Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter Diagon Alley Officially Announced by Universal Studios Orlando

The big news today is the official announcement by Universal Studios Orlando that The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter Diagon Alley is coming to the park and will open 2014! Disney and more has all the renderings and infos for you, including the official press release. No need to say that there is a new big battle coming in 2014 between WDW and Universal Studios Orlando with the opening the same year of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at WDW Magic Kingdom and at Universal this new Diagon Alley with the new Gringotts Bank coaster ride plus the Hogwarts Express ride to Islands of Adventure!

ORLANDO, Fla. (May 8, 2013) – Building on the global phenomenon that is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. Entertainment today announced an expansion of historic proportion with the entirely new themed environment, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.

 Scheduled to open in 2014, the world’s first centrally themed, multi-park experience expands The Wizarding World of Harry Potter across both Universal Orlando theme parks and allows Universal’s creative team to bring an unparalleled vision to this unique project. 

The new area will bring to life some of the experiences and places found in and around London in the Harry Potter books and films, offering brand-new adventures for fans and theme park guests from around the world. Diagon Alley and ‘London’ will be located within the Universal Studios Florida theme park, which is adjacent to Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park, where guests now experience Hogwarts and Hogsmeade.

 The new area within Universal Studios will be just as expansive, immersive and authentic as the existing themed environment. And – just like in the books and films – guests will be able to travel between ‘London’ and Hogsmeade aboard the Hogwarts Express.

Below, what should be probably the Hogwarts Express train station entrance.

Work on the new area is already underway. When complete, it will feature shops, a restaurant and an innovative, marquee attraction based on Gringotts bank – all directly inspired by the fiction and films. More details on The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will be released over time.

 Above, the entrance of the Gringotts bank attraction. And, yes, there will be a giant dragon breathing fire at the top of the building. My guess is that part of it - probably head and neck - will be audio-animatronic. 

Below, the London street with iconic shops, and more.

 To bring Diagon Alley and ‘London’ to life, Universal’s creative team is working closely with Warner Bros. and the production design team from the Harry Potter films – just as it did for Hogwarts and Hogsmeade. "I'm so pleased that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has proved so popular to date, and I'm sure that the attention to detail in creating the new Diagon Alley area will make this an even better experience," said J.K. Rowling. “We are continuing the journey and adding an entirely new level of adventure,” said Tom Williams, Chairman of Universal Parks & Resorts. “And we are bringing the same drive, commitment, enthusiasm and innovation to this project as we did to the first.” “We are thrilled to offer the legions of fans the opportunity to embark on this new journey and experience Diagon Alley as it was brought to life in the books and films,” said Brad Globe, president, Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “Our vision is to create two amazing theme park experiences that combine into one, complete, magical journey,” said Alice Norsworthy, executive vice president, marketing and sales for Universal Orlando Resort.

Above the London waterfront, located near Universal Orlando lagoon... including the famous double decker bus which was part of Harry Potter adventures and apparently a copy of Picadilly circus famous "Eros" statue.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade opened at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in June 2010 as a fully immersive Harry Potter themed environment - bringing to life the bestselling books by J.K. Rowling and the blockbuster feature films from Warner Bros. Since that time, it has become a global phenomenon, entertaining millions of people from around the world. Visitors to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter are swept into the adventures of Harry Potter. They can tour Hogwarts castle, shop in Hogsmeade and dine at the Three Broomsticks. They can soar above Hogwarts with Harry, be chosen by a wand at Ollivanders, sample Butterbeer and much more".

Pictures: copyright Universal Orlando


Harry Potter Movie Memorabilia said...

This expansion is going to be epic - Universal have taken that next step to really immerse fans into the world of Harry Potter. From London, Diagon Alley, Kingscross Station, Hogsmeade and Hogwarts (and back!) this is just one major in-movie experience.

Heading over there August / September of next year to check it out. Fingers crossed that WDW have added some major new attractions aswell; while I am looking forward to the new rides at Fantasyland MK, I really would like to see a new land come to life from Disney.

Anonymous said...

Not much of a competition...a Kiddie coaster vs. an entire land/addition....Disney is falling way behind of UOR

Anonymous said...

