PotterWatch 2.0: Harry Potter Construction Update (11/23-25/2013)

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Harry potter construction update
Construction continues on The Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion at Universal Orlando.

Welcome to the first installment of PotterWatch 2.0, Touringplans.com’s Harry Potter Construction Update. This recurring photo gallery series will follow the construction of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley in Unversal Studios Florida and other related expansion at Universal Orlando Resort. So grab your broomstick and sail with us to London!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley (Universal Studios Florida)

First up is Kings Cross station, departure point for the Hogwarts Express train to the other park.

A small section of train track is still visible between London and the Disaster! exit. Will this be blocked from view before opening?
A closer look at the train tracks.
The glass windows above the train station entrance are installed, and theming is progressing on the facade.

Looking a little further down the London waterfront, towards the entrance to Diagon Alley:

Ornamental touches like these are starting to be applied to the buildings.

The Wyndhams Theatre facade, based on a famous West End location.

The triangular frieze at that was being sculpted recently now appears covered up…

Grimmauld Place, home of Sirius Black:

Click to zoom and see the detail of crumbling bricks above the leftmost windows.
Finally, a look at progress on the back side of Diagon Alley, near Fear Factor Live (which has unfortunately returned to the park schedule post-Halloween). Much of this should eventually be obscured by a landscape berm.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade (Islands of Adventure)

Hopping over to IoA, here a look at the limited progress made recently on the Hogsmeade train depot in what is currently Lost Continent.

The structure at the entrance of the path to the train station looks essentially unchanged from several weeks ago.
Exterior theming on the train station progressed beneath the scaffolding.
Textured faux-stone has been applied to the walls near the Dragon Challenge tracks.

We’ll conclude with a look at demolition on the funnel cake stand in Port of Entry, which is being replaced by a Starbucks.

Rumor Roundup

We’ll close out this edition with a couple of the latest Harry Potter construction rumors. As always, rumors are for entertainment purposes only; take these items with a large grain of salt:

  • According to online informant HateToFly, the Hogwarts Express trains have completed their first test voyage, successfully traveling from one station to the other. There is still much work still to do on the trains, especially the interiors.
  • Exactly which vendors are involved in Diagon Alley’s E-ticket Gringotts ride is a closely guarded secret, but after interrogating several important industry players at IAAPA last week, I’m willing to wager a nickel on the following: the ride’s roller-coaster track is provided by Intamin (California Screamin’), the ride vehicles and/or linear induction propulsion system is by Premiere Rides (Revenge of the Mummy), and the special effect Kuka arms and motion simulator bases are by Dynamic Attractions (Soarin’, Forbidden Journey).

Subscribe to our Universal Orlando Crowd Calendar to get the best wait-time data and touring plans, and check back soon for the next Wizarding World of Harry Potter construction update!


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Seth Kubersky

Author of The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando. Co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland and Beyond Disney. Contributor to Unofficial Guides to WDW and Las Vegas. Live Active Cultures columnist for the Orlando Weekly. Travel and arts journalist. Theatrical director and producer.

7 thoughts on “PotterWatch 2.0: Harry Potter Construction Update (11/23-25/2013)

  • November 27, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    So quick question….is the new part of HP going to be on the Universal side meaning Universal has found a way to make people buy a two park/two day ticket so they can see both HP areas?

    • November 27, 2013 at 4:37 pm

      Yes, it is part of Universal Studios area (it’s being built where Jaws used to be) so you don’t have too but to experience the thrill of riding the Hogwarts Express, you have to have a park-to-park pass. It would be worth the money for me 🙂

  • November 27, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    But when will Diagon Alley open? That is the question!

    We will be in Orlando the 3rd week of June and we booked a hotel room already at Universal Studios on the hope that it would be open… but of course, with no official announcement, we don’t know yet!

    • November 27, 2013 at 4:41 pm

      It is only a rumour but I’ve heard June 2014 thrown around a lot as the expected opening so it’s open in time for summer.

  • November 27, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    Universal works fast, faster than Disney


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