulted ceilings with the iconic cracked cauldron at the head of the dining tables. There are also plenty of Easter eggs from the films, like the Sirius Black wanted poster and a faux second floor made to look like the inn's rooms.

The Three Broomsticks is even more immersive than the Leaky Cauldron, and is the closest you can get to actually dining in the fictional world of Harry Potter. Instead of a dining hall, the Three Broomsticks adheres closely to the source material to create a huge pub-style eatery complete with mismatched wooden tables and chairs, wooden beams and rafters and faux oil lamps. In the films and books, the restaurant also doubles as an inn for traveling wizards and witches, so the faux second floor has magical world props and nods to those who could be traveling through, as well as shadows of house elves toiling at their daily chores.

12 Grimmauld Place

Outside the moving brick entrance to Diagon Alley is the London area of Universal Studios Florida. But it's not just a façade to hide the secret Wizarding World shopping district — the waterfront area is chock full of nods to the "Harry Potter" films and London locales.

Perhaps the most popular nod to the magical world is 12 Grimmauld Place, the fictional home of the Black family, recreated in an English townhouse façade to the right of Diagon Alley. The replica homes seem unassuming at first, but if you wait a few minutes and look up at the window above 12 Grimmauld Place's door, you'll see Kreacher the house elf peak from behind the curtains.

Also in the London area is the "entrance" to the Leaky Cauldron, recreated from the films (actual entrance inside Diagon Alley), a replica Eros Fountain from Piccadilly Circus and the giant, three-level purple Knight Bus. You can't climb aboard the iconic wizarding world transit, but you can see inside the bus, which is full of nods to "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban." A Knight Bus is also stationed outside the bus door to interact with guests and the talking shrunken head above the dashboard.

There's also a red telephone box right outside Diagon Alley, where you can dial M-A-G-I-C (62442) and hear a message from the Ministry of Magic. Also outside of Diagon Alley is a record shop window with fictional album covers that say "Katy's In Charge" and "Joe Sez No," subtle nods to the creation of Universal's Wizarding World and author Rowling's veto power of every detail created by the parks.

Hogwarts Express

The Hogwarts Express transportation system is set between Universal's Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida, enabling wizards and witches to park hop without ever leaving the Wizarding World.

The Hogsmeade station is built to look and feel as if you're in the cool, rainy English countryside. The Kings Cross Station is a scaled-down recreation of the iconic London station, complete with winding queues and working timetables that match up to the actual time of day and destinations in the United Kingdom.

The best parts of the Hogwarts Express, however, are the differing stories depending on which way you take the train. From Hogsmeade to London, the story is a farewell message with cameos by Fred and George Weasley, who use fireworks to advertise their joke shop in Diagon Alley. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for a brief glimpse of Voldemort at Malfoy Manor.

When going from Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade, check out the advertisements in Kings Cross Station for nods to the ones seen in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince." The story projected on digital windows inside your train cabin on this journey also has gorgeous reveals of Hogwarts castle, and an appearance by Hagrid flying on his magical motorbike.

In both journeys, you'll also hear main characters Harry, Ron and Hermione talking in the hallway. In one trip, they quickly fight off some dementors and in another, buy leaping chocolate frogs from the candy trolley.

Platform 9 3/4

For the ultimate magical world experience, fans flock to Diagon Alley and the Leaky Cauldron to do their shopping and dining before venturing into Kings Cross Station to catch a ride aboard the Hogwarts Express. The door between the muggle-run London station and the Wizarding World is the iconic Platform 9 ¾.

Being run by muggles in a faithful recreation of the London Station, Kings Cross attendants know nothing of the magical world and comment as such on the "funny robes" and "strange sticks" you're wearing and carrying to the train. They'll also insist that there is no Platform 9 ¾ while also sending you down the passageway to reach platforms 9 and 10.

Universal's recreation of Platform 9 ¾ is magical in its special effects. It's called a Pepper's Ghost-style mirror effect and it lets those behind you in the line see you "pass through" a brick wall to get to Platform 9 ¾. Of course, once you pass through, there are wizard and witch attendants shouting orders and directing you to your cabin on the train in another faithful recreation of the platform from the films.

This feature, along with the immersive Kings Cross Station and stunning Hogwarts Express train, is another way Universal's Wizarding World turns you into a character in your own Harry Potter movie.


Gringotts is one of the top places in Universal's Wizarding World that truly blocks out the muggle world and transports you to the world of magic. As the slightly-crooked centerpiece of Diagon Alley, its marble façade stands out among the other buildings, not to mention the fire-breathing dragon perched on top.

