APARAECIUM! Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley Secrets Revealed

Harry Potter continues to be arguably the hottest theme park property on the planet.  When Universal Orlando resort first opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in their Islands of Adventure theme park in 2010, people waited for hours to squeeze into the narrow streets and shops of Hogsmeade.  Now, Universal’s at it again, in May 2013 they announced the planned construction of London’s Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida, and a connection of the two Wizarding Worlds via the Hogwarts Express.  Since that time, a hush has fallen over the resort – until today, and APARAECIUM!, Diagon Alley’s secrets were revealed.  Continue reading for more concepts drawings, images, and renderings from Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley including Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, the Leaky Cauldron Restaurant, the Knight Bus and an expanded Olivanders Wand Shop back in its rightful place in Diagon Alley as well as the full webcast announcing the features of the new land.

Update August 7, 2014

Today Universal Orlando celebrated ONE MILLION riders on the Hogwarts Express.  WOW, that milestone was reached quickly!  Cheers from guests filled the air at Hogsmeade Station as nearly two hundred guests were given complimentary Butterbeer ice-cream to commemorate the special occasion.

Universal Orlando Diagon Alley - Hogwarts Express

© 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved. HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. (s14)

 

If you can’t get to Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley to take a ride, hop aboard the train and watch our video journey.

Update July 22, 2014

On July 21, 2014, television actress Jennette McCurdy stopped by Universal Orlando Resort to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley to enjoy some delicious Butterbeer ice-cream at Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour and experience the brand-new attraction Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.  Jennette McCurdy is best known for her role as Sam Puckett on the hit Nickelodeon TV series “iCarly” and on its spin-off series “Sam & Cat.”

Jennette McCurdy at Diagon Alley

Jennette McCurdy at Diagon Alley, photo by Octavian Cantilli © 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

 

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley – located at Universal Studios Florida – celebrated its Grand Opening on July 8, 2014 and is home to Diagon Alley and the iconic Gringotts Wizarding Bank, which houses the groundbreaking Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts attraction.  Guests can now have the journey of a lifetime aboard the Hogwarts Express and experience more of Harry Potter’s adventures.

Update June 6, 2014

The Weasley’s paid a visit to Diagon Alley.  James Phelps, Oliver Phelps and Bonnie Wright from the popular Harry Potter film series enjoyed a sneak peek of the highly anticipated, spectacularly themed environment, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida.

Photo by Kevin Kolczynski © 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

Photo by Kevin Kolczynski © 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

Photo by Sheri Lowen © 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

Photo by Sheri Lowen © 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

 

The actors – who portrayed siblings Fred, George and Ginny Weasley in the films – toured the new land with Thierry Coup, Senior Vice President of Universal Creative, and Alan Gilmore, Art Director of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the Harry Potter films.

Photo by Kevin Kolczynski © 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

Photo by Kevin Kolczynski © 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

 

During their visit, they:

  • Took the journey between Hogsmeade Station and King’s Cross Station aboard the Hogwarts Express
  • Stepped inside memorable shops within Diagon Alley, including the Weasley twins’ very own shop – Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes
Photo by Sheri Lowen © 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

Photo by Sheri Lowen © 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

Photo by Kevin Kolczynski © 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

Photo by Kevin Kolczynski © 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

 

  • Encountered goblins at work in the ornate marble hall of Gringotts bank
Photo by Roberto Gonzalez © 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

Photo by Roberto Gonzalez © 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

 

  • Sampled the world’s only Butterbeer ice-cream at Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour
Photo by Kevin Kolczynski © 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

Photo by Kevin Kolczynski © 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

 

  • Dined on traditional British fare at Leaky Cauldron
Photo by Sheri Lowen © 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

Photo by Sheri Lowen © 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

 

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley opens later this summer and will double the size of the sweeping land already found at Universal Orlando, expanding the spectacularly themed environment across both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.

Update June 5, 2014

Details of entertainment, shows, and interactive experiences for Diagon Alley released, including performances of “The Tale of the Three Brothers” as seen in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1.  Click here for more information.

