Harry Potter fans now have a new reason to visit the Universal Orlando Resort this summer. Universal will officially open Diagon Alley, in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, four years after the popular Hogsmeade was opened. Thierry Coup, the senior vice president of Universal Creative, says that Diagon Alley really elevates the Harry Potter attractions for fans.
Harry Potter fans will have the option to ride a real Hogwarts express train between Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. There is a cobbled stone passageway, but sadly, it’s not open to muggles. If fans want to ride the train between the two Harry Potter parks, Hogwarts and Diagon Alley, they must purchase a park-to-park ticket. A one-day adult pass is $136.
Diagon Alley will feature all the shops that fans of the Harry Potter books know and love. Some of the shops that fans can visit are Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, Borgin and Burkes, the Leaky Cauldron, and Quality Quidditch Supplies. However wonderful the shops are, Coup says that they will not be the main attraction to Diagon Alley.
The main attraction of Universals Diagon Alley, in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, will be a four-minute ride called Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. The ride is made up of two carts, which each hold 12 passengers. The ride will take fans into Gringrotts Wizarding Bank, where they will be asked by the animatronic goblins that work there if they would like to open an account. After that, the ride will twist and turn past customer’s bank vaults that are hidden in stone, just like Harry did in the book.
Along with the scenes from the bank, fans will also get to see a fight between Harry Potter, Bellatrix Lestrange, Hermoine, and the Death Eaters. This wizard battle occurs after Heromine and Harry steal a horcrux from Lord Voldemort. The ride will have fans ducking, launching, shaking, and feeling as though they will be dropped. However, muggles with weak stomachs should not worry about being sick. Universal has fixed that amount of abrupt jarring and motion that was felt on the other Harry Potter ride, the Forbidden Journey.
Universal has made sure that this new ride is easy on fans. The Forbidden Journey ride was not recommended after a meal, or for people who have sensitive stomachs. The new ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, has no warning in place for fans that are easily nauseated, or fans that have already eaten. Also, the new ride will be open to all fans, as there is no weight restriction.
Universal Orlando Resort will spend about $400 million to build and open Diagon Alley in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It is not clear what date it will officially be open to the public, but rumors are that it will be sometime this summer, and might be as soon as June 2014. Fans will be happy to know that Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling also worked closely with the Universal team to create Diagon Alley, but the author has yet to visit the attraction.
By Sara Petersen