The New Diagon Alley in Universal Studios, Florida
Enter Into a World of Magic
Walking into Diagon Alley for the first time is truly like stepping through the pages of the Harry Potter novels themselves and into a world where Magic is real, and anything is possible. The actual cobblestone streets are lined with shops straight out of the story, with several food and drink stands selling delicious butterbeer, chocolate frogs, and a number of other fantastic treats. Anything and everything you need for your first year at Hogwarts, battling dementors, or simply for your everyday magical needs can be found here.
Get Your Magic Wands First!
One of the most essential parts of wizarding life is having a proper wand. According to the Harry Potter lore, wands were used to cast magic spells, and acted as a kind of conductor through which witches and wizards could magically effect the world around them.
Diagon Alley hosts a stunning sire called Olivander's Wand Shop, which appears almost identical to the shop of the same name in the Sorcerer's Stone movie. In the shop, you can purchase very convincing replicas of wands belonging to almost every character from the series. The wands are intricately carved, weighted, and colored to resemble each character's personal wand.
No matter which wand you choose (or which wand chooses you!), be sure to opt for one with a golden label - these wands actually have a sensor in the tip which can effect some things around Diagon Alley and in the other Harry Potter themed area, Hogsmeade, located close by in Universal's Islands of Adventure.
he wands with a golden label should come with a map showing which shops and decorations may be effected with the special wands. These sites are indicated often by a plaque on the ground in front of the shop or decoration, which shows the pattern to draw with your wand, and which spell must be recited in order to have an effect.
Here's some helpful tips!
- Be sure to get a wand with a gold label
- Be sure to get your wand first things, since as the crowd grows throughout the day, it might be harder to find or get to some of the magic sites.
- Keep an eye out for Olivander himself! He may appear to help a wand find it's destined owner.
Food and Drink
If you get hungry while exploring Diagon Alley, be sure to visit The Leaky Cauldron. Like everything else in Universal's Wizarding World, there is much to see in the details around the eatery right out of the novels. The Cauldron features a large cafeteria style dining area, where you order at a counter and are welcome to sit among other witches, wizards, and visiting muggles.
The eatery features many options of English-style foods, such as fish and chips, bangers and mash, cottage pie, and one of Harry Potter's favorites, sticky toffee pudding for dessert. Be sure to check out the cauldron itself!
Aside from the Leaky Cauldron, there are several stands and shops which offer pumpkin juice, butterbeer, and a wide variety of more 'muggle' drinks like sodas and teas. Some shops even offer specialty beer brewed for the parks, and available only either in Diagon Alley or in Hogsmeade. If you're a fan of original craft beers, ask the local witches and wizard employees what they would suggest.
As a personal note, you will be missing out if you don't stop in the ice cream shop for a butterbeer-flavored ice cream!
Occasionally, Universal Studios offers money-saving dining plans. If you're looking to sample the local fares of Diagon Alley, be sure to check first about what deals are available. For $19.99, you can get a meal and a drink, as well as a snack and another beverage at any time throughout anywhere in the Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure parks. When many of the meals cost on average about $12-$15, this can be a real money saver if you're interested in trying the butterbeer or other treats later on!
While exploring the area, be sure to keep an eye out for the infamous Knockturn Alley. In the Wizarding World, this street was famous for being the go-to location where all the bad guys could purchase their bad guy supplies. The shops here offer clothing, souvenirs and anything you can imagine for heroes and death eaters alike.
This is one of the coolest locations to use your specialty wand. Keep an eye out for several of the windows where you can effect a variety of things, including dragon bones, talking heads, and... well, you'll just have to see for yourself.
Just watch out for Death Eaters!
Believe in the Magic
Whatever draws you to Diagon Alley, whether it be your children, or the kid in your own heart, remember to believe in the magic around you. Always keep an eye out for the incredible details around you, as the decorations, music, live performances, and other fantastic bits right out of the books and movies, which really make you feel like you've entered a whole other world.