New Harry Potter park: 5 first impressions

Jun 19 2014, 09:36 IST
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'The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley,' from the Harry Potter-themed area of Universal Orlando Resort in Orlando. (AP) 'The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley,' from the Harry Potter-themed area of Universal Orlando Resort in Orlando. (AP)
SummaryNew park zone, called The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley, will delight fans of hit book and movie series with a marquee ride.

sells telescopes and binoculars.

INTERACTIVE WANDS

For $35, guests can buy interactive wands at Ollivanders Wand Shop, located in both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. When wand-wielding guests see a medallion symbol in either area, they can wave the wand and cast spells. The wands make trolls dance, light lamps and chandeliers, and silence some shrunken heads, among other things. Maps of the medallion areas are available, but Universal says there are also some hidden spell areas for guests to discover.

WIZARD WARDROBES

In addition to robes, fans can buy capes and preppy button-down cardigans inspired by the four houses where Harry and his fellow students live at Hogwarts school. Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions also has on display a wedding dress and two costumes that aren't for sale: an intimidating black-beaded cape ensemble worn in a promo for the new attraction, and a costume worn by Kenneth Branagh as Gilderoy Lockhart in the ''Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets'' movie. The wedding dress is white with white feathers at the hem and softly twinkling lights within the skirt.

PHOTO OPS

As you enter Diagon Alley, look toward Gringotts Bank - which is the entrance to the centerpiece thrill ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. A dragon is perched atop the bank, and it breathes fire -an instant Facebook photo or Instagram shot. Once you enter the bank, while in queue for the ride, don't miss the three enormous glass chandeliers. Finally, find 12 Grimmauld Place where Kreacher the House Elf peers eerily from a window.

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