Orlando experienced some wild weather last week, but the torrential rain didn’t stop progress on Diagon Alley, as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion at Universal Orlando accelerates towards rumored soft openings at the end of this month. In today’s edition of PotterWatch, we feature the installation of the famous Piccadilly Circus Fountain in front of the the London Waterfront, and a new Today Show Harry Potter Sweepstakes starting next week.
Piccadilly Circus Fountain
The final major component of the London Waterfront, as featured in published concept art of the area, arrived recently, as a stunning replica of the Piccadilly Circus fountain was mounted in front of the Wyndham’s Theatre facade.
While I was taking photos from across the lagoon, jets of water began spouting from the fountain at impressive heights.
But by the time I got close enough to capture video, the spraying had ceased, and a worker was on a lift adjusting it.
London Waterfront and Diagon Alley Progress
Smaller details are progressing all along the London Waterfront, with much more work occuring in Diagon Alley behind the facade.
The wooded berm’s forest is still a work in progress, but the Gringotts show building should eventually be largely concealed.
The newly installed lampposts are made of cast iron, and look amazingly authentic in person.
The former Amity Island restrooms, which were originally themed to the Jaws ride, are now being repainted in a shade of brown.
Zonko’s interior may have been eaten up by Honeyduke’s candy shop, but it will remain in spirit thanks to these newly modified windows, featuring “no-heat” fireworks.
The explosive backdrop is clearly designed to animate using simple spinning patterns. Most likely, this will be activated by the interactive wands I’ve previously reported on.
The display appears to be computer-printed at a relatively low resolution, and is (to me) of noticeably less exacting quality than the area’s original windows.
Take a look at progress on Hogsmeade Station and its entry building at the transition to Hogsmeade.
The metallic patterning applied to the tower of Sindbad‘s stadium is reminiscent of water towers seen along railroads in the UK.
There was no work being done on this wall and berm during my visit.
However, the large stones I spotted behind Thunder Falls Terrace on a prior visit were no longer visible. Could they be destined to live here?
Today Show Harry Potter Sweepstakes
Tune into NBC’s Today Show next week for “clues” to entering a sweepstakes that could take you to Universal Orlando and the Wizarding World. You can register to enter on this website, then watch the show starting the morning of May 13.
Tuesday, May 13: (7-9 a.m.) L.A. Reid talks about new Michael Jackson album: Xscape. Suze Orman on Today. Harry Potter Clue. The Voice on Today. Emma Roberts talks about Palo Alto. Dolly Parton performs on Today Plaza.
Wednesday, May 14: (7-9 a.m.) Modern day prom dilemmas. Harry Potter Clue. The Voice on Today. James Franco and Gia Coppola talk about Palo Alto. Mark Bittman talks about book: VB6. Lily Allen performs on Today Plaza.
Thursday, May 15: (7-9 a.m.) Kip and Mona Lisa Harding talk about new book: The Brainy Bunch: The Harding Family’s Method to College Ready by Age Twelve. Harry Potter Clue. The Voice on Today. Maya Rudolph on Today. Ricky Martin performs on Today Plaza.
Friday, May 16: (7-9 a.m.) Bryan Cranston talks about Godzilla. Harry Potter Clue. Heidi Klum talks about America’s Got Talent. Mariah Carey performs on Today Plaza.
These segments will include footage featuring Al Roker recorded during a recent video shoot at the resort, as revealed in this promotional clip, which also provides our first look at the animatronic goblins in the Gringotts lobby: