Our PotterWatch updates are coming fast and furious, as the finishing touches are put on The Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Diagon Alley prior to its media unveiling in under two weeks. For this edition, we have the usual photo updates of progress along the London Waterfront in Universal Studios Florida, and Hogsmeade Station in Islands of Adventure. Plus, there’s finally official confirmation on some Diagon Alley interactive entertainment experiences that we’ve previously shared rumors of. Finally, we’re sharing some fantastic new footage of some Harry Potter film stars exploring the new attractions, showing off our best sneak peak so far of this spectacular expansion
London Waterfront Photo Update
Here’s a quick look at the latest progress along the London Waterfront, which serves as the facade in front of Diagon Alley:
Interestingly, I stayed in the park past closing time, and when the usual rock soundtrack that plays through speakers in this area (a holdover from the Amity Island days) was shut down, I could faintly hear Harry Potter film scores being broadcast inside Diagon Alley. I assume the Muggle music in the London area will be adjusted to be more geographically appropriate, and will mask the Potter themes until you pass through the brick wall.
No major changes were made in this area since my last update, which leads me to believe it is nearly complete.
Team Members in Hogwarts Express uniforms could be glimpsed inside the ticketing building.
Diagon Alley Interactive Entertainment
A press release and blog post from Universal recently confirmed and clarified several long-rumored elements of Diagon Alley interactive entertainment. The newly verified attractions are:
The Knight Bus conductor is a live actor who will interact with guests and the talking shrunken heads (an actor-controlled animatronic puppet) hanging from his vehicle’s mirror.
Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees perform “The Singing Sorceress” in Carkitt Market, a swinging jazz show with song titles penned by J.K.Rowiling herself, and lyrics based on her Pottermore writing.
The Tales of Beedle The Bard, also in Carkitt Market, will tell two wizarding fables — “The Fountain of Fair Fortune” and “The Tale of the Three Brothers” (as featured in the seventh film, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1”) — with puppets designed by Michael Curry (Broadway’s The Lion King, Finding Nemo The Musical).
Finally, an actor-controlled animatronic goblin outside Gringotts will greet guests wishing to exchange their Muggle money for gobilin bank notes, which will be spendable throughout the parks.
Harry Potter Actors Inside Diagon Alley
Three of the screen actors who played the Weasley siblings — James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley) and Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley) — “took over” Universal Orlando’s social media channels on June 5, posting images of themselves enjoying the Hogwarts Express and Diagon Alley on Instagram and Twitter.
The best footage to come out of the publicity stunt was this offical video, showing the cast exploring the new additions. It gives us our best look yet at the interiors of several shops and restaurants, and even a clear perspective on the magical brick wall entryway (though I don’t believe it is shown with its final effects operating):
Better yet, check out this extended version of the above footage, posted by UOLeaker: