If you’ve been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort, you know what an incredible, immersing experience it is. If you haven’t, and you’re a fan of the Harry Potter books and/or movies, I promise you’ll love it. But if you’re thinking about going, you might want to wait until this summer, because the existing Hogsmeade/Hogwarts area is about to get a huge new addition: Diagon Alley, to be located in the Universal Studios park (whereas the existing attraction is in the Islands of Adventure park).
Today, Universal Orlando released a ton of details about Diagon Alley, and it sounds, if possible, even more amazing than Hogsmeade/Hogwarts already is:
- First, of course, is the new ride: Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, which will put visitors in the middle of an adventure much like the one Harry, Ron, and Hermione take in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. Since it promises to be even more spectacular than the existing Hogwarts ride, I can’t wait!
- Awesomely, visitors with park-to-park tickets will be able to ride the Hogwarts Express between the two areas! And instead of just seeing the rest of the parks and CityWalk, visitors will (somehow) be treated to views of London and the British countryside. This will fix one of the flaws the existing attraction had: It had a Hogwarts Express locomotive, but it just sat there.
- Knockturn Alley will be there, too, with Borgin and Burkes allowing visitors to finally buy those instruments of the Dark Arts they’ve been craving. Want an authentic-looking Death Eater mask? You’ll be able to get one.
- The various shops that are on the street in the books and movies will be there for visitors’ shopping pleasure: Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, Madam Malkin’s Robes shop, Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, Magical Menagerie, Quality Quidditch Supplies, and Scribbulus (stationery and other writing supplies).
- There will, of course, be an Ollivander’s wand shop, because Diagon Alley is where it’s actually supposed to be in the stories, and this one will be much bigger. I would assume they’ll keep the one in Hogsmeade open, anyway, because it’s such an incredibly popular attraction and store.
- Not one, but two new restaurants will be there: The Leaky Cauldron (which visitors will of course pass through on their way to Diagon Alley), which will serve “traditional British fare… such as fish and chips, bangers and mash and more,” according to the official press release. And, awesomely, Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour, which they promise will have a lot of “tantalizing and unique flavors such as strawberry-and-peanut butter.” You have to think that an ice cream parlor in Orlando will be a popular place.
Check out some of the concept art for the new area above and below. And check back here on GeekDad – I promise to pass on any information on Diagon Alley I get as soon as I can, and I hope to review the new area as soon as it’s possible to do so.
Images: Universal Orlando Resort