The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – the five-years-in-the-making genius manifestation of J.K. Rowling’s vision which spawned a multimedia empire – is set to debut at Universal Studios Hollywood on April 7th. And, while there an endless number of reasons to visit an immersive world that also exists in Florida and Japan, they can all be pared down to one ultimate incentive – “Butterbeer.”
In a metropolis like Los Angeles, which has a Starbucks at, quite literally, every corner, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has bested them all with a non-alcoholic beverage that will cast a lovely spell on those who imbibe the extraordinarily delicious concoction. The ice-blended kind is the best, too, because it is classically refreshing – one part butterscotch and one part icy heaven.
At first sip, one will be hooked by its butter-bliss magic powers to impress upon the taste buds in such a way that the craving for its comforting sweetness will beg one to draw more of it from one’s straw until there is unfortunately no more to be had. Truly, it may soon rival Disneyland’s churro for most sought-after food/drink item at a Southern California-based theme park.
Patrons, of course, will have the option of purchasing “Butterbeer” from a disposable plastic cup; however, if they know what is good for them, they will enjoy the “Butterbeer” from a take-home mug, which also happens to be the perfect little piece of memorabilia to show off to friends and family. This delectable drink for any budding wizard, or master, can be purchased outdoors or from the “Three Broomsticks” restaurant, replete with menacing boar head behind the bar (which also serves alcohol).
Visitors to the restaurant should also consider mouth-watering dishes like Shepherd’s Pie (ground beef, vegetables, potatoes) and Bangers & Mash (English sausages, mashed potatoes). Following such a hearty meal, if not fully satiated, a venture into “Honeydukes,” an exotic confectionery, housing addictive chocolate frogs, should additionally be explored.
Though, certainly, the interactivity between consumer and this newfound rustic realm of joy extends beyond just gastronomy. For instance, the fact that one can buy any wand belonging to any character from the books/films from the “Ollivanders” wand shop should excite the senses of any full-fledged or casual fan of the series. Even better is that, of these wands, there are “traditional” and “interactive” ones, the latter of which can be used at 11 supernatural windows to yield a magic trick that will cast an unmistakable feeling of awe in any wizard-in-training.
Of course, to fully absorb oneself into this snow-gilded world, the procurement of a wand is just the beginning; there are true-to-the-universe robes, Quidditch balls, sweaters, pendants, baubles and more to be purchased from storefronts like “Gladrags Wizardwear.”
The most loyal fans of Harry Potter may also want to look into the “Owl Post,” which may, by itself, revitalize snail mail the same way that the affinity for all things retro has reinvigorated the appeal of vinyl records. The neat brown packaging, inclusive of all the old-fashioned trappings, would also be a novel idea for aspiring nuptials looking to send out wedding invitations!
Last but not least, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has two options for those wanting to be thrilled by the velocity of motion. First, there is the wicker-basket-designed outdoor coaster (and the only one at the park), the “Flight of the Hippogriff,” which is guaranteed to put smiles on faces as it blazes through its winding track.
The can’t-miss ride, however, is “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey,” a 3D spectacular that nearly escapes words because of how eerily realistic it is. Suffice it to say, the technology is so next-level and breathtaking that one will be jaw-droppingly astounded at the ominous brushes with formidable creatures as well as the sensation of riding shotgun in the open air with Harry Potter himself.
Yet, with an entire domain to visit and spend countless hours in doing various activities with the purpose of seeking a family-friendly escape from the restrictions of reality, the “Butterbeer” beverage might be potent enough on its own to single-handedly transport one from Earthly existence to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Unequivocally, it is the one thing that absolutely cannot be passed on.