Having lived in Florida pretty much our whole lives, my family is lucky enough to visit the theme parks almost regularly. Every time we go somewhere, there is always something that we had missed before so no matter how many times you go, you can always find little hidden gems. Universal Orlando Resort has secret features and attractions. You can talk to Nagini in Diagon Alley, unlock a hidden song on Rip Ride Rocket, or vanish through a brick wall on Platform 9 3/4. Enhance your next visit with a scavenger hunt to find these easily overlooked gems!
Find Dr. Seuss
For the younger set, you can show them what the real Dr. Seuss looked like. As you walk down Mulberry Street near the Seuss Trolley Train Ride, look for a police motorcycle you can sit on for a photo opportunity. Above the motorcycle are three characters holding flags. Dr. Seuss is the man on the left in the glasses.
Talk to the Goblin at the Money Exchange
At Gringott’s Money Exchange in Diagon Alley, guests can trade their Muggle cash for Wizard money to be used anywhere in the park. But don’t miss the opportunity to have a conversation with the goblin handling the transaction! Ask him a question and he will respond — gruffly, as goblins do. Try asking him about the dragon at Gringott’s.
Spot Special Guests in the Queues
Most of the ride queue lines are indoors so your family doesn’t melt in the heat, and guests are treated to a multitude of distractions to help the time fly. Many rides have video clips that immerse you in the theme of the ride. There are also subtle nods to older rides that have been replaced. On the queue for The Simpsons Ride, be on the lookout for an appearance by an animated Doc Brown — a nod to one of the original rides at Universal, Back to the Future. In the treasure room at the start of the Revenge of the Mummy ride, look to the front left of the room for a gold statue of King Kong beating his chest — commemorating the old King Kong ride. And on the Men in Black: Alien Attack ride, watch closely for your chance to shoot Steven Spielberg!
Spot the Hidden “Adam” in Marvel Super Hero Island Art
This is our favorite challenge. Adam Kubert, the artist behind the huge superheroes on Marvel Super Hero Island, was not allowed to sign his name on his works, but he found a way to hide an “Adam” in each piece. As we stood studying every inch of the paintings, a few people asked what we were looking at. We felt pretty special sharing the secret!
Venture Down Knockturn Alley
It’s easy to miss this entire section of Diagon Alley. The dark, brick alley looks like it might be a dead end, but wander in, if you dare. Don’t miss Borgin and Burkes, where you’ll find the famous vanishing cabinet and all forms of incredible Dark Arts artifacts. It’s a treat for the senses — once your eyes get accustomed to the dark!
Pass Through the Wall on Platform 9 3/4
This is a must-see experience. Universal has created an effect that allows people in the queue to see those ahead seemingly pass through a solid brick wall to Platform 9 3/4. You have a better chance of seeing the phenomenon if the line for the Hogwarts Express at Kings Cross Station is on the longer side and you have to stand in the queue. We went on a light day and walked right through without noticing, so we asked an attendant to help us find it. The “wall” is where you enter the tunnel to the platform, but you can’t see the effect as you walk through — only those in line behind you and around a corner will see it. If you miss it and find yourself on the platform ready to board the train, ask an attendant to show you. We had someone take us back to the spot, then escort us to the front of the line so we didn’t have to wait again.
Listen to the Troll Groan
Legend has it there is a troll under the bridge behind the Mythos Restaurant, but he’s not always awake. We wandered around, even stomping on the bridge to “wake” the troll, but didn’t hear anything. Still, it’s worth a walk back there to enjoy the scenery and see if you can hear the troll groaning.
Call the Ministry of Magic
Step inside the red phone booth in front of Kings Cross Station for a little magic. Everyone loves the photo op, but many don’t know you can actually use the phone. Just dial MAGIC (62442) and you’ll hear a special message from the Ministry of Magic.
Tour the Men in Black Immigration Room
This tour is part of the VIP experience you can purchase at Universal Orlando Resort. But visitors say you can get into the immigration room — seen only from above on the queue for the ride — if you ask a crew member and it’s a slow day at the park. It can’t hurt to ask!
Unlock Secret Songs on Rip Ride Rocket
When boarding this roller coaster, you get to choose from a list of songs to listen to during your ride. To unlock a secret playlist of songs, hold the logo button for 10 seconds after buckling in and enter any three-digit number.
Send a Letter from Hogsmeade
Want to let your family back home know you’ve crossed over into the magical realm of Harry Potter? Have your letter ready and visit the Owl Post in Hogsmeade Village to send mail with a Hogsmeade postmark.
Watch New TV Shows and Commercials
Look for recruiters who are scouting out guests to bring to the Preview Center at Universal Studios. Here, you’ll be able to watch new TV shows and commercials and give your feedback. Your opinion helps decide what the next big thing might be!
Talk to Nagini
At the Magical Menagerie shop in Diagon Alley, you’ll find Nagini, pet snake of He Who Shall Not Be Named, up near the oversized windows. It is said that the glass separating you from Nagini is enchanted with parseltongue, and you can hear the snake talk to you.
Know any more fun secrets that you would like to share? Let us know in the comments below!