The Muggle's Guide To The Wizarding World(s) Of Harry Potter

14 June 2016

It's been nine years since we farewelled our favourite boy wizard. (Five if we're talking the last movie and 18 years since the Battle of Hogwarts.) But just because [spoiler alert] Harry Potter finally defeated You Know Who doesn't mean the magic has stopped.

The world of Harry, Hermione, Ron and friends lives on, not only on stage and screen, but in immersive replicas of beloved locations from the series. Enter: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

With three locations spanning Japan and the United States, you'll never have to travel too far to get your hands on those Bertie Botts Every-Flavour Beans within the iconic settings of Hogwarts, Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. If you're more of a Dursely than a Dobby, read on for the A – Z guide of the Wizarding World(s) of Harry Potter.

Travel Inspiration Hogsmeade lights up at night at Universal Studios Hollywood (image: Mike Dannenberg)

A Is For Ale

Three beers have been especially created for the parks, including Dragon Scale, Wizards’ Brew and Hogshead Ale.

Found at:

Universal Studios Japan, Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure Florida

B Is For Butterbeer

Even the most steadfast muggle won't be able to resist the toffee-like notes of Butterbeer. In summer, Butterbeer also comes frozen to beat the heat, while wizards can warm their cockles with the hot toddy version in winter.

Found at:

Universal Studios Japan, Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure Florida

Ron-derful.

A photo posted by Melissa (@tran_gerine) on

C Is For Chocolate Frogs

Sweet tooths should make a beeline for the legendary Honeydukes. Its walls are packed with iconic sweets from the series, including Chocolate Frogs, complete with holographic wizard cards. (You also won't be able to resist Bertie Bott's Every-Flavour Beans. Think an inconspicuous assortment of 'I can't believe how real it tastes' flavours like vomit, dirt, sausage and rotten egg!)

Found at:

Universal Studios Japan, Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure Florida

D is for Diagon Alley

To wander the cobblestones first made famous in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, you'll have to head to Universal Studios Florida, the only park to feature a full re-creation of Diagon Alley and its wonky facades, cobblestone streets and mysterious shops. The entrance is through an unmarked wall (invisible to muggle eyes), just like in the books.

Found at:

Universal Studios Florida

the three little witches⚡️ #wizardingworldhollywood #gryffindor #hufflepuff #slytherin #hogwarts A photo posted by Brie Leazer (@gingerxgypsy) on

E Is for Expelliarmus

While you can't quite get into a duel with a friendly foe, there are plenty of ways to weave your magic. Scattered throughout Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley are a number of spots where magic folk can cast a spell.

Found at:

Universal Studios Japan, Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure Florida

Travel Inspiration Hogwarts Castle looms over the path of the Flight of the Hippogriff

 

F Is for Flight Of The Hippogriff

An open-air rollercoaster suitable for the younger ones, Flight of the Hippogriff whisks riders away on an adventure on the back of a Hippogriff, zipping, spirally and diving past Hagrid's hut and the pumpkin patch.

Found at:

Universal Studios Japan, Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure Florida

 

G is for Gringotts

This goblin-run bank is the setting for the high-stakes, wild ride of Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. It's a pulse-pounding adventure on this multi-dimensional thrill ride as you zip and zoom through the treacherous Gringotts vaults.

H Is For Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Bringing the thrills to Hogwarts is the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride. This immersive 3D-HD ride begins with a meander through Hogwarts Castle. Eagle-eyed fans will spot myriad details, from the talking portraits to the intricate curiosities found in Dumbledore’s office. Then, it’s time to don your Quidditch goggles for an action-packed sky-high journey through the grounds of Hogwarts and the Forbidden Forest.

Found at:

Universal Studios Japan, Universal Studios Hollywood, Islands of Adventure Florida

Travel Inspiration Incendio! (image: USJ)

 

I is for Interactive Wand

Create magical experiences in the park with an Interactive Wand, bought from Ollivanders. Pick out an original or a replica of your favourite character’s wand. The wands come with a map that marks out spell locations.

Found at:

Universal Studios Japan, Universal Studios Hollywood, Islands of Adventure Florida

J is for JK Rowling

Every detail, every meal, every experience has author JK Rowling’s seal of approval to ensure its authenticity.

