Harry Potter fans rejoice! Universal Orlando has released additional details on its much anticipated expansion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We previously gave a Universal Orlando Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion update, where we stated that the new expansion will come in the form of Diagon Alley behind a facade of London. Universal has now released additional details, giving Potter fans young and old plenty to look forward to later this year when Diagon Alley officially opens at Universal Studios.
In the Harry Potter series, young Wizarding students must board the Hogwarts Express in order to travel from London to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The creative team at Universal are replicating that journey by allowing guests to enter through a London facade at Universal Studios in order to reach King’s Cross Station, home to Platform 9 3/4. It is here where guests will be able to board a real life Hogwarts Express that will take them to the original Wizarding World area of Hogsmeade at the Islands of Adventure park. Guests in Hogsmeade can similarly board the Hogwarts Express to visit Diagon Alley at Universal Studios. Please note that since the journey transports guests from one park to another, a park-to-park ticket will be required.
Just as Hogsmeade has a centerpiece attraction in Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey located in Hogwarts, Diagon Alley will have one of its own. Located at Gringotts Bank, the financial institution for all magical people, will be Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, a thrill ride that mimics the escape route taken by Harry, Ron, and Hermione in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Those familiar with the story will know that a fire-breathing dragon plays a critical role in the escape from Gringotts. Guests will be able to see this dragon for themselves as it will be sitting atop the bank.
There are plenty of other exciting additions in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley area:
- Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 BC – The famous wand shop where Harry’s wand selects him (and not the other way around). This will be a larger wand shop than the one currently residing in Hogsmeade.
- Knockturn Alley & Borgin and Burkes – An area for wizards interested in the Dark Arts.
- Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes – The Weasley twins’ novelty store that offers plenty of hijinks and practical jokes. Note that Zonko’s at Hogsmeade will close thus making more room for the sweets at Honeydukes.
- Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions – A shop for those wishing to don their own authentic wizard attire.
- Magical Menagerie – No Hogwarts student should be without a pet. Be wary of selecting a rat though. Just ask Ron Weasley.
- Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment – School supplies for Hogwarts students are much different than those of muggle students. Notebooks, pencils, and paper will need to be accompanied by a sneakoscope and time turner right? Let’s hope we can find some here.
- Quality Quidditch Supplies – Whether you’re a beater, chaser, keeper, or like Harry a seeker, you will find all the requisite equipment you need here. And if you don’t know what those words mean, then perhaps a visit is still in order to get familiarized with the most popular sport in the wizarding world.
- Scribbulus – Home to all the authentic writing tools wizards need in order to send an owl post.
Of course the Diagon Alley expansion would not be complete without accounting for one of my favorite pastimes … eating!
- The Leaky Cauldron – The English style pub that promises to deliver authentic British dishes including Fish & Chips and Bangers & Mash.
- Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour – Just as the name implies this is the place for desserts galore! We imagine there are plenty of kids willing to try strawberry-and-peanut-butter ice cream. Yes you read that right. The flavors here promise to be one-of-a-kind.
While there is no official opening date for Diagon Alley in place yet, Universal is looking to open the area sometime in the summer of 2014. Meanwhile kids who love the Harry Potter series will be eagerly anticipating the moment they can experience these attractions for themselves. Okay a lot of us adults will be too.
Which Diagon Alley attraction will you and your family experience first?