Update on Harry Potter Diagon Alley Expansion at Universal — The Bump
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Update on Harry Potter Diagon Alley Expansion at Universal

A press release has finally addressed some of the specific information regarding the Diagon Alley expansion in Universal Studios, including the Hogwarts train ride between the parks.  Here are some of the highlights.

Platform 9 3/4
In the books (and movie), Harry enters the Hogwarts Express by running through a brick wall and on to the hidden, magical Platform 9 3/4. Impossible in real life though, right? Wrong. Though the Universal brass wouldn't explain exactly how it will be done, they did describe it this way:

"I don't want to give it away, you have to experience it. But you'll see people... Transition through the wall, and you'll transition through the wall as you go to the platform."

We have no idea what that means, but it sounds awesome.

Station Agent
The Hogwarts Express will pull into the station billowing steam and smoke, before welcoming guests aboard. The train itself sits about 200 guests at a time, and is made to the exact size of the cabins and hallways of the train in the movies. The paint, materials, and even the whistle are all movie accurate.

Come On Ride The Train
Once on board, the execs were careful to emphasize repeatedly: it is just like the experience of actually riding a train, albeit a magical one. So unlike Universal's King Kong ride which depends on 3-D imagery and glasses, guests will be able to look out the windows and see an actual Harry Potter scene play out; and depending on where they're seated on the train, and what angle they're looking out the window, the scene will look different.

Given the wizards at Universal managed to somehow make Harry Potter's talking, moving paintings and pictures, we expect this effect to be just as mind boggling.

Two Rides For The Price Of One
There are two different journeys, from Hogsmeade to Diagon Alley; and the one back. Each is completely different, with a different story and characters. Speaking of the characters...

Old Friends
Guests will get to see Hagrid wave goodbye from Hogsmeade station, the Knight Bus slamming through the streets in London, Buckbeak or the Weasley twins fly by and even be attacked by evil Dementors. The execs were careful to say that this is not a dangerous train ride, and is appropriate for the whole family... Despite the Dementor attacks. Additionally, at the very least Phelps will be back playing his part. No news on the other actors involved.

Candy Trolley
Yeah, but what about snacks? In the movies and books, the candy trolley is an essential part of any Hogwarts Express journey. So will we have a chance to buy Chocolate Frogs during our train ride? The Universal exec I asked wasn't allowed to say specifically, but did add, "You may see something like that. All I can say is that it's true to the experience in the movies." Pumpkin Pasties, here we come.

More Real Than The Movie
Phelps copped to being completely gobsmacked by the whole endeavor. Not only was the train the first set he filmed on when doing the "Harry Potter" movies, but other parts of the Diagon Alley section of the park were beyond what he expected. In particular, the new full-sized Gringotts Bank is entirely unlike the one in the movies... Because it has a roof. When they were filming, all that was filled in with CGI.

No Opening Date Yet
Other important details: no, there's no official opening date though execs did repeat that it should be open in "Summer." And though previously reported, it's probably important to emphasize that in order to ride the Hogwarts Express, you will need to have a park-to-park ticket for both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.

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[Deleted User]LuckyDadminervacullen[Deleted User]WolFox[Deleted User]

Re: Update on Harry Potter Diagon Alley Expansion at Universal

  • I like the idea of the train windows being screens that show the landscape and play out a story as you travel between locations.  

    And the candy cart?!  Done, I'm sold on that alone.
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    studyinpink
  • Seriously @MrsButt, and this doesn't even mention all of the shops you can visit in Diagon Alley.  You'll be able to go to Ollivanders, the robe shop, the magical creatures shop, Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes, Quality Quidditch Supplies, the Three Broomsticks.

    According to the Universal site they will even have Knockturn Alley with Borges and Burkes.  

    CAN'T WAIT!


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    [Deleted User]piffleystudyinpink
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  • @fredalina

    Only the bigger rides like the Forbidden Journey, Dragon Challenge, and I'm assuming the Gringotts ride require the 48" height restriction.  Flight of the Hippogriff (more of a kids coaster) is 36" and all of the other attractions in Hogsmeade are kid friendly.  


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  • I cant wait!
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  • fredalina said:
    @fredalina

    Only the bigger rides like the Forbidden Journey, Dragon Challenge, and I'm assuming the Gringotts ride require the 48" height restriction.  Flight of the Hippogriff (more of a kids coaster) is 36" and all of the other attractions in Hogsmeade are kid friendly.  


    The main HP ride was 48" on the website. And I want to ride those rides! Eta yeah Forbidden Journey is the one I meant.
    If you have family or friends going with you, all Universal rides have child swap rooms in the loading stations.  You could wait in line with her, which in my opinion is one of the highlights of that attraction, and once you're up to the loading station someone in your party could wait with her while you went on the ride.  Then you simply pick her up at the end.

    My wife and I really love roller coasters so this is something we will have to do in the future when going to amusement parks.
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  • Omg!! I need to be there.



