The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando Resort is now open to the public.
A few weeks ago, I attended a preview event of this new world and it was incredible to see the stories of Harry Potter come to life.
From riding the Hogwarts Express to stepping inside Gringotts Bank and exploring the streets of London, the attention to detail makes this new land is so real you don’t even feel like you’re in a theme park. It's magic.
Hogwarts Express – Climb aboard the Hogwarts Express train at Kings Cross station in London, just outside Diagon Alley and go on a journey to Hogsmeade, located in the adjacent Islands of Adventure park. It’s an unbelieveable attraction with your train car ‘window’ bringing you the stories of Harry Potter. It’s an immersive storytelling experience like I’ve never seen before and even if you aren’t familiar with the stories, you’ll still love it. Guests can also board the train in Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure for a trip to London, but you must have a park-to-park pass.
Insider Tip: Plan ahead for wait times because once you arrive at your destination, you’ll have to leave your train car and get in line again if you want to make it a round trip.
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts Bank – The fire-breathing dragon on top of Gringotts Bank is only the beginning of the excitement taking place in the signature ride of Diagon Alley. As you make your way into the bank, you’ll pass goblins hard at work and wind your way through the halls of the bank to the vaults far beneath the ground.
This thrilling 3D ride features Harry, Ron, and Hermione trying to evade the wrath of villains Voldemort and Bellatrix. It’s unlike any other theme park ride in the world.
Insider Tip: No carry-on bags are allowed on the ride. So, before you get in line, be sure to grab a complimentary locker just to the right of the ride’s entrance.
Explore the streets of London – There are so many fantastic places to explore in the streets of Diagon Alley. A few of my favorites include Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour with Butterbeer ice cream for sale (it’s delicious), Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes for magical items and Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, with some magnificent robes on display and some for sale, too.
If you’re hungry, stop in at The Leaky Cauldron for a frozen Butterbeer and some fish and chips (my personal favorite). There’s no need for reservations – just step up to the counter and place your order, take your number to your table and before you know it, your food appears.
Insider Tip: Buy an interactive wand (for $44.95) from Ollivander’s shop and visit medallions located through town to release your powers. Just wave your wand in the pattern show, speak the magic words and items around you will come to life.
If you’re planning on visiting the park, grab the Universal Orlando Resort’s official mobile app for up-to-the minute info on wait times and a helpful park map, too.