Don’t mind me, I’m just going to geek out for a bit about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a new theme park opening in June at Universal Studios, Orlando. I’m a potter fan, and have been keeping an eye on some of the plans for the park. I’ve often been underwhelmed by the news reports–what was being touted as a whole theme park is really just a world in the existing Islands of Adventure park, and they opted to build Hogwarts over an existing medieval castle ride. It seems like most of the Harry Potter themed attractions are just re-brandings of the existing rides in the area.
That being said, I’ve started to get a bit more excited about the shops and restaurants the more I hear. Universal really does seem to be offering the chance to immerse yourself in the world of Harry Potter, and I think that could be really fun. Especially for kids. I thought it might be kind of fun to take a look at what kinds of foods Universal plans to offer. From the official website:
Three Broomsticks in a rustic tavern where visitors to Hogsmeade can come to share a pint of Butterbeer or pumpkin juice and dine on hearty fare. In this restaurant you can choose from such entries as the “Great Feast Platter,” fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, Cornish pasty, turkey legs & fresh vegetables. Children’s menu items include chicken, macaroni & cheese, fish and chips, and chicken fingers, each served with grapes and applesauce. Dessert choices include apple pie, strawberry and peanut butter ice cream, and chocolate trifle. At the rear of the Three Broomsticks tavern is the Hog’s Head pub. Here the family can enjoy Butterbeer, pumpkin juice, and other beverages while adults sample the pub’s selection of domestic and imported beers, specialty drinks, wine, spirits, and mixed drinks.
Recently, one of my favorite Harry Potter news sites, The Leaky Cauldron, posted a review of the food that’s going to be available at the Harry Potter themed restaurant. You can read the full review here, if you’re interested. I was excited to hear about a few things being done right.
- The Butterbeer recipes were tested by J.K. Rowling herself, and she chose the version that will be sold at the parks.
- Everything seems crazy-faithful to the books. The strawberry and peanut butter ice cream is taken from a tiny cameo appearance in book 2. That’s how much thought they’ve put into it. From the reviews at The Leaky Cauldron, it sounds like everything is lifted straight from the books, which is awesome.
- Pumpkin juice will be bottled and sold (not Butterbeer, though. Boo!).
- The food’s at the THREE BROOMSTICKS, duh. That’s cool.
- So is the Hog’s Head pub in the back.
It sounds like Universal is putting a lot of care into recreating the Harry Potter world. And honestly, I think they can handle the job, having been to Universal Studies and having seen things like the crazy flora surrounding the Jurassic Park area. Wikipedia says the attraction covers six acres of land and contains 353 palm trees of eleven species, 300 bamboo plants of six varieties, and 7,441 shrubs, plants, and flowers of seventy six species. I don’t know about all those plants, but I know that it FEELS like you’ve just been dumped into Jurassic Park. The food is just one small piece of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but if they put this much care into just the concessions, I think it really bodes well for the whole area.
And as Melissa of the Leaky Cauldron pointed out: “Just think…we haven’t even been to Honeydukes yet.”
P.S. Melissa Anelli of the Leaky Cauldron wrote an awesome book about Harry Potter fans called “Harry: A History.” If you’re interested in Harry Potter, or even just the story of how the crazed fan-base grew online, you should check it out. If you like Harry Potter AND are a part of some online HP community, you pretty much don’t have a choice. Get the book.