For West Coast muggles convinced that their letter to Hogwarts is still “lost in the mail,” the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hollywood is the most exciting thing to happen in L.A. since the opening of—oh wait, literally nothing, because it’s the most exciting thing ever. Come April 7, Potterheads will be able to amble through the streets of Hogsmeade, stop at Zonko’s for Extendable Ears and Pygmy Puffs, and yes, cruise the halls of Hogwarts before taking a spin on “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.” (Pro tip: consider popping a Dramamine with your Butterbeer ahead of that particular thrill.)
As someone going on year 17 without receiving her new student packet—I have a theory that the owl carrying notice of my acceptance got sucked into an airplane engine—the experience is wonderfully overwhelming. The world has been recreated with impeccable intricacy thanks to the diligence of Alan Gilmore (who served as art director on all of the Harry Potter films) not to mention input from Queen Rowling herself. “What you see is basically the film set brought to real life,” Gilmore says of the park. But amidst all of the excitement—Ollivanders! Chocolate Frogs! Spending a small fortune on a Gryffindor sweater made by the same Scottish wool maker employed by the films!—it would be easy to miss the original props that have jumped off-screen and into Universal Studios. But don’t get your wand in a knot—we’ve got you covered.
What it is: We all know the OG owner of this magical flying bike was Harry’s godfather, Sirius Black. On the night Voldemort (spoiler!) killed Harry’s parents, Sirius lent it to Hagrid, who rode/flew it to the Potter’s home in Godric’s Hollow. It was there Hagrid retrieved the Boy Who Lived and brought him to number 4 Privet Drive.
Where to see it: Catch a glimpse of Hagrid’s wheels in line for the park’s second, more stomach-friendly ride, “Flight of the Hippogriff.”
The Desks and Blackboard from the Defense Against the Dark Arts Classroom
What it is: Essentials from the room where Harry, Ron, and Hermione learned valuable (and sometimes riddikulus) lessons from Remus Lupin, Gilderoy Lockhart, and, gag, Dolores Umbridge.
Where to see it: There is a re-creation of the DADA classroom inside Hogwarts, where those in line for “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” will be entertained by lifelike projections of Harry, Ron, and Hermione. The three are bickering about the best way to get you, the viewer, down to the Quidditch pitch. We won’t spoil it, but the argument often ends with a classic Ron Weasley blunder.
What they are: In the crucible of learning that was Severus Snape’s terrifying classroom, students chopped and crushed and sliced and mixed ingredients in cauldrons to produce everything from Shrinking Solution to the Draught of Living Death. Harry, Ron, and Hermione perhaps most famously used theirs to whip up a few batches of Polyjuice Potion.
Where to find them: The park is outfitted with several interactive windows where, with a special (read: pricey) wand, even muggles can make the magic happen. The cauldrons are on display at Ceridwen’s Cauldrons.
Cho Chang’s Yule Ball Dress
What it is: Amidst the trials and tribulations and dragons in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, students from Hogwarts, Durmstrang, and Beauxbatons abandon their uniforms in favor of dress robes for the Triwizard Tournament Yule Ball. Cho attends with Cedric Diggory (RIP), but it’s likely she’s just thinking of Harry the whole time because foreshadowing.
Where to find it: The gown is on display at Gladrags Wizardwear, along with another prop: decorative fabric used as a set dressing in the movies.
The Bench on Platform 9 3/4 and the Luggage Racks Inside the Hogwarts Express
What it is: Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station is Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s gateway from London to the wizarding world. Once they cross the magical barrier, they hop aboard the Hogwarts Express and settle into a compartment, tossing their luggage onto the steel racks above their heads and tucking in for the ride.
Where to find it: The Hogwarts Express is the first thing you’ll see upon entering the park. Unlike WWHP Orlando (suck it, Orlando!), WWHP Hollywood has a photo op where visitors can pick up some props and sit in a train compartment, the window of which is a green screen. As you sit, you may see Hogwarts—or even a Dementor—off in the distance. Go ahead and touch that luggage rack—chances are Daniel Radcliffe touched it, too. Bonus fact: The fabric on the seats is the same fabric used in the real Hogwarts Express.
Select Pieces of Luggage
What they are: Weary and/or alcoholic wizards can often be found in The Three Broomsticks throughout Rowling’s series. As many of them are travelers, they tend to carry bags.
Where to find them: Where else? The Three Broomsticks. While you’re there, enjoy some fish and chips and wash it down with one of three beers on tap made especially for the parks: Hog’s Head, Dragon Scale, and Wizard’s Brew. See that trio of broomsticks on the back wall? Yup—those were fashioned by the same broomstick makers who created the brooms for the films.