Welcome to part 2 of your personal tour through The Wizarding of World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Studios! A few days ago, I introduced you to the trendiest shopping plaza in the wizarding world: Diagon Alley. Now it's time to hop onto the Hogwarts Express and head over to Hogsmeade Village and the Hogwarts castle itself! Who knows? We might even bump into some special students on our tour of the castle!
All Aboard the Hogwarts Express!
We will need to purchase our tickets at King's Cross station first!
As you're waiting in line to board the train, keep an eye out for this familiar advert!
Remember it now?
This advertisement for Divine Magic perfume can be found right behind Dumbledore when he makes an appearance at the train station in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade are filled with fun easter eggs like this one that only hardcore fans are likely to notice!
Looks like Hedwig is ready to go back to school too!
During your ride over to Hogsmeade on the Hogwarts Express, you'll be able to enjoy a lovely view of the English country from the comfort of your train compartment. Make sure to have your galleons and sickles ready because the trolley cart is filled with delicious magical goodies like Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans! Be wary, however. The seemingly peaceful countryside is the perfect place for death eaters and dementors to hide, and you might even catch a glimpse of You-Know-Who on your way into the station...
On the brighter side, our conductor gave us a lovely welcome once we arrived in Hogsmeade Village!
Welcome to Hogsmeade Village!
We have finally arrived at Hogsmeade village! This little town can be found right outside of the outskirts of the Hogwarts grounds and often acts as a getaway for students on their days off. Here visitors can grab a bite to eat at the Three Broomsticks and order a Butterbeer to accompany their hardy English meal. Visitors can also shop for any missing supplies at Dervish and Banges or satifsy their sweet tooth with a visit to Honeydukes Candy Shop. Honeydukes offers a wide variety of magical sweets like Fizzing Whizzbees, treacle fudge, and acid pops. I myself decided to enjoy a delicious cauldron cake after my meal at the Three Broomsticks.
Welcome to Hogwarts!
Now that we've explored the village a bit, it's time to catch a glimpse of Hogwarts Castle itself. The seven-story edifice was built by famous witches and wizards Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw and Salazar Slytherin, circa 993 and acts as a home to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Located in the Scottish Highlands, the school is fairly well hidden from muggle eyes. However, if a wayward muggle happens upon the castle, protective charms create the illusion of dilapidated old ruins with a sign warning "DANGER, DO NOT ENTER, UNSAFE."
While awing at the grand castle, we were lucky enough to bump into some Hogwarts students and even the Headmaster himself: Dumbledore! Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch), Fred Weasley (James Phelps), George Weasley (Oliver Phelps), and Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) decided to stick around and answer some of our questions!
1. Have you ever been starstruck? If so, by who?
It's ok, Evanna! We would have been starstruck by Harry as well! No shame, no shame...
Cast Members from the Harry Potter Films
2. What were the flying and Quidditch scenes like?
Come on, now Oliv...I mean George! It's not very nice to drop the set props! The design team worked very hard on creating that beater stick for you!
Oliver Phelps (George Weasley)
3. What was your most memorable moment on set?
We will always remember the first time we met you two, Fred! But give your mother a break! You are identical after all...
James Phelps (Fred Weasley)
4. If you had to choose one spell, what would it be and why?
As good as Luna's (Evanna's) answer was, I am going to have to side with Oliver on this one. A spell like Wingardium Leviosa or Accio can come in handy if you're being too much of a lazy bum to get out of bed and be productive!
Michael Gambon (Albus Dumbledore)
5. Do you think Luna and Neville would have lasted?
Way to set the record straight, Luna! You're far too free spirited to be tied down. Now go out and find that Crumple-Horned Snorkack!
Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood)
Thank you to Dumbledore, Fred Weasley, George Weasley, and Luna Lovegood for answer some questions for your fans! We hope to see you next year at the Celebration of Harry Potter again!
Time for some wand lessons!
Now that we've met some real life wizards and witches, it's time for our very own lessons in wand wielding. Paul Harris, who choreographed the duels in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and his assistant Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch) gave us a quick demonstration on how to use wands in direct combat against an enemy witch or wizard.
Much of Paul's choreography work is inspired by various dance styles and traditional combat forms such as kung fu and capoeira. Check out some of his work in the duel between Voldemort and Dumbledore!
Now, it's our turn! Everyone grab your wands and let's learn some spells!
Although these moves are pretty simplistic, they're the first steps to becoming a wand wielding master! So keep on practicing, and you may even have a chance of becoming an Auror!
Let's check out some awesome props from the films!
Harry Potter's Tattered Robes from the Chamber of Secrets
These robes were worn by Harry during his battle with the fiercesome basilisk! As you can tell by the state of the robes, the fight definitely took place down in the sewers...
Lucius Malfoy's Death Eater Robes
Never thought I'd say this, but the death eaters's robes are even more ominous in person! The dark mark on the top is an obvious indicator that they follow the Dark Lord, but my main question is where do the skulls they wear come from...?
Bellatrix Lestrange's Robes
When you finally see Bellatrix's robes in real life, you realize how tiny the witch really was. She was likely no more than 5 feet tall. However, don't let her small stature fool you. This fierce witch always lives up to her title of "female warrior."
I really wish we could have taken this magically modified car out for a spin! Looks like someone was able to pull it out of the Forbidden Forest after it decided to go awol.
Tom Riddle's Diary and the Basilisk Fang
It's incredible to think that this little diary is what caused so much misery for Ginny and Harry in the Chamber of Secrets! Thankfully, Harry's quick thinking with the basilisk fang put an end to this horcrux.
This green scaled, large snake acted as Voldemort's right hand partner and as one of many horcuxes the Dark Lord used to split his soul. Nagini is responsible for the death of Severus Snape as well as the brutal attack on Arthur Weasley but met her end at the hand of Neville Longbottom and Godric Gryffindor's sword.
Did you get in an accident? Have a couple of broken bones? No worries! Just grab a bottle of Skele-Gro from Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade, and you'll have those bones growing back in no time! However miraculous this potion may be, however, the process of growing back bone is an incredibly slow and painful one. So be wary upon taking it!
By the way, if you're thinking about having Gilderoy Lockhart fix the fracture in order to avoid the pain, I highly advise against it...
This little guy is one of the many pieces used in a traditional game of wizard's chess. It may look like a normal game of chess at first glance, but the game is, in fact, fairly violent. Once a piece is taken, the opposing piece violently smashes the losing piece apart. All in the name of fun, right?
The Golden Snitch
This little golden winged ball is every Quidditch seeker's most coveted prize and worst nightmare. Originally the game of quidditch used small birds called golden snidgets, and the player that caught the bird first ended the game and earned his team 150 points. It was not until the fragile birds were deemed endangered that master metal charmer Bowman Wright created the golden snitch as a replacement.
And there you have it, folks! That concludes our tour of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade! Even though this year was only the second year of Celebration of Harry Potter, it has already become a huge success. I truly hope that the Universal Studios team will continue to work to create these kinds of events for Potter fans both old and new, and I look forward to watching Celebration of Harry Potter continue to grow in the future!