This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Wizarding World Merchandise Straight Out of the Harry Potter Movies! We all have our favorite parts of Universal’s Wizarding World. Some love the world class attractions like Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Others love the incredible shows like Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees. Of course, pretty much everyone loves BUTTERBEER. However, one aspect of the Wizarding World’s immersive theming isn’t discussed as much as everything else, but it is just as important to the overall experience. Merchandise. Now, that may sound crazy at first. In fact, it’s something that both Spaceballs and The Simpsons have made fun of, but in the case of the Wizarding World it’s something real. Muggles walking out of Diagon Alley are loaded down with bags because Universal has delivered on items straight out of the films. Today we’re going to take a look at some of our favorite pieces of merchandise and let’s kickoff the countdown with…
# 6 – Ron and Harry Sweaters (Madame Malkin’s)
Our first piece of merchandise comes from, appropriately enough, the first Harry Potter film. In Sorcerer’s Stone, Mrs. Weasley sends sweaters to Ron and Harry for Christmas. It is a nice moment in the movie because Harry has unbridled glee just when he discovers he is actually getting presents. In Diagon Alley, you can get your own Ron or Harry sweater at Madame Malkin’s Robes for all Occasions.
While in Madame Malkin’s, another piece of clothing to add to your wardrobe is the sweater Neville Longbottom wears in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II. This is the same sweater Neville wore while giving his heartfelt speech before drawing the Sword of Gryffindor on Lord Voldemort.
# 5 – Shrunken Head (Knight Bus Cart)
While making little more than a cameo appearance in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the Knight Bus experience is a fan favorite. With the opening of Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida, the Knight Bus meet and greet outside on the London waterfront was a smash hit as well. Guests get to interact with the conductor as well as the hilarious Shrunken Head. Right nearby, at the Knight Bus kiosk, you can buy your own Shrunken Head and even hang him up on your car’s rear view mirror. In fact, cars driving along Orlando’s famous I-4 roadway is the closest real world equivalent to what it is like to being a passenger on the Knight Bus!
# 4 – Cursed Opal Necklace (Borgin and Burkes)
For me, one of the best parts of the entire Wizarding World is Knockturn Alley. In the theme park world it is incredibly rare to get anything dedicated to the “bad guys,” and sometimes when we do it’s an unmitigated disaster. The vibe throughout Knockturn Alley is like nothing else in all of the Universal Orlando Resort and I love it. The Borgin and Burkes store also carries some super creepy items (as well as even creepier props,) several of which you will recognize from the Potter films. One that looks spectacular is the cursed necklace seen in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. This was the necklace which (Harry assumes) Draco Malfoy gave to Katie Bell, intending for her to give it to Dumbledore. Unfortunately, Katie put the necklace on and… well, let’s just say she’ll probably never put another necklace on for as long as she lives.
You can actually purchase this necklace at Borgin and Burkes in the Wizarding World’s Diagon Alley. The perfect gift for every Slytherin couple, or a subtle gift for a Gryffindor who wants to tell their significant other “I’m just not that into you.”
Speaking of cursed merchandise, one thing I would love Universal to sell is a complete set of Tom Riddle horcruxes (I’m thinking of a Tom Riddle diary with a Basilisk fang bookmark.) Until that day comes, I will have to settle for this cool Slytherin locket.
# 3 – Howler (Scribbulus)
How great is this? Only in the Wizarding World can you buy a Howler that you can send to friends and family. In my Harry Potter film power rankings, Chamber of Secrets comes in dead last, but the Howler moment is one of my favorite scenes in any of the 8 movies (and Ron just kills it with his reaction.) Not only can you buy a Howler in the Scribbulus store, but you can also buy a quill to write your note with AND a wax stamp to seal it with. For you #Millenial readers, this is how you subtweet with style.
–# 2 – Chocolate Frogs
One of the first tastes of magic we Muggles get to see in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is Harry opening up his first Chocolate Frog on the Hogwarts Express. We got the fun surprise of the frog jumping out of the box and onto the window (followed by the frog jumping out the window and getting whoooooshed away) along with the debut of the “famous witch and wizard” cards. Harry’s card had Albus Dumbledore appearing and then disappearing (“You can’t expect him to wait around all day, can you?” – Ron) As a kid who grew up collecting baseball cards, I easily identified with this and yet it had the wow factor.
I like to think of the Wizarding World’s Chocolate Frogs as just about the perfect theme park souvenir. It’s relatively inexpensive, but looks incredible and straight from the movie set. It has a large piece of chocolate inside it (which makes any gift better, just ask Valentine’s Day or Easter.) However, what really make this stand out to Potter fans is the randomly mixed cards that include the four House Founders of Hogwarts: Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Salazar Slytherin, and Rowena Ravencroft. Since their debut, an Albus Dumbledore card has been mixed into the rotation and this year’s A Celebration of Harry Potter added a card featuring Gilderoy Lockhart. You have to wonder what cards might come in the future. Professor Slughorn? Lupin? Tonks? Mad Eye? Whoever it may be, we’ll be there to add it to our collection.
UPDATE: We found out just how deep Universal would go into Potter lore with these cards. Answer: deeper than you would EVER imagine. Here are some of the various releases over the years…
While on the trolley, another piece of candy that Harry and Ron ate were Bernie Botts Every Flavour Beans. You’ll be glad to know you can buy these great tasting (and yet some absolutely disgusting) treats in their gorgeous box at Sugarplum’s sweetshop.
# 1 – Wands (Ollivanders)
When the Wizarding World made its official debut back in 2010 the biggest surprise (outside of the Butterbeer phenomenon) was how incredible they made the Ollivander’s experience. I have seen many shows, and so far each and every wand keeper leading the show has been amazing to watch. What can be even more fun to watch is the person they pick to be a part of the show. I can not tell you how many times I – as an audience member – got goosebumps watching someone else taking part in the show. Several times I have seen guests refuse to even let go of the wand that has “chosen them,” saying they will buy it immediately. It is amazing to behold and there is nothing else like it in the theme park world. Now the wands are interactive, and can be used and many places across the Wizarding World to perform “spells.”
When I was a kid, we didn’t have Harry Potter, we had Star Wars. While I loved my blasters and lightsabers, it just wasn’t the same as the movies. With the new interactive wands in the Wizarding World, it is now just like being in the Potter movies.
HONORABLE MENTION – Pygmy Puffs (Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes)
One store in the Wizarding World that sells a whole bunch of items that are taken straight out of movie canon is Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes in Diagon Alley. One of the more cute items is the Pygmy Puff plush. You’ll only see Ginny Weasley’s Pygmy Puff for a couple seconds in Half Blood Prince, but you’ll find a whole bunch of Pygmy Puff merchandise including movie sized plush, giant sized plush, and even keychains and slippers!
Everyone needs a good love potion (especially theme park bloggers) and you can get your own at Weasley’s (although you may want to pick up a bezoar as well, just in case.)
So there you have it: Wizarding World Merchandise Straight Out of the Harry Potter Movies! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the E-Ticket Report podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).
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Special Thanks to crack staff photographer Brandon Glover, SAT SIX pledge Brian “Litem &” Hyde, the best Universal shopper around Hedgehog’s Corner, Travis “Hot Shot” Terrell, and blogger to the stars Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Absolutely no thanks to He Shall Not Be Named. Be sure to also check out Brandon on The Park Blogger podcast with goofballs co-hosts Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde , while fellow Potterheads may enjoy Meg’s work on the Central Florida Slug Club.
FINAL PLUG! Did you know The 2017 Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando has a special edition of the SATURDAY SIX in it? Finally, someone came up with an actual reason to read a book. Who knew?!