Actor Tom Felton gives USA TODAY’s Bryan Alexander an early peek at the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood. Felton played Draco Malfoy in the ‘Harry Potter’ films.
He might have played villainous Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, but Tom Felton’s appearance in person at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood brought pure joy to fans.
One euphoria-frozen fan even burst into tears as Felton, 28, walked the grounds of the major attraction, which officially opens Thursday.
For the British actor, who now resides in Los Angeles, it was emotional stepping back into the world he inhabited for eight Harry Potter films.
“It is really cool to have a place like this to come back to,” says Felton. “Every time I get homesick, I can come here and re-live a bit of my childhood.”
Felton gave USA TODAY a homecoming tour of the site. Here are his must-hits:
Drinks at Three Broomsticks
Felton felt at home in the rustic Three Broomsticks tavern. While he sampled the adult Dragon Scale ale, Felton insisted his favorite was the (non-alcoholic) Butterbeer, which students depicted in J.K. Rowling’s Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry enjoy. Felton recalls drinking plenty of prop Butterbeer on the Potter set.
“It’s amazing that they took the time and made the food and drinks from Hogwarts a reality,” says Felton. “And a frozen one is particularly good when it’s hot.”
Wand selection at Ollivanders
Surprisingly, the star who played wand-wielding Malfoy never kept a magical instrument from Harry Potter (the props mostly went into museums). But after a meeting with a Wandkeeper at Ollivanders, makers of fine wands, Felton was sorted with his own.
“I didn’t have one, but I do now. They didn’t let us keep the real ones,” says Felton. “You’d think there would be thousands of them, but they only had two of mine.”
Kitting out at Gladrags Wizardwear
Felton inducted USA TODAY’s reporter into Malfoy’s Slytherin house with an impromptu robe ceremony (and lethal tie-fitting) at Gladrags, the Hogwarts wizarding apparel store. The robes are legit: Felton pointed out the hidden, built-in wand holder and pockets.
“When we were filming, they sewed these pockets up because I would put chocolate and sweets in there,” says Felton.
Sugar fix from Honeydukes
Honeydukes candy is a hit with Hogwarts students and Felton, who enjoyed the chocolate frog and Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans. Proceed with caution, though — some of the unique jelly bean flavors are gross.
“It’s a fun game, you give them to your friends — the good ones first and then the bad ones,” says Felton, chewing away. “I think I just tried earthworm.”
Toy time at Zonko’s Joke Shop
Felton loves the playthings at the famed Hogsmeade Village toymaker, especially the elephant-on-a-bike wind-up toy, which he rolls right into a wall.
“I have one of these at home,” he says. “He is not a great bike driver.”
Exploring Hogwarts Castle
The main Wizarding World attraction is Hogwarts itself, which houses the 3-D-HD ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. The trip through Hogwarts is filled with Potter re-creations including a hall of talking portraits, which makes the man who played Draco smile.
“It’s all quite remarkable,” says Felton. “I’m just feeling joyous and happy.”
credit : USA Today / photo credit : Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY