Tag Archives | Diagon Alley at Universal Studios

Summer Winding Down at Orlando Attractions

Children are returning to school in Florida, and summer is winding down. Orlando attractions will be very busy for the next few weeks, however, after Labor Day, the crowds begin to thin. Theme parks are not quite ready to call it a summer though!

As suggested in our post about Diagon Alley even before this new attraction opened, the crowds have been astonishing. Just last week Universal Studios announced that 1 million passengers have taken a ride on the Hogwarts Express! In less than a month, this attraction hit a major milestone. Unfortunately, Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts ride is still causing long wait lines. While the wait queue is very entertaining, spending several hours waiting in line is never fun. ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: If you can wait until September or October, go to this theme park on a weekday, as early as possible, you may see the shortest wait time for this ride yet. They are getting more and more efficient at handling the large park crowds.

Orlando theme park record day

Another park that has had an extremely successful summer is Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Records have been broken primarily because of the special events centered around the movie “Frozen.” Scheduled to end on September 1, Disney will try to extend their summer success by extending the Frozen event. It will now end on the 28th of September. ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: If you want to see the “Frozen Fireworks,” you will need to attend this Orlando theme park on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday after the first of September. Other evenings will not feature this spectacular fireworks show.

"Frozen Summer Fun Live!" at Disney's Hollywood Studios

If you’ve already taken your summer vacation, start saving up for next year. There are sure to be a lot of new attractions and fun things to do in Orlando. If you still have some vacation days left, look for discount tickets to Orlando theme parks in September. This is usually a great time of the year to visit.

Diagon Alley Set to Open July 8

Diagon Alley shops

New Universal Studios Attraction

Universal Studios is putting on the finishing touches preparing the new Orlando attraction to open to the public July 8, 2014. Diagon Alley promises to be as popular as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure) when it first opened. Expect huge crowds.

The featured ride at this Orlando theme park is “Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts.” It will feature a lot of new technology and could experience a few glitches. Do not be surprised at a few ride closures during the initial weeks of being opened to the public. At the present time, Universal is anticipating the ride to be fully functioning with no delays.

If you’ve visited Islands of Adventure and have spent much time in Hogsmeade, you’ll notice that the area is not all that large. Diagon Alley is much larger. Once you step off of the train, you’ll be immersed in a land that you only imagined could exist in a book (or movie). Diagon Alley is one part of this new attraction. The shopping district is expansive.

Get ready to exchange your muggle money for Wizarding Bank Notes. These Banks Notes can be used for almost anything within the theme park. If you don’t spend them all, you can ask the goblin to exchange the notes back into dollars. Of course you’ll probably want to keep a few as a souvenir – hince another way for Universal to make money. I venture to say that you’ll find plenty to purchase while in Diagon Alley.

Shopping at this Orlando Theme Park

You will no doubt do a lot of shopping in Diagon Alley. If you have read the Harry Potter books or seen the movies, there are a lot of really cool, dare I say ‘props,’ that most anyone would love to have. ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: Here are the most popular items or categories and where to find them once you arrive in “London.”

Magic Wands: Several shops will carry them. Most popular place to purchase will continue to be Ollivanders. The new interactive wands contain a chip so that at various places within the park, the correct wave of your wand will make magic!

From Pygmy Puffs to Expandable Ears: Most families have a jokester who loves practical jokes and tricks. The new novelty shop, Weasleys’ Wizard Wheeses will sell everything the twins were noted for. From plush toys to prank props to love potions.

Death Eater Masks: If you like the dark objects, make your way down Knockturn Alley and step inside Borgin and Burkes. Expect to see a lot of skulls and costumes, as well as jewelry, gifts and other dark arts.

Costumes: For robes, school uniforms and other attire as seen in the movies, be sure to shop at Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions. This place will be popular for Halloween costumes.

Other gifts and props: Many other items will be available including Quidditch supplies (Quality Quidditch Supplies), writing supplies (Scribbulus), telescopes (Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment) and of course, more wands (Wands by Gregorovitch).

Dining at this Orlando Theme Park

All of this shopping will surely make you hungry, and Universal Studios has you covered there too in Diagon Alley. Refreshments, such as Butterbeer Ice Cream will be sold at Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour. A hearty meal of British food will be served up at the Leaky Cauldron. Lunch and dinner will be available every day.

ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: To avoid the scorching summer heat, and the fire from the dragon atop Gringotts Bank, you may want to wait until this Fall or coming Winter to experience this new Orlando attraction. If you simply cannot wait, try to avoid the first few opening weeks and weekends this summer. Anticipate record-breaking crowds for the first few months that no wave of a wand will be able to make disappear!

Escape from Gringotts to Universal Studios in Orlando!

Diagon Alley Gringotts Bank Goblins

If you are planning a vacation to Orlando to visit the theme parks this summer, how do you choose which one to visit? Most families determine the park of choice by the age of their children and what attractions they are suited for. If your children are Harry Potter fans, like mine, a mid- to late summer vacation to Universal Studios is something you will want to consider, if not a definite must.

New Attraction Details Revealed

As we reported a few months ago, many features of this new expansion are slowly but surely being exposed to the public. The Hogwarts Train has created a lot of excitement, and now, the announcement with more details about the “Escape from Gringotts” ride can only raise the anticipation level upward. Any new ride is exciting, but this one sounds like it might top our list of all-time gotta-do rides.

Escape from Gringotts will be the featured attraction within the Orlando theme park’s expansion. For those of you that have not read the books or seen the movies, Gringotts Bank is an important setting for the story of Harry Potter. It is guarded by a fire-breathing dragon no less, and ran by goblins! The treasures kept here are powerful and facinating. The ride will be mind blowing with 4K high-definition ride animation, 3-D technology and live special effects.

Here is a sneak peak which Universal has released:

Vacation Packages Available

Most people will want to wait until Diagon Alley is officially open before they book a trip, however, if you only have the summer to do your traveling with school-aged children, then you might be surprised. It could be open as early as mid-June. ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: You can already book a vacation package at Universal Orlando which includes both of these parks if traveling as early as June 29th. Currently, the best deal seems to be the four-night package which includes the following:

  • Vacation package delivered (not by owl), but with a welcome letter, park tickets & plush owl
  • 3-day Park-to-Park tickets
  • One breakfast for each family member at the Three Broomsticks
  • One breakfast for each family member at the new Leaky Cauldron (in Diagon Alley)
  • Early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (one hour before the theme park opens)
  • On-site transportation
  • Lodging at one of four on-site hotels. The new Cabana Bay Beach Resort (read our post about this resort here.) is the least expensive and has family suites that are, well, sweet.

If you book this vacation through Universal Studios be sure to ask about specifics that your family is interested in. The vacation packages are a great way to go…as long as they offer everything you want covered in your vacation. If they do not cover certain items, be sure to ask about them when speaking to a booking agent.

If you have the opportunity to wait until Fall for your family vacation, September is usually a great time to visit the Orlando area. The crowds at this new theme park attraction will have settled by then and more great deals are sure to come around late in the Summer. Do you think your kids can wait that long?

Climb aboard the Hogwarts Express, visit the goblins at Gringotts and have a Butterbeer at Universal Studios this summer. It will be an Orlando vacation to remember. Just watch out for that fire-breathing dragon, like the new attraction – it’s sure to be hot, hot, hot!