Diagon Alley concept art

In this week's poll, we ask whether the addition of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley will encourage you to stay longer at the Universal Orlando Resort.

These are exciting times for Universal Orlando. The extraordinary success of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter since its 2010 debut has boosted attendances at Islands of Adventure significantly. Over at sister park Universal Studios Florida, 2013 will see the opening of Transformers: The Ride - 3D and an expanded Simpsons-themed area.

But there's much more to come. This week, Universal confirmed that it will open a second Harry Potter-themed area at Universal Studios Florida, dubbed the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley. Due to open in 2014, it will recreate the magical London street seen in several of the Harry Potter books and movies.

The area will host a variety of shops and a new restaurant. But the star turn will be a major roller coaster themed around Gringotts Bank - we took a look at what might await riders in our preview earlier this week.

That's not all. Diagon Alley will be linked to the existing Wizarding World of Harry Potter by a high-tech recreation of the Hogwarts Express train. While it will pass through the backstage area between Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, multimedia effects will be used to convince riders that they are actually travelling between London and Hogsmeade. The new addition will be the only ride in our database of more than 3,500 attractions to be listed as belonging to two different theme parks!

Universal hopes that this major new land will lead to guests staying for longer on its property, buying expensive two-park tickets and perhaps staying at the new Cabana Bay Beach Resort.

Rival Walt Disney World is still the leading resort in Orlando, of course. And it won't take the enhanced competition lying down - instead, it hopes that its new MyMagic+ system will lead to guests staying longer on its property. How? By enabling them to book every aspect of their vacation in advance, from restaurant reservations to slots to ride their favourite attractions without queuing. Is it enough to compete with the lure of Potter? Time will tell.

Vote now!

What about you? Will you stay longer at the Universal Orlando Resort next time you visit Florida, once Diagon Alley is up-and-running?

Will Diagon Alley make you stay longer at Universal Orlando?

Share your thoughts

Thanks for voting in Theme Park Tourist's Big Debate. Why not let us know why you voted as you did using the comments section below?



The thing about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is that it isn't... A world, that is. At best it can be described as a 'themed area' with one new ride, two re-branded coasters and a bunch of shops. The ride is exceptionally impressive. Well themed, well made and utterly incoherent, but it's fun and worth doing. The shops are way too small, Hogsmeade too narrow and full of pinch-points, and all designed with no thought to dealing with vast numbers of guests.
Has it made a difference to how long I spend in Islands of Adventure? No. Last November the park was still less than a full-day park, and that was experiencing everything. Universal Studios was even less of a full day...

So, the new Diagon Alley looks like it will repeat the same mistakes and be narrow, full of shops that are too tight and too small but it will come with a great attraction in the form of the Gringott's coaster. I fully expect the latter to be astonishing. But even so we are looking at two parks that remain less than full day affairs for me. So no - it won't make any difference to the time I spend at Universal. I'll still go out of season, allocate one day each to both parks, no doubt enjoy myself, but probably not want to go back again.

Good on Universal for raising the game in terms of detail, theming, and pushing the boundaries. But let's not pretend this is a 'World'. Unless you love shopping there's actually very little to do...

I wa sthere in December of 2012 and there were no buildings except the Gringott's ride and I can hardly wait for it to launch. I've been to HP twice and rode FJ 6 times straight each time. I will be there next summer to see the new land!!!!

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