Throughout the whole Muggle’s Guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter series, we’ve received a number of comments on our outfits. Alston and I tend to dress up in some fashion whenever we go to parks, be it as Mickey and Minnie Mouse, BB8 & R2D2 a la 1920s, or a very casual Minnie Mouse and White Rabbit (it was REALLY hot in Shanghai). It adds an extra layer of fun to an already delightful experience. So when we were going to Universal and Alston found out I didn’t have wizarding robes, he put that very first on our list to rectify. After all, how could you not go to Hogwarts and not be dressed as a wizard??
Basically, this shall be a quick buying guide for all of those looking to get the most out of your magical experience at Universal’s two Harry Potter parks!
The first thing you need to figure out though, before you buy ANYTHING, is what house are you in? For those not so much in the know (or want a refresher… or are just as nerdy as we are let’s be real…) there are four houses at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin. Each one has specific characteristics like bravery (Gryffindor), cleverness (Ravenclaw), kindness (Hufflepuff), and cunning (Slytherin), and you’ll find people are very particular about what House they’re in. Fans even go so far as to categorize other characters (like Sherlock Holmes for example) and debate over which house they’d be in. Ravenclaw or Slytherin? We’ll let you fight it out.
It’s serious stuff, okay?
You can take the JK Rowling approved sorting quiz on Pottermore (though you’ll need to make an account) or take one of the literally thousands of sorting quizzes online. Or, you know, just pick one (psssst, pick Ravenclaw!).
Once you have your House chosen, it’s time to pick out some swag.
The staple of any witch or wizard! House robes not only let you show your house pride, but also immediately identify you as a Hogwarts students (or an employee of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter as we would find out throughout the day… so many people thought we worked there, Alston especially).
You can pick out robes at a few stores in the park, but we recommend going to Madam Malkin’s Robes for all Occasions in Diagon Alley to get your duds, as that’s what they do in the books.
Official robes will set you back a cool $110. There are Quidditch Robes as well for fans of the magical game of basketball meets broomsticks, and those will run you $150. You can, of course, also buy them online through the Universal Store.
Now you can’t be a proper witch or wizard without a wand.
The first thing to understand about the wands at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is that there are four types. Yes, FOUR types of wands! First off there’s replica wands from the films or original bespoke wands. Yes, you can run around with Harry Potter or Hermione Granger’s wand (as well as Lord Voldemort for those feeling particularly… evil). There’s a plethora to choose from and all are happily on display. Or you can choose an original wand from Ollivander’s, choosing from six different wood types.
Secondly there are interactive wands and non-interactive wands.
Scattered around The Wizarding World of Harry Potter are interactive magical station where, if you move your (interactive) wand in a certain way, something will happen. This can be anything from armor assembling itself to a skeleton coming to life and mimicking your moves in Knockturn Alley (it’s super cool). The interactive wands are $47.95 and non-interactive wands are $39.95.
For the full immersive experience, I’d have to recommend getting the interactive wands. Not only is it useful in all the Harry Potter parks across the world (LA, Orlando, and Osaka), but it adds a whole new dimension to your visit. Diagon Alley is fun to look around, but without the wand, you won’t be doing a ton there. It’s an entire bundle of attractions you get by using it, plus it lets you believe for a little while that you are indeed magical (what sensors, what are you talking about, this is MAGIC not SCIENCE… let me believe, okay?)
It takes awhile to get the hang of it, but once you do… it’s rather neat.
There are two places you can buy your wands in Diagon Alley (you can also pick them up in Hogsmeade, but if you’re gonna do this, might as well do it right). The classic choice is Ollivander’s, which is a towering and wonky building filed to the brim with wands for every taste.
You can also go to Gregorovitch’s, which is a smaller shop and only has the replica wands for sale.
So you’ve got your robe and you’ve got your wand… you’ve done some magic and you’re feeling pretty gosh darn wizardly. What’s next?
Well… just go wander, really! You can head into Weasley’s Wizard’s Wheezes to get some practical jokes, Honeydukes for some chocolate frogs and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, and then make your way to Hogwarts like the good student you are (you may even get to cut in line!).
Regardless, you’re going to have a great time no matter how you dress… but take it from us, you’ll enjoy that extra bit of magic that comes along with cosplaying.
A Muggle’s Guide to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a multi-part series, so make sure to subscribe and follow us on social media to know when the next part is published!
A Muggle’s Guide to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is part of the Disney Adventures collaboration between The Nerdventurists and Alston Stephanus of Alston Stephanus Accessories. Check him out on Instagram & his company!
Photos and video by Noriko Sugiura.