Forgive me Firenze, but I have sinned. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened three and a half years ago at Universal Orlando, and I still have not made the pilgrimage down to Florida to experience the wonders of tasting butterbeer and letting a wand choose me.
As if I needed even more reason to Apparate to the Sunshine State, Universal has announced new details for expansions to the theme park, which this summer will welcome the addition of Diagon Alley, a new ride, and a Hogwarts Express that ought to put Mickey’s non-magical Monorail to shame.
The hot-ticket item here is Diagon Alley, which we knew would open in summer 2014 and double the size of the park, connecting Universal Orlando with Universal Studios. Details today revealed that the shops in the area will include Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes (novelty/jokes/toys), Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions (ties, scarves, sweaters, robes, and costumes), Magical Menagerie (plush animals), Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment (telescopes, binoculars, compasses and hourglasses), Quality Quidditch Supplies (apparel, brooms, and Quidditch balls) and Scribbulus (quills, journals, stationery).
More details to expect:
—The Leaky Cauldron and Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour, which will open for dining and snacking
—Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, a “groundbreaking new multi-dimensional thrill ride” based on the golden trio’s Deathly Hallows escape from Gringotts wizarding bank (ain’t no safer place!)
—The Hogwarts Express, an almost-replica of the train that will allow guests to board at King’s Cross Station and Hogsmeade, passing through London (and between parks)
—Knockturn Alley, another expansion that will feature Borgin and Burkes, which offers guests the chance to buy Death Eater masks, skulls, and other Dark items for their obnoxious Slytherin friends
—An Ollivanders shop that’s not in Hogsmeade
So, now will you go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? And if you’ve already been, how soon until you make your return visit?