Universal Studios Florida
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley
(July 8, 2014 - present)
History and photos of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley, the new Harry Potter-themed expansion area in Universal Studios Florida at Universal Orlando.
In June of 2010, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened in Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park. The Harry Potter-themed expansion re-themed part of The Lost Continent section of the theme park along with adding new content next to Jurassic Park.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter added Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, a major attraction set inside a replica of Hogwarts Castle. The area re-themed The Flying Unicorn into Flight of the Hippogriff, and the Dueling Dragons roller coasters were changed to Dragon Challenge. A steam engine for Hogwarts Express was also added in addition to several highly themed shops and eating areas. For fans of Harry Potter, and those people who enjoy richly detailed environments in theme parks, this expansion was a dream come true. Fans packed Islands of Adventure, and the theme park has seen a significant boost in attendance since that large expansion to the park.
The executives at Universal Orlando knew they had a hit on their hands with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It was just a question of how to capitalize on their creation and further expand the adventures from those magical films.
Unfortunately to fans of Jaws, the answer to the Harry Potter expansion resided with Amity Island and the classic boat ride. Jaws was closed for good on January 2, 2012, and the demolition of the ride and Amity area began almost immediately. Later that month it was revealed that the former Amity area would be home to a new Harry Potter expansion project.
To help differentiate the two Harry Potter areas in Universal's Islands of Adventure (IOA) and Universal Studios Florida (USF), the original area in IOA was renamed to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade, and the new expansion in USF would be named The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley.
On July 8, 2014, the new Diagon Alley themed land opened in Universal Studios Florida.
Diagon Alley is a heavily themed section of USF, and it's really three themed areas inside of one. The experience begins when walking through London, England, and then passing through the magical barrier into Diagon Alley. On the left side of Diagon Alley is a passageway to the dark and sinister Knockturn Alley.
In Universal Studios Florida, Diagon Alley begins with a street themed to London, England. The vast majority of Diagon Alley is hidden beyond this façade of homes, shops and other structures. It's here in London where you can visit The Knight Bus and have a chat with the conductor and the wisecracking shrunken head (just like in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban).
It's also in London where you'll find the King's Cross Station for the Hogwarts Express. Providing that you have a park-to-park admission ticket, you may use the steam train to take a magical journey to Hogsmeade in Universal's Islands of Adventure, and vice-versa.
The majority of Diagon Alley lies beyond a secret passageway in the middle of London. After passing through the brick wall and the magical barrier, you'll discover the heart of Diagon Alley, a busy street full of shops, restaurants, and other matters of business pertaining to witches and wizards. The centerpiece of Diagon Alley is the Gringotts Wizarding Bank at the end of the street, and the fire-breathing dragon perched on top of the bank.
The main attraction in Diagon Alley is Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. The new Harry Potter ride is a thrilling ride that is part dark ride, part roller coaster, and nearly entirely in high-definition 3D.
Other highlights in Diagon Alley include:
- Knockturn Alley - A dark and sinister side street where evil lurks around every corner. This is where you'll find the Borgin & Burkes store for all of your dark magic needs.
- Leaky Cauldron - A counter-service restaurant where you can stop and have a bite to eat.
- Gringotts Money Exchange - A store where you can exchange currency for currency good throughout Diagon Alley.
- Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes - A candy and joke shop managed by the Weasley brothers.
- Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment - Another store full of magic-related items. This store also serves as the exit for Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride.
Additional photo pages for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley include:
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