Blishens-Fire-Whiskey

Blishen’s Fire Cinnamon Flavoured Whiskey Now Available at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Universal Studios Orlando

This week, Universal Studios added another Wizarding World beverage option to their range of themed libations: “The King of Whiskies” Blishen’s Fire Cinnamon Flavoured Whiskey is now available as single or double shots, and as a mix-in to certain existing themed beverages.

Currently, Blishen’s Fire Cinnamon Flavoured Whiskey is only available at The Hopping Pot in Diagon Alley, and The Hog’s Head Pub in Hogsmeade. Full-size 750ml bottles featuring a beautiful full-color with gold foil embossed label are on display at each location to promote the addition of the whiskey, but the bottles themselves are not for sale.

Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. filed a trademark for “The King of Whiskies” Blishen’s Fire Cinnamon Flavoured Whiskey in April 2014, and it was approved by February 2015. The trademark includes the label design in various formats which we can assume will start appearing on souvenirs, apparel and other items in the near future.

Universal Studios partnered with TerraPURE Spirits in North Charleston, SC to develop this private label handcrafted 35% Alc. By Vol. (70 Proof) cinnamon flavoured whiskey.

Shutterbuttons

Shutterbutton’s Top-Notch Shots Moving Pictures Souvenir Video from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley (Universal Studios Orlando)

As an early Father’s Day gift, my Dad and I created a moving pictures album at Shutterbutton’s in Diagon Alley. This hidden gem is a wonderful experience, and creates a magical memory.

It is located within the same interior space as, and behind Quality Quidditch Supplies, next to Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes.  A dedicated entrance is also off of Carkitt Market near The Hopping Pot beverage stand, and adjacent to the Merperson statue that spits water.

Wearing the house robe of your choice, you are directed through 12 scenes against a green screen in a private filming booth. Afterward, you are given a short preview on screen of your finished moving pictures, and then are provided with a DVD copy that comes housed in a keepsake steelcase with Shutterbutton’s graphics.  A digital copy is also sent to you via email, and hosted via Universal’s PhotoConnect which is the same service that supports the delivery of the digital on-ride photos and character meet and greet photos.

The entire process takes no more than 20 minutes once you enter the filming booth and here is the result from our experience:

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Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts – Closed for Two (2) Days from February 25-26, 2015

One of our many visits to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley was on February 24-26, 2015.  Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts was open only on the first day of our visit, with 1.5 hour wait times in both the regular and Single Rider lines.  So much so, that they closed the Single Rider line as it was exceeding the regular wait time.  Having never seen the “extended” area of the ride, we took the time to wait, and take a few new photos of the extended queue area as well as some updated photos of the interior queue and pre-show.

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts was completely closed for the next two days for “preventative maintenance” which we later found out was actually to repair a damaged portion of the screen from the climax scene of the ride.

While this information has not been confirmed officially by Universal, according to inside-sources, testing was being done on the ride Tuesday night, which is standard procedure. During the testing, an accident may have occurred during the climax scene… SPOILERS AHEAD: in which Harry, Ron and Hermione – with the help of the Ukranian Ironbelly dragon – rescue guests and pull them up from the caverns of the Gringotts vaults. During this effect, the ride vehicles launch forward through a cloud of steam just after KUKA arm (the same robotic arm that powers Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride) removes a portion of the screen in order to allow the vehicles to pass through. Apparently, that evening during testing, something prevented the screen from moving which resulted in a vehicle smashing into it.

As of February 27, 2015, the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride has safely re-opened.

Diagon-Alley-Fireworks

VIDEO: Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular Fireworks – View from Diagon Alley

100 Years of classic Universal film clips are projected onto cutting-edge waterfall screens within the Universal Studios Florida lagoon, surrounded by colorful, synchronized fountains, and pyrotechnics against a stirring musical score:

Harry-Potter-and-the-Escape-from-Gringotts-Extended-Queue

Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts – Extended Ride Queue Photos

One of our many visits to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley was on February 24-26, 2015.  Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts was open only on the first day of our visit, with 1.5 hour wait times in both the regular and Single Rider lines.  So much so, that they closed the Single Rider line as it was exceeding the regular wait time.  Having never seen the “extended” area of the ride, we took the time to wait, and take a few new photos of the extended queue area as well as some updated photos of the interior queue and pre-show.

Visit our full review from September 2014 of the queue and ride with extensive photo gallery

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts was completely closed for the next two days for “preventative maintenance” which we later found out was actually to repair a damaged portion of the screen from the climax scene of the ride.

Read our full article to learn more about what may have happened to instigate a 2 day closure of the ride.

