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What's confirmed for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida?

Diagon Alley concept art

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley is due to open in spring 2014 at Universal Studios Florida. Let's take a look at what's been confirmed as forming part of the new land.

Located on the former site of the demolished Jaws attraction, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley will bring to life London as seen in the Harry Potter books and movies. Just like the existing Wizarding World at Islands of Adventure, it will feature a lavish level of detail and will be designed to immerse guests completely in Potter's universe.

Diagon Alley concept art

There's been much speculation about what exactly will be featured in the expansion. Some of this was confirmed by Universal in its official announcement, while the concept art above also prominently shows others. Here's a rundown of what we know so far.

The Hogwarts Express

The Hogwarts Express train ride will link Diagon Alley to the existing Wizarding World at Islands of Adventure, recreating the train ride that Harry Potter and his friends take each year from London to Hogsmeade. It'll actually travel through a lacklustre backstage area - but guests won't see that. Instead, audiovisual effects will be used to simulate the trip, but the exact nature of these is not yet known.

What is known is that Universal is pulling out all the stops to make the Hogwarts Express look authentic. Just last week, it released images of the trains being lowered onto the track for the first time - and they are stunningly realistic replicas of the train seen in the movies.

Hogwarts Express train

Image © Universal Orlando Resort

Muggles will start their trip at either Kings Cross Station (in Universal Studios Florida) or Hogsmeade Station (at Islands of Adventure). Again, both of these are set to be closely based on their movie counterparts. Here's a view of Kings Cross, under construction:

Kings Cross Station construction

The under-construction station...

Kings Cross Station concept art
...and what the final product will look like.

Universal hasn't confirmed exactly how the ticketing situation will work on the Hogwarts Express, but has said that guests will need a Park-to-Park ticket to ride.

Keep up with the latest news and features about this unique train ride on our Hogwarts Express page.

Gringotts Bank coaster

Just as Hogwarts Castle towers over the original Wizarding World, Diagon Alley will feature its own iconic structure. In this case, it will be Gringotts Bank, topped by an enormous dragon.

Gringotts Bank concept art

Inside, guests will be able to experience a roller coaster ride through the bank's vaults. Again, little has been revealed about the precise nature of the experience. Some reports suggest that the coaster could be a combination of the resort's Revenge of the Mummy (dark-ride morphs into roller coaster) and The Amazing Adventures Spider-Man (roving motion-base with seamlessly integrated 3-D screens).

Gringotts Bank coaster ride vehicle

The Gringotts ride vehicle, as leaked by Theme Park Insider.

Other reports suggest that the ride may opt out of technological overload and instead present a quality, high-octane thrill ride with outstanding theming that may incorporate a few surprises (launches, backward sections, or even free-fall track like Busch Gardens' Verbolten or Alton Towers' Thirteen). Still others suggest that it will be a tamer experience, enabling guests who are intimidated by Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey to ride.

Keep track of the latest developments on our Gringotts Bank roller coaster page.

The Leaky Cauldron

In the books and movies, The Leaky Cauldron pub forms the entrance to Diagon Alley. Muggles see just an old, rickety shop front on Charing Cross Road, but wizards are able to pass through a hidden doorway and enter the mysterious alley.

At Universal Studios Florida, The Leaky Cauldron will become the main dining outlet, performing the same function as the Three Broomsticks in the original Wizarding World. Expect Butterbeer aplenty!

Weasley's Wizard Wheezes

Universal has made a fortune from merchandise sales from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It's no surprise, then, that the entire second land is based around what is, essentially, a wizardly shopping street. Heavily-themed retail outlets will play a big part in the Diagon Alley experience.

Weasley's Wizard Wheezes

So far, though, only one shop is nailed-on as appearing in the land - Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, which is just about visible in the concept art (see the large hand holding a hat?). The joke shop will sell all manner of tricks, and will feature the distinctive storefront seen in the movies.

What else is rumored to be part of Diagon Alley?

Diagon Alley at Warner Bros Studio Tour

The Diagon Alley set, as seen at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in the UK.

Naturally, the rumor mill has been churning with reports of what other elements might feature in Universal Studios Florida's new land. A larger version of Ollivander's Wand Shop (already featured - out of place - in the original Wizarding World) is almost a dead cert. Other shops are likely to include Madam Milkin's Robes for All Occasions, Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour and Borgin and Burkes. An entired covered recreation of Knockturn Alley is also said to be on the cards.

What are you most looking forward to?

Which attraction, shop or restaurant are you most looking forward to visiting at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley? Let us know in the comments below!

Universal Orlando: The Unofficial Story - fully updated for 2014!

Universal Orlando: The Unofficial Story
Looking for a last-minute Christmas present? Universal Orlando: The Unofficial Story details the amazing true story behind the world's most thrilling theme park resort! Plus, it is now fully updated to include the creation of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley. Find out more...

Heading to Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando?

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There are 2 comments.

Definitely the gringotts ride!

It all looks amazing & can't wait to come & experience it all in 2015, but my only concern is that Universal will charge to use the Hogwarts Express if this happens then I'm afraid I feel this is a rip off especially when it's already cost a lot to get into each of the parks! Please universal don't rip us off!!