Diagon Alley Entertainment

Update May 30, 2014

Universal Orlando Resort revealed details about the variety of new food and beverage options which will be available in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.  From traditional British favorites like Bangers and Mash to ice-cream with unique flavors such as Chocolate Chili and Sticky Toffee Pudding, guests will savor all-new dining experiences created exclusively for the new land.

Food at Diagon Alley

© 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

 

Universal Orlando’s culinary team has gone to great lengths to ensure the food experience in Diagon Alley is as authentic as possible.  After years of studying the books and films; gathering inspiration from British pubs; developing authentic recipes with imported ingredients from England; and holding countless tastings, Universal’s culinary team, in collaboration with Warner Bros., has created an incredible variety of new foods and beverages the whole family can enjoy, in environments inspired by popular locations from the Harry Potter series.

Food at Diagon Alley

© 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

 

Guests can stop inside the Leaky Cauldron, the popular wizarding pub and inn where they will be greeted by the savory smells of traditional British dishes such as Bangers and Mash (traditional roasted  sausages with creamy mashed potatoes), Fisherman’s Pie (salmon, shrimp and cod baked together under a potato crust), Toad in the Hole (traditional sausage baked into a Yorkshire pudding and served with onion gravy), Fish and Chips, and the Ploughman’s – a feast of English cheese, crusty bread, cornichon pickles, apple beet salad, Branston pickle and a Scotch egg). Guests can also sip on new draught beers created exclusively for the land – Wizard’s Brew and Dragon Scale – and enjoy popular drinks, like Pumpkin Juice and Butterbeer, as well as new beverages like Fishy Green Ale and Tongue Tying Lemon Squash.

Food at Diagon Alley

© 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

 

Further down Diagon Alley is Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour, the same ice-cream shop where Hagrid bought Harry a chocolate and raspberry ice-cream with chopped nuts in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”  Stepping inside the whimsical and colorful shop, guests can indulge in more than 20 tantalizing and unique ice-cream flavors including Earl Grey and Lavender, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Chocolate Chili, Clotted Cream, Salted Caramel Blondie, Apple Crumble, Strawberry and Peanut-Butter, Orange Marmalade and even a soft-serve ice-cream flavor of Butterbeer.  Also available will be a variety of fresh pastries, scones, tarts and sweet cakes.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley

© 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

 

In Horizont Alley – a street branching off Diagon Alley – guests can enjoy delicious elixirs from Eternelle’s Elixir of Refreshment.  The available elixir selection at this cart includes Draught of Peace, Babbling Beverage, Elixir to Induce Euphoria and Fire Protection Potion.  By adding these magical elixirs to Gillywater, guests will see their drink transform before their eyes and experience delightful flavor surprises.

Update May 17, 2014

A series of photos of Diagon Alley were published by USA Today Travel – all images are courtesy Universal Orlando © 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.  Click here for the USA Today piece with VIDEO.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon AlleyWizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon AlleyWizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon AlleyWizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon AlleyWizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon AlleyWizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon AlleyWizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon AlleyWizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon AlleyWizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon AlleyWizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley

Update May 9, 2014

Universal Orlando will announce new details regarding Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts on Tuesday, May 13.  They also released a new rendering of the signature attraction for Diagon Alley.  Click here for all the details on the new ride.

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

Update May 8, 2014

Universal Orlando released a quick VIDEO glimpse at the Goblins inside Gringotts Bank for Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts coming to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.

Update March 14, 2014

Universal Orlando announces Hogwarts Express will contain animated sequences including Hagrid, Dementors, and more on the route from Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade Station (and back).  Click here for more details.

Hagrid at Hogsmeade Station

© 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

 

Update March 10, 2014

On Friday, March 14, Universal Orlando Resort will reveal NEW details about the Hogwarts Express experience that guests will enjoy.

Original post from January 23 follows below…

London Embankment - Diagon Alley

Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR.(s14) © 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

Diagon Alley

Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. (s14) © 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

From Universal Orlando’s Press Release

Never before has a theme park created a guest experience like this: you climb aboard the Hogwarts Express in Hogsmeade and moments later arrive at King’s Cross Station – where the wonders of London and Diagon Alley unfold before you.  And it is all real.

