On the Road to Diagon Alley: Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes
Universal Orlando recently closed the Zonko's Joke Shop in Islands of Adventure's Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Hogsmeade. But fans of magical humor won't have to wait long for an even larger, grander replacement. Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes will offer Zonko's merchandise, and much more, when it opens in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley later this year.
Concept art courtesy Universal Orlando
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, twins Fred and George Weasley (older brothers to Ron and Ginny) open their joke shop after dropping out of Hogwarts in spectacular fashion.
They were able secure a space in Diagon Alley and stock the shop thanks to an investment from Harry Potter, who gave them his winnings for the Tri-Wizard Tournament at the end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: "Listen, if you [Fred and George] don't take it, I'm throwing it down the drain. I don't want it and I don't need it. But I could do with a few laughs. We could all do with a few laughs. I've got a feeling we're going to need them more than usual before long."
At the Harry Potter Celebration at Universal Orlando Resort this January, James and Oliver Phelps, who played Fred and George Weasley in the films, introduced some of the items that will be on sale at Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes when it opens at Universal Studios Florida, including Decoy Detonators, Nose-Biting Teacups, and Skiving Snackboxes.
This collection of Fainting Fancies, Puking Pastilles, Nosebleed Nougat and Fever Fudge is designed to help Hogwarts students fake their way out of classes. Eat one side of each candy, and you get sick. Eat the other side, and you'll feel better. The Phelps brothers talked about them at the event: "Can I start and say they won't make you sick...unless you quite eat a LOT and go on the Forbidden Journey or something. It's kind of...whenever we speak to anyone about the Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes Joke Shop...they always say I wish I could have a snack box…. As you can see they are pretty authentic looking. Um, so I can't wait to...I am strangely intrigued to see what the Puking Pastilles taste like. Also these were...our favorite props from the whole movie. So when we learned earlier that these were going to be available we were really excited."
Don't forget that Universal's also working on next-generation interactive wands that will trigger magical effects within Diagon Alley. Perhaps those might be available this summer in Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes? And maybe they will trigger some special effects inside the store, too?
What are you most looking forward to seeing or buying in Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes at Universal Studios Florida?
About the store itself, Robert, do you happen to know if guests will be able to go up the flights of stairs or will they be restricted to the first floor as the artwork highly suggests? I would imagine that any moving props up top would prohibit anyone from going near.
I love that JK has to sign off on everything to make it perfect. I'll be calling UOR and booking the trip next week. Late July is the best choice, I am thinking.
OI has a report that Roker & a film crew were in Diagon Alley filming today. So perhaps NBC Today show is covering this after all, just not publicly at this moment......NB: Once there's an opening date announcement, the on site hotels will probably fill up immediately, and the Hard Rock usually is the first to fill. You might want to book now, you can always cancel if it doesn't open by late July. They might raise hotel rates also. They raised the Royal Pacific rate for June 18th week over what the rate was listed last week. I think you're probably very safe with the late July visit. Sure wouldn't want to visit without a hotel express pass this summer. It's going to be Magic Kingdom type busy.
I'd recommend an August visit to try to avoid the worst of the opening-season crowds. Otherwise, the later in July the better. June will be slammed.
What was funny on this was some sites were reporting Roker was not going to Orlando, but was flying to London, England this morning. Misinformation hook taken. Well, London is the facade for Diagon Alley at Universal Studios. OI sources said he was filming in Dervlish & Banges (not sure of the spelling) and then on a stage in Catlitt Market.
In late August, like the last week, hotel rates at Universal Orlando drop quite a bit. If folks can wait until then, or even until mid September, they will have a much more pleasant visit.
September, that's me.
We're waiting until October. After the mess that was WWoHP in the summer of 2010, our visit after the summer craziness in October 2010 was very pleasant. It still took us nearly an hour to do Olivander's, but it was exponentially better than the horror stories from June and July of that year.
Olivanders always seems to have a long line. We've done many of the early admissions and there's even long lines as soon as the area opens, so I've never seen the show yet. I don't have the patience to stand in a large line for a C attraction.But maybe this year, with the extra 3 showrooms, the lines might be shorter when we're there.....NB has kids, so his choices are summer only. But, as Robert says, late July & August will probably be better than the weeks prior. But Express Pass will be a must, even though Gringotts & Hogwart's Express won't have them initially according to rumored reports. But the parks will be packed no doubt.
If Zonko's Joke Shop in Islands of Adventure is closing down, what will now be in spot of that?
Honeydukes expanded into that space.
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