Our PotterWatch updates are coming fast and furious, as the finishing touches are put on The Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Diagon Alley prior to its media unveiling in under two weeks. For this edition, we have the usual photo updates of progress along the London Waterfront in Universal Studios Florida, and Hogsmeade Station in Islands of Adventure. Plus, there’s finally official confirmation on some Diagon Alley interactive entertainment experiences that we’ve previously shared rumors of. Finally, we’re sharing some fantastic new footage of some Harry Potter film stars exploring the new attractions, showing off our best sneak peak so far of this spectacular expansion
London Waterfront Photo Update
Here’s a quick look at the latest progress along the London Waterfront, which serves as the facade in front of Diagon Alley:
This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at Six Reasons We Can’t Wait for Diagon Alley to Open. It seems every day something comes along which whets our appetite even more for the new Harry Potter themed land coming to Universal Studios Florida. In just the past few days we’ve gotten a Disney Dish with Jim Hill episode that covered the new food items coming to the Leaky Cauldron, three of the Weasley clan taking a look into Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, and Seth Kubersky’s preliminary touring plans for Diagon Alley. With the media preview taking place June 17-20, it’s safe to say we’ll be walking around the wizarding shopping area very shortly. Here’s what we are really excited about experiencing after the most recent developments:
# 6 – The DRAGON
Ukrainian Ironbelly atop Gringotts Wizarding Bank (photo by HateToFly)
Sitting high atop Gringotts Bank (already the tallest building inside Diagon Alley) is the half-blind Ukrainian Ironbelly dragon that we all remember from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II. Besides its immense size, the attention to detail on the dragon is staggering. You can see the marks around its neck where chains tore into its skin, holes in its wings, and an overall aura of authenticity that almost has you feeling for this tragic character even in its menacing pose. While it is still not completely known how much (if any) movement the dragon will have, the gas lines have been installed, and soon it will breathe fire.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley is nearly ready — but are you? (Photos by Seth Kubersky)
With only two weeks to go before the worldwide media descends upon Universal Orlando for its unveiling of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, we already know plenty of things about the experience that awaits behind Universal Studios Florida‘s imposing new London Waterfront. We know about the E-ticket “multi-sensory thrill ride” inside the dragon-topped Gringotts bank; we know about the Hogwarts Express train that will transport guests to the original Wizarding World in Islands of Adventure; we know the names of that will line this magical shopping mall; we even know the varieties of pie (Seafood! Steak and Guinness!) and ice cream (Chocolate chili! Butterbeer!) you’ll be able to eat. So it’s no wonder that many of our subscribers have requested Diagon Alley touring plans to prepare them for their upcoming vacations. Unfortunately, we still lack two pieces of data vital to providing our usual expert advice: when we can get inside, and how long we’ll wait once we get there.
Through a combination of inside information, experience observing Universal’s operations since Potter arrived, and some educated guesses, we’ve devised the following preliminary Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Diagon Alley touring plans, along with a summary of our surmises about how the area will operate. Be aware that much of this is based on unofficial intel, and is subject to change before, during, and after the grand opening of the attraction.
Welcome to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where time has turned purple… (photos by Seth Kubersky)
We’ve passed an important PotterWatch milestone this week: we’re most likely less than one month away from the public premiere of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida. This update will examine some new lighting along the London Waterfront, the newly revealed Hogsmeade transition area outside the original Wizarding World, and some recently revealed Leaky Cauldron food and beverage details.
London Waterfront Lighting
I took a stroll along the London Waterfront outside Diagon Alley at “magic hour” to capture some of the lighting features throughout the area. Let’s start with a panoramic overview of the construction area:
This purple illumination on the King’s Cross clock tower confuses me. Perhaps it is some sort of magical effect, or an unfinished test? Time will tell…
On May 24, the ginormous fire-breathing “Ukranian Ironbelly” dragon that perches atop Gringotts Bank was lowered into place inside Diagon Alley. Our friend Hate To Fly was on hand to capture its arrival:
The big PotterWatch news last week was the announcement of a private media event on June 17-20, which is widely expected to culminate in the grand opening of The Wizarding World or Harry Potter - Diagon Alley. While the official opening date has still not been announced, we are rapidly approaching the end of construction and the start of employee training in the area. While we wait for public soft openings to start sometime next month, here is a brief look at the latest progress along Diagon Alley’s London Waterfront and outside Hogsmeade Village.
Diagon Alley Photo Update
These photos of the Diagon Alley exterior were taken on the afternoon of Friday, May 16.
Breaking news! A friendly FedEx owl from Universal Orlando dropped off a parcel this morning containing an invitation to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Diagon Alley media preview, scheduled for June 17-20. Here’s a look at the lovely package, which included tickets for the Hogwarts Express and a “gold” bar from Gringotts bank:
Welcome back to the ever-widening Wizarding World! In today’s edition PotterWatch, we’ve got frest photos from earlier this week of progress on Diagon Alley’s London Waterfront, the newly installed Hogsmeade stones outside the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and breaking news direct from Universal Orlando with eagerly awaited Gringotts details.
Diagon Alley Update
Let’s begin with a stroll along the Diagon Alley London Waterfront construction zone.
Universal has been busy over the past few weeks getting ready for the upcoming opening of Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida. Universal Orlando Close Up, an official blog dedicated to the Universal Orlando Resort, quietly made its debut, and the blog has had several stories that have unveiled concept art for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, the headliner attraction Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, and even a video showing the goblin animatronics that will be in the queue of this sure-to-be amazing E-Ticket.
Concept art for Diagon Alley with Gringotts Wizarding Bank taking center stage
There has also been some concept art revealed – courtesy of the Orlando Business Journal – that contains major story and ride elements of Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Consider this a spoiler warning before reading ahead at your own risk.
The Piccadilly Circus fountain has arrived at Universal’s Wizarding World (photos by Seth Kubersky)
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.