The 'Harry Potter' movies may be over (for now; the final DVD hits stores this week), but don't worry, muggles! All things Potter will continue to live on at Universal Studios' Island of Adventure. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has everything a Potterite could ever want, from the dark halls of Hogwarts to Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade, and it's all done down to the finest little detail.
Moviefone visited the Wizarding World to commemorate the ending of one of the most successful movie franchises in history, and we've got a list of the ten things you need to do if your broom ever takes you there.
1. Grab Some Grub at Three Broomsticks Restaurant and Hog's Head Pub
How authentic are these places? Stuart Craig, the production designer for the 'Harry Potter' movies, designed the interior of Three Broomsticks, and the Hog's Head Pub is identical to what you see in the movies. Chow down on Cornish pastries, shepherd's pie, or good ol' fish and chips while magical things happen all around you. The adjacent Hog's Head Pub features flickering lanterns and -- of course -- a gigantic hog's head mounted behind the bar, which sometimes puffs its cheeks and growls at the guests. (Astute visitors will spot a trio of brooms resting against the wall in the restaurant, and Moviefone found out exclusively that one of those brooms is actually used in the movie!)
2. Sample a Frothy Stein of Butterbeer
Yep, it deserves its own paragraph. It's that good. We were a little apprehensive that it would be some super-sweet concoction, but it was actually really refreshing -- kind of like a cross between caramel, marshmallows and ice cream. You can choose between the iced and frozen versions at Hog's Head. (Sorry, muggle adults, there's no alcohol in it -- butterbeer has no intoxicating effects on humans, though it's said to have quite the impact on house elves.) We couldn't get our hands on the actual recipe, but Mugglenet claims that they've broken the code.
3. Step Into Harry's Shoes on the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Sim Ride
Sure, you've been on sim rides before at theme parks, but this is probably the only one where a dragon spits fire and smoke into your face. Daniel Radcliffe himself said, "This ride is essentially a condensed form of the chaos in Harry's life." You can soar over Hogwarts, take part in a Quidditch match and have a close encounter with the Whomping Willow. Hold onto your (wizard) hats, because you get about this close to being flipped upside down.
4. Be Brave! Try the Dragon Challenge and Flight of the Hippogriff Roller Coasters
If you're a particularly fearless wizard, you might want to try your hand at the Dragon Challenge -- you can choose one of two intertwining dragon coasters: Hungarian Horntail or Chinese Fireball. The dragons twist and narrowly miss each other on this epic adventure. If you're still an apprentice (of sorts), opt for the family-friendly Hippogriff coaster. Before embarking, you're instructed on how to properly approach a Hippogriff, and then you're off!
5. Wonder at the Magnificence of Hogwarts Castle
It took approximately five years to build this replica of Hogwarts, and it's truly exact down to the last detail, inside and out. Once your eyes adjust to the darkness of the castle's halls, you can start to make out the enchanted photographs that are speaking to you as you round every corner. In Dumbledore's office, the Headmaster welcomes guests and invites them to hear a lecture on the history of the school. But you don't want to do that, do you? A lecture? Luckily Ron, Hermione and Harry are there to entice you away from that boring stuff, as they lead you to the Forbidden Journey Ride.
6. Let a Wand Choose You at Ollivanders
We've never seen so many wands and wand boxes in our entire life. They are -- quite literally -- from floor to ceiling. If you're truly lucky, the Wandkeeper will pick you out of the crowd and allow the wands of the store to come to you. Visitors are also able to pick their own wands, wand collectibles or "practice" wands for younger wizards.
7. The Joke's on You at Zonko's Joke Shop
Looking to play a prank on a relative? Perhaps get some revenge on some friends who got a bit nasty with that fake dog poop? Zonko's is the place to visit; the store has everything imaginable for the jester in your family. Guests can purchase Sneakoscopes, Screaming Yo-Yos, Extendable Ears, Pygmy Puffs, Shrunken Heads and Fanged Flyers. You heard it here first: visitors beware. You never know what's going to jump out at you.
8. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at Honeyduke's Candy Store
Our teeth are still aching from our visit to this shop. As Ron Weasley states in the movie, "Honeyduke's Sweetshop is brilliant!" One step into Honeydukes and you'll understand what he means. The scent of sugar wafts as you open the door, and you're given the option to fill your bag with whatever candy you want -- from Bernie Bott's Every-Flavour Beans (pear, watermelon, or the unexpected sausage, fish or pepper flavors) to delectable chocolate frogs.
9. Get Everything You Need at Dervish and Banges
Every good wizard needs to support his/her house, whether it's Gryffindor, Slytherin or the other houses. Dervish and Banges is the place to get your own Triwizard apparel, Hogwarts student robes, Goblet of Fire and Triwizard Cup replicas, Quidditch equipment and even a Golden Snitch! You'll be well on your way to wizarding glory with all of this stuff. Combine with a wand and you're practically unstoppable.
10. Wear Your 'Potter' Gear to the Park -- Even If You're an Adult
Trust us, you'll look weirder if you're not wearing something Potter-esque. We spotted a newborn sucking on a wand, and saw a couple of grandmothers in full robes, from the tip of their hat to the points of their shoes. We lost count on how many kids had a lightning bolt drawn on their foreheads.
Your favorite 'Potter' stars made it into our Top 5 finalists for the Top 25 Under 25!
Can you believe it's been a year already since the Wizarding World was built? Enjoy the 'Harry Potter' Home Entertainment Celebration from November 11 - November 13, when Universal Studios and Warner Bros. will celebrate a decade of movie history by allowing fans to share their love for the 'Harry Potter' films. Stars from the movies will be present at the park, including Rupert Grint -- Ron Weasley himself!
All images courtesy of Universal Studios
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