The wizarding world of Harry Potter in Orlando goes above and beyond when it comes to detail, lacking only in real magic itself. But the groundbreaking thrills and interactive ecosystems do their very best to emulate the real thing, stopping short only in the fact that you eventually have to leave.
The world is so vast that you may end up missing out on something small, so we’ve done our best to break them down for you. Check out the top ten hidden details to check out the next time you're at Universal's World of Harry Potter.
10 10. The Crumple-Horned Snorkack
If we’re to take Luna Lovegood’s word for it, then the Crumple-Horned Snorkack is an elusive, mythical beast holed up in Sweden - but that’s the beauty of Orlando’s Universal Studios - it leaves nothing to the imagination.
Go up onto the second level of the Magical Menagerie store and you’ll come across the deported beast itself peering uncertainly out at the crowds of Wizarding world fanatics. It might not look particularly menacing, but Muggles, don’t be fooled: its Erumpent horn was powerful enough to destroy the Lovegood’s house.
9 9. Meet the Parseltongue Snake
One for the linguists: in the very same store where the Crumpled-Horned Snorkack is hiding out, you can also meet a snake and test out your language skills. He’s not in captivity, so you won’t connect with him on a personal level, but that’s probably for the best.
If you do fail at deciphering Parseltongue (and most of us do), then no matter: the snake also speaks English.
8 8. Kreacher’s lonely hideout
He looks like the nosy, curtain-twitching neighbor you went on holiday to get away from, but rest assured it’s just Kreacher, Harry’s very reluctant house-elf. Go past the Black’s former residence and look up to the first floor.
Stand watch for a few minutes and you’re bound to spot him peering out - looking far more surly than the Crumple-Horned Snorkack ever could.
7 7. The wonder of a seemingly normal Muggle Street
You may think you’re in Orlando, but there’s one street that looks like it was airlifted from London itself. In fact if it wasn’t for the all-too alien sun shining down on your head, you might think you’d just teleported.
Find the iconic red phone booth, put away your iPhone and dial "MAGIC" (62442). What’s the code for? It’s a trick that will put you in direct contact with the Ministry of Magic itself.
6 6. The wands that really work
Seriously. Buy any interactive wand at the park (obviously, go to Ollivanders) and you’ll be given a map that tells you where to go to cast actual spells. It’s probably even better than the Marauder’s Map - but just as tricky to read: it only works under a black light.
Alternatively, head to Gregorovitch’s shop in Diagon Alley and check out the competition. A tip: Knockturn Alley is the best place to read your map, as it's dark, quiet - and devoid of crowds.
5 5. Moaning Mrtyle lives up to her reputation
The Harry Potter franchise may have come to an end, but that doesn’t mean Moaning Mrytle’s done haunting the mortal world. Stand outside the public toilets in Hogsmeade, and you’ll be rewarded with the sound of her eternal lament.
And she doesn’t just stick to the girl’s bathrooms either. If you’re faint-hearted, it might creep you out - especially if you think the bathrooms are empty, but don’t be mean - don’t go throwing objects at her through the stall to see what happens, it makes her mad.
4 4. Offend a goblin by being Goblinist
You're obviously going to need the proper wizarding currency if you're going to be eating any of the dubious snacks on offer.
When at Gringotts Bank, find the Gringotts Money Exchange counter and ask the goblin serving there if he’s a house elf. He’ll appreciate the question about as much as he appreciates your muggle cash, but his reply’s worth the scorn.
3 3. Madame Maulkin’s Mirror
At a place that obstinately refuses to be normal, did you think that the shopping experience would be too?
Stop by to try on a pair of robes at Madame Maulkin’s famous store and ask what the mirror thinks - only don’t be offended - the mirror is about as complimentary as muggle neon changing room lights are.
2 2. Catch a glimpse of the House Elves at the Three Broomsticks
Stop for a butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks and look closely. At some point behind the bar, you’ll see the shadowy figures of busy house elves brewing your drink behind the scenes. Only don’t try to talk to them - they’re far too busy.
1 1. Hear Neville getting told off by the professor he hated most
The Forbidden Journey ride is well worth the queuing: the ride is filled with references to both the books and the movies, and you won’t be disappointed by the sheer amount of characters who make an appearance here.
When you stop by the Potions classroom door, you’ll hear a familiar sound: Neville getting an earful of abuse for not knowing how to cast a spell properly. With more rides currently in development, we're sure there are plenty more hidden details to be discovered.