New Harry Potter Attraction: Diagon Alley

This summer Universal Studios Park in Orlando, FL will be opening a second Harry Potter attraction, Diagon Alley. Diagon Alley is built far from the Hogsmeade attraction so that Harry Potter fans can enjoy a train ride between the parks — on the Hogswart Express, of course. To make the experience authentic, attendees will have to pass through a brick wall to board the train, just like Harry and his wizard friends.

Harry Potter stars James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Evanna Lynch and Matthew Lewis explain more in this official webcast, released Jan 23:

The park was created by set designer Stuart Craig and his production movie team, who worked on all seven of the Harry Potter movies, as reported by Huffington Post. Craig won an Academy Award for set design for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Universal employed 60 designers for Hogsmeade and promises that the park will not disappoint.

Alan Gilmore, an art director who has worked with Universal on both the Diagon Alley park and the movies, said the new section “absolutely raises the bar.” On a tour of the construction site, reporters walked in the shadow of five story buildings along narrow streets, catching glimpses of two major new rides, eight new stores, and a Leaky Cauldron restaurant. Gringott’s Wizarding bank will certainly wow customers with the fire-breathing dragon on its roof. “We say that about the dragon, and people think we’re goofing around,” Mr. Woodbury, president of Universal Creative, said. “We’re not. This one blows a giant ball of fire.” Ms. Rowling has also been involved in designing Diagon Alley.

Constructing the Harry Potter park will cost $400 million, according to the New York Times. Universal expects Diagon Alley to relieve congestion at Hogsmeade, where attendees wait in line for an hour or more four years after the park opened in 2010. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade is credited for a 30% rise in attendance at Universal Studios Park.The Islands of Adventure, where Hogsmeade resides, enjoys an 8 million a year attendance, compared to 6 million at Universal Studios.

To visit both parks and ride the Hogswart Express will cost about $136 per adult and $130 per child. Universal is building Diagon Alley at Universal Studios, while Hogsmeade is on the newer Islands of Adventure. This means that park goers will have to buy multipark passes to visit both parks. Universal has been working to update its Universal Studios section and is hoping to boost sales of both multipark passes and multiday passes with the addition of Diagon Alley. It will be $96 to visit only Diagon Alley.

Universal Studios hopes to open Diagon Alley in June.

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