Gringotts Dragon Breathing Flames

Diagon Alley is finally open to regular park guests!

Diagon Alley is Universal’s thrilling new theme park area that now sits on the site of the epic JAWS attraction deep inside Orlando’s Universal Studios.
At a rumoured spend of $256m, this is no minor investment for Universal and guests are delighted with its fabulous new Harry Potter area, which took Universal’s creative team little over two years to build.  Hogsmeade over at Islands of Adventure was a huge success, but Diagon Alley truly excels and looks set to boost the fortunes of Universal’s two Orlando parks even further!

Here are some quick facts about Universal Studios’ Diagon Alley, complete with links to our Universal Studios Parks Guide.

Soft openings for DIagon Alley

The following areas have been took place with press and vip package guests from late June 2014 onwards.

Diagon Alley Official Opening Date July 8th 2014

Guests making Diagon Alley vacation reservations are promised full access to Diagon Alley by June 29th in advance of the official opening.
CityWalk’s parking lot will open at 5am!
The Escape From Gringotts ride peaked at 450 minutes (7hrs 30mins) wait time by midday July 8th

Diagon Alley Quick Facts

  • Disney and JK Rowling discussed Harry Potter coming to WDW.
  • Universal announced on December 2nd 2011 that the Jaws attraction was to close on Jan 2nd 2012
  • An expansion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter announced Dec 6th 2011
  • On May 8th 2013, Universal finally announce that the JAWS area is to become a Harry Potter based area, long after construction (and rumours) had started.
  • Diagon Alley name announced by Universal on January 23rd 2014
  • Diagon Alley Officially Open July 8th 2014
  • Soft openings began in earnest on July 1st 2014
  • Guests with Special Needs (Read this article by Debi at Orlando Informer)
  • There are many JAWS references hidden away in Diagon Alley as a kind reminder to the site’s former occupant!
    • Shrunken Heads in Knockturn Alley sing a song that featured in the JAWS movie; ‘Show Me The Way To Go Home’
    • A vinyl record (google it kids!) displays “Here’s to Swimmin’ With Bow-legged Women”, as a reference to line in the JAWS movie made by Quint.
    • Telescopes in Wizeacres Wizarding Equipment are made from the old water-craft used in the JAWS attraction.
    • A false shop window in Diagon Alley displays a set of shark jaws and teeth.

Diagon Alley Attractions include:

Diagon Alley Shops include:

DIagon Alley Restaurants include:

Diagon Alley Shows, & special features include:

  • Beadle the Bard Tales of Three Brothers
    (Fabulously ‘dark’ street play)
  • The Singing Sorceress: Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees
    A ‘swing style’ live music show
  • Knight Bus
  • Nocturn Alley – An internally constructed street with tall ceilings and dark projected skies.
  • Platform 9¾ with Pepper’s Ghost effect
  • Ukrainian Ironbelly Dragon breathes fire every ten minutes from the rooftop of Gringotts Bank.  You can feel the heat at street level!
  • Interactive Wands and Magic Effects in Diagon Alley
    (12 Medallion effect in Diagon Alley, 11 in Hogsmeade)
    Instead of Team Members, Diagon Alley currently has Wizards, to guide people and help with the Magic Wand Medallion Effects
  • Use the Gringotts Money Exchange to get your hands on Wizarding Bank Notes to be spent in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.

 

Our opinion of Diagon Alley

Diagon Alley is truly amazing.  No hype, just honest opinion.
Dubbed by one cynical press story, “as a $256m theme park expansion with only one ride”, Diagon Alley in theory offers little.  In practice however, the place is so beautifully created, that you would never even notice the dearth of attractions and rides!
Whether you are a theme park fan or a Harry Potter fan, this brand new area will definitely provide you with an immersive environment to escape into the Wizarding Wolrd of Harry Potter.
While the original Islands of Adventure area was incredible, the new Diagon Alley area sets a whole new standard for escapism in the parks.
Don’t be fooled by the fact that there are in fact only two rides in Diagon Alley, you could honestly spend the entire day in here and still be discovering new details on your next visits.  Check out our Best Diagon Alley Video Collection!