When the executives and creative team from Universal Orlando set out to recreate the world of beloved boy wizard Harry Potter at their theme park in central Florida, they knew it would be no small task. In addition to getting all the big stuff right -- the castle, the rides and the general atmosphere -- the Wizarding World of Harry Potter needed to be a place where fans who have been keeping up with the "Harry Potter" books and films for more than a decade could come in and recognize all of their favorite bits and pieces.
So yes, the castle is breathtaking. And yes, the butterbeer will probably blow your mind (though whether regular or frozen is the way to go is still up for debate). But hands down the best aspect of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is Universal's attention to the little things. Here are some of our favorites.
You're going to be spending a lot of money in Wizarding World (chocolate frogs are $10 a pop, wands are $29, and a Firebolt broomstick $300), so what better place to withdraw the ludicrous amounts of cash you're going to spend than a Gringotts ATM. There aren't any goblins in sight unfortunately, but right off the main Hogsmeade street you can find an automated branch of the only bank in the wizarding world. Unfortunately it spits out dollars instead of galleons, sickles and knuts.
It was a little bit of a disappointment when Universal revealed that, unlike butterbeer, pumpkin juice and pear cider, Firewhiskey was one drink from the "Harry Potter" universe that you weren't going to be able to buy at Wizarding World (though you can get a variety of hard alcohol at the Hog's Head Pub if you ask). That doesn't mean it doesn't make an appearance though. You can find a couple of (presumably fake) bottles of it located behind the bar at Hog's Head.
There's only one location for restrooms in Wizarding World, which makes it a prime spot for Moaning Myrtle to make her appearance. I didn't have a chance to experience Myrtle myself, but those who have say it's actually a pretty creepy experience. We'd recommend warning your kids what they have in store ahead of time.
Hermione's Yule Ball Dress
There are several shops in Hogsmeade that are meant to be seen, not entered, and one of them is Gladrags Wizardwear. Like the name implies, it is a store where wizards go to buy their robes. However, in the left storefront window of Wizarding World's Gladrags, you can find the pink dress Hermione wore to the Yule Ball in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire."
You'll most likely be starving by the time you get a table at The Three Broomsticks, but make sure you take a look around after being seated and take in the incredible detail that went into making the restaurant. If you look closely at the second story landing, you should be able to make out the shadows of some house elves dancing around.
The Daily Prophet is arguably the most well-known wizarding publication, but the one that is arguably most-loved is The Quibbler. Published by Luna Lovegood's father, Xenophilius, The Quibbler can be purchased at Dervish & Banges, complete with Spectrespecs.