Hidden interactive wand moments
One of the coolest new features in the Diagon Alley expansion is the interactive wands. Muggle visitors can stand on various marked locations and recite the indicated incantation to cast spells of their own. But there also are hidden interactive moments that can be uncovered by waving wands in certain unspecified locations. One that we discovered was in the right window of the Scribbulus store. A hint: Look for magic sensor cameras that aren’t labeled to find the hidden moments.
While we’re still holding out hope that one day Malfoy Manor will become a haunted Universal hotel where guests can stay, the Malfoys’ estate already has some presence at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The mansion appears in both directions of the Hogwarts Express experience, though different foreboding things happen each time you pass the location. Who knew the Malfoys lived so close to the train tracks?
The other wand shop
Like in Hogsmeade, the Ollivanders shop is sure to be a huge draw in Diagon Alley as fans line up to have their wand choose them (and then pay $44.95 to keep it). Just make sure you don’t miss the other wand shop in Diagon Alley. Gregorovitch makes himself known at Wands by Gregorovitch — though of course, he doesn’t offer the same friendly service as Ollivanders.
Turns out the Crumple-Horned Snorkack is real, and living in the second level of the Magical Menagerie building. Evanna Lynch reveals to Zap2it that she fell to her knees when she saw the creature in the “flesh” for the first time — especially since J.K. Rowling had confirmed to her that Luna Lovegood’s favorite fantastical beast isn’t actually real.
The Leaky Cauldron
Once you’ve gotten over how huge and gorgeous the Leaky Cauldron is inside, make sure you check out the sign hanging outside the building. The actual leaky cauldron inside the restaurant doesn’t seem to be in use, but the sign outside does actually leak water.
Celestina Warbeck performs
One of the new live shows in the Diagon Alley is a rousing, old-school performance by Celestina Warbeck. If you’re confused as to why this magic-tinged music is being performed in Carckitt Market, it’s time to brush up on your Molly Weasley lore. Celestina Warbeck is the Weasley matriarch’s favorite musician, for better or (in Fleur Delacour’s situation) worse.
While Knockturn Alley itself isn’t hidden, the area is so dark that there’s plenty to miss there. Make sure you find the wanted posters for Bellatrix Lestrange and Fenrir Greyback, see the skeletons of a mer-person and a troll, and check out the amazing wizards tattoo shop that we wish was functional. Meanwhile in Borgin and Burkes, several of Voldemort’s horcruxes are for sale.
On your mad rush to enter Diagon Alley, you might miss some of the other great magical details in the London area of the expansion. Make sure to swing by 12 Grimmauld Place before you head into the land. Though Sirius Black seems to be out of town, Kreacher might peek out to say hello while you’re there.
Need to make a phone call? Then head over to the phone booth in the London King’s Cross section of the park, which is a working London-style phone booth. Don’t worry, you won’t end up in a toilet in the Ministry of Magic after using it — maybe that’s being saved for another inevitable expansion.
While you can’t buy chocolate frogs on the Hogwarts Express (a travesty, we agree), the beloved trolley cart does make an appearance. Just be prepared to be filled with envy as you overhear some of the ride’s characters buying treats off the Trolley witch but are unable to do so yourself.
You won’t find any house elves dancing in Diagon Alley like you can in the rafters of The Three Broomsticks, but they still are around. There is a House-Elf Placement Agency as a non-operational store in the new land, and a statue up on a building shows a house elf holding a lantern. As an added bonus, the animatronic goblin at the Gringotts Money Exchange isn’t too pleased if you ask him if he’s a house elf.
The explanation of Harry and Hermione’s presence
It’s not a trip to the Wizarding World without a dash of Harry, Ron and Hermione. The main three “Harry Potter” characters show up in the Escape From Gringotts ride and in both directions on the Hogwarts Express. But if you noticed that the voices of Harry and Hermione sound a little off, you won’t be mistaken. Neither Daniel Radcliffe nor Emma Watson were able to reprise their roles as their characters.
Of course, there are plenty of other secrets to find as well. We spotted a certain perfume billboard that made an appearance in “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” swooned over a new Gilderoy Lockhart storefront display, saw Hedwig hanging out waiting for a Hogwarts Express ride and even learned other guests heard whispers of the Order of the Phoenix. You can experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley for yourself when it opens to the public on July 8.