Harry Potter and the Wizarding Worlds at Universal Studios, 2017 Report
It was really kewl walking down
Diagon Alley. I loved the way it had been reproduced. I found myself just standing around, in awe, admiring and analyzing the buildings'
architecture, along with taking in the details.
I headed over to the candy and magic
store, Weasleys Wizard Wheezes.
(Weasleys Wizard Wheezes) Visitors to Weasleys Wizard Wheezes are greeted by an oversized caricature of one of the twins. Inside were all sorts of goodies.
(I realize that I'm starting to sound
like a broken record here, but once again I found myself just wandering around, closely scrutinizing pretty much everything in the store,
along with playing back from memory associations from the books and movies).
When leaving the store I traveled over to Ollivanders Wand Shop.
(Ollivanders Wand Shop) How can you visit a Harry Potter theme park without purchasing a wand? Ollivanders Wand Shop had all types of wands for sale.
After perusing the many different
types of wands available, I finally decided upon the Eldar Wand, (which belonged to Dumbledore).
In general, there are two different
types of wands available for purchase. The first type are the regular wands, while the second type? (The second type???) They are truly magical.
Universal has set up many locations in both parks, where brass plates are imbedded in the ground. By standing on these plates,
facing the direction indicated and tracing your magical wands in the air in the indicated fashion, you can make different things happen.
In some cases, lights may flash, or water may shoot out from a fountain in a certain way. Or, something on the other side of a store window
may do something.
As it turned out, my wand included a map of the different locations in both Diagon Alley, along with Hogsmeade where the wand can be used
to perform magic.
(Call me a Harry Potter nerd if you
will, but later I started seeking out these magical spots, wand in hand and going through the gestures, just to see if I could spark up some magic
...I even received a compliment from an observer on how I seemed to be a natural).
Shortly after my wand-purchase, I stumbled upon Ollivanders Wand Shop Show.
(Ollivanders Wand Shop Show) On the side of the Wand store was a short, partitioned-off line. I went to the end of the line and after waiting a short period of
time re-entered Ollivanders, (this time through a rear door).
We were ushered into a back room. A boy was selected from the crowd and led up to the front, where a store associate assisted
him in his search for the perfect wand for him. We were informed that "the wand chooses the person and not vice-versa." After several
bad choices, the perfect wand-match was finally made.
Following this informative and entertaining experience, I made my way back out of the store and into another: Borgin & Burkes.
(Borgin & Burkes) The Borgin & Burkes store has the greatest variety of Harry Potter supplies and clothing at Diagon Alley. I was surprised at
the variety of items which were available for purchase.
They even had a not-so-friendly Monster book of Monsters (securely) caged up.
Ultimately I decided to purchase a
Following my purchase I made
my way outside and into another store. This was the Magical Menagerie.
(Magical Menagerie) The Magical Menagerie had all sorts of creatures from the Harry Potter Wizarding World for sale.
They even had a LARGE snake resting
in a side-window. By casting the correct spell from my magical wand I was able to make it come to life.
After admiring all of the animals found in the Magical Menagerie I decided to venture into the Leaky Cauldron.
(Eating at the Leaky Cauldron)
I generally shy away from eating at
restaurants located in Amusement & Theme Parks. In general, their expense, along with their just soo-soo food spurs me to stay away.
However, when passing the Leaky Cauldron at Diagon Alley I couldn't resist the urge.
(If nothing else, I had to see how
it looked inside). I entered.
The inside of the Leaky Cauldron was authentically reproduced.
After a short wait in line I was
placing an order for lunch.
It was really, really kewl seeing food
selections from the Harry Potter books and movies available for me to choose from. (You can check out their on-line menu through the link found):
I ended up ordering a Cottage Pie,
(which was like a beef pot-pie), along with (naturally) a cup of Butterbeer. Service was quick and the meal was good. (In addition, I just couldn't
get enough of the inside of the Leaky Cauldron).
When done I headed back outside.
I wanted to check out the main ride and attraction at Diagon Alley: Escape from Gringotts.