Alohomora – unlock the secrets of Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World
It’s one thing to visit the world of your favourite wizards, but it’s another to revel in that world. When it comes to Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the brilliant wizards and witches who created it made sure that every detail of your experience paralleled the actual Harry Potter books and movies as close as possible.
To help you navigate through the best experience of Diagon Alley, Hogsmeade and Hogwarts, here are some secrets they keep just for the most curious and enthusiastic Potterheads!
Before you go:
Pre-book your Universal Orlando tickets on Klook and be sure to get the Park Hopper tickets that allow you to visit both Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure since both have Harry Potter themed attractions to visit.
The Klook tickets allow you to enter the theme parks directly with the vouchers on your mobile phone! One day is definitely not enough so be sure to get the multi-day tickets.
1. Catch Kreacher peeking through the curtains at Grimmauld Place.
Sit yourselves right outside Sirius’ quarters and you’ll see Kreacher suspiciously staring at you every few minutes before he hides back into darkness.
2. Don’t mention You-Know-Who (Voldemort) to the staff!
By that we mean, please do try it. Their reactions are pretty funny. If you see any staff member donning outfits of your favourite houses, feel free to have a chit chat with them too!
3. The staff along King’s Cross Station are muggles.
On the outside, King’s Cross looks like every other regular place along the streets of London.
If you ask them anything about Harry Potter or the Hogwarts Express, they will be baffled. Remember, the wizarding world is unbeknownst to muggles and they sure don’t know the existence of platform 9¾ or the Hogwarts Express.
4. Call the Ministry of Magic from the red telephone booth outside King’s Cross.
It may seem like an unassuming prop, but if you dial M-A-G-I-C (62442), it’ll direct you someone from the Ministry of Magic.
5. When you hear rumbling at Diagon Alley, rush to the dragon at Gringotts!
The dragon will spit real fire from its mouth with a thundering roar. There aren’t any specific timings for this, so make sure you perk your ears up and you just might spot it!
6. Listen to the talking portraits of Hogwarts at Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
These portraits you’ll see while queueing for the ride are in fact the founders of the respective houses at Hogwarts.
If you listen to the whole dialogue, you’ll discover that they accurately represent the spirits of Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin. Not to mention, they look creepily real. Is this how Harry felt when he first saw a talking portrait?
7. Change your money into Gringotts currency at the bank
While you’re at it, have a chit chat with the resident goblin. Also, please don’t call him an elf because he’ll be seriously offended. Choose your questions wisely; if he feels that you’re wasting his time he won’t even entertain you!
You can use the Gringotts currency at all Wizarding World stores to buy food, drinks and souvenirs. Any change will be given back in US dollars.
8. Send real postcards home from the Owl Post
At the Owl Post, you can write letters to your loved ones and send them anywhere around the world. Either buy a pack of postcards or bring your own to the parks – stamps are sold separately at US $15 for a set of 10. Ask the staff for special Hogsmeade stamps to decorate your cards too!
The postcards will take roughly a week for domestic deliveries, and 2-3 weeks for international mail.
Sure, you can always send postcards across the world to your loved ones, but sending them from the magical world of Harry Potter definitely adds a special touch of charm.
9. It’s faster to buy your interactive wands outside of Ollivander’s
While there is novelty in allowing the wand masters to assign you to a wand, you’re better off buying them outside of Ollivanders to avoid the crowd. Whether it’s street-side carts or other small stores, there are plenty of other places in the Wizarding World to get your interactive wands.
Each interactive wand is carefully crafted after the characters’ personal wands in the movies, ranging from those from the dark forces to Harry’s squad. They cost US $52 each and can be used in both parks.
Getting your wands early will allow you to perform more magic spells spread throughout the Wizarding World. Swing your wands at these special stations and see the magic that happens before you – in the Wizarding World, everyone’s a wizard.
10. Save your sweet tooth for Hogsmeade
The classic frozen Butterbeer, Butterscotch fudge and Butterscotch cream
Home to delicious options for butterscotch desserts like the Butterscotch Fudge and Butterscotch Cream, Universal’s Islands of Adventure definitely tops Universal Studios Orlando when it comes to wizard-y sweet treats.
Three Broomsticks in Islands of Adventure also offers Pumpkin Fizz, a delightful carbonated Pumpkin spice drink that isn’t sold in Universal Studios.
Remember to explore every corner on your own as well
The smallest details of the Wizarding World can be revealed only by the true blue Potterheads; set yourself up for a challenge and try to find more beyond this list! Afterall, the best experience of the place might come from you stumbling upon a detail that others might have missed out on. Have fun!