The Wizarding World of Harry Potter first opened in 2010 in Islands of Adventure with Hogsmeade and the Hogwarts Castle. Then in July 2014 Diagon Alley and the connecting Hogwarts Express Stations opened across Universal Studios Orlando and Islands of Adventure. These lands have been the top destination for guests across both parks, leading to the creation of a third Wizarding World land in the upcoming Epic Universe.
Diagon Alley is consistently home to the top two attractions in Universal Studios - ‘Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts’ & the ‘Hogwarts Express at King’s Cross Station’. It set the new bar for immersive lands, expansion is a top option for Universal to bring in more guests, accommodate more people than the existing Diagon Alley space, and entice returning guests.
An expanded Diagon Alley could create actual locations rather than exterior facades for Flourish and Blotts, the Daily Prophey, Eeylops Owl Emporium, the Apothecary, and Rose Lee Teabag. Plus the creative team, could create new shops, dining options, and attractions to fit into the existing theme. So what options might Univeral have to expand the Wizarding World in Universal Studios Florida?
Option 1 - The World Expo
Perhaps the easiest option for Universal would be to extend Diagon Alley to the northeast into the ‘World Expo’ area. Currently, the land only has one attraction - Men In Black: Alien Attack, with the old Fear Factor show building currently unused to house an attraction for guests. Universal could move Men In Black to the ‘New York’ land, which is where the headquarters is located in the movies. Considering both this attraction and The Mummy are highly rated by guests, potential options would be replacing Race Through New York with Jimmy Fallon, or using foot space for Finnegan’s Bar & Grill and the green space next to it to create a new structure.
Once MiB was moved, Universal could expand the Wizarding World all the way around until Springfield USA. A new connection around the Hopping Pot or the Gringotts Money Exchange area could lead to the additional area while creating a second entrance around the old Fear Factor location.
Option 2 - San Francisco
A land that has four restaurants, one ride, and the Beat Builders show, could really use some new life. San Francisco features one ride, Fast & Furious - Supercharged, which is often ranked as the worst ride in the park by guests. The attraction extremely undersells and underutilizes a massive IP for Universal. The brand really deserves a new rollercoaster, but exactly where they could land in Universal Parks is a topic for another discussion.
Everything west of the lake could house the expanded Diagon Alley area. Or considering it would need to pass over King’s Cross Station, a different Wizarding World location would be viable. The waterfront restaurants could then be rethemed into additional London locations.
Option 3 - Beyond Existing Park Boundaries
What if Universal doesn’t want to replace an existing area? Well, there are limited options to extend the current park layout. To the west of the Diagon Alley area is a series of buildings including Universal’s HR department. To the north of the Wizarding World and old Fear Factor building is the Regatta at Universal Apartments. So while it’s technically feasible to relocate those existing properties and expand Diagon Alley, these are extremely unlikely scenarios.
And there are more options looking ahead to the future. Eventually, the Simpsons IP could leave for a Disney park or all together, but it would be difficult to reasonably expand Diagon Alley that far. Instead Universal would have to opt for another Wizarding World location such as the Quidditch World Cup, Ilvermorny (the American Wizarding School), Azkaban Prison, or the Forbidden Forest (although this option fits better in Islands of Adventure).
Either way, the Wizarding World is a massive attraction for Universal and one they are sure to continue to expand upon. Do you think they could or should extend Diagon Alley in Universal Studios? Let us know your thoughts by leaving us a comment below or on our Facebook page,