Universal Orlando's Diagon Alley: Getting the lay of the land
Published: January 24, 2014 at 3:30 PM
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.