Description And Comments

Ollivanders, located in Diagon Alley in the books and films, somehow sprouted a branch location in Hogsmeade at IOA. Potter purists pointed out this misplacement, but the wand shop stayed put with J.K. Rowling's blessing and became one of the more popular features of The Wizarding World. It also became a horrendous bottleneck, with long lines where guests roasted in an unshaded queue. In the Diagon Alley version, Ollivanders assumes its rightful place, and with much larger digs. At IOA, only 24 guests at a time can experience the little drama where wands choose a wizard (rather than the other way around). At the Studios, the shop has three separate choosing chambers, turning it from a popular curiosity into an actual attraction. As for the IOA location, it continues to operate.

The actual show inside is identical to the original outpost in script and special effects. Every few minutes, following a script from the Potter books, a wand selection show takes place where a random customer (often a child dressed in Potter regalia) is selected to take part in a "wand choosing" ceremony. Usually just one person in each group gets to be chosen by a wand, though occasionally siblings are selected together. This is one of the most truly imaginative elements of The Wizarding World: A Wandkeeper sizes you up and presents a wand, inviting you to try it out; your attempted spells produce unintended, unwanted, and highly amusing consequences. Ultimately, a wand chooses you, with all the attendant special effects.

The Celtic zodiac-inspired wands ($47) presented in the ceremony are now the new, more detailed interactive models that interact with shop windows throughout the Wizarding World.

After the presentation, guests exit into a greatly enlarged gift shop, where interactive wands are available for purchase, along with non-interactive replica wands ($37) for a vast variety of characters, and toy "learner" wands ($25) for li'l wizards.

Interactive Wands and Spell Casting Locations

With the opening of Diagon Alley, Universal also introduced interactive wands ($46.95) to the parks, supplementing the nonfunctional “famous wizard” replica wands ($36.95) that continue to be sold at both Ollivanders outposts and in the smaller selection at Wands by Gregorovitch in Diagon Alley. Interactive wand are available in 13 “Ollivanders Original” styles inspired by the Celtic calendar; interactive wands modeled after those wielded by Harry, Hermione, and Dumbledore are also available.

Medallions embedded in the ground designate a couple dozen locations split between the two Wizarding Worlds, where hidden cameras in storefront windows can detect the waving of these special wands and respond to the correct motions with special effects both projected and practical. You might use the swish-and-flick of “Wingardium Leviosa” to levitate one object or the figure-four “Locomotor” spell to animate another.

Wizards wander around the area to assist novices and demonstrate spells (though they may not loan their wands), but queues to trigger certain effects can grow to a dozen deep at peak times. A map provided with each wand purchase details the location and movement for most effects, but there are some secret ones to uncover on your own. (Hint: one is in Scribbulus' window, and two more in the Slug & Jiggers storefront.) Look at your map under the UV lights in Knockturn Alley for another surprise.

Note that the price of the interactive wands includes unlimited activations of the hidden effects; you don't have to pay to "recharge" your wand on subsequent visits, or even replace a battery. If you encounter a spell-casting location with a sign saying it “currently has an anti-jinx in place,” just move along to the next one; that's Potter-speak for “it's broken.”

Touring Tips

Check out the self-sweeping broom (shade of Fantasia?) while waiting for the show. If your young ’un is selected to test-drive a wand, be forewarned that you’ll have to buy it if you want to take it home.

Attraction Photos

Special Comments

Audience stands.

Special Needs

Other Attractions in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley

Touring Plans with Ollivanders

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