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When is the grand opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley?

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Published: May 14, 2014 at 10:58 AM

An owl bumped into my front door this morning, and might have dropped the answer to the question theme park fans have been asking: When is the grand opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley?

Package from Universal

Let's open this!

Opening it

What's under there?

Here's what we found

Oooh, shiny wizard gold!

Wizard gold

But it's what lies within the envelope that might answer our question.

Harry Potter Diagon Alley invitation

It's the invitation from the Universal Orlando Resort to the "Media & VIP Preview" for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley, from June 17-20, 2014 at Universal Studios Florida.

Our invitation includes a Hogwarts Express ticket to Diagon Alley,

Hogwarts Express ticket

And a "Bank Rune Credit" for opening an account at Gringotts Bank.

Gringotts bank deposit slip

If this media event runs as did the media event for the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the Hogsmeade village at Islands of Adventure that opened in 2010, the final day of the event will be the public grand opening, which would make the opening of Diagon Alley on Friday, June 20.

Of course, Walt Disney World recently held a "media preview" event for its Seven Dwarfs Mine Train roller coaster even though it won't open that ride to the public until May 28, but that's a rare occurrence for theme parks, where public openings almost always follow at the conclusion of media events. Heck, you're wasting publicity to promote an attraction that's not yet open.

We at Theme Park Insider will be attending this Universal media event, so you can look forward to a week of full coverage from Diagon Alley this June, including the new Gringotts ride, the Hogwarts Express, the Leaky Cauldron restaurant, Borgin and Burkes shop, and everything else happening at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley. Be sure to follow Theme Park Insider on Facebook, Twitter and via email for all the latest updates.

Readers' Opinions

From Nick McKaig on May 14, 2014 at 11:22 AM
That is such an elaborate invitation! What a level of pomp and circumstance or a media event invitation.
From James Rao on May 14, 2014 at 12:09 PM
Robert, just out of curiosity, where are you going to be staying when you visit? At one of the three "Express Pass" hotels, or Cabana Bay? Or somewhere offsite? Don't worry, I'm not a stalker. Really, I'm not... I'm... oh wait... It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again... put the *bleeping* lotion in the basket!

Sorry... not sure what happened there. So, where are you staying?

From Rob Pastor on May 14, 2014 at 12:12 PM
Jungle Skip, a Parkscope & Universal Orlando Insider, today said that he "had spoken to some owls who have ridden the Hogwarts Express. Words used to describe the experience are "flawless" and "one of the greatest theme park experiences ever designed from queue to exit".'.....I'll be at Portofino, Universal on Saturday till Memorial day weekend. I guess I'll be too early for softs but maybe we'll get lucky and they'll take the London walls down. I'll have to wait till our September vacation to see what will arguably be the greatest theme park land ever constructed.
From N B on May 14, 2014 at 12:33 PM
On the phone with USF right now (literally).... Booking July 29th through August 1st.

The operator just told me the same date as Robert posted in the thread for the opening date of Diagon Alley....

Edit - I just hung up and the trip is booked. He said something very interesting while we were jabbering about the parks. He said "Enjoy T2 and Twister as much as you can during your stay". I asked him to elaborate, but he realized all calls are recorded and backtracked a bit.

Lastly, we are staying the same amount of time as last year, in the same hotel, yet the total is $800 cheaper than 2013. I confirmed everything twice to make sure there was not an error and will receive my email in a couple of minutes.

I am racking my brain to figure out what the difference is.

From Robert Niles on May 14, 2014 at 1:02 PM
As always when I visit Orlando, I'll be staying at our east coast offices in Celebration. ;^)
From Robert Niles on May 14, 2014 at 1:04 PM
Twister's done, and is the current version of KidZone. I stand by what I wrote in this post from last year looking at what's next to go at Universal Orlando.
From James Rao on May 14, 2014 at 1:12 PM
Do occasional TPI Freelancers also have access to "our" east coast offices in Celebration? ;)
From N B on May 14, 2014 at 1:15 PM
I had a feeling that Twister's time was probably up soon along with T2 and Fear Factor and two of them were more or less confirmed.

I am excited to hear your reports from Diagon Alley, Robert.

My confirmation email from Universal arrived and I verified the hotel stay and tickets to all be correct. We somehow came out way ahead of last year.

From 97.101.110.226 on May 14, 2014 at 4:30 PM
Living 15 minutes away from both Universal and Disney has it's perks. Thanks for the heads up and I'll be sure to be one of the first ones there when it opens up. I'll try to get you guys some pictures.
From 108.0.202.66 on May 14, 2014 at 6:12 PM
I am so jealous on so many levels.
From Gabriel Schroll on May 14, 2014 at 10:19 PM
Cannot be exchanged for Muggle currency.

Haha. So what can it be exchanged for? Because I want that Gringott's Bank Rune Credit! That's awesome, Robert!

From 205.188.117.16 on May 14, 2014 at 11:38 PM
I'm sure this and the new Mine Train ride will be impressive, but trying to get into either this summer will be an exercise in masochism. Can you say 180 min. average wait times?

We will be checking both out in the Fall.

From Jonathan Noble on May 15, 2014 at 1:03 AM
We fly out of Orlando on the 16th. Gutted because we're all massive Potter fans. What does anyone think of our chances of getting in any soft openings? Anyone got any tips for increasing our chances?
From Caitlin Wood on May 15, 2014 at 9:10 AM
N B, if you don't mind me asking, where are you staying?
From Robert Niles on May 15, 2014 at 9:35 AM
Jonathan, I think the chances of soft openings the week leading up to the 17th are quite good, actually. Follow the hashtag #Potterwatch on Twitter, as many of us will be posting when soft opens happen, using that tag.
From TROY DAVIDSON on May 15, 2014 at 9:45 AM
Any idea if Universal will give the annual passholders a preview event? I've been a passholder for many years and hope they will throw us a bone for this grand new land.
From 90.210.170.218 on May 15, 2014 at 10:07 AM
Hi folks. I am going to Florida for 2 weeks on the 14th of June. Would you guys recommend trying to go to the park before the 17th and hope for a soft opening or wait until after the official opening. Trying not to get too caught up in the crazy long queues that happened when hogsmeade opened. Thanks in advance for the advice. Can't wait to go, looks awesome.
From N B on May 15, 2014 at 10:33 AM
Caitlin, we will be at the Hard Rock Hotel.
From Anon Mouse on May 15, 2014 at 10:50 AM
There is complete silence on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train roller coaster. No talk about soft openings. Nothing. 2 more weeks until it opens officials. An anti-climatic opening.
From Brian Emery on May 16, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Robert are you going to the Opening?
Thx.
From 90.205.252.46 on May 17, 2014 at 12:51 AM
Fast pass is now available for seven dwarves mine train !
From 71.81.132.150 on May 17, 2014 at 2:43 PM
So I'm planning on going to Disney/Universal from July 20-26. I'm mainly wanting to go to see Diagon Alley. However, every time I talk to the people at Universal, they refuse to tell me if Diagon Alley will be open by then. This is pretty frustrating because there's discounts right now that I'd like to take advantage of, but I've been worried since they won't confirm anything on the phone. It sounds like, from here, it should be open by then, correct? I don't need a 100% guarantee or anything. I just want to make sure that in all likelihood it'll be open by then....
From Chris C. on May 17, 2014 at 3:06 PM
Wow - almost exactly 4 years after the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened at Islands of Adventure.

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