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                                         DS is 1DAF

    "I realize I say the word fuck a lot, and I'd like to apologize but I don't give a shit." -Lewis Black
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    Mom to two December boys, 2011 & 2013
  • I will live there permanently as well. I wonder when all this will be accomplished. 
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    My daughter is my hero.
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  • I will live there permanently as well. I wonder when all this will be accomplished. 
    They're not giving a specific date but they are saying this summer.


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  • This sounds awesome!!!!
  • My question is, are they going to move Ollivanders over to the new park?  Because it's currently (inaccurately) in Hogsmeade.

    I'm pretty excited about the new park.  

    I do wonder if you will be forced to buy the 2 park pass though, which is about $45 more.  I assume you will have to as it's not like they could stop you from going to the rest of the park.


    cuddlyoctopus
  • PSA:  Universal does not restrict you from bringing in food and drinks.  So pack a small cooler with food/water and then you can save a ton of money.....that you can later spend on Butterbeer or Hogshead Ale.  

    Every time my sister and I go, we pack sandwiches (last time it was after Thanksgiving and we made Thanksgiving sandwiches with all the good stuff) for us and the kids and bring water bottles (freeze them so that they can be used as ice) and we never spend much money once we get there.  I mean, I always buy a pack of Bertie Bott's Every Flavored Beans and something else, but no need to waste time or money in the restaurants. 

    I'm going back at the end of April.  My annual pass expires soon...but I think I will renew it.
    cuddlyoctopus
  • My question is, are they going to move Ollivanders over to the new park?  Because it's currently (inaccurately) in Hogsmeade.

    I'm pretty excited about the new park.  

    I do wonder if you will be forced to buy the 2 park pass though, which is about $45 more.  I assume you will have to as it's not like they could stop you from going to the rest of the park.


    I remember Universal stating the Ollivander's in Hogsmeade was a branch of the original store in Diagon Alley which leads me to believe there will be two of them.  Plus it is so popular it would make sense to have it in both parks.

    You will definitely have to purchase the two park pass in order to gain access to the Hogwarts express attraction.
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  • Oh and one other thing.  What my sister did is buy a cheapo umbrella stroller that we push around, which seems annoying, but we just park it in the stroller coral when we go on a ride and then we don't have to get a locker every time (and when the kids start to whine, they can hop on and we push them around for a bit).  And we just bring small wallets that we can fit in our pockets.  

    We have really perfected the art of making Universal super efficient and inexpensive.
    cuddlyoctopus
    studyinpink[Deleted User]
  • futant462 said:
    My question is, are they going to move Ollivanders over to the new park?  Because it's currently (inaccurately) in Hogsmeade.

    I'm pretty excited about the new park.  

    I do wonder if you will be forced to buy the 2 park pass though, which is about $45 more.  I assume you will have to as it's not like they could stop you from going to the rest of the park.


    I remember Universal stating the Ollivander's in Hogsmeade was a branch of the original store in Diagon Alley which leads me to believe there will be two of them.  Plus it is so popular it would make sense to have it in both parks.

    You will definitely have to purchase the two park pass in order to gain access to the Hogwarts express attraction.
    It is popular and would make sense since that means more people can be chosen.  

    I was really disappointed that I didn't get chosen for that....those pesky kids get to enjoy all of the fun!
    cuddlyoctopus
    futant462
  • @DragonBlood13

    I saw the line for Ollivanders and immediately decided to buy my wand at the little cart on the street. It's crazy how busy that place can be.
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  • futant462 said:
    @DragonBlood13

    I saw the line for Ollivanders and immediately decided to buy my wand at the little cart on the street. It's crazy how busy that place can be.
    Oh.  We waited.  We waited for over an hour.  Totally worth it.

    We did everything you could do in that park on our first trip there.  It was magical.  


    cuddlyoctopus
    studyinpink
  • Also, if you want to make what I believe is a very very close replica of the Butterbeer they serve at TWWOHP, here it is...


    Also, we sneak in mini bottles and add some rum into our Butterbeers.  LOL
    cuddlyoctopus
    futant462studyinpink
  • DOES NO ONE CARE ABOUT THESE IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER BEFORE GOING TO TWWOHP????

    I'm trying to make your experience the best ever.  
    cuddlyoctopus
    futant462studyinpink[Deleted User]
  • I CARE!  Butterbeer and rum sounds amazing!

    I'm a big fan of drinking in amusement parks.
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  • futant462 said:
    I CARE!  Butterbeer and rum sounds amazing!

    I'm a big fan of drinking in amusement parks.
    You do have to hide the mini bottles of rum.  Those are technically not allowed in.  But they barely check your bags. 

    But yes, YUMMMM.
    cuddlyoctopus
  • so, what you are saying is I need to start saving money now to go back right? DH and I went to florida for 3 days a couple of years ago and I told him if we did nothing else the entire trip I was going to HP land at universal. I can still taste the butterbeer. I didn't know all this new construction was going on at Universal thanks OP!

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    futant462
  • This is on my bucket list. I want to go just DH & I somehow & take the girls when they are older.

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