Hogsmeade Station

Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. (s14) © 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

 

With this summer’s opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. Entertainment will bring even more of Harry Potter’s adventures to life inside a new, magnificently themed area that includes a revolutionary attraction experience, as well as all-new themed shops and dining.

The two companies today revealed first-ever details about the new area and the one-of-a-kind adventures it will offer the whole family.  The spectacularly themed environment will double the size of the sweeping area already dedicated to Harry Potter’s adventures at Universal Orlando, expanding it across both Universal theme parks.

And – just like in the books and films – guests will be able to travel between the two areas aboard the iconic Hogwarts Express.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogwarts Express

Universal Orlando launched a global phenomenon when it opened The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at its Islands of Adventure theme park in 2010.  That area includes the iconic Hogwarts castle – which houses the groundbreaking Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction – and the village of Hogsmeade.  The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will be located within Universal Orlando’s second theme park, Universal Studios, and will create new experiences based on the signature areas of London, Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley.

Universal’s creative team has been working closely with Stuart Craig and the production team from the Harry Potter films to make the new area as authentic and spectacular as possible – just as it did with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade.

The vision for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley is unprecedented, with Universal Orlando creating the world’s first centrally themed, multi-park experience.

King's Cross Station

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. (s14) © 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

 

After arriving at King’s Cross Station aboard the Hogwarts Express, guests will pass through London and the iconic brick wall archway from the films into Diagon Alley – a bustling, wizarding hub within a Muggle city.  There will be shops, dining experiences, and a new ride called Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts – a multi-sensory, multi-dimensional journey that will take theme park attractions to a new level.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will give visitors the exciting opportunity to:

  • Board the Hogwarts Express and journey between London’s King’s Cross Station (located in Universal Studios Florida) and Hogsmeade Station (located in Universal’s Islands of Adventure). The journey will be filled with views of London and the British countryside – as well as a few surprises. Park-to-park admission is required.
  • Experience a groundbreaking new, multi-dimensional thrill ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, which will place riders in the middle of an incredible adventure as they navigate their way through the perils of the Gringotts vaults
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. (s14) © 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

 

  • Witness the magical experience of a wand choosing a wizard at Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 BC, one of the wizarding world’s premier wand shops
Ollivanders

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. (s14) © 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

 

  • Discover the darker side of magic in Knockturn Alley, the darkest of dark places that features Borgin and Burkes – a shop specializing in the Dark Arts that will offer a wide variety of Dark objects, such as Death Eater masks, skulls, and other sinister items
Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. (s14) © 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

 

    • Explore some of Diagon Alley’s famous shops, including:
      • Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, a vibrant shop featuring novelty items, magical jokes, and toys inspired by the books and films that will amaze the mischievous child in everyone
      • Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, where guests will find a variety of wizardwear from Hogwarts school uniform ties, scarves and jumpers, to authentic wizard’s robes and character costumes
      • Magical Menagerie, which features a collection of plush animals, such as owls and Hippogriffs
      • Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, where guests can grab wizarding essentials such as telescopes, binoculars, armillary spheres, compasses, magnifying glasses and hourglasses
      • Quality Quidditch Supplies, offering a wide assortment of apparel and equipment including Quidditch sweaters, brooms, Golden Snitches, Bludgers, Bludger bats, Quaffles and more
      • Scribbulus, featuring authentic writing implements and products such as feather quills, ink and inkwells, bookmarks, journals, parchment paper, seals, stationery sets and postcards

      Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment

      The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. (s14) © 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

 

  • Enjoy traditional British fare that includes favorite dishes such as fish and chips, bangers and mash and more at the Leaky Cauldron
  • Visit Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour for frozen treats in a variety of tantalizing and unique flavors such as strawberry-and-peanut-butter ice-cream and many others
  • And more!
Florean Fortescue's Ice-Cream Parlour

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. (s14) © 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

 

More details about the unique experiences that can be found in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will be released over time.  For more information about the area, visit www.universalorlando.com/harrypotter.

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About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.