Based upon the unbridled success of the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Hogsmeade, Universal has upped the ante in every conceivable way with Diagon Alley. A nearly $450 million expansion on the site of the former Amity area (home to JAWS), this new Wizarding World is the single most immersive area of any theme park in the country – if not the world.
Masking the land from the prying eyes of outside Muggles is the London waterfront, which contains authentic recreations of a number of famous British landmarks, from Wyndham’s Theater to Eros Fountain. But Universal’s little slice of downtown London is more than just an elaborately themed facade – with street performers, numerous photo-ops, the Knight Bus, food stands, and exclusive merchandise, it’s an attraction in and of itself.
Once through the “moving” brick wall entrance, guests will find themselves immediately and totally immersed in Harry’s wondrous world. On Diagon Alley proper, there are plenty of shops to wander through (including the three-story extravaganza that is Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes and the new Ollivander’s Wand Shop, which is an expanded version of the Hogsmeade original) and places to eat (the Leaky Cauldron serves traditional English pub fare, while Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlor offers up bizarre ice cream flavors, traditional breakfast pastries, and a variety of teas).
Just over a year after Diagon Alley opened, Shutterbutton’s Photography Studio moved out of Carkitt Market to be located on the main Diagon Alley street. The studio allows you to get your, and your family’s picture taken on a flying broomstick. You can even get a moving photograph right out of the books and movies – for a price. Check the bottom of this page for tips and more information about Shutterbutton’s.
Snaking off to the side of the main thoroughfare is Knockturn Alley, the shopping destination for Dark Art devotees. Underneath a starry sky, visitors will make their way through various creepy (and interactive) storefronts and displays before running into Borgin and Burkes, where Death Eater masks, human skulls, and other forbidden items can be purchased.
Back out in the daylight, Horizont Alley runs perpendicular to Diagon Alley and features some of the most impressive stops in all of the Wizarding Worlds, including Magical Menagerie (whose wares include a plush version of every magical creature and fantastic beast imaginable) and the Fountain of Fair Fortune (a plush bar that specializes in both Butter- and real beer). But towering above them all is none other than Gringotts Wizarding Bank, which houses the flagship ride of the area, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, and its gift shop, Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment.
Escape from Gringotts is a “multi-sensory, multi-dimensional” 3D thrill ride that takes the motion base from such attractions as the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and combines it with Revenge of the Mummy’s indoor track. Here, guests will get to live out a key scene from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 – Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Griphook’s breaking into Gringotts, and their dramatic escape out on the back of a dragon – while being chased by Lord Voldemort himself.
Just beyond Gringotts Bank is Carkitt Market, a covered arcade that features a plethora of drink stands, street vendors, and live entertainment, along with some striking architecture. Here, guests can stop at a fully interactive audio-animatronic goblin who exchanges their boring old Muggle money for Wizarding Bank Notes or take in a live show, including puppet renditions of The Tales of Beedle the Bard and live “soul” performances of Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees. Suffice it to say that Carkitt will prove to be the appropriate finale to a full day of adventuring inside Diagon Alley.
Once back outside, guests will have the ability to file into King’s Cross Station on the London waterfront, make the famous run onto Platform 9 3/4, and then board the Hogwarts Express. A journey of magic and surprises follows, which includes a staggering number of Harry Potter cameos and, even, a sneak attack by the creepy Dementors. And the best part of all? Once passengers disembark, they’ll find themselves inside Hogsmeade Village at Islands of Adventure, where a whole new set of (recently upgraded) adventures await.
Check out our interactive map below. When you are ready to learn more, use the navigation links at the top or bottom of the page to explore the individual attractions.
Be sure to visit these pages for additional information:
Diagon Alley – map
Click any marker to display the attraction or venue name. To scroll or zoom, use the controls on the top-left of the map. You may also switch to different map views by using the buttons on the top-right of the map. The attractions and venues in WWoHP – Diagon Alley have a aqua blue marker.
Tips for Shutterbutton’s
Wendy, a member of our community, shares this information with us…
Shutterbuttons is a nifty little shop nestled behind the Quidditch supplies and Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. Inside you can create a DVD “photo album” of your party adventuring in the Wizarding World.
If you want to try it – “it’s free to try!” the Team Members will tell you – you’ll be ushered into a small green screen room with a spectacularly steampunk camera mounted to the wall. The team member will describe the scenes to you and direct your party to act in accordance with the event that will be added in. When you are done, you’ll be shown three preview scenes and offered the DVD if you want to see the rest. The DVD comes in two cases: soft plastic case for $69 or metal case for $79. Annual Passholder discounts can be applied to the cost, and similarly, guests with a Universal Photo Connect Star Card Package also receive a discount. (Please note that the prices and discounts seem to keep changing, so be sure to double-check with the attending Team Member when you are on-site.)
We were crazy and did it… and I learned three things when I watched the resulting video: first, this is an awesome idea; second, the Team Members need to be more careful about the cut off lines at the edge of the image, it can ruin a great thing; and third, don’t wear a green shirt like my friend did, or you have an “invisibility shirt.”
This is the video you’ll receive, which demonstrates the good and the bad:
- Carkitt Market at Universal Studios Florida
- Diagon Alley Shopping at Universal Studios Florida
- Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlor at Universal Studios Florida
- Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts at Universal Studios Florida
- Horizont Alley at Universal Studios Florida
- Knockturn Alley shopping at Universal Studios Florida
- London waterfront at Universal Studios Florida
- Ollivander’s Wand Shop – Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida
- Tales of Beedle the Bard & Celestina Warbeck at Universal Studios Florida
- The Hogwarts Express at Universal Orlando Resort