K is for the Knight Bus

If you're in need for emergency transport (no, not to escape the Wizarding World), the Knight Bus serves stranded witches and wizards. Peek behind the curtains of this purple triple decker bus and you'll see a scatter of four poster beds, chandeliers and hear the crazy ramblings and banter between the shruken head and Ernie the driver.

Found at:

Universal Studios Florida

 

L Is For the Leaky Cauldron

You may think wizard life is all Butterbeer and broomsticks, but magic folk still gotta eat. The Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley is where wizards and witches head for a cheeky pint of Wizard's Brew or Dragon Scale alongside bangers and mash or beef and Guinness stew.

Found at:

Universal Studios Florida

M Is For Moaning Myrtle

Everyone’s favourite melancholy ghost Moaning Myrtle can be heard wailing in the Hogsmeade bathrooms – in both men and female loos!

Found at:

Universal Studios Japan, Universal Studios Hollywood, Islands of Adventure Florida

O is for Ollivander's Wand Shop

Makers of fine wands since 382, there's "no place better" than Ollivanders. Purchase your own wand, a replica of your favourite characters’ or the aforementioned Interactive Wand to cast spells. You'll even be able to witness the magical experience of choosing a wand, a la Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Found at:

Universal Studios Japan, Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure Florida

P Is For Platform 9 3/4

All aboard the Hogwarts Express! A park-to-park admission ticket in Florida is worth it for the ride on the Hogwarts Express alone. From Kings Cross Station, you'll walk straight through a solid brick wall to board the Hogwarts Express from Platform 9 3/4. Along the way, keep your eyes on the English countryside as you never know what's lurking, swooping or flying alongside the train!

Where:

Universal Studios Florida (Kings Cross Station) and Islands of Adventure (Hogsmeade Station)

Q Is For Quidditch

Quality Quidditch Supplies in Diagon Alley stocks everything you need to play the most popular sport in the wizard world. Think everything from uniforms, broomsticks, Bludgers, Quaffles and Golden Snitches!

Found at:

Universal Studios Florida Quidditch fans looking to take the 'active wear' trend beyond Lorna Jane and Lululemon should head to Dervish and Banges. This atelier stocks the latest in Quidditch sporting garb, as well as Hogwarts house uniforms.

Found at:

Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Japan, Islands of Adventure

R Is For Replicas

Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods is packed to the rafters with detailed replicas of magical items. Why not pick up a Time-Turner, Marauder’s Map, Writing Quill, full-size Firebolt broom, Golden Snitch or The Lost Diadem of Ravenclaw?

Where:

Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Japan, Islands of Adventure

Travel Inspiration Nestle into the Three Broomsticks with a frothy mug of Butterbeer (image: Kevin Kolczynski)

T Is For The Three Broomsticks

Feeling peckish? Head to this iconic Hogsmeade pub to enjoy a spread of hearty English classics, such as shepherd's pie, all washed down a Butterbeer, of course.

Found at:

Universal Studios Japan, Universal Studios Hollywood, Islands of Adventure Florida

W Is For Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes

Fred and George Weasley’s colourful joke shop offers everything for the practical prankster, including Snackboxes, Pygmy Puffs and U-No-Poo.

Found at:

Universal Studios Florida

Y Is For You Know Who

Tom Riddle, Voldemort, the Dark Lord, whatever you call him, doesn’t make much of an appearance at the parks, but if you’re travelling on the Hogwarts Express in Florida, you may catch a glimpse of him lurking outside the Malfoy mansion.

Found at:

Between Universal Studios Florida (Platform 9 ¾) and Islands of Adventure (Hogsmeade0 on the Hogwarts Express

Z Is For Zonko's Joke Shop

The inspiration behind the Weasley twins’ joke shop, Zonko’s was the original destination for jokers to pick up gags, tricks and toys to unleash on their unsuspecting targets. Mischief definitely not managed.

Found at:

Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Japan, Islands of Adventure


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Anna Howard

Give me street food over Michelin stars, cellar doors over wine bars and small towns and wide open spaces over big cities any day. Travel for me means ticking off the 'to eat and drink' list one regional flavour and wine bottle at a time.