Welcome back to the latest irregular installment of PotterWatch, our mostly-weekly series of photo updates observing Universal Orlando‘s progress on their Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansions. I’ve been off for the pass couple weeks exploring some attractions on the opposite side of the country, but I’m happy to be back in Florida with a few exciting advancements in the Potter universe. This first PotterWatch of March 2014 features Hogsmeade Station construction, the continued existence of Zonko’s, and yet another look at Diagon Alley’s London facade, plus some tasty new Leaky Cauldron food photo leaks.
Hogsmeade Station Construction
In the last edition of PotterWatch, I shared the first photographs of Island of Adventure’s Lost Continent carnival games buildings after the games had been removed. Shortly after that posting, the buildings themselves were removed, and the entire area immediately outside Hogsmeade Village was more or less demolished.
Now, the entire entryway to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter from Lost Continent has been walled off, turning Sindbad stadium into a cul-de-sac. Guests wishing to enter Hogsmeade must traverse through Jurassic Park, just as they did during 2010 when the area was first under construction.
If we peer past the construction barriers, we can see progress being made on the building that marks the beginning of the party to Hogsmeade Station, as well as the train station itself where the Hogwarts Express will depart for Diagon Alley.
Zonko’s Is Still Open
Despite recent Internet rumors of its demise, Zonko’s joke shop in Hogsmeade is “not dead yet!” and remains open at this writing.
We know the location will close before Diagon Alley opens at Universal Studios Florida, and its contents transfered to the new Weasley’s Wizarding Whizzes shop there. But Zonko’s shop employees are still selling Pygmy Puffs for now, and say they plan on continuing to do so at least through March.
You’ll still want to say your goodbyes sooner rather than later to Zonko’s macabre decor, as it will eventually be supplanted by an expanded Honeydukes candy selection.
Diagon Alley Construction
There’s not much visible progress left to see on the Universal Studios Florida side of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, as external work on Diagon Alley and the London Waterfront facade is largely complete.
There will soon be even less to see, as the peep holes in the fencing that permitted these pictures have been removed:
Rumors and More
Tom Schroder of Universal Orlando Public Relations, and Universal Creative designer Thierry Coup, both posted photos of new Potter-themed food to Twitter recently. These hearty British dishes are expected to appear in the Leaky Cauldron restaurant in Diagon Alley.
Finally, a new theme park website has published some spectacular aerial photographs of Diagon Alley, taken during a helicopter fly-over of Universal Orlando. Head over to Pixels at the Parks and enjoy!