Inside Diagon Alley: The Five Best Things to Expect at Universal Orlando

Categories: Worth the Drive

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Somewhere deep within Universal Studios in Orlando Florida, magic is brewing.

As the latest expansion to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter gears up for its grand opening on July 8, members of the media (and film talent) were invited for a spectacular peek of Diagon Alley.

The entrance sits hidden to non-magic folk behind a façade of London, which is complete with a King's Cross Station, Wyndham's Theatre, and even that familiar Grimmauld Place. Guests are immediately transported and fully immersed into Harry's world once they step through the red brick walls.

See also: 21 Things to Look Out for in Diagon Alley, Universal Orlando's New Harry Potter Experience

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Though there might not be any music playing, you will find that classic leitmotif playing in your head as you stand in the entrance of the alley. The colors, the storefronts, the window displays, the signs, the way the street bends (diagonally), and the slouching building at the end -- you truly feel as if you are inside the Wizarding World.

The initial view is utterly breathtaking, and for fans of the franchise it can be emotionally uplifting. With so much to see within Diagon Alley, we've narrowed it down to the five best things you can expect from this new land.

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5. Full Immersion into the Wizarding World
Unlike Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure where you can occasionally see bits of the rest of the park, when you go inside Diagon Alley you are fully enclosed in the area. It almost feels like a quiet secret you get to keep from everyone else wandering outside.

Film stars Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), and James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley) all agree that the seclusion of Diagon Alley adds to its allure.

"I don't think you could have designed the expansion any differently because it is to the book and it is also to the designs of the films as well," explains Oliver. "I don't think I would change anything about it, because especially when you're within Diagon Alley, you can't see the rest of Universal, which again, adds to the immersive experience."

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4. Interactive Wands and Window Displays
You can do magic, bro -- like for real. Throughout Diagon Alley, you will notice small golden markers outside certain window displays. Using Ollivander's new interactive wands, guests can literally interact with the windows and feel as if they're performing magic. The golden floor markers will tell you how to perform each spell: point your wand at the window, say the complicated spell word, and follow the wand gesture.

"I think it's so amazing that you can literally go there and interact with the environment," says Lewis about the new window displays. "It really makes you feel like not just a visitor in this world, but you're actually a part of it and engaging."

Here's a pro tip: make the wand motion small - too large and the motion sensor won't read your movement. Also, you don't really need to recite the spell, but it makes it that much more fun if you do. These interactive markers have been added to certain spots throughout Hogsmeade as well, so guests can now experience the magic on both ends of the park.


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