Before entering the wizarding bank for the Escape from Gringotts ride, there are many notable details to look for. That massive dragon is a Ukranian Ironbelly — a recreation of the dragon Harry, Ron and Hermione freed from the vaults in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." At the entrance, there's a towering gold statue of the bank's goblin founder, Gringott, as well as a nearby warning poem against trying to rob the bank.

Inside, the creatives at Universal spared no detail when bringing Gringotts to life, from recreating the look of marble pillars and flooring to massive chandeliers constructed from 62,000 crystals. The goblin tellers flanking the sides are also highly-detailed, with many being animatronics that tally wizard coins as you make your way through the lobby.

As you make your way "down" into the depths of the bank, you'll see money-filled vaults with intricate opening mechanisms, a hallway of goblin offices, shelves of banking documents and a table of Daily Prophet newspapers. Right before you get on the bank cart, you'll also visit Bill Weasley's office before seeing a few security trolls in the bank's massive elevator down in the caverns.

Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes

Everyone's favorite red-headed jokesters have their own shop in Diagon Alley, and it's full of Easter eggs to the films and books and the best prank toys the Wizarding World has to offer.

Many of Fred and George Weasley's creations are famous among Harry Potter fans, like their line of candy Hogwarts students use to get out of class. In Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, you too can purchase Fever Fudge, Puking Pastilles, U-No-Poo, Fainting Fancies and Nosebleed Nougat.

Besides those unpleasant-sounding sweets, the shop also offers Screaming Yo-Yos, a Decoy Detonator, Extendable Ears, flipping Pink Elephants, Chattering Teeth and Love Potions. One of the most popular purchases are the Pygmy Puffs, bright pink or purple furballs that coo and purr. When you adopt a Pygmy Puff, there's a special naming ceremony where the shopkeeper rings a giant bell and lets you shout the name of your Puff.

Fred and George created many of the products and the shop during their seventh, unfinished year at Hogwarts. They notoriously had students test the products, and even tormented Dolores Umbridge with Weasleys' Wildfire Whiz-Bangs while she was supervising Harry's and his classmates' fifth year O.W.L. exams.


Universal's recreation of Hogwarts castle is so detailed and full of nods to the films and books, you'll likely discover something new every time you see it. It's a feat of visual effects that makes the castle look larger and farther away than it really is. Though not technically in Hogsmeade, Hogwarts castle is the centerpiece of the all-wizard village and houses the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride.

Almost everything to love about going to school in the Wizarding World is packed into Hogwarts castle and the ride queue, from Mandrakes in the greenhouse and the glass cylinders containing house points to the Mirror of Erised and the Griffin statue marking the entrance to Headmaster Dumbledore's office. Speaking of, don't rush through this circular room filled with the wizard's famous Pensieve, the sword of Gryffindor and a special message from the headmaster himself.

As you make your way to board the ride, you'll also see a dragon skeleton in the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, the Fat Lady portrait at the entrance to the Gryffindor common room and the famous Sorting Hat, who preps you for your tour of the castle. Other nods include the entrance to the Potions classroom and Snape's office door, the One-Eyed Witch statue and the many talkative portraits lining Hogwarts' moving staircases.

The Forbidden Forest

One of the newest additions to Universal's Wizarding World is the Forbidden Forest in Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure coaster. Situated where the Dragon Challenge and Dueling Dragons coasters once resided in Hogsmeade, the story coaster is an intense ride through the Hogwarts grounds, alongside Hagrid and some of his favorite magical beasts.

The outside queue weaves around Hagrid's hut and into a set of ruins created just for Universal's Wizarding World. Inside are rooms of makeshift classrooms and materials for students to study magical creatures, including a dragon egg nursery. Other Easter eggs to keep an eye out for are the Monster Book of Monsters opened to a page on Manticores, Hagrid's gloves, the golden egg from the Triwizard Cup and a diagram of a Niffler from "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them."

On the ride itself, you'll encounter the fiery Blast-Ended Skrewt, a majestic centaur, Devil's Snare vines, Cornish pixies inside the Weasleys' wrecked blue Ford Anglia, Fluffy the Three-Headed Dog and even a unicorn. The immersive queue and coaster are both surrounded by hundreds of trees that make it feel as if you're really in the spooky, creature-filled Forbidden Forest of Hogwarts' grounds. These are all just additional, tiny touches that add up to an amazing world of immersion.