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June 22, 2014

We’re off to see the wizards…of Diagon Alley!

What child (of any age) doesn’t love Harry Potter?

First came the books; then an ever scarier series of eight motion pictures.

Remember the magical elation you felt as Harry bought his first. Remember Olivander’s memorable words “The wand chose the wizard. We’re not always sure why.” And then there’s the moment when Hagrid lifts up a cage we get our first glimpse the heroic Hedwig, the snowy owl! The mystique of Harry’s Potter world began then, in innocent steps. The series of stories grew darker with each passing year as Harry came face to face with demons inside and out. The stories contained love, loyalty, friendship, along with a hatred of the evil that was Voldemort.

It was just a matter of time before the craftsmen created brought this beloved magical kingdom to life.

Diagon alley 3 close up of dragonAt Universal Studios, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter will expand this summer to encompass the famous Diagon Alley, which will open July 8. Guest will be transported from London to Hogsmeade on the Hogwart’s Expresss to the most unique of all shopping districts: Diagon Alley. It’s home to the secretive Gringott’s Wizard Bank, the Leaky Cauldron eatery, and the Knight Bus.

Located in the Universal Studios Florida theme park, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, will feature shops, dining experiences and the next generation thrill ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. The new immersive area will double the size of the sweeping land already found at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, expanding the spectacularly themed environment across both Universal theme parks.

diagon alley 1The Escape from Gringott’s is the ultimate roller coaster ride, couched within the confines of the Gringott’s vaults. See Bellatrix Lestrange and her cronies, come face-to-face with Voldemort, all while fiery dragons and crafty goblins abound and you race through the labyrinths of the Gringott’s vaults, which comes with the ultimate guardian: a sixty-foot tall fire breathing dragon. Guests will also enjoy new experiences and places found in and around London in the Harry Potter books and films — and, as readers of the seven Harry Potter books will tell you, they are many.

Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream offers continental breakfasts and the all too familiar “pumpkin juice.”  You can let the wand choose you at Olivander’s or find jokes and practical magic at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. Madam Malkin’s Robes for all Occasions — just what the wizarding student needs.

It wouldn’t be a Harry Potter world without Quidditch. The popular airborne game will be made that much better with Quality Quidditch Supplies and the latest Firebolt broom. How better to to see all of the Hogwart’s landscape?

diagon alley 4 hogwart's expressThe Magical Menagerie offers all manner of scary, scaly or scruffy pets for young students of magic. Find your own Scabbers or Hedwig as you browse among the sights and animal/creature sounds.

The Diagon Alley village is a natural addition to the land called Hogsmeade, which has been open for several years now.  The attention to detail in both villages is extreme; it’s easy to believe that this is Harry Potter world’s. You almost expect him to come dashing ’round the corner. And you can’t wait to meet him!

A trip here is on the expensive side; you may have to plan and save for it. There are plenty of package deals, and off-season specials, though, that make the cost much more affordable.

Vacation packages to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley and Universal Orlando Resort are available now.  For additional information, visit their website.

HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related  are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR.


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