The first time I walked into Hogsmeade, part of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, it elicited an emotional response that surprised me. A huge lover of the books I was absolutely gobsmacked at how the book had been brought to life so realistically.
For me and my daughters, it’s a place where you can truly suspend your reality for a while and let the magic take you away. Since it opened in 2010, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has been drawing that response from avid fans all over the world. It’s no wonder then that the excitement for the new Diagon Alley, due to open Summer 2014, is starting to reach a fever pitch.
This morning Universal Studios hosted a podcast that revealed a little bit more of the amazing Diagon Alley. As soon as I caught a glimpse of Gringott’s Bank, that emotional response was triggered again. Simply put, it’s pretty clear that Universal Studios has outdone itself with this one and I, for one, can not wait.
Here’s what we learned in the podcast:
With a two-park pass, guests will now be able to travel onboard the Hogswart Express from King’s Cross (located at Universal Studios) to Hogsmeade (located at Islands of Adventure). We saw a great view today of the Hogwarts Express and no detail has been missed. The journey from station to station will be filled with views of London and the British Countryside and the promise of a few “surprises” too.
Diagon Alley, promises to be exactly as you expect from the book and the movie, with tight cobblestone streets and lots of nooks and crannies to explore.
Some of the famous shops you’ll find along Diagon Alley Include:
Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, a vibrant shop featuring novelty items, magical jokes, and toys inspired by the books and films that will amaze the mischievous child in everyone.
Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, where guests will find a variety of wizardwear from Hogwarts school uniform ties, scarves and jumpers, to authentic wizard’s robes and character costumes.
Magical Menagerie, which features a collection of plush animals, such as owls and Hippogriffs.
Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, where guests can grab wizarding essentials such as telescopes, binoculars, armillary spheres, compasses, magnifying glasses and hourglasses.
Quality Quidditch Supplies, offering a wide assortment of apparel and equipment including Quidditch sweaters, brooms, Golden Snitches, Bludgers, Bludger bats, Quaffles and more.
Scribbulus, featuring authentic writing implements and products such as feather quills, ink and inkwells, bookmarks, journals, parchment paper, seals, stationery sets and postcards.
None of this would be right though without the inclusion of Knockturn Alley, which promises to be just as creepy as the book. Here you’ll find Borgin and Burkes, a shop specializing in the Dark Arts. Little Draco Malfoy’s will love this.
Without a doubt though, the very best part promises to be the multi-dimensional thrill ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringott’s. If you’ve watched the movies and seen the characters zipping through the cavernous depths of Gringott’s you’ve no doubt declared “That should be a ride!”. And now it is.
Look for a few changes at Hogsmeade too. Honeyduke’s will be taking over the space Zonko’s now holds, as all items of mischief move over to Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. Looks like Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands Since 382 B.C. will be making the move to Diagon Alley, it’s rightful place.
Finally, it’s only complete if you bring the food. Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour promises to shake things up a bit, just like when they brought Butterbeer to the muggles. No trip here though would be complete without a stop at the infamous Leaky Cauldron. You’ll find traditional pub fare here with bangers and mash and fish and chips. Sounds like my kind of place.
The summer just seems too far away now after viewing the live podcast. I can hardly wait to visit the new Diagon Alley at Universal Studios.