Sunday, July 12, 2020 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

11 Harry Potter Secrets at Universal Studios Orlando

Since its debut in 2014, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Florida has played host to millions of worldwide visitors. Guests marvel at the intricacy of all their favorite Harry Potter books and movies as they come to life before their very eyes. To be totally immersed in this magical land of enchantment is something no Potter fan should even consider passing by.

Even if you’ve had the pleasure of witnessing this spectacle first hand, once you find out what you may have unintentionally missed, you might start making plans to go back.  There are hidden treasures tucked secretly away where only the sharpest of detectives will find them. But, the beans are about to get spilled. Here’s where you can find these hidden gems.
1    The Quint Trio

The movie Jaws is well represented but unless you know about this you’d probably never guess. In the London waterfront area, there is a very nondescript record store that’s easy to walk right past without a second thought. But. In the front window of the shop, there is a record album on display by the Quint Trio. The name of the album is “Here’s to Swimmin’ With Bow Legged Women.”

To the uninformed this album means nothing, but now you know it’s a reference to a toast made by the shark hunter Quint in this Steven Spielberg classic film.
Harry Potter Universal Studios Orlando Secrets
2    The Telephone Booth

To the naked eye, the red London phone booth is nothing more than simply that. It’s a decorative prop. While it’s true the phone booth does lend a certain ambiance to the recreated streets, there’s more to it than what appears. You cannot call China or even Iowa on the phone, but there is a call you can make. By dialing the word “MAGIC,” which equates to the numbers 962422, you will receive a message from the Ministry of Magic.

Also, if you look closely enough at the phone booth, and if you are enough of a die-hard Harry Potter fan, you’ll find it to be an exact replica of the one used in the movies, down to every single tiny detail.
Harry Potter Universal Studios Orlando Secrets
3    The Mythical Being

The beloved of Luna Lovegood, the mythical Crumple-Horned Snorkack, is on full display but you have to know where to look. It won’t jump out at you. Try the second level of the Menegarie store. Now you know. Shhh…
4    Speaking in Tongues

Are you afraid of snakes? Most people are. Well, there is one snake you needn’t be frightened of and it’s in the window of the Magic Menagerie Store. This snake is very special as it will speak to you in either English or in Parseltongue depending on which language you are better at.
Harry Potter Universal Studios Secrets
5    An Invisible Bird

How in the world can anyone see a bird if it’s invisible? The answer is simple. They can’t. But if you know it’s there and you put your ear to the Vanishing Cabinet in Borgin and Burkes, you’ll be treated to the birds’ sweet melodies. Tip: You have to listen closely.
Harry Potter Universal Studios Secrets
6    Actual Props

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter would not be complete without actual props from the movies. You wouldn’t know these props are the real McCoy without being informed in advance.

Inside of the Quidditch Supplies Store, where you can purchase actual Quidditch supplies, check out the trophies on the top shelf. They may look familiar. Two-hundred 40-foot containers jammed full of actual movie props have been scattered about in places you might not think about looking so make certain your eyes scan everything. Look up. Look down. Look all around.
Harry Potter Universal Studios Secrets Quidditch
7    The Elf

At 12 Grimmauld Place, home to the Black family is also home to Kreacher the Elf. He’s sort of elusive so anyone desiring to catch a glimpse of him must have patience. Every now and then he’ll move back the curtain to peek out of the windows on the second level, but you have to wait for it.
8    Artwork

If you happen to dine in the dimly-lit Leaky Cauldron you’ll be ordering food inspired by the movies. But there is more than food to enjoy. As with every place, don’t forget to look up. Over 80 pieces of artwork hanging on the walls are exact replicas of the art used in the films. The luggage you’ll see scattered about the tavern are not replicas. They came straight from the set of the movies.
9    Instant Darkness

In Weasly’s Magic Wheezes look up at the second floor. You’ll see Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder. This powder was used by Harry Potter when he snuck into Draco Malfoy’s train compartment in the film Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Harry Potter Universal Studios Secrets
10    Special Ingredients

Do not stroll past the windows at Ollivander’s without stopping for a closer examination. The displays are packed full of little things that generally go unnoticed. Phoenix feathers, unicorn hairs, and dragon heartstrings are all there, but you have to pay close attention. All of these ingredients are required for making magic wands. Hint; Look at the wands.

11    Buy a Wand

When you buy a wand you’ll also be handed an interactive map with 34 marked locations leading to medallions. When you find one you must wave the wand in accordance with the instructions, along with repeating the name of the spell. This is the only way to make the magic happen.

What you may not know is that there are several unmarked locations you won’t find on the map. The only way to find these spots, short of spending all day hunting, is to ask one of the expert spell-casters. With a little luck, they may reveal the locations. Then again. They may not. But don’t worry if they don’t.

Here’s a huge secret. If you take the map into Knockturn Alley and hold it under the blacklight the invisible ink marking the secret locations will appear.
Harry Potter Universal Studios Secrets Wands

Secrets abound around every corner of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Now that you’re aware of a few of them you can visit with the confidence of knowing some things many of the other guests don’t. But let’s keep all of this just between us. Shall we?

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