The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at the Universal Orlando Resort is so massive it's actually spread across two theme parks. Both Hogsmeade Village and Diagon Alley offer impressive rides, spellbinding shops, and dining locations that are straight out of the stories. With so much to see and do, you could easily spend a whole day exploring these incredible, immersive lands. Here are just some of the hidden places to explore in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Some guests of Universal Studios Florida miss this highly detailed alleyway off of Diagon Alley. With an entrance near The Leaky Cauldron and another across from the restrooms at the back-left section of the land, Knockturn Alley is a street where it is always nighttime. Here you'll find the Borgin and Burkes store, where wizards that perform dark magic tend to shop. In addition to some interesting props and replicas from the films inside the shop, Knockturn Alley also offers unique window displays around every turn, including a group of singing shrunken heads, a tattoo parlor with animated drawings and more. Just try not to get lost in the darkness!
The Magical Menagerie store located to the left of Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts is your one-stop shop for all your magical creatures needs. From owls to nifflers, nowhere else in the Wizarding World carries as many critters and creatures. The windows of this store feature a snake speaking in parseltongue, huge frogs and even a gorgeous red phoenix. Explore the interior of the store for more animal antics, but be sure to look up, or else you'll miss the rats performing circus acts and the fluffy cat-like kneazle.
Magic Around London
You can find the London waterfront area just outside of Diagon Alley. It is here that you can meet the Knight Bus train conductor and get your photo taken in front of the famous Eros Fountain. Among the nondescript London homes, try and find Number 12 Grimmauld Place. If you look into the 2nd floor window, you might catch a glimpse of the house-elf, Kreacher, peeking out from behind the curtains. You can also spot a classic red phone booth in the area. If you dial the word MAGIC, (62442,) you'll be able to hear a special message from the Ministry of Magic!
Even if not riding Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Universal's Islands of Adventure, anyone can explore the ride's exit gift shop. Filch's Emporium of Confiscated Goods not only offers Harry Potter souvenirs and apparel, but it's loaded with many of the items that have been confiscated by Mr. Filch. Some items can be seen in cases atop each of the merchandise shelves but look up into the rafters above the shop for the most interesting tidbits. Harry Potter's glasses, lots of jokes and pranks confiscated from the Weasley twins and even many of the Horcruxes can be spotted!
The Owl Post
Not only can you really mail a postcard or send a letter from the Owl Post that's postmarked from Hogsmeade Village, but there are plenty of fun things to explore around this area as well. You can spot owls roosting above the benches just outside. A screaming "howler" letter can often be spotted in one of the window displays. And you can even find the The Monster Book of Monsters inside the connecting store, Dervish & Banges. But be careful, it bites!
No matter which shop you pop into or restaurant you grab a bite from, there are endless Harry Potter references and hidden Easter eggs to be found. Plus, try every door you find throughout the streets of both lands, (as long as they don't say "Team Members Only" on them, that is). Here's a tip: If the doorknob is rounded, it's likely a fake door, but if not, give it a try... Who knows what you might find next in Universal Orlando!