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On the Road to Diagon Alley: We're in the air!

Written by
Published: June 16, 2014 at 11:29 AM

We are in the air on our way to Orlando now for the media preview of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley. We'll be getting our first look inside the new land during a celebrity red-carpet and "opening moment" ceremony Wednesday night, featuring some of the stars of the Harry Potter films.

The Knight Bus
The more traditional method of transport to Diagon Alley.

Then we will be inside the new land at Universal Studios Florida again all day on Thursday, having lunch in the Leaky Cauldron, taking pictures, shooting video and preparing reports that we will be bringing you here on ThemeParkInsider.com. So, please, keep reading, and tell your theme park-loving friends to check us out this week for all your Harry Potter Diagon Alley news and previews.

What's got you most excited for Diagon Alley? Tell us in the comments, and we'll use your feedback to help us prioritize our coverage over the week, including our live Tweeting.

In the meantime, as we await the opening, please take a moment and go vote for us here. We always appreciate such support from our wonderful readers (that's you!)

Readers' Opinions

From 198.228.228.176 on June 16, 2014 at 11:37 AM
Everything.....I'm looking so forward to this! Have a good flight and shoot some great photos and videos like always for us all in the upper states and beyond....
From 204.99.250.45 on June 16, 2014 at 12:29 PM
We definitely need an impartial bangers and mash comparison between the Leaky Cauldron and Finnigans. The public deserves to know!!!
From O T on June 16, 2014 at 12:46 PM
Could you please check out the Gringots ride and tell me how much stress there will be on the body. Will it have coaster elements like bend turns or is it mostly simulated?
I would be very grateful for that info.
have a great time and I will check back as often as I can.
From James Rao on June 16, 2014 at 12:55 PM
Be safe, Mr. Niles.... and try not to catch Hogwarts! ;)

Have fun!

From Robert Niles on June 16, 2014 at 12:55 PM
Great question, OT.

From what I understand, Gringotts will be less intense, physically, than Forbidden Journey. But we'll be sure to offer as detailed a description of the physical forces on that ride as we can. Thanks!

From 65.61.89.149 on June 16, 2014 at 1:39 PM
I think the key areas or unknowns for me would be how they handle Express Pass for both Gringotts and the Hogwarts Express.

Other questions:

1. Hours of operation (including early entry for on-site guests) for both Harry Potter sections once the new area opens.

2. The special wands to activate things around the Harry Potter lands, will those be active right away? I think some previous articles had mentioned a delayed introduction for those.

3. I doubt they'd release this, but are there any preliminary plans for a third phase down the line?

From Evan Lucas on June 16, 2014 at 1:40 PM
Robert,

I would love to hear about the architecture/layout of the world. From hearing/seeing it described in maps, it is still confusing! Thanks for giving us all a sneak peak!

From michael sloan on June 16, 2014 at 2:12 PM
Have a safe flight. Can't wait to hear your first impressions and descriptions after finally getting to experience it first-hand; and in person. I'm excited about all of it...the entire land, the detailed architecture, the shops, the restaurant, the entertainment offerings, and especially the train stations and GRINGOT'S ride/coaster. This is the most excited I've been about a theme-park experience here in the states since the last Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened at IOA and Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Hope it has a smooth opening and can't wait until September to enjoy it myself. Looking forward to your report...again; have a safe trip!!
From Anon Mouse on June 16, 2014 at 2:33 PM
You will have to sample everything including the new interactive wands, the shows, the meet and greets, and the food. I will look forward to your report.

No cross country drive? I am disappointed.

From Jay R. on June 16, 2014 at 2:58 PM
Voted for TPI!!
From Melissa Donahue on June 16, 2014 at 3:59 PM
Hi Robert, I would love to hear more specifics about Knockturn Alley & Carkitt Market -- regarding logistics & retail offerings. Also, understanding how a large influx of people will pass through the brick wall into Diagon Alley would be much appreciated.

Looking forward to all of your reporting this week! Safe travels!

From 76.26.185.29 on June 16, 2014 at 7:29 PM
I would like to know , how advance is gonna be the technology for gringotts, because universal is promising a breakthrough of technology with this ride, have a safe flight.
From Robert Niles on June 16, 2014 at 7:35 PM
We've arrived, and are settled in. Had dinner at the new Vivo in CityWalk, which I will post tomorrow night.
From robert morris on June 16, 2014 at 7:39 PM
Robert...If you make it to I Drive 360 let me know. Would love to have you visit Kings.
From 64.12.116.206 on June 16, 2014 at 8:33 PM
I've heard a rumor about a Ministry of Magic second expansion coming down the road. Just a rumor, mind you.
From James Trexen on June 16, 2014 at 8:44 PM
Robert, I hope that in wake of all the Harry Potter excitement, you don't forget to check out Springfield at the Studios. As a huge fan of The Simpsons, that has me more excited about my next Universal trip (whenever that may be) and I'd love to hear your thoughts on that.
From N B on June 16, 2014 at 11:29 PM
It seems like the opening of Diagon Alley is getting more attention than Hogsmeade. Just watched Jimmy Fallon... it's going to be a week long commercial for my favorite resort...
From Brian Emery on June 17, 2014 at 5:41 AM
Bobby - Watch out for the Dementors...

Krecher has been watching!...

From Jade Benefield on June 17, 2014 at 7:31 AM
Thank you so much for all the great coverage. Your site is wonderful. I'm sure you will cover this, but I am very interested in the things that can't be captured in pictures. What is the feel of the theme? Any different than other parks or have they captured something new?

Have a great time! Be there for us stuck at home!!

From DPCC inc. on June 18, 2014 at 4:19 AM
Are we still unsure of the opening date?
From 2.120.131.9 on June 18, 2014 at 8:59 AM
Can we ride or at least get on the knight bus??
From Robert Niles on June 18, 2014 at 10:24 AM
Opening date just announced: July 8. Given that Universal hotel guests have booked packages with Diagon Alley access starting June 29, I expect there to be soft openings before the 8th.
From Robert Niles on June 18, 2014 at 10:24 AM
As for the Knight Bus, it doesn't look like you'll be able to get on, beyond standing on the steps for a photo op with the conductor.

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