[Updated July 2016]
Get ready to apparate over to Universal Orlando this summer as the theme park resort officially opens its highly-anticipated Harry Potter addition, Diagon Alley.The new section is an expansion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which first opened in 2010 with the Hogsmeade area.
Now Muggles, wizards, and witches of all ages can walk the streets of London, pick up Hogwarts supplies, and do some banking at Gringotts. Before it officially opens to the public on July 8, here’s a list of five fun things you’ll be able to do in Diagon Alley.
1. Ride the Hogwarts Express
The Hogwarts Express ride made its debut in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter as a partial replica in Hogsmeade. It was a great photo prop, but it wasn’t good for much else. With the opening of Diagon Alley, you can now ride the Hogwarts Express to travel between Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. From Diagon Alley, you’ll board the train at King’s Cross Station, where you’ll have to pass through a solid brick wall like regular wizarding folk to get to Platform 9 3/4. Hogsmeade guests will board at Hogsmeade Station. A Hogwarts Prefect will show you to your cabin, and once inside, keep your eyes glued to the window for appearances by some of your favorite characters.
Because Hogsmeade is located in the Islands of Adventure park and Diagon Alley is in Universal Studios Florida, you’ll need a Park-to-Park admission ticket to ride the Hogwarts Express.
2. Try a new drink
Move over, butterbeer and pumpkin juice. One of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s newest beverages is Fishy Green Ale, a concoction of green soda with blueberry bobas that are meant to look like fish eggs. If you’re not exactly salivating over the thought of this, no worries. Both butterbeer and pumpkin juice -- crowd favorites -- are available throughout Diagon Alley.
3. Perform magic in the streets
Wander around Diagon Alley and you just might find magic. Purchase a special wand that’s fitted with an electronic chip and look for medallions that signify where you can cast spells. Thanks to technological magic, you can flick your wrist at various objects to get fantastical results: make it rain from a lamppost, light lamps, and set off other animations.
4. Exchange Muggle money for Gringotts bank notes
The centerpiece of Diagon Alley is Gringotts Bank, which houses the marquee attraction, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Before you get on the ride, you’ll walk through the cavernous lobby and see audio-animatronic goblins at work. Nearby, you can take a trip to the Gringotts Money Exchange to trade in your Muggle dollars for Gringotts bank notes that are as good as cash and can be used throughout the parks.
5. Try a new flavor
Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour sells quirky flavors that you definitely won’t find at Baskin Robbins. Among them are a sure-to-be-popular butterbeer, lavender, and earl grey. If you’re daring, maybe you’ll get a scoop of the chocolate chili.