wizarding world

Diagon Alley Nerd Approved 1

The streets of Universal Orlando seemed empty. It was a Thursday morning and the park had only been open for half an hour. I could take photos with no other people in them. A cheerful Despicable Me parade rolled by and only a few spectators gathered to see the adorable Minions. As I walked past Springfield from The Simpsons I realized why the park’s attendees seemed few and far between: we were all headed straight for Diagon Alley.

Universal Orlando recently expanded the popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter to include the colorful and rich Diagon Alley. The area opened in July and includes a plethora of shops and dining options as well as two new attractions: Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts and the Hogwarts Express. The latter takes you between Universal Orlando and Universal Islands of Adventure (a two park ticket is required) and dumps you right into the heart of Hogsmeade near the Hogwarts Castle. Magical? Yes. Worth the trip? Absolutely.

If you’ve visited the Hogsmeade portion of Wizarding World, you know what kind of detailed theming Universal is capable of providing. I’m pleased to say they went above and beyond to make Diagon Alley even better and more immersive.

Read all about my experience, the food (butterbeer ice cream!), and the new rides after the break. And yes, I’ve got plenty of photos for you to enjoy.

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interactive wands

The Diagon Alley expansion of Universal Orlandos’ Wizarding World is getting closer and closer to opening. Besides the new shops, food, and attractions, Universal is also introducing a fun feature for both Diagon Alley and the existing Hogsmeade area: interactive wands.

You’ll be able to buy them in both locations, and then you take the wands to various shop windows with bronze medallions in front of them and cast spells. A map will guide you to the medallions and tell you the correct spells. Once you say the incantation and swish and flick, interesting things will happen in the shop window in front of you.

Watch the Weasley siblings from Harry Potter demonstrate how the wands work in the video after the break.

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Universal Orlando Resort has revealed some fantastic images and a video for its new Escape From Gringott’s attraction set to open this summer. This 3D ride features 4K hi-definition media and a 360-degree set to make it a truly unique adventure. There will be interactive goblin tellers, Bellatrix Lestrange trying to blast you to bits, and a 60-foot dragon just to keep things exciting.

There will also be appearances from Harry, Hermione, and Ron as you careen through the caverns to retrieve an object from the vault. This new addition to the park doubles the size of the Wizarding World and includes King’s Cross Station with a working Hogwarts Express, Diagon Alley, Knockturn Alley and a three-story Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes.

See more pictures and the video after the break…

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Universal Orlando is in the middle of a big expansion to the popular Wizarding World. Though we’ve known the basics for a while, they recently revealed new details, concept art, and the name of the ride that takes place in Gringotts Bank – Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Though Universal isn’t ready to say much beyond the name for the ride, they provided plenty of other information to make wizards, witches, and muggles excited.

Besides Diagon Alley and Hogwarts Express, the expansion will include a London waterfront with facades for places from the books such as Grimmauld Place. The giant Knight’s Bus will be parked there and the interior will contain an interactive exhibit. King’s Cross Station will be almost an exact replica of the actual station, and Diagon Alley will be populated with stores like Weasley’s Wizard Wheases and Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour.

No opening date just yet, but I’m counting down the minutes!

See more concept art and a video after the break.

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