Universal Orlando's Diagon Alley: Getting the lay of the land
With the line-up of attractions, restaurants and shops now confirmed
for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida, some of you have asked about the layout of the land: Where will these elements be located, relative to one another.
Universal has created an excellent interactive "walk through" experience on its Harry Potter website, but it only allows you to walk up the main path of Diagon Alley. It doesn't give you much information about the relative location of other features in the land. And good luck getting it load, with the traffic it's been getting the past two days!
As long-time Theme Park Insider readers know, I first saw the plans for Diagon Alley back in December 2011, and have seen more detailed versions of the land's blueprints since then. I agreed not to publish those plans, but with Universal's recent announcement, I think it's fair if I share my own (crude) attempt at a map of the land.
The main entrance (and exit) for the land will be through the Leicester Square Station facade. I've left the area for Knockturn Alley blank, but that's simply because my limited drafting skills do not allow me to reproduce the elaborate, twisting collection of paths and stairways you will find in that section of the new land. Do note that Knockturn Alley will be covered, as will the Carkitt Market area, so even in Florida's afternoon thunderstorms, Diagon Alley will provide not just mood-appropriate settings, but protection from the elements.
I've also not included detail about the various facades you will find on these buildings, simply because I don't have space on this page to accommodate that level of detail. The Ollivander's building will include facades for the Daily Prophet, Wands by Gregorovitch, Flourish and Blotts, and more. (The Hogsmeade Wizarding World also includes multiple such "fake" storefronts.)
As I mentioned yesterday, plans call for a beverages stand in the middle of the Carkitt Market area, which I suspect will be Diagon Alley's version of the Butterbeer cart. There might be additional portable merchandise and food and beverage stands in that market area, as well.
The sketch above also should provide you some idea as to the relative location of the Hogwarts Express to the rest of the land. Platform 9 3/4 will be a bit of a hike through Kings Cross station from the entrance on the London waterfront. Plenty of room for a long queue there!
In yesterday's presentation, Universal Creative President Mark Woodbury teased more details to come about Diagon Alley. One detail Universal's not yet mentioned has been the new interactive wand that it's been developing, which would have the ability to trigger multiple "magical moments" within Diagon Alley. Knockturn Alley is designed to be filled with these interactive elements, as are some of those other false storefronts I mentioned above. Whether this functionality is ready for the opening remains unclear, but Universal is working on it for the future of the land.
Cool. Thank you!
While I feel that this will be very well put together, I still do not see how this makes sense. If they really wanted to expand Harry Potter, just get rid of the rest of the Lost Continent. I feel that Universal is putting way too much into Harry Potter.
Not much for little kids to do will hopefully keep Diagon's narrow street from being clogged with strollers.
You think there's enough merchandise locations? There's certainly no shortage of ways to part with your money in this expansion. I half expect a booth for the DVC to eventually show up here.
The Diagonalley Vacation Club?
I love that Universal is creating a park-within-a-park with all the Harry Potter attractions. My family previously didn't have much interest in Universal, but with all the Potter things to do we will be spending one full day at Universal from now on, I'm sure.
Let's not forget the role of Diagon Alley within the Harry Potter narrative is as the shopping mall of the Wizarding World. It's where everyone goes to buy school supplies. It's where the bank is. It's the commercial center of the wizarding community in Britain. So, yeah, it's within theme to build it out in a theme park with a ton of merch.
If I'm reading this correctly (and I like to think that I am), there's only one way in and one way out of the Diagon Alley area. A very narrow one at that. As a frequent visitor to Halloween Horror Nights, this does facilitate the ability to close the area during that event, which bums me out because I would love to get a few extra rides on Gringotts with slightly lesser crowds being around.
There is at least one alternate exit in the plans for Diagon Alley, although I suspect those might be reserved for emergencies or, at the very least, periods of extreme crowds.
It's called satire Annette, which is something that Mr. Niles clearly gets, and my take on merch in the parks pretty much mirrors his. I'll spend a fair amount of time in shops when I visit the parks, and if I see something I like I buy it and don't think twice about the cost, but nobody has a gun to anybody's head to make a purchase and I spend more time browsing than buying. I also spend plenty of money at sit down restaurants in the parks, and I do it with a big smile on my face (far from the pouty scowl I'm sure you envision), happily opening up my wallet and generously tipping for the exceptional service I usually receive. So engage in extra expenditure during your theme park visits or don't, it's all up to the individual.
Robert, if/when Universal decides to expand the Harry Potter areas at USO and IOA, is any expansion possible at Diagon Alley or is the remainder of the Lost Continent the logical place to see more Potter sequels?
"If they really wanted to expand Harry Potter, just get rid of the rest of the Lost Continent."
Merchandising is a hot topic for many reasons. I found it strange that there is a request to psycho-analyze those who hate the merchandising. It really isn't that hard.
It seems to me that they might run into a major crowd problem. Hogsmeade has the benefit of being a "through" land, with entry and exit points on two sides. Diagon Alley has a single entry point with Gringotts at the back end. Does Universal have a plan to be able to manage the huge crowds? Also, is there any more space between buildings in this land than at Hogsmeade? Universal went for authenticity so much in the original land that if there are any more than modest crowds it can feel very claustrophobic. It would be nice to have some more breathing room, especially with the tall facades surrounding guests on all sides and not feeling very open. Any idea what the capacity of this area is?
I know the official opening date hasn't been announced but I was thinking of booking some hotel rooms for a visit to Universal in Orlando in April.
So what is the current olivanders becoming?
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