On the Road to Diagon Alley: Ollivander's and Gregorovitch's
Published: March 11, 2014 at 10:27 AM
While The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has enriched theme park owner NBCUniversal by driving new attendance to the Universal Orlando Resort, it's merchandise sales that's really helped make this land an industry-altering hit. Harry Potter has driven substantial increases in per-guest spending at the Universal Orlando Resort even as it's attracted millions of new fans to the resort. And if there's one item that best symbolizes Potter merchandise, it's the witch's or wizard's wand.
Millions of Harry Potter fans have lived the wizarding fantasy by buying a wand at Ollivander's in Universal's Islands of Adventure. Universal had to cheat the Potter canon by creating an Ollivander's in Hogsmeade, as that iconic storefront stood in Diagon Alley in the Potter books and films. Now that Universal's building its own Diagon Alley, it should surprise no one that the park's put an expanded Ollivander's right in the middle of the new land. Let the Hogsmeade branch be the satellite that Universal's backstory claims it to be, the Diagon Alley Ollivander's will be the flagship store for all Potter fans' wand-wielding needs.
Concept art courtesy Universal
But Ollivander isn't the only wandmaker in the Wizarding World. Potter fans know that Gregorovitch is Ollivander's great rival, the one-time owner of the Elder Wand that plays such as prominent role in the final Harry Potter book and films. And plans call for Gregorovitch to have a presence with a storefront in Universal's Diagon Alley, as well.
In short, if you've ever wanted a magic wand from a Harry Potter character, Universal will have created plenty of places to sell you one.
The new Diagon Alley Ollivander's will feature three rooms for the "wand chooses the wizard" presentation that's been entertaining young Potter fans and their parents over at Islands of Adventure since the original Wizarding World opened in 2010, which should help reduce the often-long waits for that show. There will be some space inside the building for a queue, as well, to further help reduce the crowds in the intentionally cramped quarters of Diagon Alley. Have you bought a wand at Ollivander's? Did you (or someone in your family) get to be part of the show? Tell us about it, in the comments.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley opens this summer at Universal Studios Florida.
Published: March 11, 2014 at 10:43 AM
I am more excited for the show! I'm hoping that it will be more extravagant. As for the queue, I'm glad universal is learning from their mistakes and improving the massive waits for an average show. I just hope I don't geek out again like the first time I visited Hogsmead...
Published: March 11, 2014 at 11:03 AM
Looking forward to the Diagon alley Ollivanders. I never got to see the shows in Hogsmeade since the lines were always long. These should be considerably shorter with the triple capacity.
Published: March 11, 2014 at 11:47 AM
We visited in 2011 and entered an hour early into the park and went straight to Olivander's wand shop. We waited 30 min. and to my daughters shock she was chosen from the crowd. It was a very special experience that will not be forgotten and I hope many other can experience it without the dreaded wait.
Published: March 11, 2014 at 3:08 PM
We were admited to WWOHP 1 hour before park opening in October 2010. We had complimentary breakfast in the Three Broomsticks and then queued for Ollivanders. We were one of the first families in that day and both my sons were picked out. They are huge HP fans and were age 6&8 at the time, it was a fabulous experience for them and one they won't forget!
Published: March 11, 2014 at 4:17 PM
You're right Robert. They must be hauling in the dough there, because we're not huge souvenir buyers, but who could pass up buying the wand while visiting Wizarding World? We couldn't.
We bought the 10-year old a Hermione wand back in 2012, but we got it from the street cart at the exit from Hogwart's rather than from inside Ollivander's. We still stood in line to see the "show" though (one of the longest lines all week, I might add), and even though our daughter didn't get picked, we enjoyed it very much. Later, near closing, when the line wasn't as long (and when there weren't any other youngsters in it so she stood a very good chance of being chosen), she wanted us to try again, but then it started to rain, so we took off and missed our chance. She might never forgive me for that.
Published: March 12, 2014 at 12:47 AM
Robert, you are really outdoing yourself with all of these columns on Diagon Alley. No one else has this information, and I love how you are presenting it, a little at a time. It's wonderful. Keep it up!
I think that Gregoravitch's could just be a store, without the "wand chooses you" production. I think it would be great to have a place there to buy wands and things without having to get in line and see the show if you don't want to be a part of that. So maybe Gregoravitch's will fit that bill for people who just want a quick retail transaction but Ollivander's will be for those that want to see the "wand picks you" experience.
Published: March 12, 2014 at 9:25 AM
I had always written off going to Ollivander's due to the wait (Muggle by name, muggle by nature after all).But two years ago I couldnt believe my luck, I had been on Forbidden Journey twice, no wait, then we were called over to see if we wanted to walk right into the very next show.
So glad we did, it was excellent. Thank you early entry!
Can't wait to see this new expansion!
Published: March 13, 2014 at 1:33 PM
Although we've never seen the show due to the lines, my son still buys a wand every time we go. He's got four so far!
Published: March 13, 2014 at 1:40 PM
Although we've never seen the show due to the lines, it hasn't stopped my son from buying a wand every time we go. He's got four so far!
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