Vote of the Week: When will you visit Diagon Alley?
Published: August 1, 2014 at 10:50 AM
Universal hasn't cut access to Diagon Alley in weeks. The machines Universal installed to assign return wait time cards have sat unused as the new land's higher capacity than the original Wizarding World in Islands of Adventure so far has handled the current level of demand. Hourly capacity on Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts has improved, too, as operations crews now run seven trains on a somewhat regular basis, up from the two or three trains that ran when the ride first opened to the public last month. That's helped raised the effective hourly capacity of the ride to around 1,400 visitors, according to what we've heard from insiders. Most reports we've heard put the typical wait for Gringotts now around one to three hours, depending on downtimes. Yes, downtimes still are happening, but they're more brief delays these days than afternoon-killers. Still, Universal's been closing the ride around 7pm most nights for extended maintenance time, so don't count on enjoying a shorter wait time late in the evening as the park clears out, as you can typically on most other theme park rides.
You might still encounter brief waits to enter other Diagon Alley establishments, including the shops and dining areas. But the additional theaters in the Ollivander's wand shop in Diagon Alley mean that visitors to the new land will wait a fraction of the time for the "wand chooses the wizard" show over here than in the Islands of Adventure original.
Still, it appears that crowd levels in Diagon Alley are not up to the "worst case scenario" for which Universal Orlando planned. Everyone learned from the opening of the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 2010. Universal learned to build a land with higher capacity and to create a standby return system that would be ready to go from day one. Yet the public learned, too. Many theme park fans, including Theme Park Insider readers, decided to delay their visit to Diagon Alley to later in the summer, or beyond, in order to avoid the anticipated crush of early visitors as well as anticipated reliability problems, given what plagued Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in its first weeks. Universal probably helped encourage delayed visits by its reticence in announcing an official opening date for Diagon Alley — not declaring that date until mid-June, just three weeks before the official opening on July 8. In contrast, Universal announced the June 18, 2010 opening of Hogsmeade in March of that year.
Which brings us to our Vote of the Week. When will you be visiting Diagon Alley? Were you among the "early adopters" who've already been, or did you decide to visit later? Or are you not planning to visit Diagon Alley at all?
If you have visited Diagon Alley, please share your observations and advice to other visitors, in the comments. And, as always, thank you for being a part of the Theme Park Insider community!
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley opens officially at Universal Studios Florida
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley, reviewed
- Ride Review: Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts at Universal Studios Florida
- Ride Review: The Hogwarts Express at Universal Orlando Resort
- Universal Creative's leadership talks about the development of Diagon Alley
- Theme Park Insider's Wizarding World of Harry Potter archive