Sunday, June 22, 2014

Meet Me In Diagon Alley

This month we are doing a Summer themed week and what better way to kick it off than to talk about an amazing opportunity for a great vacation?! Do you ever have those moments when you just NEED to get on a plane? Well I've been like that all week because of Universal Studios new expansion to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter; Diagon Alley.

I have always been a little obsessed with Harry Potter since I was in elementary school and getting to visit the Wizarding World in 2010 was one of the coolest things I've ever experienced. Now they have totally stepped up their game 150% with the expansion of Diagon Alley.

So lets talk rides.
YOU CAN RIDE THE HOGWARTS EXPRESS NOW. When I first visited, the Hogwarts Express was just a picture spot when you enter the park but now it is a whole ride. The queue is a replica of the real Kings Cross Station in London, even on the outside! Before entering the station, you can walk around a London street with shops and an interesting purple triple-decker bus parked outside. The station itself is complete with the actual billboard Harry and Dumbledoor look at in the sixth movie AND they even found a way to make it look like you are actually going through the brick wall to get to Platform 9 & 3/4! Then when you get on the train, you are escorted to your compartment where you can see London and the wizarding world as well as some of your favorite characters from the movies out your window and even hear the conversation of three shadows (with very familiar voices) just outside of your compartment!

Now on to the REAL ride. Escape From Gringotts is an indoor, 3D roller coaster through the vaults of Gringotts Bank. I mean how could they NOT make this a ride? It basically is a roller coaster already in the movie. The queue line doesn't start until after you walk through the exact lobby of the bank like we see in Deathly Hallows, complete with animatronic dwarves hard at work behind the counters and a giant chandelier.
 Then once you get your "bank ID" picture taken you start moving through the queue line where portraits have conversations with each other and piles of the Daily Prophet newspapers can be found, with moving pictures of course. Next you go into Bill Weasley's office to get the vault keys before going into an eerie elevator down to the loading dock. What happens after that? I have no idea, no videos of the ride itself have been posted anywhere but I have seen review after review saying that it is unlike anything they have ever experienced on a ride before. Oh yeah, and did I mention that the outside of the ride has a FIRE BREATHING DRAGON ON TOP OF IT?!?

My favorite part of the expansion has to be the Weasly's Wizard Weezes joke shop. Fred and George will always be my favorite characters in the whole series and the idea of actually being able to walk through their shop is amazing. You can also shop in Olivander's Wand Shop, walk through Knockturn Alley to get to Borgin and Burkes, eat lunch at The Leaky Cauldron and so so much more.

I may be a Disney girl at heart, but Harry Potter is just as special to me, so I can not wait until I can visit Diagon Alley because it looks unbelievable.

Heres an overview video from TheDIS :) 

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