Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley expansion is set to open tomorrow, July 8. When you visit, here are the most important easter eggs you need to look out for.
The land that Diagon Alley sits on was last occupied by a Jaws attraction. To pay tribute to the classic and beloved ride (which was based on the 1975 Steven Spielberg film), Diagon Alley includes several subtle nods.
For example, the Shrunken Heads in Knockturn Alley pay tribute by singing “Show Me the Way to Go Home,” a tune which appeared in the movie:
As if that weren’t enough, a vinyl sitting in a record shop on the London waterfront makes reference to the film. The “title” of the record is a line said by one of the men in the movie:
At a record store in London, you can find an Easter egg referencing Jaws, the attraction Diagon Alley replaced. pic.twitter.com/tyJpzlUroY
— On the Go in MCO (@onthegoinmco) July 4, 2014
Literal Leaky Cauldron
The attention to detail in Diagon Alley is staggering, and one of the most pleasant surprises we experienced was when we noticed that The Leaky Cauldron sign outside the restaurant is actually leaking. Water drips slowly out of the cauldron. We tried to capture a picture but it was difficult given how small the effect is. In the below photo you can see a drop of water falling out of the crack:
The dragon’s warning
If you’re looking to capture a photo of the dragon breathing fire, don’t worry about holding your camera up waiting for it to happen. First you’ll be able to hear the pilot light turn on within its mouth, then it’ll give a warning roar before the fire bursts out. It should be plenty of time to load up your camera and get the perfect shot.
Throughout Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade you’ll find marked areas where you can fire spells to make things come to life:
The spell at this merperson will activate one of the best surprises you’ll find (We won’t spoil it here):
Secret wand moments
Right now there are two unmarked interactive wand areas where you can make things happen with a spell. You can activate them by doing any sort of motion with the wand – there is no special incantation like there is at each marked spot. One is next to a store called Scribbulus, which is towards the back right of Diagon Alley.
Several familiar faces can be seen around Diagon Alley:
– You’ll see a photo of the entire Weasley family in Bill’s office during the Gringotts queue.
– Also in the queue you’ll see the office doors of many goblins, including Griphook.
– Outside, you’ll see Gilderoy Lockhart in a storefront.
– Ron appears at one point during the Hogwarts Express train ride (to London). Harry and Hermione do not because the actors were “unavailable” for filming.
– Bellatrix and Fenrir appear in “Wanted” posters in Diagon Alley’s darkest area.
– At the London Hogwarts Express platform you’ll find Hedwig…
In the Hogwarts Express queue you’ll find this sign which appeared in the Half-Blood Prince film.
Amongst common beers, an exclusive one
Those who enjoy trying new beers should keep an eye out for Diagon Alley-exclusive brews on tap. For example, at the Butterbeer shop “The Fountain of Fair Fortune” you’ll see the special Dragon Brew amongst commercial beers.
Bonus easter egg: ‘Doctor Who’ makes a cameo… kind of
Last week Amusement Buzz had supposedly spotted the T.A.R.D.I.S. from Doctor Who on the Hogwarts Express train ride from Hogsmeade to London. The moment comes just as your train crosses into the heart of London.
To see it for yourself, check out the below photo. Alternatively, jump to the 3 minute, 5 second mark in this video courtesy Inside the Magic.
Is it really the T.A.R.D.I.S.? The answer is most likely “no.” The blue object is probably one of the typical blue signs seen on European roadways.
If it was a T.A.R.D.I.S, it would not have been the first time Universal added one to their park. They put a T.A.R.D.I.S.-like phone booth in a London-themed area during Halloween Horror Nights last year:
— Ricky Brigante, Host (@InsideTheMagic) July 2, 2014
If you’re looking to catch this yourself when you visit Universal Orlando, keep in mind that you must be riding the train from Hogsmeade to London, not the other way around! The ride from London to Hogsmeade has a different show out the window.