When Universal’s Islands of Adventure opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction in 2010, it was an instant success. Muggles from every corner of the planet flocked to the park to enjoy butterbeer, Olivander’s Wand Shop, and even Hogwarts itself in the faithfully recreated town of Hogsmeade. With success like that, it’s no surprise that Universal is now gearing up to open its second Harry Potter attraction on July 8th: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley. In anticipation of the grand opening, Collider was recently invited to the Orlando theme park for an extensive sneak peek at the new Diagon Alley attraction. I’ll have my full, in-depth report up soon, but suffice it to say it’s a wonderfully immersive experience that’s sure to make fans very, very happy.
During this preview event, I was able to snap a large batch of pictures of the Diagon Alley area. After the jump, you’ll find looks at the towering, goblin-filled Gringotts bank (topped by a fire-breathing dragon, no less), a multitude of shops, Flourean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour, the Leaky Cauldron, Knockturn Alley, and of course, the brand new Hogwarts Express ride.
While I’ll have an in-depth report on the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley attraction up soon, here’s a brief overview: Diagon Alley is an extension of the existing Hogsmeade theme park area, which is located in Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Diagon Alley, however, is found in the neighboring Universal Studios park, and connects to Hogsmeade via the excellent Hogwarts Express ride.
In order to enter Diagon Alley, one must first pass through a London façade, complete with a Kings Cross station leading to and from the Hogwarts Express. Once inside Diagon Alley, visitors will find that the attraction is an insanely detailed recreation of author J.K. Rowling’s location from the Harry Potter book series, which is a bustling, shop-filled district exclusive to the magically inclined.
Again, I have much more to say about my visit, which you’ll be able to read here on Collider soon. For now, enjoy this collection of photos as a teaser of sorts.
click on any image for high-res