Aerial photos of Harry Potter Diagon Alley, under construction at Universal Studios Florida

March 24, 2013, 4:24 PM · If you're wondering if Universal Orlando will be able to complete its new Harry Potter Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida by July 2014, as we reported yesterday that Universal's trying to do, let's take a look at some construction photos to see how far along the construction is at this date. One of Theme Park Insider's best friends was kind enough to share these photos with us.

Aerial view of Universal Studios Florida

In our first aerial shot, you can see almost all of Universal Studios Florida. The large building at the lower right is the Gringotts show building, with the Diagon Alley buildings under construction just above and to the left, between Gringotts and the London waterfront.

See that narrow, track-like strip heading straight up from the Gringotts building, toward the backstage road? That's the track for the Hogwarts Express, which will be an elevated train traveling above the path of that back-of-house road to the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter, in Islands of Adventure. (You can see it way up there at the top right. If you're curious, that's the new Transformers building up there at the top left, on the lagoon front.)

Here's another aerial view, looking back from the opposite direction. You can see The Simpsons' Springfield under construction to the right.

Another aerial view of USF

Returning to Diagon Alley, here's a direct overhead view. The London waterfront path is to the lower left. The steel frame at the very bottom is Grimmauld Place, while the entrance to the new Harry Potter land will be through the gap between the white buildings just up and to the left of the Grimmauld Place framing.

Diagon Alley construction

The darker ground leading into the new land is the "main drag" of Diagon Alley, which ends at the entrance to Gringotts, which is that wood-topped facade under construction in the middle of the photo. There's some empty space between that facade and the main Gringotts show building, which dominates the right side of the photo.

Here's the same location, from the opposite direction:

Hogwarts Express and Gringotts construction

There you have a nice view of the Hogwarts Express track, running diagonally (sorry) on the right side of the photo. To the left of the track you've got a nice view of the back of the Gringotts entrance facade under construction. You also can see San Francisco and the Disaster! show building at the top of the photo.


Replies (16)

March 24, 2013 at 4:42 PM · Great photos and commentary. Looking forward to visiting this July, but even more so in 2014. I was there the day the wreckers first tore into the old building where Transformers now stands. I grabbed a couple of pics.
March 24, 2013 at 4:50 PM · Awesome! Google Maps has some relatively recent (as in past few months) views of the area, but not near as recent as this. It includes closer views of the Train station in IOA. Check it out using 45 degree view.
March 24, 2013 at 6:06 PM · I hope Universal improves their capacity issues from IOA. This looks like an incredibly small area to be funneling thousands of people who will all want a look at the newest and greatest HP expansion. That's my only major criticism of HP IOA; every space is way too small. From the Hogsmead streets to Olivanders, to the gift shop and bag check in Forbidden Journey, it all feels way too cramped. Even on a day with low attendance these areas are uncontrollably tight. I get that the designers wanted it to feel like a bustling scene, but I always end up feeling claustrophobic and annoyed.

March 25, 2013 at 2:45 AM · @NB I have read in other posts you stay on site, that will be th only way you see this that first month without going insane. See Diagon Alley from 8 to 9, then rides like the mummy and spiderman for the rest of the day. Looks awesome though.
March 25, 2013 at 2:49 AM · Just wondering what will be the feature food or beverage. Everybody associates butterbeer with the ioa wizzarding world, wonder if it will be the same in diagon alley, or if they will feautre something unique to the area. Can't off the top of my head think of anymore beverage/food items from the movies.
March 25, 2013 at 5:54 AM · Shannon, The Leaky Cauldron and Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor wil be the restaurants, and Butterbeer is bound to be here.
March 25, 2013 at 10:40 AM · Good update. Much too early to make a judgement on the project. I hope they start work in USH. Nothing happening here in the real Hollywood.
March 25, 2013 at 2:00 PM · PS love the new look..

this is going to be awesome for sure.. looks like july 2014 opening might be doable..

plus great to have friends with PLANES to take areal photos.

thanks for the update but will wait till 2015 at the earliest to visit. Can only fathom what the lines around this place in july 2014 OMG..

March 25, 2013 at 3:17 PM · Hi,

This all sounds great. Just curious - how many entrances/exits will there be? I'm guessing one obviously for TLC, another via the train... any others? In Knockturn Alley maybe (more of an exit there perhaps)?

March 25, 2013 at 3:23 PM · The Gringotts show building looks much bigger than the Transformers show building on this photos.
March 25, 2013 at 4:00 PM · Daniel

its quite a bit bigger than transformers...i will say transformers will be a 2 story ride

the gringotts show building is gigantic in person

March 25, 2013 at 5:19 PM · I should clarify that I meant that Knockturn was about one-third of the land space in front of the Hogwarts Express and Gringotts buildings.
March 27, 2013 at 6:38 AM · Wow, Robert, these are simply amazing photos and great intel. Thanks for sharing this. I am struck by Universal's policy of under-promising and over-delivering with their new additions. Disney could learn a thing or too from this! (hello Avatar land that hasn't even broken ground yet...)
March 28, 2013 at 5:12 AM · Great articles Niles! Orlando is kicking it in high gear and Universal is in front by a mile. What does Walt have to compete with this landmark groundbreaking news......cupcakes and dinner plan website....ahhh yeah. I know how about a new meet and greet! I know you guys have to be inpartial but come on Disney pull up your big boy pants and at least try to make this a fight for the all mighty customer dollar in Orlando. I'm seeing my next Orlando vacation in fall of 2014 or spring of 2015 and most of that will be spent at Universal and maybe a day at Sea World.
March 29, 2013 at 8:00 AM · I miss Jaws, I really do, but I cannot wait to see this. It will be interesting to see the Resort's visitor numbers after this opens!
March 29, 2013 at 1:36 PM · GREAT article! I hope the narrow alley way will be able to handle the crowds.

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