Harry Potter the books, films & the theme parks

No, I don’t write for “The Daily Prophet” & I’m not Rita Skeeter, I’m just a humble-Muggle who is into the world of Harry Potter. I thought perhaps I would write down some information regarding the series turned movie turned theme park in case anyone doesn’t know about them.

There are seven Harry Potter books in total:

1)      Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

2)      Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

3)      Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

4)      Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

5)      Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

6)      Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

7)      Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The first book (and movie) is actually titled Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in Europe (Yes, I have a copy) but was changed for the states.  J.K. Rowling also wrote three books about the Harry Potter world where the proceeds went to charity, they are:

1)      Quidditch Through the Ages – Kennilworthy Whisp

2)      Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them – Newt Scamander

3)      The Tales of Beedle the Bard

While The Tales of Beedle the Bard is mentioned in The Deathly Hallows (with some great scenes in the movie) the book Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander is actually Warner Bros. next series of films that will take place in the Harry Potter world, only 70 years prior to the birth of Harry.  It will be a trilogy with J.K. Rowling writing the screenplays herself. The first film will be released in November 2016 and they’ll be filmed in London in the Leavesden Studios where the original seven films were filmed, which Warner Bros. now owns.  There will also be wizards from the states in the movie. Newt Scamander, who “wrote” the book, is a Magizoologist.

The 7.1 Harry Potter movies are as follows:

1)      Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

2)      Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

3)      Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

4)      Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

5)      Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

6)      Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

7)      Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 & 2

There are two books written on the films which are extremely detailed, they are:

1)      Harry Potter: Film Wizardry – Brian Sibley

2)      Harry Potter: From Page to Screen – Bob McCabe

While filming the Potter movies, the director films the sets letting you see what he wants you to see, which means that most of the sets (those not filmed on an existing location) are built in the studio & are only half there.  When it came to making The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley for Universal Orlando, the problem they faced was that we could see everywhere, so they used set designer Stuart Craig from the actual film to expand the Potter world to make everything look consistent.  That way, from the moment you walk into The Wizarding World or Diagon Alley to the moment you leave, you’re completely immersed in the world.  Now, with the addition of the Hogwarts Express (remember, this requires a Park to Park pass) you never have to leave the Potter world since the train itself is part of the Potter world, not only appearing in the book & films, but being a ride in itself.  Universal created the very first ride from one park to the next.

While the Wizarding World was expanded on the previous existing island in Islands of Adventure, some of it was able to be converted to the new land.  Facts on The Wizarding World of Harry Potter:

Location – Islands of Adventure

Includes the following areas: Hogsmead, Hogwarts Castle, and the Forbidden Forest.

Opened – June 18th, 2010

Projected cost – between $235 – $265 million


The Dragon Challenge (originally “Dueling Dragons” in the old island) – on the line for this ride you will see the Goblet of Fire & Triwizard Cup

Flight of the Hippogriff (originally Flight of the Unicorn) – pass by Hagrid’s Hut & see a real Hippogriff

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – set in the Hogwarts Castle with actual cast from the Potter movies (Film composer John Williams, who scored the first 2 Potter films, scores the attraction inside Hogwarts Castle)

Shops: Dervish and Banges, Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods, Honeydukes, Ollivander’s Wand Shop – making fine wands since 382 BC (in the books & films located in Diagon Alley), Owl Post – send a postcard & it will receive an official Hogsmeade postmark.  Shop these stores for all your Harry Potter souvenirs.

Place to eat – The Three Broomsticks (replaced a former place to eat) located in the rear is the Hogs Head Pub

Favorite drink that has sold over 5 million – Butterbeer

Diagon Alley – Location Universal Studios Orlando in what was formerly the “Jaws” & “Amity Island” section.

Ride – Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringott’s Bank – Enter the banks lobby & see Goblins at work, then go to the caverns bellow where the wizard money is kept.  Meet Harry, Ron & Hermione as you thrill to the latest ride. Sitting atop the bank is a dragon that breathes actual fire.

Shops: Visit Borgin & Burkes, Madam Matkins, Ollivander’s Wand Shop, Quality Quidditch Supplies, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment to buy souvenirs

Places to eat: Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream, The Leaky Cauldron

Diagon Alley features the following: Ollivander’s, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, Quality Quidditch Supplies, The Leaky Cauldron, Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringott’s Bank

Knockturn Alley features the following: a back street off Diagon Alley, here the dark arts are found in stores like Borgin & Burkes

King’s Cross Station – here you can board the Hogwarts Express (Park to Park Pass needed) experience the train ride & see characters & creatures from the films

Before entering the hidden Diagon Alley see the streets of London. Keep an eye out for the Knight Bus used by wizards, Sirius Black’s home and in a record shop a nod to Jaws?

Diagon Alley is built on what was previously the Jaws ride & Amity Island. While Jaws is now long gone, Jaws “Easter Eggs” did make it into the Diagon Alley.  So far they are:

On the London streets, look inside the shop window and see a record named The Quint Trio.  Quint is of course a character in Jaws played by Robert Shaw.  The song on the record is actually something Shaw’s character sings in the movie.

In Diagon Alley, take a look in the window of Mulpepper’s Apothecary and you will see a giant shark’s jaw hanging in the background. Inside the shop of Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment take a close look at the telescopes above.  These were made with parts from the Jaws ride.  Finally, if you go in Knockturn Alley take a moment to listen to the Shrunken Heads.  They sing a song from one of the most classic scenes in Jaws with Richard Dreyfuss as Matt Hooper, Robert Shaw, Quint, and Roy Scheider as Chief Brody. Need a hint; it stars “Show me the way to go home”.

Be sure to explore the shop windows in both Diagon Alley & Hogsmead, here if you purchase a special wand you can perform spells on the items in the window.  Just look for the icon on the ground which tells you the spell to cast & the motion of the wand.

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