After three days of tweeting from around Hogsmeade, Muggle London and Diagon Alley, this morning included a surprising and spontaneous chance to visit “both sides of the Wizarding World" without venturing into the Muggle world in between.
The day started with Butterbeer (for breakfast) and a visit with the Sorting Hat. Then I heard - but did not see! - a Thestral at a carriage by Hogsmeade Station, rode the Hogwarts Express to King’s Cross and spotted the Knight Bus - and some Sherlock Holmes books - by The Leaky Cauldron (their sign on the Wizarding side leaks).
I can’t wait to come back for the experience of walking into Diagon Alley with witches and wizards. I still haven’t ridden through Gringotts or seen the Beedle tales performance, nor tried Butterbeer soft-serve ice cream in a cone, and even today there were details I saw that I’d missed before - not just on the Hogwarts Express but, believe it or not, on Forbidden Journey!
So many kudos to Universal for this immersive experience. I can’t wait to show some pics & talk about it at the Harry Potter fan panel at Comic Con, and come back for LeakyCon next month, and again and again with family and friends. This place is perfect. It feels magical and detailed and correct and will inspire fans to think about and talk of and even create, and will inspire those who still haven’t read the books - or are just getting to the age where they want to - to love the Wizarding World.
Next stop, Fantastic Beasts, Jo?
Coming over the weekend, our gallery of photos of detailed elements of the Wizarding World that fill Diagon Alley, Nocturne Alley and Horizontal Alley - we're sure FictionAlley is also around there somewhere with innumerable book shops and art galleries, but we didn't spot an entrance this time. If you can't wait, check us out on Twitter for brief glimpses of the magic.
Note: Some meal and hotel expenses, as well as park admission, were provided by Universal, although all opinions are our own.
Wednesday, 18 June 2014
Monday, 16 June 2014
We are on #Potterwatch this week and can't wait to visit @UniversalORL for this week's #DiagonAlley media preview & #ButterbeerIceCream
— FictionAlley (@fictionalley) June 16, 2014
Follow @FictionAlley for live reports from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley, starting on Tuesday, June 17!
Friday, 6 June 2014
Last weekend, FictionAlley's Heidi went "back to Hogwarts" (to quote the StarKid song) to revisit Hogsmeade, have some #Butterbeerforbreakfast and see what could be seen of the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando.
It was magical! While we're still a few weeks from the Grand Opening of the Diagon Alley area - Hypable reports that June 20 looks to be a likely Opening Day - we got the new double-park shopping bag with our purchases and caught glimpses of Hogsmeade Station and the top of the Knight Bus.
We also visited the revamped Honeydukes - now bereft of the joke products that will be available soon, alongside more japes and tricks, at Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes in Diagon Alley - and checked out new products including mens' swimming trunks and an interactive Marauders' Map that lets you track Harry, Hermione, Ron, Dumbledore and Snape around Hogwarts.
We're not the only ones who went to the WWoHP this week - Oliver and James Phelps joined Bonnie Wright for a peek into the shops and experiences along Diagon Alley and Muggle "London" - but be warned! There are spoilers for the park in that video! They also tried some of the new food options that visitors will get to enjoy at The Leaky Cauldron before long.
We'll see you there when the construction walls come down!
Here's the latest from Universal:
Opening this summer, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley will bring even more of Harry Potter’s adventures to life. Inside the land, guests will enjoy themed shops, dining experiences and the groundbreaking thrill ride – Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. The new area will double the size of the sweeping land already found at Universal Orlando, expanding the spectacularly themed environment across both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.
Wednesday, 4 June 2014
The Harry Potter fandom is back! And so are J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World stories, with three new movies and a brand new theme park - which will all inspire hundreds of thousands of Wrock songs, fancons, fanart, cosplay, fan-ﬁlms and vids, charitable and social justice projects, and so much more. This year will mark our seventh Comic Con celebration of all things Harry Potter, and we're hoping to look back at creativity from the fandom, ship debates, Pottermore and Quidditch - as well as what's new from Universal Studios, WB and J.K. Rowling. Last year, about 800 Harry Potter fans capped off their Comic Con weekend at our panel discussion, and we'd love to do the same this year.
Confirmed panelists include FictionAlley writer and award-winning playwright Madhuri Shekar, MarkDoesStuff's Mark Oshiro, the HP Alliance's Lauren Bird, Team StarKid's Dylan Saunders, the 15th Anniversary Harry Potter book cover illustrator Kazu Kibuishi and wrocker/actress Sunny Williams. FictionAlley's Heidi will be moderating - and we'll have some giveaways and surprises, too!
While SDCC sold out months ago, we're hoping to have a brief afterparty for HP fandomers who aren't able to make it to the panel. More info on that TBA.
Hope to see you in San Diego next month!