‘Harry Potter’ Attractions at Universal Studios Reveal Expansion Details
There's no way of phrasing this without sounding hyperbolic, but here it goes: the Wizarding World of Harry Potter section at Universal Studios' Islands of Adventure theme park is nothing short of astonishing. If you're a Harry Potter nut, it may feel like a religious experience. The massively popular attraction has been a huge boon for its parent company, so Universal decided to bring more Potter-themed attractions to Universal Studios Orlando, the sister park right next door to Islands of Adventure. Today, additional official details about the planned expansion have emerged, along with two pieces of concept art.
We knew that the expansion would be a recreation of Diagon Alley, the Wizard shopping district magically hidden in London, so for Potter fans the finer of the new attractions won't actually be that surprising (but they'll certainly be exciting). Per the details gleaned from a webcast announcement Thursday morning, you'll now be able to dine in the Leaky Cauldron, shop in the various stores featured in the books and films, and ride Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts, a new thrill ride that is presumably based on the bank heist from the seventh book and eighth film. Of course, Gringotts bank will have a full-size, fire-breathing dragon out front, providing photo options a'plenty.
And when you tire of Diagon Alley, people with multi-park tickets can hop on the Hogwarts Express train and take a ride to the original Harry Potter park, which represents Hogwarts Castle and the village of Hogsmeade. So, yes, you can buy a wand and wizarding gear in one park and then take a train to the magical school. This will undoubtedly be the nerdiest/coolest thing you'll ever do on a vacation.
The original Wizarding World of Harry Potter remains one of the most detailed and transporting pieces of theme park design we've ever seen, and we're definitely psyched to see more. However, the opening of Diagon Alley is a bittersweet experience for longtime theme park fans. In order to find the room for more Potter, Universal tore down the classic 'Jaws' attraction, which saw guests coming face-to-face with Steven Spielberg's killer shark. Along with The Simpsons Ride replacing Back to the Future: The Ride, Universal is forcing our new geekiness to battle it out with our nostalgia in a huge way. Why can't we have both?!
Universal's Diagon Alley is going to open sometime in 2014. Expect it to be amazing, expect it to be crowded, and expect Universal's bank accounts to overflow.