Posted on Tuesday, July 1st, 2014 by Peter Sciretta
Today I bring to you part 3 of our 4-part in-depth tour of Universal Orlando’s new Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley expansion. I’m sorry its been split over 4 parts, but its taken some time to put all this info and photos together. Part one took a look at the London Waterfront, Diagon Alley Entrance and Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. Part two went into The Leaky Cauldron, Knockturn Alley and Borgin and Burkes. Today we walk further down Diagon Alley and explore Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour, Ollivanders Wand Shop, Magical Menagerie and Gringotts Bank.
Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour
This is the place to get dessert in Diagon Alley. Its a very clasic look and feel, with checkered floors. They serve hard scoop and soft-serve ice-creams with unique flavors like Strawberry Peanut butter, Earl Grey & Lavender, sticky toffee pudding, banana chocolate, pistachio vanilla and butterbeer. They offer a range of pastries like Banoffee tart and crumble cakes, as well as some sweet drinks (like classic frozen butterbeer).
— Astoria Greengrass (@RP_AstoriaGreen) February 2, 2013
Harry Potter Mythology: The shop and proprietor Florean Fortescue play a small role in Harry’s adventures. On Harry Potter’s first visit to Diagon Alley, Hagrid presented him with a large chocolate and raspberry flavored ice cream with chopped nuts, which likely came from Fortescue’s shop. Above is a photo from the London Warner Bros tour showing the exterior set of Florean Fortescue’s as it appeared in the background of Diagon Alley in the movies.
Unique Buys: How do you top Butterbeer? How about Butterbeer flavored ice cream? Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour is the only place in the Wizarding World to buy such a treat. Butterbeer ice cream is one of the shop’s soft serve ice cream options, mixing the signature butterscotch butterbeer taste in a swirl of vanilla ice cream. This seemed to be the uncontested favorite new food item in all of Diagon Alley by preview visitors. I had a small cup and can attest its pretty great. (That said, I still prefer the original frozen beverage version of Butterbeer.) And if you’re not in a Butterbeer mood, let me also recommend the shop’s Chocolate Chili scooped hard ice cream, which mixes chocolate and spice for a nice kick.
Ollivanders Wand Shop
Ollivanders Wand Shop isn’t new to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. When Hogsmeade was originally created for Universal’s Islands of Adventure, they included Ollivanders Wand Shop despite the fact that the shop was located in Diagon Alley in the movies and books. But back then they didn’t know they would be expanding into Diagon Alley so they mashed up some of the best locations into the original Wizarding World.
The Diagon Alley version of Ollivanders Wand Shop is much larger in scale and features a big indoor queue — rumor has it JK Rowling didn’t want to see any lines on the streets of Diagon Alley. The shop features the same magical Ollivander experience where aspiring wizards are bestowed the wand that finds them. The shop is two stories, although the first story is the only one park guests are allowed to roam. Wands stick out from every bookshelf and corner.
The shop itself sells both the original wands (for $34.95) and the new interactive wands for $44.95 ($10 more than the normal wands). All 13 of Ollivanders 13 original wands which remain unique to the shop and are also available as interactive wands. Of the 26 famous witches and wizard character wands sold, only Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Dumbledore’s wands are available currently as interactive wands (although I was told that could change depending on demand).
Harry Potter Mythology: Harry Potter was taken by Hagrid to Ollivanders in Diagon Alley to get Harry a wand for his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry was chosen by a wand of Holly and Phoenix Feather, the brother wand to the one that had killed his parents, and had almost killed him as a young child.
On Closer Look: Our friends at InsideTheMagic have recorded the entire Ollivanders Wand Shop show in Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando. Watch it above.
Unique Buys: The Ollivanders wand experience is extremely popular among children who visit the store in Hogsmeade, but the interactive wands are the cool new thing. You can read my full write-up of the interactive wizard wands here. But the gist of it is, when guests purchase the new interactive wands, it will allow muggles to perform magic around Diagon Alley and also in Hogsmeade.
Prospective wizards with interactive wands can find the spell locations on a map, and in person via bronze medallion markers in the pavement. Recite the marked spell, and with a flick of the wrist and a wave of their wand in the indicated pattern, a fun magical moment is created. There are 9 spell locations in the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter land of Hogsmeade, and 25 spell locations between the new Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley.