Saturday, December 06, 2014

Some accounts of the "Grand Event" in July 2014 for Universal's Diagon Alley

I postponed a trip to Florida to see Universal (Diagon Alley) and Disney (the Mars Voyage at Epcot), probably until April 2015;  reasons I’ll get into on another post.
But I did look over some of the YouTube materials on the big “Event” of opening Diagon Alley, part of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, at the Universal Orlando Resort, which happened on July 8, 2014. 
Really, the best video that shows the look of Diagon Alley seems to be “Behind the Bricks: A Tour of Diagon Alley with Tom Felton and Matthew Lewis” and Alan Gilmore posted by “All Central Florida”, here.
The “Bricks” refer to a brick wall with a large hole, through which visitors pass from “King’s Cross” and the London Waterfront (after getting off the Hogwarts Express Railway).  Once in Diagon, the visitor sees quaint century-old-like buildings tilted at angles (although some of Barcelona, Spain looks like that), with the dragon blowing fire above.  There are about 150 square blocks of shops and attractions, most of all Gringotts (and the escape ride). 
There is a PBS POV “London to Hogsmeade on the Hogwarts Express” here  The passenger sees images from Harry Potter's world through the windows, apparently created by CGI.  The actual station is quite large, like a typical European "gare".  The train cars are elaborate and like second class on BritRail or Eurailpass.  
Music arrives courtesy of John Williams. 
There is a tour of the London waterfront here which looks pretty much like the read London near Kings Cross, as I best remember it the last time I was there, in 2001.  Besides Orlando, London and Finland are on my list for destinations next spring.
I was last at Universal Orlando in person in December 1993.  I remember a ride and a set of western movies.  As I drove north, I visited Jacksonville (the St. Johns waterfront) and saw the MCC church building there.  That was the weekend that negotiations for the merger of my employer at the time started.  In fact, Jacksonville has a lot of life insurance companies, but I wound up in Minneapolis after that sequence. 
Wikipedia attribution link for Universal Studios entrance (pd).  

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