Posted on Monday, June 23rd, 2014 by Peter Sciretta
So what do the interactive spell locations do? They are all completely different. Not just the spells you need to learn and execute, but also the effects they produce. For instance, just outside Noggin and Bonce in Knocturn Alley you will find a bunch of shrunken heads hanging in one of the windows. If you execute the right spell, the shrunken heads will begin singing.
Another example is the water fountain outside of The Hopping Pot. If you are thirsty, you must use your wizard skills to turn the water fountain on. But watch out, if too many wizards recite the spell it might anger the the statue behind the water fountain. When the statue gets mad, it spits water at the wizard. Above is a video of one of my new friends Terri Schwartz, associate editor of Zap2it, trying the fountain for the first time.
You can visit the Bowman E. Wright Blacksmith shop where you can cast a spell to reassemble a knights armor from scraps on a table.
This location is one of a few that offers two different spell opportunities. Here is the other effect possible at the blacksmith shop:
Again I must warn you that the effects might not look great on video, they are amazing when you are creating the magic in person. Outside Wiseacres you can make the stars come to life on a projected star map.
Many of the spell locations offer multiple effects, we were told 10-12 different results at some of the spots. This is one of those locations which offers multiple different animations.
Unfortunately our camera died when trying to capture the spells in action, but thankfully our friends at InsideTheMagic have an extensive look at the interactive wands that you can watch below:
We’ve seen two additional secret unmapped locations in Diagon Alley, but there might even be more. And considering how Universal has retrofitted Hogsmeade, it seems like more could be added if needed. For those of you who want to find out the two hidden interactive wand spell locations, you can highlight the next paragraph to reveal the spoilers:
One of the hidden spell locations is in the storefront of Apocratery. If you do the correct spell pointed at the bucket of dragon dung in the window, you will encounter a fowl smell. Another is in the window outside Scribbulus, if you wave your wand in a triangle at the blank parchment under the invisible ink sign you’ll reveal one of ten different messages.
Unlike Walt Disney World’s Sorcerer’s of The Magic Kingdom game, the interactive wands don’t progress a storyline or lead to a climactic conclusion. Participants can interact with any of the spell locations in either of the Wizarding Worlds in any order they wish. I’m wondering how crowded these spell locations might get once the new expansion opens. Will their be lines at each of the spell locations? At least Sorcerer’s of The Magic Kingdom programed a line-up of locations which kept guests spread out.
One of the spell locations I encountered revealed secret ink on a piece of parchment. The secret note talked about a secret meeting that is happening. I wondered to other guests how great it would be if the spells could lead you to an interactive character experience like a meeting of the Order of the Phoenix. Again, I know this is something more in the vein of what Disney Imagineering is working on for the Disney parks, but it could work great in this immersive world.
My only real criticism of this great new feature is that the spell incantation sensors (which we found out are powered by modified Xbox Kinect cameras) are often too rigid in their readings. Most people I saw had to try spells multiple times before getting the magic to work. While I agree that the magic shouldn’t come easy, it becomes frustrating when you need to keep repeating the pattern more than a couple times at each of the locations. The sensors should be a bit more forgiving as the magic feels much more impressive when it comes without the repeated frustration. I’m sure Universal may update the software as they begin to receive guest feedback.
The new interactive wands will be available in Ollivander’s wand shop for $44.95 ($10 more than the normal wands, which will still be sold for $34.95). All 13 of Ollivander’s 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).
Check out my other articles on Universal Orlando’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley expansion: