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Ollivander's Wand Shop

Rating: * * * *
Type: Small-scale show
Time: About 5 minutes
Short Take: A charmingly magical moment

A mysteriously levitating wand in the window marks this Hogsmeade storefront, behind which hides the sleeper attraction everyone will be talking about back home. Though it doesn’t even appear on the park map, people line up for hours to enter this Rowling-approved franchise of the famous Diagon Alley purveyor, “maker of fine wands since 382 BC.”

Groups of 20-odd guests are allowed at a time into the tiny shop, its towering shelves stocked with dusty boxes. The kindly proprietor greets you, and selects one or two lucky customers (almost always children) to test out a wand. As Potter followers know, wands have embedded in their cores various magic substances like unicorn hair or a phoenix feather, and each wand must choose its own master. As the volunteers test the “wrong” wands, a range of disastrous special effects are triggered. Flowers wilt and shelving collapses, requiring the shopkeep to magically repair the damage. Finally, the destined wand is found, as signified by a swirl of light and wind straight out of the cinema.

Afterwards, the volunteers are sent into the adjoining Owl Post store to pay for their new wand (or another of their choosing), and the next group is ushered in. There is no charge to attend or participate in the show, if you want to take your wand home it will run about $30 (see Shopping below).

The entire show lasts about five minutes, the queue can be daunting, and the effects are sweetly simple. But the actors involved are so engagingly “in character” (all with exhaustive knowledge of wand arcana and credible accents) that it’s worth the wait, especially if your child is the one selected.

Tip: There are multiple “spells” rigged throughout the shop, so repeat visitors will experience slightly different shows.

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Universal Orlando 2011

 

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