19 Secret Harry Potter World Hacks That'll Make Your Trip Even More Magical
by Charlotte Ahlin
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Any Harry Potter fan will tell you that wizards are excellent at keeping secrets. Or at least, wizards pretty good at keeping secrets from Muggles, and not so great at keeping secrets from other, 11-year-old wizards like Harry and his buds. But if you're able to visit the wonderful Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you're going to want to keep an eye out for some very clever secrets, tricks, messages, and hidden objects all around Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. Here are just a few of the secret things you might find on your next visit.

After all, catching a portkey to Universal Studios isn't an everyday affair. If you're making the trek to check out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (and I highly suggest that you do), you're going to want to take in every last detail. Both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley are intricately designed, from the shop windows to the phone booths to the giant dragon that periodically belches fire into the sky. You're going to want to ride the rides and spend all your hard-earned cash on those sweet, sweet wizard souvenirs, of course. But be sure to leave some time to just explore the park, Butterbeer in hand, and see if you can spot a few hidden treats:


The 'Muggle' Phone Booth

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To get to Diagon Alley, you have to pass through a street in Muggle London. Step into the classic red phone booth and dial the word "MAGIC" (62442) to access a message straight from the Ministry of Magic itself.


The 'Muggle' Employees

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While you're in Muggle London, try asking the employees of King's Cross Station for directions to Platform 9 and 3/4. They'll look at you like you're off your rocker.


Literally 'Dark' Magic

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If you purchase an interactive wand at the park, you'll be given a map of magical locations where your wand can actually cause "magic" to happen. The Knockturn Alley section of the map can only be read if you place it under a black light (luckily, you can find plenty of black lights in the depths of Knockturn Alley).


Hidden Beasties

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It's hard to miss that big ol' dragon. But if you're looking for a fantastic beast that's a little more subtle, check out the second level of the Magical Menagerie store, where you can spot Luna Lovegood's legendary Crumple-Horned Snorkack.


A Chance to Practice Your Parseltongue

Also at the Magical Menagerie, there's a snake in the window that will speak to you in both Parseltongue and English.


A Familiar Face at 12 Grimmauld Place

Take a moment to look in the upstairs windows at Sirius Black's dismal London residence. You can spot Kreacher the house elf peaking out through the window of 12 Grimmauld Place every so often.


Moaning Myrtle's Lament

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If you take a moment to use the public restrooms in the charming town of Hogsmeade, you're going to want to listen closely for everyone's favorite sadgirl ghost weeping from a bathroom stall.


An Offended Goblin

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While in Diagon Alley, you can exchange your pitiful muggle money for some wizard currency at the Gringotts Money Exchange. Try asking the animatronic goblin if he's a house elf, and see if he appreciates your question.


Secret House Handshakes

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If you know your Hogwarts house, be sure to find a cast member wearing your house colors and ask them to teach your the secret house handshake. If you don't know your Hogwarts house, there are sorting hats for sale that'll sort that out for you straightaway.


Shadows at The Three Broomsticks


While you're slamming a butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks, keep an eye out for the shadows of house elves bustling about behind the scenes.


The Mirror in Madame Maulkin's

While you're trying on your wizarding robes at Madame Maulkin's, be sure to check yourself out in the mirror. The mirror while likely comment on your appearance (fair warning that it's not always complimentary).


The Vanishing Cabinet

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Listen closely to the Vanishing Cabinet at Borgin and Burkes, and you'll hear a trapped bird chirping inside. The very same bird that Malfoy used to test whether or not he could sneak Death Eaters into Hogwarts.


Sharks in Diagon Alley?

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There used to be a Jaws attraction where Diagon Alley now stands in Universal Studios. If you look very closely, you can see that the Muggle record shop sells the hit song "Here’s to Swimmin’ with Bow Legged Women," a direct quote from the movie Jaws. You can also buy shark teeth at the apothecary.


'The Monster Book of Monsters'


Walk right up to The Monster Book of Monsters in Dervish and Banges and see what happens. Don't worry, it can't actually bite you... I think.


Poor Neville Getting a Lecture

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There are a ton of Easter eggs along the line for The Forbidden Journey ride at Hogwarts. Be sure to stop by and listen at the potions classroom door, to hear poor Neville getting a lecture on how to properly cast a spell.


A Very Leaky Cauldron

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Watch out — the sign at the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley will actually leak on you if you're not careful.


Receive a Howler

Hang around The Owl Post for long enough, and you'll hear a howler explode at some unfortunate soul.


A Familiar Perfume Ad

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The ad in King's Cross Station is the very same one from the film Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. It's right on the way to Platform 9 and 3/4 (where, by the way, you'll be able to watch yourself disappearing into the wall, as if by magic).


Don't Mention He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named

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Or actually, do mention Voldemort to one of the cast members in Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade and see what happens. They'll be quick to remind you that such a name is not to be spoken aloud.