The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley announced for Universal Studios Florida

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Diagon AlleyWhile details are slowly being released, the Universal Orlando Resort announced today that it will offer the world’s first centrally themed, multi-park experience by expanding its Harry Potter assets to the resort’s original park.

The initial confirmation is from Universal Orlando’s official Facebook page and reveals some early details…

Building on the global phenomenon that is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. Entertainment today announced an expansion of historic proportion with the entirely new themed environment, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.

Scheduled to open in 2014, the world’s first centrally themed, multi-park experience expands The Wizarding World of Harry Potter across both Universal Orlando theme parks and allows Universal’s creative team to bring an unparalleled vision to this unique project. The new area will bring to life some of the experiences and places found in and around London in the Harry Potter books and films, offering brand-new adventures for fans and theme park guests from around the world.

Diagon Alley and ‘London’ will be located within the Universal Studios Florida theme park, which is adjacent to Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park, where guests now experience Hogwarts and Hogsmeade. The new area within Universal Studios will be just as expansive, immersive and authentic as the existing themed environment.

We’ll continue to update this post as more official details are released, but with a scheduled opening for 2014, it looks like The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will be a fantastic new environment filled with fantastic new experiences including rides, shops, dining, and tons of detail!

Update:

The Universal Orlando Resort put out an official press release sharing a few more details on The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, including confirmation of a new themed attraction based on the recognizable Gringotts Wizarding Bank.

Building on the global phenomenon that is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. Entertainment today announced an expansion of historic proportion with the entirely new themed environment, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.

Scheduled to open in 2014, the world’s first centrally themed, multi-park experience expands The Wizarding World of Harry Potter across both Universal Orlando theme parks and allows Universal’s creative team to bring an unparalleled vision to this unique project. The new area will bring to life some of the experiences and places found in and around London in the Harry Potter books and films, offering brand-new adventures for fans and theme park guests from around the world.

Diagon Alley and ‘London’ will be located within the Universal Studios Florida theme park, which is adjacent to Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park, where guests now experience Hogwarts and Hogsmeade. The new area within Universal Studios will be just as expansive, immersive, and authentic as the existing themed environment.

And – just like in the books and films – guests will be able to travel between ‘London’ and Hogsmeade aboard the Hogwarts Express.

Work on the new area is already underway. When complete, it will feature shops, a restaurant and an innovative, marquee attraction based on Gringotts bank – all directly inspired by the fiction and films.

More details on The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will be released over time.

Harry Potter Expansion AnnouncementTo bring Diagon Alley and ‘London’ to life, Universal’s creative team is working closely with Warner Bros. and the production design team from the Harry Potter films – just as it did for Hogwarts and Hogsmeade.

“I’m so pleased that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has proved so popular to date, and I’m sure that the attention to detail in creating the new Diagon Alley area will make this an even better experience,” said J.K. Rowling.

“We are continuing the journey and adding an entirely new level of adventure,” said Tom Williams, Chairman of Universal Parks & Resorts. “And we are bringing the same drive, commitment, enthusiasm and innovation to this project as we did to the first.”

“We are thrilled to offer the legions of fans the opportunity to embark on this new journey and experience Diagon Alley as it was brought to life in the books and films,” said Brad Globe, president, Warner Bros. Consumer Products.

“Our vision is to create two amazing theme park experiences that combine into one, complete, magical journey,” said Alice Norsworthy, executive vice president, marketing and sales for Universal Orlando Resort.”

A new image was also sent out confirming the inclusion of an immersive, themed restaurant in the new realm, in addition to the need for a Park-to-Park ticket in order to experience the Hogwarts Express train ride.

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Posted on May 8, 2013

28 Responses to “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley announced for Universal Studios Florida”

  • by Kathy Adams on May 8, 2013, at 10:23 am EDT

    And now you need to buy a multipark ticket to enjoy both Harry Potter areas… Universal will not be getting my vacation dollars.

  • by Philip Jones on May 8, 2013, at 10:43 am EDT

    Looks like we’ll be visiting Disney this year, Universal next year.

  • Centrally *themed*, not centrally located. The exact opposite of centrally located, in fact.

    • That was my fault Paul, you are right! Sorry about that–I was a little eager to get this exciting news online!

  • by katherine chadrick on May 8, 2013, at 11:01 am EDT

    Love Universal and Love anything they do with expanding Harry Potter World!!!I wouldnt miss either of their parks! See you Soon Harry, Ron and Harmionne!!! (Oh my kids love you too!) :)

  • Ok – so only one new ride??? I guess I’m looking for a more extensive experience than one ride and a bunch of shopping.

    • Well, they did say it would be “just as expansive” as Hogsmeade. And Hogsmeade, while it is very intricate, is not “expansive” in any sense of the word. They’re basically telling people Diagon Alley is going to be small.

      • We now know that Diagon Alley will include Hogwarts Express (though that experience runs between both parks) as well as a large, marquee attraction heavily rumored to be a roller coaster based on the Gringotts Bank from the books and films. The land will also include one confirmed restaurant along with other shopping and dining offerings. Additional details are still to come that may shed more light on just how expansive this land will be.

        The size of the plot of land that this expansion is on is huge and there is plenty that can be done in tiny parcels built onto that larger plot, as evidenced by the Ollivander’s experience currently found at the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I wouldn’t count this land’s surprises out just yet!

