Universal creative senior vice president Thierry Coup said that Universal's creative team began working almost immediately on the expansion following the instant success of the park’s first Wizarding World. "There were requests already from the beginning. People thought, 'Why didn't you bring Diagon Alley?' 'Why didn't you do Gringotts?' We said, 'Well, just wait.' And now it's coming."
Once inside, park guests will be simply shocked by the immense size of this expansion. It's taller, wider, and more detailed than anything seen in the original Wizarding World. "We've gone further than Hogsmeade, where you're going to be absolutely enclosed," said Alan Gilmore, art director of the "Harry Potter" films and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. "There'll be no sight or sound of the outside world. You will be in the magical world in every direction."
The main attraction for Universal Studios guests will be the newly-designed Diagon Alley, designed after the film series' famous London locations, including Charing Cross Road, Grimmauld Place, Leicester Square Station, and Wyndham's Theatre.
Here is King's Cross Station, where the Hogwarts Express will arrive. Universal didn’t give details on train ride other than the journey will feature views of London and the British countryside, as well some surprise appearances by familiar characters and creatures.
The only indication that there is a "Wizarding World" hiding behind the London facades will be the blue Knight Bus parked out front, as if it had just carried Harry himself on that high-speed harrowing trip seen in the films, and once on board, guests will be able to interact with a Caribbean-accented shrunken head.
Here is a look at Weasley's Wizard Wheases, a three-story joke shop straight out of the films. Bizarre products advertised on its colorfully painted exterior walls include Dung Bombs, Instant Darkness Powder, and Screaming Yo-Yos.
At the end of the street is another eatery, Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour, which will serve unique treats like strawberry-and-peanut-butter ice cream.
Once inside, park guests will be simply shocked by the immense size of this expansion. It's taller, wider, and more detailed than anything seen in the original Wizarding World.
The original Ollivanders wand shop is there too, where guests can have a wand selected for them, similar to the experience in Hogsmeade Village (which will remain).
Slated to open sometime in summer 2014, the new addition to Universal Orlando's Wizarding World of Harry Potter will include an exciting new ride based on Gringotts Bank, a Hogwarts Express train -- and much more.