Estimated Diagon Alley Private Previews DONE week commencing the 16th June

Estimated Diagon Alley Soft Opening Hogwarts Express From July 1st!
Diagon Alley’s Shops and restaurants from July 3rd

Train-hero-900x563Some Limited Access To Regular Park Guests: As of July 1st, some regular park guests were given access to the Hogwarts Express for a limited time.
Note that King’s Cross Station is not actually inside Diagon Alley, so these guests could not access the shops or other areas during the soft opening on July 1st.
It appears that the soft openings were successful, which indicates that follow up access may be offered at selected times from now on through July 8th.
Whether or not Universal had planned to do this while their resort guests had paid for privileged access is not clear, but our guess is that the positive buzz that the Diagon Alley soft openings will create, might help distract media and social media focus away from the fact that the Escape From Gringotts ride is still not ready to operate.
Note:
Resort Diagon Alley Vacation Package Guests are able to access Diagon Alley on a limited basis through to July 8th.

(soft openings explained)

Diagon Alley Official Public Opening Now Officially July 8th 2014

GOBLIN3 Luxury Orlando Vacation HomesPerhaps the most talked about theme park attraction of the century,  Universal Studios’ Diagon Alley is almost ready to create magic for millions of guests this year. With a busy summer ahead and the fabulous holiday season still under planning, Diagon Alley will undoubtedly exceed guest expectations and break some more records for owners of Universal Orlando’s resorts, Comcast. Right now though, an urgent question is on the lips of almost every Orlando theme park fan; “When will Diagon Alley open?”. In true character, Universal are staying very, very quiet about the whole thing.  So much so, you until the last week or so, you could visit their websites and social media page and not even have so much as a clue that anything special had been going on for the last few years!  Universal play a very different game to Disney, especially when it comes to PR for new attractions.  Their deafening silence works in their favor, as social media channels simply buzz with excitement at home grown theories, hashtags and rumours. It does indeed work well for them and Google Trends show that searches for the term ‘Diagon Alley’ have trebled in recent months as fans anticipate the oncoming news that the Harry Potter themed area inside Universal is about to open. We thought we’d join the bandwagon, but, unlike many of the guessers out there, we wanted to show exactly how we decided upon our estimates for the official opening of Diagon Alley.  Of course, time will tell, and as with any estimate, there’s an inevitable error. We think we are going to be very close indeed!

The main rumours and facts about Diagon Alley’s opening dates:

  1. First up, the only real fact that we really have had for most of the time was ‘Summer 2014’ Summer can mean many things to many people, but for the vast majority of teenagers, summer is definitely over by mid August when most US schools begin their first term.  Opening before mid August is almost a ‘given’.
  2. Just out of interest; Hogsmeade officially opened June 18th 2010
  3. Universal are holding a huge recruitment drive this weekend May 10th 2014
  4. The Today show are running a major competition to take 25 guests to orlando for the grand opening.  With televised coverage expected to promote the competition and include teasers for Diagon Allley commencing May 13th, according to the Today show official rules, we expected the winners to be announced on or about May 19th, but as of May 23rd, no official announcement had been made.
  5. We had read insider reports that July 4th (Independence day) was a ‘drop dead’ date for the project.  An official opening prior to that date would allow any fine tuning for what looks set to become a very busy weekend at Universal. High Holiday visitor numbers and attraction launches don’t mix well, so a good week in advance will allow Universal to get the entire resort up to speed in time.
  6. Loews Hotel Chairman, Jonathan Tisch, publicly revealed on the Fox Business Network that; “As you noted, it’s [Cabana Bay] the largest hotel to be built in the world outside of China. Phase one opened, 600 rooms, about a month ago; the rest will open when Harry Potter II opens, mid-June. It is a big structure so that then will give us 4,200 rooms at Universal Studios in Orlando, and business is very strong there.”
  7. One of the most informed commentators and experts in Universal, Dan Hatfield’s Orlando Informer website has also suggested for some weeks that mid June is a likely date for Diagon Alley to either soft open or officially open.  These dates have been steadily revised ‘backwards’ to reflect late mid to late June for soft openings and a very strong prediction that the week leading to July 4th (Sunday June 29th onwards) offers the most likely official opening window.
  8. UPDATE:  A major press event for Diagon Alley  been scheduled over June 17th thru June 20th 2014, which may mean that some very, very limited soft openings could be possible by then.
  9. UPDATE 2:  The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon is broadcasting from Universal Studios from June 16th through June 19th 2014.  Assuming they want to be around for at least a day to meet guests and check their reactions, an official if very limited opening on June 18th is looking ever more likely!
  10. UPDATE 3:  Universal are now advertising Diagon Alley vacation packages for vacation dates commencing June 29th. This means that Diagon Alley will at least be fully operational by that date. It may mean that this is exclusive to Diagon Alley vacation package guests only, so be cautious if you are planning to be there around that time!
  11. UPDATE 4:  June 9th The construction boards are down from the entranceway to the Hogwarts Express station in Hogsmeade!
  12. UPDATE 5 from June 18th 2014 Diagon Alley will officially open on July 8th
  13. Team Member previews are under way during the week leading up to June 29th, suggesting that soft openings are now no longer a likelihood.
  14. Press previews were very good, apart from some major stoppages of the Gringotts ride.
  15. The Escape From Gringotts ride is not in operation for the Team Member previews.
  16. The first members of the general public will be guests with  Diagon Alley vacation packages for vacation dates commencing June 29th.  Effectively, these guests will be part of Universal’s ‘soft opening’ program, which looks set to be closed to the public.
  17. Diagon Alley Vacation Package guests, did not, for some strange reason, get access to Diagon Alley on June 29th.  They did however get in on June 30th, but Escape From Gringotts issues that affected press previews and Team Member appeared to remain, with very few of the Vacation Package guests getting to try Diagon Alley’s only ride.  (Technically Hogwarts links Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade!)
  18. UPDATE 6: On July 1st, the first regular park guests got a taste of the Hogwarts Express.  Still no Escape From Gringotts or Diagon Alley soft openings though.
    Line waits for the Hogwarts Express reached 45 minutes around late afternoon, as word quickly got about the Orlando area.
  19. UPDATE 7: Diagon Alley Soft opened on July 3rd, allowing regualr park guests the first chance to explore the Leaky Cauldron restaurants and the fabulous shops and detailing of Diagon Alley.

So there we have it, increasingly firmer facts, but, we are now firmly committed to an official opening on July 8th 2014 and soft openings for Diagon Alley from July 1st.