If Harry Potter fans who visited the Universal Studios Florida Wizarding World of Harry Potter thought Hogsmeade was good, just wait until they see the park’s newest addition, Diagon Alley. Scheduled to be opened this summer, Diagon Alley will add another dimension to the Harry Potter attractions, and details about the construction site have just been revealed.
Those visiting Florida might be surprised to step into a modern day Muggle London, complete with famous London sites that the Harry Potter films have made use of such as Grimmauld Place, Leicester Square Station, Wyndham’s Theater and Charing Cross. In addition, the famous King’s Cross Station with Platform 9 ¾ (which actually has a presence in the real King’s Cross Station, complete with a cart pushed partially through the wall) will be a huge part of the experience. Patrons will actually be able to take the Hogwarts Express train to ride between the Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade parks just like Hogwarts’ students, though Muggles will have to pay a park hopper fee for the privilege.
The train trip will include surprise appearances by familiar creatures and characters along the way, as well as beautiful views of the British countryside. For those that dislike the train, the Knight Bus will also be present in modern-day London, where guests can talk with the shrunken head hung from the bus front. It is not known yet if the bus will be stationary or taking visitors on a tour of Muggle London, but it is likely that the speeds will not be quite as intense as in the movie.
Harry Potter purists may be disappointed that the back of the Leaky Cauldron will not be the gateway to the wizarding world via Diagon Alley, though the wizarding pub has been added inside. Instead, visitors will enter through the Leichester Square arches, which open up into the iconic street of Diagon Alley.
Inside, the shops seen are nearly identical to the description in the books and in the movies. Those wishing to purchase wizarding robes can shop at Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions. Animal lovers can stop by the Magical Menagerie for stuffed owls, Quidditch fanatics can check out Quality Quidditch Supplies for bludgers and snitches, and inkling writers can go to Scribbulus for parchment paper and quills. The more famous Ollivander’s will also be present, where young witches and wizards can go to purchase their first wands. For those more inclined to jokes, the three-story Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes will also be open and selling toys and gag gifts.
Those hungry for traditional London food such as bangers and mash or fish and chips can hit up the Leaky Cauldron, which will also serve the famous Hogsmeade Butterbeer. For those with more of a sweet tooth, Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour will have a variety of odd wizarding flavors such a peanut butter strawberry.
Knockturn Alley is also there for skulking, with Borgin and Burkes as well as other dark arts stores lining the menacing street. Masks of Death Eaters and skulls can be bought there for those more inclined to the dark arts.
Never fear that Gringotts has been forgotten—the wizard bank will be the main attraction, set as a ride for those who want to explore the deeper vault of the goblin-run bank. And the dragon perched on top of the bank will be blowing actual fire quite often.
The addition of Diagon Alley to Harry Potter World at Universal Studios, Florida, will no doubt draw even bigger crowds to the parks, Muggles and wizards alike. While the Harry Potter series may have reached a successful conclusion in both books and movies, it is obvious that the world of Harry Potter is still opening its doors to fans with new experiences both online and in the real world.
By Marisa Corley