If you’ve been to Universal Studios Florida any time in the past few weeks, you may have experienced the so-called “Potter Watch” taking place outside the gates of King’s Cross station. For the uninitiated, every morning, about 50 or so fans begin lining up outside the gate, and crowds swell to the hundreds by mid to late day, as eager fans try and get an early glimpse of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley ahead of its official launch on July 8.
Though it is exciting to wait for soft openings (and a great way to make new friends) there is a lot of misinformation circulating among those waiting for a sneak peek. If you are planning to head out to Universal Orlando in the coming days to join in the #PotterWatch crowd at Diagon Alley, here are four misconceptions you should know about.
1. Team members have advance knowledge of when soft openings will occur
When you see a yellow-shirted team member waiting on the other side of the gate, the situation can seem intimidating. Surely this person knows more than you do, and since they work at Universal, someone must have told them the soft opening schedule. Unfortunately, this notion couldn’t be farther from the truth. Team members likely won’t know a soft opening is going to take place until a few minutes prior to the gates being opened up. Team members stationed near the gates don't have any “insider knowledge”, and while there are definitely credible rumor sources out there, harassing yellow-shirted team members won’t glean you any extra knowledge. If a team member says they don’t know about a soft opening, take them at their word and move on.
2. If there are staff in costume, a soft opening is imminent
Like amateur detectives, many fans waiting outside the gates of Diagon Alley look for clues that could signal a soft opening is about to happen. However, one thing that absolutely does not mean a soft opening is imminent is the presence of contumed employees. Dress rehearsals, VIP tours, or even special events could be taking place, all of which require costumed staff and have been going on to varying degrees over the past few weeks. While it certainly is exciting to see team members in costume, simply catching a glimpse of these employees doesn’t mean that a soft opening is about to take place.