We were invited as media to cover this event. All opinions are my own, and may differ from yours.
Last weekend my family had the amazing privilege to tour Universal Orlando Resort’s newest attraction Diagon Alley. The Magical World of Harry Potter comes to life before your eyes as you walk through the streets and see such familiar places as Weasley’s Store, Gringotts Bank, Knockturn Alley (complete with Borgin & Burke’s), The Leaky Cauldron, and Ollivander’s Wand Shop. Universal’s newest attraction Harry Potter Diagon Alley is a smash hit! If you are a Harry Potter enthusiast then Universal Studios and Island’s of Adventure are not to be missed.
Exploring Diagon Alley
As you first get to the back of Universal Studios you see the London backdrop and Harry Potter’s house, which was given to him by his godfather Sirius Black, and then if you stay a bit longer you will see the house elf, Kreature, stick his head out of the window to spy on all of the picture takers.
Once you find the entrance into Diagon Alley one thing sticks out and that is the fire-breathing, yes, I said fire-breathing dragon on top of the Gringotts Bank. The dragon is so life-like, and when his belly starts to rumble – get ready for a toasty surprise. When you get into Gringotts Bank it looks like you have been transported into the movie. The bank is amazing and adorned with goblin tellers. As you enter into the elevator it takes you 9 miles underground to the bank volts. The Gringotts ride is really cool! Harry Potter’s arch nemesis Valdemort and his death eaters chase you through the underground tunnels of Gringotts to protect his horcrux. Will you be defeated? Well, you will have to ride the ride to find out, but I suggest you get there early because of the popularity of the ride. When we got off of it there was already a 4 hour wait and there is no express pass.
One of the coolest features of Diagon Alley, besides the dragon, are all the places that you can try out your wands skills. There are multiple places in the Alley that have wand symbols on the ground, and if you purchased a wand you can try your hand at casting your own spells and seeing the windows come to life. You can silence squaking birds, reveal hidden messages and repair broken armor.
Once we were done testing our wand skills it was time to eat at The Leaky Cauldron. The food was delicious! I would highly suggest trying their specialty chicken sandwich and the fish’n chips accompanied by a frozen butter beer. Yummy! We also tried their butter beer ice cream for the first time – it was delicious! So don’t forget to stop by Florean Fortescue Ice Cream Parlour to give it a try!
The dark side of Diagon Alley, Knockturn Alley, is truly creepy. It is dark, cold, and very eerie. It did provide for an area to cool off, but if you are a Slytherin you will love it! Accompanied by Borgin & Burke’s Knockturn Alley with bring out the death eater in you.
Last but not least was traveling on the Hogwarts Express. Each way provides for a new experience that makes you feel as if you are part of the world of Harry Potter. This train connects Universal Studios to Islands of Adventure, so you can experience both the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Diagon Alley. On the Universal side you get to experience platform 9 ¾ and actually run through the wall to get there! On the train you hear Harry, Ron, and Hermine talking about finding a place to sit and defending the students from dementors.
The Harry Potter experience has really been enhanced by adding Diagon Alley. The new addition is interactive and visually stunning. The amount of detail put into Diagon Alley is remarkable. The designers could not have done a better job bringing the world of Harry Potter to life!
For more details head to universalorlando.com.