The Universal Orlando Resort revealed new details of its planned expansion in a press release on Wednesday, stating that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, will open this summer and feature a fire-breathing dragon, self-stirring cauldrons and dancing skeletons.
“Never before has a theme park created a guest experience like this: you climb aboard the Hogwarts Express in Hogsmeade and moments later arrive at King’s Cross Station – where the wonders of London and Diagon Alley unfold before you. And it is all real,” Universal Orlando Resorts said in the press release.
NBC's Universal Orlando had launched The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at its Islands of Adventure theme park in 2010 and its latest offering is reportedly the year's most anticipated theme park for Hogwarts fans.
Diagon Alley will be located within Universal Orlando’s second theme park, Universal Studios, which will create new experiences based on “the signature areas of London, Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley.”
"There were requests already from the beginning," Thierry Coup, creative senior vice president at Universal, reportedly said about the expansion. "People thought, 'Why didn't you bring Diagon Alley?' 'Why didn't you do Gringotts?' We said, 'Well, just wait.' And now it's coming."
Universal Orlando Resorts and Warner Bros. Entertainment say the new additions will offer a “revolutionary attraction experience” along with new themed shops and dining.
Universal’s creative team has been said to be closely working with Stuart Craig and the complete production group of the Harry Potter films, so that they can make the theme park more authentic and real.
Alan Gilmore, an art director for the Harry Potter films, who also has been working with Universal on the park's design, reportedly said that the new section “absolutely raises the bar.” He also added that the new area is “a maze crisscrossing itself.”
David Mandt, vice president of communications for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions told, CNN: "Park operators from around the world were impressed by the immersive experience Universal created and the meticulous attention to detail they used to bring the Harry Potter stories to life." He added: "There is great anticipation within the industry to see how Diagon Alley will build on that success."
Some of the major attractions of Diagon Alley will include “the magical experience of a wand choosing a wizard at Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 BC, one of the wizarding world’s premier wand shops” and “the darker side of magic in Knockturn Alley” and a new ride called “Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.”