Many fans were incredibly excited when The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at opened. The incredible work and detail that went in to making the books and films come to life is something that every Harry Potter fanatic should experience. And if you add this wizarding adventure to your bucket list, don't miss these hidden gems on your visit:
1. There's a British red phone booth located right outside the entrance to Diagon Alley.
If you go inside the phone booth and dial MAGIC (962442), you'll get a message from the Ministry of Magic on the phone. Plus, the phone is an exact match to the phone that was used in the movie.
2. Inside the Quality Qudditch Supplies store (where you can buy your very own Quidditch gear!) the trophies on the tops of the shelves are props from the actual Harry Potter movies.
The props manager went through 200 40-foot containers filled with props from the movies where he hand-selected what would be placed around Diagon Alley.
3. Even the music you hear is the same from the movie.
Inside Weasley's Wizard Wheezes (where you can buy novelty toys inspired by the books and films) the music you hear is actually the same music played in the background of the movie when they go into Weasleys' store.
4. The Leaky Cauldron has 80 pieces of artwork on the walls that are exact replicas of the art from the films.
The Leaky Cauldron, the dimly-lit tavern where you can order food inspired by the films, also has luggage that is straight from the set of the Potter movies.
5. The giant dragon that's the centerpiece of Diagon Alley was sculpted by Grim Court, the lead sculptor from the Potter movies.
The dragon shoots out super-hot flames every 15 minutes, causing everyone in Diagon Alley to stop immediately and snap pics. (It's that cool.)
6. Wizards and witches can cast actual spells throughout Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, with their new life-changing interactive wands.
When buying a wand, you'll receive a map with 34 marked locations. When you locate the medallions, you must say the spell name and do the wand gesture that's listed to make the magic happen. There are a few secret locations that are unlisted, but if you ask the expert spell-casters nearby, they might show you. Extra secret: If you place your spell map under the black light when inside Knockturn Alley, the shapes of the spells that are written in "invisible ink" will appear.
7. You can even visit the tattoo parlor!
For the Potter movies, they built the tattoo shop from the books, but it never made it into the films. In Knockturn Alley, they recreated the storefront for the tattoo parlor, featuring all of the props from the movie set — including all of the tattoos and artwork (which are interactive and glow).
8. Inside Borgin and Bourkes in Knockturn Alley, you'll find tons of props from the Potter movies.
The hat rack that you can see in the window of the store in the movies can be found in the shop, and a little sculpture with nails sticking in him was taken from Lupin's Dark Arts classroom in the movies. Plus, if you go up to the Vanishing Cabinet in the store you can hear the bird chirping inside.
9. Inside Wise Acre's you can find two barometers at the top of the shop above the store, which hung in Dumbledore's observatory in the films.
And you can see them briefly when Dumbledore was killed in the films.
10. You can disappear into the wall at platform 9 ¾.
While you wait in line at King's Cross Station to board the Hogwarts Express, there's a special picture area where you can stand in front of an illusion mirror and snap a pic, so it looks like you're actually disappearing into the wall at platform 9 ¾! Tip: have your friend shoot a video instead of taking a picture, so you can get the full effect.
11. While on the Hogwarts Express, you'll get a different experience depending on whether you travel to London or Hogsmeade.
Guests can board the (real!) train and sit in cabins just like Harry, Ron and Hermione did. During your journey, there's a screen showing lifelike animation (like Hagrid on his flying motorbike) and you can see live special effects featuring silhouettes of Harry, Ron and Hermione outside your train cabin, plus, even some terrifying Death Eaters. It literally feels like you're actually in the movie sitting a cabin away from Harry himself.
12. You can go inside the Knight Bus.
If you stop by the three-story Knight Bus located outside Diagon Alley, you can snap a pic standing in the actual bus, and you can chat with the Knight bus conductor and the shrunken heads hanging from the mirror!
13. And you can even get money at Gringotts!
With the main attraction being a thrill ride through Gringotts bank to retrieve a Horcrux from the vault, you can also actually stop by Gringotts Money Exchange where you can interact with the bank goblins, and exchange your muggle currency ($10 or $20) for Wizarding Bank Notes that you can use to purchase items all over the parks.
14. Inside of Madam Malkin's Robes For All Occasions, there's a giant standing mirror which will actually talk to you when you stand in front of it to try things on.
Warning: Sometimes she's not the nicest. She might school you on your fashion sense, or you might get lucky and receive a compliment.
15. You can participate in the "wand choosing a wizard" ceremony at Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands shop.
A wizard will choose one lucky person in each group to find the perfect wand for them. Extra secret: When you make your way into the rest of the wand shop, the extra wand boxes stacked on top of the shelves are straight from the set of the films.