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NBCUniversal CEO: Diagon Alley to open in 'spring'

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Published: October 30, 2013 at 8:02 AM

Universal Orlando's new Harry Potter land will open in "spring," according the CEO of the theme parks' parent company. NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke told investor analysts in a conference call this morning that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida would open sometime in the spring of this year. For reference, Universal defined the same opening timeframe for the original Wizarding World in Islands of Adventure, which eventually opened on June 18, 2010.

Diagon Alley
Universal's concept art for Diagon Alley

Burke also said that the new Wizarding World would open after the Cabana Bay hotel, which he said would open in March. So let's start with a potential opening date for Harry Potter 2 sometime between April 1 and Friday, June 20, which is the last day of spring. But Universal's provided two more clues about Harry Potter's debut.

Universal Orlando is now offering a third day free to U.S. and Canadian residents who buy a two-day ticket via Universal's website. But those tickets must be used by May 22, 2014. And the Universal's "Power Pass" annual pass is listing summer blockout days for Universal Studios Florida starting on Saturday, June 14, 2014.

Given these three parameters, it appears that the most likely opening date for Diagon Alley lies somewhere between May 23 and June 13, 2014. Also remember that the original Wizarding World was open on for "technical rehearsal" — Universal's term for a soft-open — for a few weeks before its official opening. With a soft open, visitors could get their first look inside Diagon Alley sometime in early to mid-May.

Readers' Opinions

From David Eggert on October 30, 2013 at 8:10 AM
This is great news for me, since it means there's a chance it will be soft opening while I'm there!
From N B on October 30, 2013 at 9:13 AM
We already talked about another late July vacation for 2014, this is great news.....
From Anon Mouse on October 30, 2013 at 10:45 AM
It will open after I leave. I made reservations in late April. I haven't decided if I will visit IOA to visit the Wizarding World. Perhaps I will save some money by not going.
From Eric G on October 30, 2013 at 3:42 PM
There is no point in mentioning the ticket promotions and pass blackout dates since they offer no clue on the opening for the Harry Potter expansion. Those dates coincide with the start of different peak seasons.

May 22nd is the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend. June 14th is the first day that the majority of schools in the United States will be on break for summer. (Yes, I know many go on summer break in late May.)

The opening of Diagon Alley will happen as soon as all of the pieces are in order. They're not going to let it sit unused in a finished state for a few months to exclude a few promotional tickets or value passholders. Most park operators in the United States will tell you that they like to have their new attractions open and fully operational by at least Memorial Day weekend. I'm certain that Universal would agree with that approach.

Ultimately, the final phases of construction will determine when the opening actually occurs.

From Manny Barron on October 30, 2013 at 2:17 PM
Excellent detective work. With that said, Universal and even Disney have made it a habit of opening attractions in the first two or so weeks in June. It should be open by then.

This project has moved along quite quickly, can't wait to see the finished project.

From Robert Niles on October 30, 2013 at 4:29 PM
Let's not forget that constriction is not a random process. Universal's contractors surely have contracts that specify a particular date when their work is to be completed. Perhaps there might be bonuses for finishing early, but with so many contractors on a project of this size, I suspect it would be difficult to move forward a projected opening date by more than days, a few weeks at most. But not months.

What we're trying to determine is what the deadline is on those contracts. Universal's promotion and blockout schedules, also determined far in advance, provide clues. Let's remember that this year's USF blockout sked blocked out the month of July, which led many of us to suggest that Transformers would open in late June, which it did. If I remember correctly, the previous year's calendar didn't block out USF in the summer at all. This year's calendar moves up the blockout by more than two weeks, into early June. That's not just a seasonal adjustment.

From Aaron McMahon on October 30, 2013 at 11:24 PM
I was just at HHN last week and the progress looked great. With the Hogwarts Express already placed on the track, it's hard to imagine how the rest of the work would take 8 months.
From Doug Jenkins on November 1, 2013 at 10:32 AM
I hope they do an preview for AP holders as it will be WAY too busy, just with regular ticket holders, to get into for months.

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