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Robert Niles
Editor

Our first look from inside Universal Orlando's Diagon Alley

Published: December 7, 2013 at 10:46 PM

A friend of the site recently sent me this photo, from inside the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley, under construction at Universal Studios Florida.

Diagon Alley

We've given you the full line-up of attractions, restaurants and shops you'll find in Diagon Alley at Universal. We've shown you construction photos from outside and above the site. And we were first with a detailed look at the land's centerpiece attraction, the Gringotts coaster, nearly two years ago.

Friends of Theme Park Insider have been sending me photos from inside the construction zone, but I haven't been able to share most of them with you. At least, not yet. But, frankly, if you've seen one photo of scaffolding in front of a gray wall, you've seen 'em all.

This was one of the first photos I've gotten that hints at the level of decoration we'll be seeing in Diagon Alley. Though this is an outdoor shot, much of the new land will be under cover, including most of Knockturn Alley. The experience will be both intricate and intimate — I'm certain that crowds will jam every inch of space in the new land when it opens. Diagon Alley was not some broad Paris boulevard, after all. It's a cramped London back alleyway, and Universal's version will reflect that.

But it will be one wildly entertaining alleyway, themed and decorated to a level of detail not otherwise found in American theme parks. I'm getting more and more excited for this new land, from the photos I've seen. So I'm happy to be able to share one of those photos with you.

Replies (18)

O T

Published: December 8, 2013 at 12:29 AM

Thanks for the picture, it looks amazing!
Of course there will be more theming on the facades and behind the windows but this already looks great. It's amazing how these architectural complex buildings can be build and detailed in this short amount of time. Respect.
There is nothing I'm more excited about in Orlando than this expansion at Universal Studios Orlando.
134.155.185.78

Published: December 8, 2013 at 3:12 AM

I'm not really sure if I like what I'm seeing in this picture. It looks too run down and not very inviting to me. Of course they want it to look like this but I hope that they will manage to make it a little more visually appealing and comfortable by the time it opens.
But I guess that it's way too early to complain about this since they are probably not even close to be finished with all the details and decorations. Anyway, I am more than excited for this expansion to open!
Eyleen Schmidt

Published: December 8, 2013 at 7:48 AM

Can not wait! It looks great and if they can pull off 1/2 of what you have hinted at it will be fantastically magical. Universal has totally stepped up it's game and I am such a happy season pass holder and Potterhead!
Anthony J

Published: December 8, 2013 at 9:44 AM

Wowza. And lol at the comment about hoping they make this more "comfortable." Universal, don't listen. Please continue to theme this appropriately and impeccably.
Rob Pastor

Published: December 8, 2013 at 10:37 AM

Diagon Alley will be amazing.
Gabriel Schroll

Published: December 8, 2013 at 10:40 AM

It's weird to see a run down alley with eye-popping (though dull) colors like in this picture. But as a brief preview of the land, you can tell that Universal is putting in as much effort to Diagon Alley as they did with the original. It will be really exciting to see more images as the construction moves forward.

I am looking forward to booking a trip to Orlando later in 2014. These are very exciting times for Universal.

Step it up, Disney!

66.87.76.169

Published: December 8, 2013 at 10:40 AM

OMG! Love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can't wait to be there after it opens! Good Job Universal!
Dylan Volpe

Published: December 8, 2013 at 11:30 AM

I love it!!!!! Can't wait to be there!!! Universal has done so good at building Diagon Alley! This is only the beginning.
50.89.13.35

Published: December 8, 2013 at 12:03 PM

Universal Creative is the gold standard!
Robert Niles
Editor

Published: December 8, 2013 at 3:05 PM

What really impresses me here is the angles. Look at the angles of the windows, the buildings, the framing. That's tough to pull off well, but Universal's done it.
N B

Published: December 8, 2013 at 3:41 PM

Thanks, Robert. I have been waiting to view some interior shots. This does look a bit drab and depressing, but it is a spot on re-creation from the movies.

I think there is more detail to be added to these facades. Remember this is fresh construction work, the artists come in afterwards and paint in all the little details (i.e. those blank signs above the doors etc...), just like Hogsmeade.

I noticed a lot of the original HP area was build off-site and brought in whereas this seems to be done all on location.

I think we have decided on July 21st through August 1st for our 2014 vacation. We don't want to miss another expansion grand opening by one day, like the Simpsons waterfront area.... ugh.

Rob Pastor

Published: December 9, 2013 at 7:44 AM

Universal received great training with crazy shapes when they built Suess Landing. This is just a somewhat drab realistic version of the brightly colored Dr. Suess buildings, tongue in cheek wise.
Dylan Volpe

Published: December 9, 2013 at 9:25 AM

We're going to be at Diagon Alley in October of 2014 this year! I'm waiting for the fall because The rumored opening date is summer 2014
Brian Emery

Published: December 9, 2013 at 9:43 AM


Robert - If I were putting in Windows on my Home, They would look just like these, Except I would be trying to make them plum.... hahahahaha


This does look fantastic...!

174.117.223.146

Published: December 9, 2013 at 12:35 PM

To those worried this looks too drab and depressing -- right now, it is lacking any detail work: wrought iron signs, window dressings, etc.

Also, this is simply a small part of Diagon Alley, which is huge. A lot of the shops in this area are going to have faux brickwork (like what they are currently doing with the London facades), and I'm sure those are going to look more 'smart' and colourful. The contrast between these more ramshackle-looking shops and the more pristine shops like Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes will create a wonderful contrast, resulting in a land that feels truly 'real' and 'lived-in'.

This is the type of placemaking that a true World Class theme park does, and I am thrilled.

107.199.172.154

Published: December 9, 2013 at 2:11 PM

I JUST got a part-time job at WWoHP and I cannot wait for the expansion to be ready!!! Definitely going to do a bang up job maybe I'll get an early opportunity to test things out if I play my cards right ;)
Kelly Muggleton

Published: December 10, 2013 at 4:44 AM

The Diagon Alley at the tour in here in the UK is marvellous... I'm sure this will eclispe it though! Looks great!
Dylan Volpe

Published: December 10, 2013 at 5:31 AM

Yeah!!! I can't wait for the construction to be complete! These are one of the times I wish Time Travel exists.

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