The big day has finally arrived and the brick walls of Diagon Alley have opened to Witches, Wizards and Muggles to explore, that is, to those brave and pasionate souls who possess the virtue of patience. Opening day saw wait times of three hours to simply enter the new land inside Universal Studios Orlando, and an additional SIX to NINE hours to experience Diagon Alleyâ€™s new centerpiece, Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts, a state-of-the-art thrill ride which paves the way for the future of E-ticket attractions. Having just returned from the scene, we are here to say that, even with those astronomical waits, it’s truly all worth it.
This new expansion to the Universal Orlando Resort is not only a hit, itâ€™s a game-changer, creating what we feel is the most immersive awe-inspiring physical space inside any theme park on the planet. And that statement alone is unable to do it justice, becuase being inside Diagon Alley, you are not in a theme park… you have left Universal and have been transported inside J.K. Rowlingâ€™s imagination, made to instantly forget the trials and tribulations of your reality.
No pictures or video you will see online can truly do Diagon Alley justice. Thereâ€™s an energy inside. From guests literally breaking down in tears as they are stopped in their tracks taking that first step inside, to men, women and children of all ages practicing their spells with their â€œenchantedâ€ interactive wands, to the collective gasps, cheers and applause whenever that Ukrainian Ironbelly does her thing.
Think about that. Have you ever been inside a theme park land where guests unanimously CHEER every fifteen minutes? Itâ€™s exhilarating to explore all the little nooks and crannies of Diagon Alley, but have your wand at the ready, because you could find yourself inside the darkness of Knockturn Alley before you know it, where dangerous foes may wait around every bend. Or you may simply find yourself led by the aroma toward Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour where Butterbeer Ice Cream awaits!
When The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade opened in 2010, Butterbeer was an instant sensation, even causing Walt Disney World to scramble to create their own attempt at a signature drink for their New Fantasyland in the form of the underwhelming, Cars Land cut & paste â€œLe Fouâ€™s Brew.â€ Now, Diagon Alley has its own signature beverages that will have guests drooling for years to come.
In addition to familar Butterbeer, Frozen Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice, The Leaky Cauldron offers Tongue Tying Lemon Squash, Otterâ€™s Fizzy Orange Juice, Peachtree Fizzing Tea and our personal favorite, Fishy Green Ale. Gilly Water is another new signature beverage of Diagon Alley, where four unique elixars may be purchased and mixed into the beverage for various results.
The Hogwarts Express and Kingâ€™s Cross station are both jaw-dropping even after multiple trips back and forth. This gateway connecting Hogsmeade/Islands of Adventure Park to London/Diagon Alley/Universal Studios Park is not only a stroke of genius but is a fantastic way to enjoy the company of like-minded magical folk during your journey.
Each of the five times we have travelled the Express has included fun interactions with both the Kingâ€™s Cross and Hogwarts Express staff as well as guests traveling inside our cabin. Be sure and check out the authentic British snacks for sale at the snack bar inside the station, which are allowed to be enjoyed on board!
This is not even mentioning the two new stage shows to be enjoyed inside Diagon Alley, a telling of The Tale of Three Brothers from The Tales of Beedle The Bard, and a performance by Wizarding World Diva Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees belting out never-before-heard tunes that Molly Weasley has enjoyed so much for years! We could go on and on, but it’s best we let you discover this magical land in your own way (which is why we are holding back on the types of images we present to you here!)
And then thereâ€™s HARRY POTTER AND THE ESCAPE FROM GRINGOTTS.
As you know, we at EG are all for staying spoiler-free. No matter how long it takes you to eventually find yourself inside the magical walls of Diagon Alley, your patience will be worth the wait. Itâ€™s a special thing, entering a new queue for the first time and not knowing which way is which, and what turn will lead where. To sit down in a brand new state-of-the-art ride system and close that safety harness for the first time with no knowledge of what lies ahead. So, take it from us, avoid details at all costs and preserve the experience for yourself. It may be difficult, but possessing that kind of patience… that could be the most magical quality of all.
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