With the newest addition to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, fans will get to experience what it's really like to be a witch or wizard wandering the streets of Diagon Alley. For all your wizardry needs, there's a place to buy your schoolbooks, robes, approved pets, and even telescopes. Exchange muggle money for wizard currency, and if you're feeling a little naughty, you can turn the corner and step into the dark side.
From eating at the Leaky Cauldron to shopping at Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, there's so much that catches the eye that it's easy to miss the finer details.
Therefore, we've put together a colorful list of 21 things to look out for on your (multiple) visits to Diagon Alley.
21. Gringotts Money Exchange
You can purchase Wizarding Bank Notes from Gringotts, which work as real currency at the two theme parks (Universal and Islands of Adventure).
20. The Leaky Cauldron
There's an actual cracked cauldron within the Leaky Cauldron.
19. Wizards be makin' it rain
Outside the bathrooms by Magical Menagerie, there's an umbrella fastened to the wall. Beware -- a passing witch or wizard might just cast a spell and make it rain.
18. Wands by Gregorovitch
There might be no place like Ollivanders, but let's not forget about this other European maker of fine wands who once possessed the Elder wand.
17. Harry's apartment while he stayed at the Leaky Cauldron
Right above the entrance to Diagon Alley, after you've gawked at what's in front of you, turn around and you'll notice a small room tucked away in the top corner.
16. Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes' window display
It is, after all, a joke shop, so it's only fitting that one of the first window displays you see is for the Weasleys' U-No-Poo candy. C'mon, you know it's funny.
15. Playful wall art
Throughout Diagon Alley is colorful, witch-inspired wall art. From silly advertisements to "edible" Dark Marks, it's almost like Wynwood (except Diagon Alley smells better).
14. It's all a train station
In The Prisoner of Azkaban, specifically when Harry stayed at the Leaky Cauldron, when he looked out his window he saw a train passing by. If you look up, you'll notice that part of the structure that keeps Diagon Alley hidden from the rest of Universal is the roof of a pseudo train station. Talk about attention to detail!
13. Lots of owl poop
Speaking of detail, over at the Owl Post and anywhere else owls might perch, you'll notice some white residue. It's poo. Owl poo.
12. Roof-sweeping broom
Next to Ollivander's is a handsome little broom store with a broom that's gone wonky and won't stop sweeping the roof rather than the floor.
11. Madam Malkin's is legit
One of the most memorable moments in the book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is when Harry is getting fitted for his robes at Madam Malkin's and he meets Draco for the first time. Seeing this store come to life within Diagon Alley is beyond spectacular. Aside from selling replica Hogwarts uniforms, the shop also peddles Hermione's Yule Ball gown, Dumbledore's dress robes, and other unique film costumes.
10. Beer (and other tasty drinks) at the Hopping Pot
Sorcery isn't just for little children -- you've got to have some potent potions for the adults too. If you don't want to wait in line for a beer at the Leaky Cauldron, you can walk up to the Hopping Pot and order a Dragon Scale beer or a Tongue Tying Lemon Squash.
9. Strawberry Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Yes, it's real. They've done it. Fans might remember that during a trip to Diagon Alley, Harry, Ron, and Hermione ordered strawberry peanut butter ice cream at Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour, and now you can too!
8. Interactive motion sensor outside Borgin and Burkes
On the dark cobbled streets of Knockturn Alley, there's a tiny windowfront advertising "full skeletons" and "wings and teeth." If you stand directly in front of it, an x-ray-style screen captures your movement.
7. Gilderoy Lockhart's book at Flourish and Blotts
Just like the time Lockhart had a book signing at Flourish and Blotts, his book cover is neatly placed in its window display.
6. That moment of awe inside Gringotts
If the dragon perched atop the bank doesn't send your jaw dropping, the moment you enter Gringotts bank will. The chandeliers and the main lobby display are beyond perfect -- you'll feel just like Harry did when he first walked in.
5. Griphook's office
Part of the detail work on the Escape from Gringotts ride includes visuals of the offices of important goblins as guests travel down the bank. Griphook was the goblin who helped Harry, Ron, and Hermione break into Gringotts in The Deathly Hallows.
4. Thestral carriage outside Hogsmeade Station
In case you ever wondered how students get from Hogsmeade Station to the castle, they're taken in black carriages led by invisible thestrals.
3. The Shrunken Head in the Knight Bus
The little tiki head has some playful banter with the Knight Bus attendant. He even told us it was going to be a "bumpy ride" (and, of course, we geeked out).
2. Kreacher peeking out the window at 12 Grimmauld Place
That Kreacher has always hated muggles, but he's also been very protective of the Black residence. So every few minutes he'll pull back the curtains and peek outside to keep his eyes on you.
1. The vanishing cabinet inside Borgin and Burkes
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All of Knockturn Alley is perfectly dark in both spirit and lighting, but quite possibly the coolest part is the vanishing cabinet. If you lean in close enough, you can hear the sounds of a canary trapped inside. Pretty soon we might be able to travel between Borgin and Burkes and Hogwarts -- at least one can dream.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley opens July 8, 2014. Vacation packages are available now for travel beginning June 29. Visit universalorlando.com.
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