    • You’re joking, right? And what exactly would you call New Fantasyland? The Hogwarts Express train ride to the other park will be an E-ticket ride in itself. You won’t be hopping on a Monorail and looking at backstage buildings. You should do some research instead of making ridiculous statements. Universal is building yet another state of the art “land” (not to mention the new Transformers E-ticket ride that opens June 20th). Fantasyland is giving me a kiddie coaster (that will end up taking longer to build than this entire new experience at Universal) and a ridiculously stupid Mermaid ride. Check out Ariel’s eyes in the last scene. She looks so stoned you would expect her to be holding a bag of Doritos.

  • It’s impressive to see a project of this scope with a 2014 timeline! The two park ticket is a bit of a bummer, but what a neat transportation system idea. It certainly makes park hopping attractive and fun.

    • That’s a much more aggressive timeline, when compared to the original WWoHP. We’ll see how they pull it off.

      I’m still hoping to see the restaurant in Hogwarts Castle that didn’t make it into Phase I. A meal in the Great Hall just seemed like such a natural, and they had supposedly worked on effects to have the food magically appear on your plate. Here’s hoping they haven’t given up on this project.

  • Just like at DIsneyland, the 2 Universal Orlando parks are so close together that we always get park hoppers – it’s so easy to move between them and experience everything! I love the idea of the Hogwarts Express going between the two parks, essentially providing themed transportation directly from the heart of one park to the other. It’s definitely encouraging people to park-hop, thereby spreading out the crowds between the two. I think it’s a brilliant idea, both from a business perspective and a park attendee perspective. I’m really looking forward to this!

  • by Panagiota on May 8, 2013, at 3:16 pm EDT

    Universal is just cranking out the attractions. Meanwhile Disney World has the new Fantasyland….oh joy, Little Mermaid ride. I have been an annual pass holder for a year now at Universal and the construction that I see is amazing! I have never seen so much ambition. Good for them an ultimately good for us. Hopefully Disney will take a cue from this and start improving their offerings.

    My Universal pass just expired and we’re switching back to Disney for a year (we like to alternate) So Next year when its time for Universal again, sounds like perfect timing :)

  • I’m sure Disney will counter with more princess meet and greets or maybe some more interactive queues.

  • This is very cool. Universal have pretty much guaranteed we will be back in 2014 with this announcement. Any idea which month the opening is planned for?

  • I like the concept a lot. In fact, when we visited WWOHP, my 11 year-old remarked that they really need to expand the attraction to include all of the other wonderful elements from the books. Maybe Privit Drive is not far behind?!?!?

    I do not love that Universal is extorting its customers into buying a multi-park pass, but consider me hereby extorted . . . because I will definitely be there!

  • For the people who are unhappy with buying a parkhopper pass… you do realize that the cost is minimal, right? It’s an extra $20 for a 2 day pass (i.e. $10 per day) and cheaper (per day) if you buy a longer pass.

    • LOL…don’t confuse them with facts. As if $10 or $20 per person is too much to spend for the unique opportunity to visit both parks….if that can’t be afforded, then you probably can’t afford to take a family vacation to Orlando IMHO.

  • Personally I’m over the moon about this! Though I wish the expansion was already out as I’m going later this month for the first time and want to experience the entire park. Oh well, looks like I’ll just have to make a second trip in a few years!

  • by Panagiota on May 9, 2013, at 8:53 am EDT

    They are also constructing things in Simpson’s land also I’ve read rumors about expansions taking place over at Jurassic Park land

    • Correct. Not only are they rethemeing the IFF food court to Krusty Burger, Moe’s Tavern and Cleutus’ Fried Chicken, they are building an outdoor Duff’s Beer Garden on the lagoon. Next to that they are adding a double spinner ride based on Kodos and Kang. Rumors exist that soon they will be breaking ground on a family coaster in JP based on the Amber mines.

      Someone needs to let John up there know that all of the above, plus Transformers, plus the new Harry Potter equals WAY more than the FLE.

  • We love disney and we’re Florida locals (Tampa). We alternate season passes each year to a different park. We just got done with our Universal passes this past year and it has been an awesome year! I was very pleasantly suprised with the theming and how quick construction is going up. We’ll be going back to Disney starting this Saturday :)

    I remember going on Jaws one weekend and the weekend after the plave was torn down completely! Transformers they were working on it way into the night. One of the construction workers told us they had 3 shifts running 24/7.

    Disney better wake up because Universal/Comcast is giving them a run for their money. I think that Disney assumes that they can give people anything and people will love it no matter what because they’re disney. Universal has to work twice as hard because I dont think they have the utra-loyal fan base that Disney does.

    Either way this back and forth competition works better for us in the end.

  • Went to Universal 2 years ago to see HP. While I enjoyed it, I didn’t feel the same strong urge to return I always do at Disney. Just not as magical. This expansion will probably convince me to make a return visit- I do love Harry Potter.

  • Sorry for the late reply, missed this post somehow. I understand clearly the need to compete head-on with the Mouse with the park hopping. We’re stealing away from our 7-day Disney trip this June with a day to see Potter (1 park only). So, while the idea of a great Universal ride incorporating the high-speed train cars in Gringotts would make it worthy, what will they do with Olivander’s? That’s a Diagon Alley shop now somehow in the newly re- named Wizarding World – Hogsmeade. If they are true to details, then Olivander’s will have to choose a new theme park, too.

    • The story about the Hogsmeade location of Ollivanders is that it is a branch of the main store that is located in Diagon Alley. With that in mind, I don’t think we have to worry thematically about both locations existing between the two parks. And looking at it from a business perspective, I doubt Universal would want to give up the valuable business they make in the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter just to move it over to the other park.