J'avais visité le précédent land à Orlando, vraiment génial et surtout cette fantastique attraction dans le château ! Terrible ! De tous les parcs visités à ce moment, c vraiment "island of adventures" que j'avais préféré... Déçu des parcs Disney qui vieillissaient pas mal et surtout Animal Kingdom (malgré la très belle faune). Et pendant ce temps, disneyworld fait un nouveau land avec des resto, des boutiques et des WC Raiponce...

Robert /Cologne said...

Looks like planning my vacation next year will depend on the opening of this attraction.
WDW is way behind Universal at this time .
Look what Universal has made compared to WDW.New fantasyland looks fantastic but why on earth has it taken so long to finish .
Also in my opinion with Avatar Disney has made a bad choice .They should have stuck with Beastly Kingdom as Avatar would pass in anyway leaving them with more choices for the future .
Harry Potter has proved itself over years ,will anyone want Avatar in 15-20 years ?

Universal are now making attractions where you think wow I have to see that my next vacation .
Disney has great new additions but nothing that I would change my vacation plans for .

Marco Antonio Garcia said...

For HP fans (not me) this is brilliant! Disney World is certainly way behind Universal Orlando.

Harry Potter Movie Memorabilia said...

While I do remain the bigger fan to Harry Potter over Disney, Disney has still done some fantastic and mindblowing things in the past! Let's not forget that. They have set the bar in themeparks for years - and Universal was always their compeition.

In 2011 Magic Kingdom had 17.1 million visitors (so we know they are doing something right!) and Universal had 6.04 million. But the visitor numbers have only gotten higher at Universal thanks to the Harry Potter land; and will continue to rise due to this - but I dont see the attendance numbers matching to the attendance at Disney parks (at least not any time soon!)

Universal was lucky enough to land the rights to HP land - this could easily have been Disneys. In saying that, Universal were given the opportunity to set the bar to a new level - one which was set pretty high - though I do believe that now all guests expects a new land or a new ride to be at this level or BETTER and I do believe Disney has a lot more to come.

Magic Kingdom at WDW had the best opportunity to bring new rides and attractions to their Fantasyland expansion; now that they know what Universal can do / will be doing; let's hope they really wow us with their future plans in that expansion. The only question I kept asking myself was, 'why did they do the same Little Mermaid ride in the expansion, why not something new and different?'

Marco Antonio Garcia said...

IOA had almost 8 million guests last year and the Studios 6; it's still way behind the MK.

Of course Disney has done something right, first of all Walt created many succesful movies and world beloved characters, after that he built what is until now the world's best Theme Park concept, the Magic Kingdom style park, with epic attractions such as Peter Pan, Pirates, Haunted Mansion, that was duplicated in Orlando. After that, Walt bought A LOT of land in Orlando...

But recently Universal is way ahead of WDW, its attendance rises a lot every year and Magic Kingdom attendance doesn't. To begin with, the best and most popular attractions in the MK are from before the park's opening like Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan, and the park is over 40 years old!

I like Disney much more than I like Universal, but recently in Florida, in terms of attractions, Universal is way ahead; unfortunately...

Brad Kenzo said...

ONLY WDW is only behind because theres nothing new yet. and WDW only is behind because theyre planning major things to it well next year is a big year for the magic kingdom new parade the FANTASYLAND FOREST Reopening.and in 2016 new Fireworks 2017 Avatarland 2018 Hollywood Studios expansion phase 1 opening and etc just now its not the time for Disney Orlando well theyre just starting to take things seriously, and in 2015 Diney about busiest theme park in the world.
Yeah lets say HP is great but what will happen after many years. People come to Disney because well Its Disney true storytelling and getting through your all in your wildest imagination. and Dont forget once Universal opens HP in other parks the attendance will be down.

Brad Kenzo said...

Ok Did somebody say DISNEY in falling behind UNIVERSAL ORLANDO Disney falling behind BIG WORD .only Universal Orlando seriously since potter came that doesnt mean disney is falling behind REMEMBER DISNEY SEA AND USJ opening at the same year but which park did the most of the attendance remember.Disney Sea created history in the theme parks division setting the bar high the quality and the details are perfect . while USJ always brings the world record performances but the WOW factor nahhh

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