Friday, January 24, 2014

Harry Potter Expansion at Universal Orlando

I'm a Harry Potter geek, I'll admit it. So you can imagine how excited I was when Universal Orlando released their Webcast about the summer of 2014 opening of Diagon Alley.
Universal opened The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade in 2010 and it was a huge success. I have to admit I was surprised Universal did such a good job because up until then they're track record wasn't the best. But The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is fantastic. I went there with a good friend of mine a few years ago and we had a blast (Confession: we both used to work at Universal). We took a break from Hogsmeade and headed over to the original Universal park, only to discover it was as dead as Jacob Marley. A lot of changes had been made to the park and not for the better. It was really depressing.
But then Universal got a great idea. They decided to rip up the Jaws attraction and build Diagon Alley in its place. Genius. That gave them the ability to extend the Harry Potter franchise and get people into the original park.

So what can you expect this summer when Diagon Alley opens? I mean, besides a crush of people. You'll get a chance to:
Board the Hogwarts Express and journey between London’s King’s Cross Station (located in Universal Studios Florida) and Hogsmeade Station (located in Universal’s Islands of Adventure). The journey will be filled with views of London and the British countryside – as well as a few surprises. Park-to-park admission is required. <- class="Apple-converted-space" span=""> You see what they did? Give you a fantastic reason to pay to get into the formerly lame park.
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.
Witness 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.
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. Awesome.

You'll get to explore some of Diagon Alley’s famous shops, including:
  • 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.
  • 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.
Enjoy traditional British fare that includes favorite dishes such as fish and chips, bangers and mash and more at the Leaky Cauldron. No word if they'll have spotted dick.
Visit 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.
Yes yes yes. Bring it all on. I can't wait.

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