This weekend, we were excited to attend the Diagon Alley Sneak Peek Event at Universal Orlando Resort. Our event started with a ride from Hogsmeade to Diagon Alley on the Hogwarts Express. These areas are in two completely different parks of Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Universal did an incredible job of tying the two parks and areas together. You take the Hogwarts Express train from one park to the other park. This one experience was my favorite part of the new expansion. You feel like you were actually on a train going from Hogsmeade to Diagon Alley. To make it even better, there is a show each way. The show is different based on the direction you are going. I could have easily spent my entire night going back and forth, it was that amazing! Enjoy a video on the Hogwarts Express experience.
Once you arrive to London, you can enjoy the beautiful buildings like Gringotts Bank (from the outside) and the Knight Bus. All from a muggle view! The adventure then begins as you you entered Diagon Alley. At the end of the street I saw Gringotts Bank with a huge white dragon gripping the top of the bank. It was incredible! Then, within a few seconds he breathed fire!
Diagon Alley is basically a big loop with several off shoot streets, including the Knockturn Alley. Our event was 3 hours and we still did not see everything. There are a lot more shops and opportunities to spend money on souvenirs and food! For souvenirs, they have new interactive wands with experiences spread across Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade where you can create magic by just a flick of the wand. There are lots of merchandise shops around Diagon Alley, including the Gringotts Money Exchange, where you can exchange dollars to wizard money. You can then use this wizard money at any of the shops at Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. There are lots of opportunities to try amazing foods, including Butterbeer Ice Cream, 2 new WWoHP beers, potion waters, and so much more.
For entertainment, the Escape from Gringotts is the highlight of Diagon Alley. The queue line alone is worth walking through, even if you are not going to ride this new attraction. One of the highlights is walking past the goblins. These goblins looks so realistic, while they are working. After exiting the main bank lobby, you will have a “security photo” taken of your group. Be sure to check it out after the ride! Here is a fun video of the queue line!
Another attraction in Diagon Alley is the much improved Ollivanders Wand Shop. In this area of Diagon Alley, the wand shop is much larger. The “wand chosing” experience is also better with more rooms to help eliminate the longer lines with this popular attraction. The experience is the same as the Ollivanders in Hogsmeade, but the set up is much better. There is other entertainment throughout Diagon Alley, including live entertainment in the street.
Based on this new expansion, you must now have a ticket with park to park access. If you only have a base ticket, you cannot take the Hogwarts Express. You must have a park to park ticket to enjoy the new Hogwarts Express and experience both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. If you are spending your vacation at a Disney Resort hotel or other Orlando area hotel, we even have this ticket with roundtrip shuttle transportation from your hotel. Talk with your agent at Destinations in Florida about purchasing a ticket with this option or adding this ticket option to your vacation package.
Be ready for some magic! This new Diagon Alley is opening on July 8 and will be a once in a life time experience for the whole family.
Allison has either worked or played at Disney World for the past 35 years. She was a past Cast Member at Typhoon Lagoon and Tower of Terror. She continued her love of Disney by starting Destinations in Florida Travel. Contact Allison at email@example.com if you would like her or her team to book your upcoming Disney & Orlando vacation.
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