Butterbeer

Butterbeer at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter & Saving on Food & Drink at Universal Orlando Resort

Butterbeer

Butterbeer is THE most popular drink in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and you cannot get it anywhere else in the world, except at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter.

Butterbeer has been especially developed by the culinary experts at Universal Orlando Resort, and is described as “reminiscent of shortbread and butterscotch”.  The base beverage is very similar to a cream soda, and all of the beverage versions (see below) are topped with a bubbly foam that infuses the beverage with vanilla and  butterscotch notes.

At Universal Orlando Resort, Butterbeer is available in 4 versions:

  • Cold Butterbeer (similar to a soft drink)
  • Frozen Butterbeer (similar to a smoothie)
  • Hot Butterbeer (only available during the “winter” months)
  • Butterbeer Ice Cream (soft-serve)

Not all locations serve all 4 versions, but for the cold and frozen variety – which are the most popular – there are several spots to buy them in each park.

We have found the shortest lines for Butterbeer can be found as follows:

Hogsmeade
Inside The Hog’s Head Pub which is attached to the Three Broomsticks sit-down restaurant, but also has its own front entrance so you can just order from the bar and see the Hog’s Head on the wall move and snort while you wait!  In Hogsmeade you can only get the cold and frozen varieties of Butterbeer.

Diagon Alley
The Hopping Pot beverage stand is integrated into the building facades and located at the rear of the Carkitt Market annex of Diagon Alley near where the live stage shows are performed.  At this location you can get all 4 varieties of Butterbeer!

Saving on Food & Drink

We recommend:

  • Eat light snacks throughout the day versus big sit-down meals
  • Consider a kids’ meal option to keep the meal less “heavy” and also cheaper
  • Consider a Dining Plan which will earn you a discount on your first meal, and include a snack and beverage for later in the day

 

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Selecting Tickets for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Universal Orlando)

The Harry Potter areas at Universal Orlando Resort are separated between 2 parks with Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure, and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida, and the Hogwarts Express train connecting the two.  So, to enjoy all of the Harry Potter attractions, you will need a “Park-to-Park” pass.

To make the most of your visit, you will need to make several decisions when purchasing your tickets online, in person or through a travel representative:

Step 1: Number of Days

Universal Orlando determines their ticket prices based on the dates you will be visiting.  When calculating the number of days your ticket should cover, consider whether you plan on visiting the park(s) for a partial day on your day of arrival and departure from Orlando.  Depending on what time your outbound flight is scheduled on the day of your departure, for example, it may allow you to go to the park for a few hours before you have to be at the airport.

Additionally, staying at a Universal onsite hotel gives you the added benefit of gaining Early Park Admission into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter which is one hour earlier than the standard opening time for regular guests.

NOTE: Most of the time during the off-season, Universal will offer a 3rd day free with the purchase of a 2-day ticket.

Step 2: One or Both Parks

As mentioned above, the Harry Potter areas at Universal Orlando Resort are separated between 2 separate parks with Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure, and Diagon Alley next door in Universal Studios Florida, and the Hogwarts Express train connects the two.  So, to enjoy all of the Harry Potter attractions, you will need a “Park-to-Park” pass.

Step 3: Extras

Several options to bundle your ticket purchase with upgrades will be available during your purchase.  One of the most popular options is ExpressPass which allows you to bypass the lines at most rides throughout the parks.

During the off-season which is generally November-February excluding holidays and special events, crowds are more moderate and ExpressPass will be less necessary than if you are visiting during the peak times which include holidays, Spring Break or Summer.

NOTE:  At this time, ExpressPass is not available for any of the Harry Potter rides.

Step 4: Delivery Method

Tickets must be assigned to the name of each guest in your party during checkout.  Universal offers several ways to obtain your tickets after purchasing including:

Print-at-Home
You will receive an email link to a printable PDF file which contains each ticket on a separate standard A2 (letter-sized) page.

NOTE: During my visit on February 17, 2015, I observed that ticket scanners throughout the park were not reading this format, and the ticket takers had to manually type-in the barcode numbers from the ticket each time.

Will-Call Kiosk
Outside the main entrance to each park, there are automated self-service kiosks where you can retrieve your tickets by swiping the credit card you used to purchase them, and entering the confirmation code you received via email.  You must have both of these pieces of information to retrieve your tickets quickly and easily.  If you have ever used a kiosk at your local movie theater to buy or retrieve tickets, it’s a very similar experience.  Small card-like tickets will print out that easily fit in a pocket or wallet and scan consistently and quickly throughout the parks.

NOTE: You cannot purchase tickets at these kiosks.  They are for retrieval only.

Mail Delivery
Small, card-like tickets like the ones you would receive at a Will-Call Kiosk will be dispatched to your mailing address.

