Welcome to Theme Park Insider! Join the community or log in
Theme Park Insider
Facebook Twitter YouTube Email Newsletter

Insider's Update: Diagon Alley opens to all

Written by
Published: July 4, 2014 at 10:56 AM

Universal Studios Florida opened The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley to all park guests yesterday afternoon, and is expected to continue soft openings today and even perhaps through the official opening on July 8. Universal Orlando hotel guests who've bought Diagon Alley packages are getting first admission into the land each day, but softs are following in the afternoons. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts has been up and down for the hotel guests, and was not included in the soft opening for all guests yesterday.

The visitors who got in yesterday were overjoyed with the experience, and Twitter erupted with photos of giddy guests. Here are a few sent to us @ThemePark:

Gringotts dragon
Photo by Markus Ludwig

Knockturn Alley
"Knockturn Alley today." Photo by Blake Poole

Tale of the Three Brothers
"LOVED The Tale of the Three Brothers." Photo by Robin Sizemore

Now that the land has been opened to all guests, we've opened our Diagon Alley review pages for you to rate, review and upload photos of the locations you've experienced.

Note that anyone can rate attractions (though we ask that you limit yourself to rating places you've actually visited), but you must register with the site to leave a review or upload a photo. Registering is free, though, and only takes a moment, so please, register today!

It's been an amazing journey we've shared with you over the past two and a half years, from first revealing the plans for Diagon Alley on December 31, 2011, through the many other revelations we've reported about Diagon Alley since then. We hope that many of you get the chance to enjoy Diagon Alley as much as we've enjoyed reporting on it, and then, finally getting to experience Diagon Alley in person last month.

In other news, Walt Disney World is opening its Frozen celebration at Disney's Hollywood Studios this weekend, and offered a first look at the Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post & Frozen Funland inside Soundstage One at the Studios (most recently home to Darth's Mall).

Across the country, at Disneyland, the park just reopened the Alice in Wonderland dark ride after a much-needed redesign and refurbishment, which included the removal of the ugly tarps and redundant temporary safety rails that had marred the exterior of the ride for years. Inside the ride, Disney's added several film animation snippets.

Disneyland's also opened its Guardians of the Galaxy preview in the Tomorrowland theater, evicting Captain EO. The preview also's slated to play in the old Sound Studio stage at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida.

Readers' Opinions

From robert morris on July 4, 2014 at 7:42 PM
Visited Diagon Alley after work tonight...probably the last time someone will say that for a while.

I had ridden the Hogsmeade Express the day before and thought it was good but not great.

Diagon Alley is beyond any Theme Park experience I have ever seen. Even without Gringotts open it is complete experience the Dragon's Fire is incredible but still pales in comparison to Knockturn Alley.

From 68.58.203.160 on July 4, 2014 at 9:04 PM
Robert,

Since you broke the news on Diagon Alley...is there any chance your inside source can divulge information on the coming Kid Zone revamp, Wondersea Water Park or the rumored Disney-Sea quality Third Gate planned for Universal Orlando?

From Robert Niles on July 4, 2014 at 11:14 PM
I think we've been pretty upfront that a Kidzone revamp is coming, that Universal is working on water park plans, and that Orlando still has more Harry Potter to come. And, oh yeah, Kong.

Kong and the fifth hotel are under construction. But until construction starts on the other developments, their plans can change. That's all I've got at this point -- at least all I feel confident enough to report as fact.

From 70.197.227.193 on July 5, 2014 at 5:10 AM
Robert, is there any concern at this point that the repeated breakdowns in Gringotts will be a lingering problem? I know all rides break down from time to time but this one seems to have trouble early on staying operational. Normal course of things or cause for concern at this point?
From 80.1.218.63 on July 5, 2014 at 7:33 AM
Those pics suggest to me they nailed it. It really does look like a transplanted bit of London, with a little bit of magic. Bravo Universal, Bravo.
From 184.88.69.148 on July 5, 2014 at 4:03 PM
That Disney ride is awful how many times can they do the same thing ?
From Anon Mouse on July 5, 2014 at 5:55 PM
"Orlando still has more Harry Potter to come."

Really? I would love to hear more.

From O T on July 6, 2014 at 2:57 AM
@Anon They only thing the creative directors told at the reveal of Diagon Alley is that they really would like to build the Ministry of Magic. It could be placed at the current (horrible) Fear Factor Show But let us first enjoy Diagon Alley.
From Rob Pastor on July 6, 2014 at 7:01 AM
Yes, Fear Factor is probably the worst theme park show anywhere. A Potter themed area would be a natural since it's adjacent to Diagon Alley/London.
From Court E on July 6, 2014 at 12:51 PM
The new Alice in Wonderland looks great. It's always been one of my favorite dark rides.
From Tony Duda on July 6, 2014 at 3:33 PM
I was at Diagon Alley on July 3 and spent about 3 hours there and left because I had a 2 hour drive home. I put 18 photos on my Flickr page, the link is below.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/hydrotony/sets/72157645136507010/

I have more photos but these are a good sample. I haven't read any of the books but saw all the movies. Diagon Alley is like being in that fantasy land, it is so detailed that words can't do it justice. It is full-sized and I can foresee a time when they actually use it as a film stage for additional WWoHP movies or TV shows.

From Gabriel Schroll on July 6, 2014 at 8:22 PM
Interesting comment about using Diagon Alley as the set of a future Harry Potter TV show.

What comes to my mind is a TV show based around the Slytherins and starring Tom Felton, whose career I don't follow, but I imagine he has some open dates in his acting schedule. Diagon Alley is ready-made for the set of a show, and it'd be filmed at night after the park closes. Furthermore, Universal Orlando has some working or workable soundstages that could be made to be the Slytherin common room or the interior of the shops within Diagon Alley, as I picture a CW-style drama.

Universal could not only market their Harry Potter lands to fans of the movies and books, but now to fans of the TV show. As a huge bonus, going to Diagon Alley would in essence, become a set visit. And imagine a "backstage" VIP tour, which would take guests into the sound stages to see the working sets for the rest of the show.

Just throwing ideas out there. Feel free to tell me why this simply won't work, but I had to put it out there.

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Previous article: Tokyo DisneySea leads the winners of the 2014 Theme Park Insider Awards



What's it like to work at Disney World?

Working at Disney World

Insider's Pick: Ever wondered what it would be like to work at the Walt Disney World Resort? Stories from a Theme Park Insider offers more than 100 pages of fun, insightful, and even sometimes touching stories from people who've worked at Disney World's Magic Kingdom. It's a great way to get in the mood for your next trip to Orlando, or just to keep the memories of a Disney World visit alive.

Get it! In paperback | For Kindle | For iBooks