Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Diagon Alley Heading To Universal Orlando

Save up your galleons from now and get ready to apparate to Orlando, Florida in Summer 2014. Diagon Alley has been announced as the newest addition to Universal Studios Florida, and expansion of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I wrote about this happening back in 2011 when the park announced they were removing the Jaws section, but now Universal has officially released all the details on this magical expansion that will once again pack every hotel in Orlando.

As expected, both Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure will be connected for the first time with the Hogwarts Express train. Guests who have tickets to both parks will be able to take this train back and forth between the two. Hopefully they keep the dementors away. In addition to the Hogwarts Express as well as new shops and restaurants in Diagon Alley, the main attraction will be be based on Gringotts Bank. You can see in the concept art that Gringotts towers over the rest of the park. It will no doubt be the most state of the art amusement park ride in the world.

And you can guarantee that the Hogwarts Express ride itself won't just be a typical theme park transport system. The on-board experience will be completely innovative and authentic to give Harry Potter fans what they've dreamed of since reading the very first book, entering the train at a replica King's Cross Station in the Universal Studios section or at Hogsmeade in the Islands of Adventure section. JK Rowling & Warner Bros have been involved with the project since the original Wizarding World was developed.

Universal Creative President Mark Woodbury had this to say, "Those meetings are fascinating and wonderful opportunities to have, to be able to talk and collaborate directly with J K Rowling and the Warner Bros. film-makers. This was a big idea. And everybody immediately saw that when we initially laid it all out. And the fact that we wanted to continue to tell the Harry Potter story, the places that we had chosen to develop -- Diagon Alley & London & Gringotts & Hogwarts Express -- were really big ideas and bold moves, I think that the ambition behind that was very much appreciated."

Universal Studios Florida has been quite busy. Transformers: The Ride 3D opens up in June, and the park is also adding to The Simpsons/Springfield section with a Kang & Kodos themed spinning ride, various games, Duff Brewery, Moe's Tavern, Kentucky Fried Panda and Krusty Burger. There have also been various rumors of whats next with Islands of Adventure. Another Jurassic Park ride, a King Kong ride, and a Lord of the Rings section have all been floated around. For now, just enjoy the excitement of Transformers, The Simpsons and of course the big one, the giant Harry Potter expansion.

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