Over the last few years I have been fortunate enough to attend both The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida, USA and The Warner Brothers Studio Tour in Watford, England twice. They are very different experiences but both have plenty for my fellow Potterheads to fall in love with. One must-do experience whichever you visit is trying the famous Butterbeer:
I have complete confidence in you,” said Lupin, smiling. “Here — you’ve earned a drink — something from the Three Broomsticks. You won’t have tried it before — ”
He pulled two bottles out of his briefcase.
“Butterbeer!” said Harry, without thinking. “Yeah, I like that stuff!
While this drink maybe a bit too sweet for some if you’ve got a sweet tooth like me it’s a real hit, so who does it better UK or US? Let’s break it down with the battle of the Butterbeer!
This is a question I get asked a lot by people who haven’t been to both locations, does it taste the same? And the answer is simply yes! I have had both multiple times and I have never noticed a difference taste-wise, and although it’s hard to give a definitive answer without tasting both side by side, I think it’s fair to assume they are both working to the same recipe. If you haven’t tasted it, imagine creme soda with butterscotch syrup and a creamy fizzy vanilla topping. It’s definitely one for the sugar fiends and unlike in the books, these versions are alcohol-free.
Winner: A tie, the only person losing out here is your dentist
Value for money
For this one, I am just going to look at the cost for a basic drink without a souvenir glass or any of the added extras. Stateside at The Wizarding World you can expect to pay $6.99 not including tax, amazingly when the Wizarding World first opened in 2010 it was only $2.99! Although this isn’t the cheapest drink you do get a lot for your money at almost a pint. Your plastic cup isn’t reusable but it is branded, however I managed to get a fair few uses out of it before it finally broke. Back in the UK at the studio tour the cost for butterbeer is £4.00 and comes in an unbranded cup and you get less than half of what you get in the US.
Winner: The US comes on top for this one
Souvenir cup options
A souvenir cup at the Wizarding World comes at an extra $6.99 on top of the drink totalling an eye-watering $12.99 plus tax. It’s made of plastic but other than that it fairly closely resembles what you’ve seen in the films, including a fake frosted ‘glass’ effect. The studio tour version is similar in design however it’s smaller and has a slightly changed goblet shape at the bottom.
Sadly I can’t find the cost of this anywhere (if you know drop a comment!) but it has the same frosted glass effect
Winner: It’s a draw, the US is bigger but both shapes can be seen in the film.
Until recently you could only get the basic butterbeer at the Studio tour, however they have now brought out Butterbeer ice cream after it proved to be such a big hit stateside. However, the US wins this one with a total of 6 different varieties including the basic Butterbeer, hot Butterbeer (season dependent), Frozen Butterbeer, Ice cream Butterbeer (possibly my favourite), Butterbeer Fudge and Butterbeer potted cream.
Winner: The Wizarding World is a clear winner here with more choice then you know what to do with
Experience and ambience
Let’s talk about where you actually consume this beverage, is it immersive? In the case of the Wizarding World it’s a big fat yes! Wherever in the two parks, you choose to drink this you are truly immersed in the surroundings, whether it’s inside the Three Broomsticks Pub directly from the pump, from a cart in Hogsmeade or The Fountain of Fair Fortune in Diagon Alley there is nowhere better!
How does the UK compare? Well, in short, it doesn’t! The only place you can get the drink is in the backlot cafe which is as immersive and glamorous as it sounds… It’s a location that screams muggle school cafeteria so perfect if you want a school flashback I guess.
Winner: The Wizarding World takes this like a runaway Hogwarts Express!
Overall winner: Well the Harry Potter books might have been written, set and filmed in the UK but the US are clear winners here, the attention to detail is second to none! However, realistically these are all minor details, wherever you get it you are going to get the same, authentic drink so grab a glass and enjoy!
Have you tried Butterbeer? What did you think? Which would win in your battle of the butterbeer?