NOTE: This option may only be available for certain ticket types such as Annual Passes and may not be available if your arrival date is too near to the time of purchase.


Next Tip: Selecting a Hotel for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Universal Orlando)

Diagon-Alley-Night

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley (at night)

Below, are some additional images of Diagon Alley at dusk and at night.

Visit our full Diagon Alley review with daytime photo galleries!

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Carkitt Market (at night)

Below, are some additional images of Carkitt Market at dusk and at night.

Visit our full Carkitt Market review with daytime photo galleries!

 

 

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Carkitt Market

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley opened officially on July 8, 2014 and features a variety of carefully recreated shops, restaurants and entertainment situated throughout Diagon Alley and the adjacent areas of Horizont Alley, Carkitt Market and Knockturn Alley. Carkitt Market features a variety of shops, carts and beverage stands as well as a stage area where two live stage shows are performed several times a day: Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees, and The Tales of Beedle The Bard.

Immediately after entering, or once you have walked the length of Diagon Alley toward Gringotts Bank, if you turn to the right, you will enter Carkitt Market which is a glass-covered arcade-style shopping and entertainment area that runs between Gringott’s Bank and the Diagon Alley entrances/exits through the London Embankment building facades.  Specifically, there is an exit directly adjacent to The Hopping Pot beverage stand from which you exit through the Wyndham’s theater facade.

Below, are several photo galleries with detailed captions.

Visit our separate photo gallery featuring Carkitt Market at night!

Exteriors & Environment

Shops & Restaurants

Wizeacre’s Wizarding Equipment
Visitors will find a variety of wizarding wares and supplies including crystal balls, telescopes, binoculars, armillary spheres, compasses, magnifying glasses and hourglasses. Don’t miss the unique selection of apparel and accessory products from your favorite Hogwarts™ house!

VIDEO: Rotating Armillery Sphere at Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment

Gringotts Money Exchange
Gringotts Money Exchange is separate from Gringotts Bank. In this location you can exchange your U.S. currency to official Gringotts Bank Notes. $10 and $20 notes are available. This currency can then be used at various places around Universal Orlando Resort or kept as souvenirs. Other Gringotts merchandise can be purchased here as well. The goblin at the desk will interact with you while you’re in line. This attraction is located in Carkitt Market between Wiseacre’s and the show stage.

Scribbulus
Connected to Wiseacre’s and focusing on ink, quills, parchment, backpacks, stationery, paperweights, wax seals and other school supplies.

Photos to come

Shutterbutton’s Photography Studio
Shutterbutton’s is a small shop which offers park guests a photo or video oppurtunity. They have a couple rooms with green screens and old looking cameras which capture your moving likeness.  They put you and your family into Wizarding places in a moving picture scrapbook ranging between 3-5 minutes in length on a DVD. Its a 15 minute process to complete and costs $69.95.

Photos to come

Wands by Gregorovitch
While most aspiring wizards will want to visit Ollivanders, some might not have time to wait in the long queue. Don’t frett, there is another wizarding wand shop in Diagon Alley called Wands by Gregorovitch. Of course, purchases here come without the experience and show wizards and witches get in Ollivanders. The shop is also much smaller than Ollivanders, but has all of the classic wand options.

Photos to come

Eternelle’s Elixir of Refreshment
A beveral stand offering variety of “beverages” that consist of various “potions” mixed with Gillywater, creating a combination that allows the drinker to “experience a delightful flavour surprise”. Known potions used by Eternelle’s include the Draught of Peace, Babbling Beverage, Elixir to Induce Euphoria, and Fire Protection Potion.

The Hopping Pot
Outdoor bar with eleven different beverage options including Draught Beer,  Wizard’s Brew (a heavy porter), Dragon Scale (a hoppy amber) all four varieties of Butterbeer (cold, frozen, hot or ice cream), Tongue Tying Lemon Squash, Otter’s Fizzy Orange Juice, Fishy Green Ale, Pumpkin Juice, Gillywater as well as various snack items such as meat pasties and bags of British crisps.

Entertainment

Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees
A concert-style street performance featuring “The Singing Sorceress” and original music titles created by J.K. Rowling including: “A Cauldron Full Of Hot, Strong Love,” “You Stole My Cauldron But You Can’t Have My Heart” and “You Charmed The Heart Right Out Of Me”.

Photos to come

The Tales of Beedle the Bard
Re-telling of the “Tale of The Three Brothers” by Beedle the Bard by actors and puppeteers who bring the story of The Deathly Hallows to life during a live on stage performance using intricate puppets inspired by the feature film’s animation sequences.

Photos to come