On July 8, 2014, Diagon Alley and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts opened at Universal Studios Florida. This detailed recreation allows people to explore this popular place from these books and films, and the 3D simulator ride takes fans on a journey beneath a one-of-a-kind bank.
Before the ride, after the ride or while waiting for the ride’s line to get a little shorter, we definitely recommend walking around Diagon Alley. There are real shops and eating establishments and there are tons of other magical moments to see and enjoy. Read on to find out 1o of the coolest sights at Diagon Alley at Universal Studios.
10 Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes
One of the most popular stores in this spot is Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. From the purple paint and the animated window to the fireworks on the ceiling, Fred and George Weasley’s joke shop provides fun for the whole family. There are so many Suess-like details to take in, and fans of these books and movies can even score their own puking pastilles, Sneakoscopes, fainting fancies extendable ears, love potions, and other fun products!
It's always packed inside, but take some time to roam about, looking up, down, left and right, in order to take it all in fully.
9 Ollivander’s Wand Shop
A huge moment in Harry Potter’s journey was when he went to Ollivander’s Wand Shop in order to obtain the perfect wand. