15 things Harry Potter fans (and muggles) need to see in Diagon Alley
What begins as a stroll through an ordinary London street transports muggles and wizards alike into the magical realm that is Diagon Alley. Cobbled streets take visitors past enchanted broomsticks, children casting spells with wands and the furious roar of a fire-breathing dragon.
These sights and sounds are the latest additions to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, Orlando.
The Miami Hurricane was on the scene to delve through butterbeer ice cream, maneuver through a Magical Menagerie and explore the harrowing vaults of Gringotts to discover the top 15 attractions every witch, wizard or non-magical muggles have to see.
1. Grimmauld Place
This street seems to be inhabited by muggles, unless one were to notice 12 Grimmauld Place, which has been hidden by a charm and become home to the Order of the Phoenix. The house-elf Kreacher often peeks (or sneers) out the window.
2. The Knight Bus
In the business of transporting magical folk all across the realm, the Knight Bus has made a stop to chat with locals and muggles alike. Don’t forget to check out the back to see what’s inside.
3. The Leaky Cauldron
On first glance, most people will miss this sign, so slow down to catch this iconic pub.
4. An unassuming telephone booth…or the Ministry of Magic entrance?
If you dial 62442 (magic) you may hear a special message from the Ministry.
5. Just an ordinary brick wall…
With the correct password, this wall leads you away from the muggle world into the magical shops at Diagon Alley.
6. Interactive map and wands
Yes, you can now actually create magic in the parks with the help of this special map that tells you what spells to perform and where.
7. A fire-breathing dragon, ladies and gentlemen.
Don’t cross this Ukrainian Ironbelly.
8. Escape from Gringotts
This bank claims to be the safest place in the wizarding world, with surreal security measures including countless enchantments and a guard dragon. As guests enter the grand lobby and wind through its hallways, they soon discover its defenses will be put to the test as they encounter familiar friends and foes.
9. The Magical Menagerie
THE place to get your next furry, scaled or poisonous best friend.
10. Knockturn Alley
You may not want to be seen frequenting the sketchy street too often, but you can’t miss the enchanting features on the interactive map that can only be seen in the dark.
11. Hagrid’s Motorcycle
Everyone’s favorite half-giant must have forgotten where he parked his bike. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if you took it for a spin…
12. Quality Quidditch Supplies
The sport of Quidditch is everything in the wizarding world, so you better stock up on your supplies.
13. Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes
This fine joke shop offers gags from exploding telescopes and puking pastels to extendable ears.
This is where the wand choses the wizard. Browse through the crammed shelves to find your perfect match.
15. The Hogwarts Express
Cue the tears. The Hogwarts Express has been transporting young witches and wizards to Hogwarts for centuries, and now you can embark on that same magical journey.
This article originally appeared in The Miami Hurricane on Oct. 25, 2014.