Wizarding World of Harry Potter Exapands–Diagon Alley
Looks like I’m moving to Florida. (Specifically, Diagon Alley.)
As should be clear by now, I am a big fan of the Harry Potter books. I’ve read them all; I’ve been to the midnight releases; I’ve read all the supplemental books and I’ve seen all the movies. What I have not done is been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure, and frankly, I’m kind of glad now. “Why?” you ask (because I can hear through computer screens, apparently. Ooh! Or I used magic. That’s it–I’m a wizard.) I’m glad because there are things missing from the attraction.
Hogwarts castle is there, sure, and there are plenty of rides and shops/restaurants from the books: Dervish and Banges, Honeydukes, Ollivanders, Zonko’s Joke Shop, The Three Broomsticks and The Hog’s Head. So yeah, if I wanted to get a butter beer, I could. Maybe purchase my own wand and have it light up like Harry’s did in the movie? No problem. (If I was eleven, maybe.) So I’m not saying the Wiarding World of Harry Potter isn’t cool, because it is. I’m just saying it doesn’t have everything in it I’d like it to. And Universal Studios must have heard my unspoken pleas (magic again, no doubt).
They’re expanding the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, adding the attraction Diagon Alley. Thing is, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (modeled on Hogsmeade and Hogwarts) is located in Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure, whereas Diagon Alley will be in their other theme park, Universal Studios Florida. They’re completely separate parks, with different entrances and attractions, but visitors can head from one part of the wizard world to another by riding, what else? The Hogwarts Express, of course! (It’s like the train connects Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade in the books, or something…)
So far, the only big attraction in the new section will be Gringotts Bank. Readers will recall, if they saw the last Harry Potter film, the section where our heroic trio travels through the bank in little mine cars? That’s going to be made into a rollercoaster. No doubt that there’ll be other shops and restaurants in the area around Gringotts, but I’m wondering what they’re going to put there. I mean, Ollivanders and Zonko’s Joke Shop are already in the regular Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction (as opposed to Diagon Alley, there they’re located in the books). Not having them in the attraction called “Diagon Alley” strikes me as weird.
Then again, not weird enough to keep me from visiting. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter–Diagon Alley is scheduled to open in 2014. Anybody feel like going on a road trip? I have a feeling it’ll take us less time than you think. (My car is…special.)