PotterWatch 2.0: Diagon Alley Construction Update and Rumors (12/8/13)

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Dark of night can’t dissuade us from bringing you the latest Diagon Alley construction updates (photos by Seth Kubersky)

Construction on Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida‘s new Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion never sleeps, and so neither does PotterWatch, our ongoing series of updates on the Boy Who Lived’s anticipated arrival in Universal Orlando’s original park.

There’s been no noticeable progress on the Hogwarts Express since it completed its first test run, as reported in our last installment. Instead, let’s take a nighttime look at the London Waterfront, the facade that conceals Diagon Alley.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley Construction Photos

The Hogwarts Express track is illuminated with work lights.


Kings Cross detailing is progressing.




Color has been applied to the bricks of Grimmauld Place.



Still waiting for this backstage area to be shielded from guests outside Diagon Alley…


We’ll know more about what’s going on behind those walls on December 12, when Universal will hold a press conference announcing new enhancements to CityWalk, along with further details on the Cabana Bay Hotel and Wizarding World expansion; TouringPlans’ Morgan Crutchfield will be there to cover the event.


Finally, we’ll wrap up with a quick round-up of some of the latest Wizarding World rumors circulating around the Internet:

  • Robert Niles at Theme Park Insider posted what appears to be the first photo from inside Diagon Alley, depicting a series of grungy tilted storefronts.
  • Orlando Informer reported, and Orlando United‘s HateToFly confirmed, that the Gringotts ride vehicle will spin, in addition to having roller coaster and simulator movements.
  • Also according to HateToFly, Gringotts’ queue line will utilize a live actor and have a merchandise opportunity that is redeemed in the Wizeacres exit gift shop (perhaps like Spider-Man’s in-queue photo-op?), as well as an opportunity to “invest” in Wizarding currency. In addition, every shop will be designed with both outdoor and air-conditioned indoor queue lines.
  • Numerous outlets are suggesting that the new Ollivanders wand show (which will have three times the wizards of Islands of Adventure’s outlet to increase throughput) will sell RFID-enabled interactive wands, which could activate animated displays in both Wizarding World areas. The wands may also play into a rumored Borgin & Burkes interactive walk-through experience in Knockturn Alley, though they are unlikely (for obvious safety reasons) to be used on the ride, which will require use of a locker.

Subscribe to our Universal Orlando Crowd Calendar to get the best Universal Orlando 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.

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