The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will be opening up soon and that’s reason enough to be excited, but here are 7 specific reasons (WHICH MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!!!) why we’re looking forward to visiting Diagon Alley:
1) Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts will undoubtedly be the best attraction in Diagon Alley and possibly all of Universal Orlando. Mixing roller coaster elements with 3-D 4k digital high definition among sets that are deemed ’360-degree themed’ and state-of-the-art audio animatronics will set this attraction apart from anything else ever done before. If that’s not enough, Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Warwick Davis (Griphook), Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange), Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort) and Domhnall Gleeson (Bill Weasley) are all known to be reprising their roles for the attraction. If that’s still not enough, there will be a 60-foot, fire-breathing Ukranian Ironbelly sitting on top of the bank. It will surely become the “must-do” attraction at Universal Studios Florida. Click here to see more about Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.
2) Hogwart’s Express
Many Harry Potter fans have dreamed about having the chance to ride the Hogwarts Express to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and now they will be able to with park-to-park admission! Muggles will be able to board from Platform 9¾ at Kings Cross in London to depart to Hogwarts or make a return trip back to London from the Hogsmeade Station. Each way you will see different sites so keep an eye out for Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), the Weasley twins (James and Oliver Phelps) and possibly even Dementors…
3) RUMOR – No Exterior Queues
It really wasn’t a surprise that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was going to be a success, but Universal wasn’t prepared for how much of a success it actually was. One of the biggest surprises was the need for queues to get into shops. The rumor spreading right now is Universal has planned ahead this time around and made most of the queues for shops, restaurants and attractions inside or covered, so there won’t be disastrous 90-minute lines in the burning Florida sun like there currently can be during busy periods at Ollivanders in Hogsmeade. Of course, this doesn’t mean all the queues will be indoors, but if Universal uses strict return ticketing to get into Diagon Alley then queues in the land can be more easily controlled.
4) RUMOR – Interactive Wands
A rumor has been circulating for awhile now that interactive wands will have a presence in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and at this point it has basically been confirmed, but it still remains a rumor until Universal officially announces it. New features and details have begun popping up in Hogsmeade, which are believed to be apart of the addition of interactive elements to the original Wizarding World, but Diagon Alley will come prepared with these added touches. It is even believed that the elements will be added in the Ollivanders Wand Shop in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade to make the shows more interactive and realistic. As if Universal wasn’t making enough money already on wands, now they will really rake in the cash by selling interactive wands.
5) Knockturn Alley
One of the biggest elements lacking in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade was the presence of the dark arts. Yeah, the Defense Against the Dark Arts room was present in Hogwarts and during Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey you witness the dark mark, but other than that it is a very happy-go-lucky place. That is changing with Diagon Alley and Borgin and Burkes will end up becoming one of the most popular shopping locations in the expansion.
6) Diagon Alley
Yes, it is hard to choose which shops, restaurants or attractions will be the best in Diagon Alley (besides Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, of course) so it is easier to just say everything in Diagon Alley will be amazing. The Leaky Cauldron is sure to serve up some of the best food in Universal Studios Florida (technically, The Leaky Cauldron is in London, but it contains the entrance to Diagon Alley) along with Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour. The Original (and expanded) Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands Since 382 B.C., Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, Magical Menagerie, Madame Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, Scribbulus, Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment and Quality Quidditch Supplies will always be packed full of Muggles trying to buy the best products of the Wizarding World. It really is too difficult to choose which will be best until it is fully open.
Right now, the only thing visible to guests is the London Embankment facade and it is stunning. A lot of attention to detail has been placed in this very small section and most impressively, it blends in perfectly with its next door neighbor, San Francisco. If the perfect theming isn’t good enough then hopefully the Knight Bus sitting out front will be.