Universal Orlando did the awaited Live Event about Harry Potter Diagon Alley this morning and released plenty of new renderings, the ones you were waiting for! And this article is now updated with 15 new high-res pics and the 9 min video of the Live Preview presentation!
So, never before has a theme park created a guest experience like this: you will climb aboard the Hogwarts Express in Hogsmeade and moments later arrive at King’s Cross Station – where the wonders of London and Diagon Alley will unfold before you. And it will be all real.
When guests will arrive in front of the impressive London facade they might recognize some of them: King’s Cross Station, Charing Cross Road, Grimmauld Place, Leicester Square Station, Wyndham’s Theatre...
...and the famous Eros Fountain from Piccadilly Circus. The purple Knight Bus will be there too with an interactive inside including a taking schrunken head with a Caribbean accent!
The event was introduced by Mark Woodburry, President of Universal Creative, along with actors from the Harry potter movies. Mark was talking from the Gringotts bank vaults, and my guess is that it was filmed in one of the decor of the ride pre-show walk-through.
Then, Thierry Coup, Senior Vice-President Studio Creative told us more about the Hogwarts Express. After arriving at King’s Cross Station aboard the Hogwarts Express, guests will pass through London and the iconic brick wall archway from the films into Diagon Alley – a bustling, wizarding hub within a Muggle city. There will be shops, dining experiences, and the new ride called "Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts" – a multi-sensory, multi-dimensional journey that will take theme park attractions to a new level:
Guests will board the Hogwarts Express and journey between London’s King’s Cross Station ( picture above ) which will be a replica of the real one in London with the famous 9 3/4 track - and Hogsmeade Station in Universal’s Islands of Adventure ( picture below ). The journey will be filled with virtual views of London and the British countryside – as well as a few surprises. Park-to-park admission will be required.
Actually, Thierry Coup was filmed inside one of the wagon of the Hogwarts Express, the same one in which guests will make the trip to Hogsmeade Station!
He was joined in the wagon by Evanna Lynch, who portrays Luna Lovegood in the movies.
But if instead to go to Hogsmeade guests choose to stay in Diagon Alley they will enter through a special pathway looking like the parting of bricks that you've sen in the films when Hagrid let Harry potter get inside the area. And, yes, apparently the dragon will stand at the top of Gringoots bank!
Here are others shots of Diagon Alley, from the virtual movie shown during the presentation.
Then, guests will rush to experience a groundbreaking new, multi-dimensional thrill ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, which will place riders in the middle of an incredible adventure as they navigate their way through the perils of the Gringotts vaults!
Universal didn't said a lot today about the ride itself, keeping surprises for later, but here are two renderings, the first one - now in high-res, below, showing what could be the departure scene of the ride...
I'm sure you want to have a closer look at the ride vehicle...
And also this one, showing an amazing scene during the ride which sure will be a BIG E-Ticket ride!
There will be much more to see in Diagon Alley, where guests will find plenty of shops and eateries:
Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, a vibrant shop featuring novelty items, magical jokes, and toys inspired by the books and films that will amaze the mischievous child in everyone
Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 BC, one of the wizarding world’s premier wand shops. An expanded version of the one at Hogsmeade village in which guests can witness the magical experience of a wand choosing a wizard.
A closer look at the shop...
Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, where guests can grab wizarding essentials such as telescopes, binoculars, armillary spheres, compasses, magnifying glasses and hourglasses.
Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour for frozen treats in a variety of tantalizing and unique flavors such as strawberry-and-peanut-butter ice-cream and many others.
But also: Leaky Cauldron - Serving traditional British fare such as fish and chips and bangers and mash.
Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, where guests will find a variety of wizardwear from Hogwarts school uniform ties, scarves and jumpers, to authentic wizard’s robes and character costumes
Magical Menagerie, which features a collection of plush animals, such as owls and Hippogriffs
Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, where guests can grab wizarding essentials such as telescopes, binoculars, armillary spheres, compasses, magnifying glasses and hourglasses
Quality Quidditch Supplies, offering a wide assortment of apparel and equipment including Quidditch sweaters, brooms, Golden Snitches, Bludgers, Bludger bats, Quaffles and more
Scribbulus, featuring authentic writing implements and products such as feather quills, ink and inkwells, bookmarks, journals, parchment paper, seals, stationery sets and postcards
And, finally, Discover the darker side of magic in Knockturn Alley, the darkest of dark places that features Borgin and Burkes – a shop specializing in the Dark Arts that will offer a wide variety of Dark objects, such as Death Eater masks, skulls, and other sinister items!
For sure this new Diagon Alley will be awesome and just like you i can't wait for its opening this summer!
Pictures: copyright Universal Studios