The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens at Universal Studios on April 7. Technical rehearsals are taking place right now, as reported by Behind the Thrills. We’ve learned a little bit about what visitors can look forward to in this Harry Potter fantasy world, and it sounds amazing.
To start with, we must talk about the food. Harry Potter books and movies include lots of food. In fact, food is an important element in Harry Potter’s world. From Mrs. Weasley’s corned beef sandwiches to steak and kidney pie at Hogwarts’ grand feasts and Maggoty Haggis at deathday parties, the culinary world of Harry Potter is part of the stories we’ve come to love, from beginning to end. The people who created The Wizarding World of Harry Potter understand this and have made sure that the food offerings at the park reflect its importance and add to the park experience. Authentic English dishes are served in an English countryside setting. Bangers and Mash (English sausages with minted peas and mashed potatoes), Lamb and Guinness Stew, and Shepherd’s Pie (ground beef and vegetables topped with potatoes) are just some of the menu items that bring authenticity to the experience. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a Harry Potter world without butterbeer and sticky toffee pudding.
Then there’s the Broomstick Inn, which has a very realistic old English inn atmosphere as well as an air of magic that you must have when creating Harry Potter’s world. You can tour the inn via the video below.
The Hogshead Pub is attached to the inn and offers drinks like Butterbeer, Fire Whisky, and Dragon’s Scale. CNN provides a “food tour” of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in the video below. Yum!
The supervising art director for the Harry Potter films and for the theme parks, Alan Gilmore, gave Gizmodoa tour of the park and explained the effort that went into making sure that it felt like the movie, complete with sights, sounds, and tastes that Harry Potter fans would expect.
“You can watch the movies, then walk in here and it’s the same. Everything you see here was originally designed for the movies, and we worked with Universal to make an absolutely perfect rendition of the film sets into reality.”
This Wizarding World of Harry Potter was mostly modeled after the park in Orlando, but Gizmodo noted some differences. Some of those are a street nicknamed the Town Wall and a replica of Hogwarts Express at the entrance. Inside the Hogwart’s Express are the luggage racks that were used in the Harry Potter movies. Visitors can enter the attached train cabin and take photos.
The shops in the new amusement park create an even more realistic visit to Harry Potter’s world. The clerks at Ollivander’s will fit you for a wand, or you can mail a letter or postcard at the Owl Post. Or visit Honeydukes for some candy. Or visit Gladrags Wizardware and Wiseacres Wizarding Equipment for all of your wizarding needs. Every nook and cranny of every store are as authentic to the movies. The creators gave a great deal of attention to the details. Everything in the stores is unique and not available anywhere else. Gilmore describes the items in the stores.
“Everything here is hand-done. Everything. You can’t buy any of this out of a catalog. It really is art. Every stone, every piece of wood, everything you see was handmade by very creative people.”
As with any amusement park, one of the most important things in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the rides. There’s a rollercoaster named Flight of the Hippogriff and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, an interactive ride of thrills that takes place within Hogwarts Castle itself.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens on April 7 of this year.
[Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images]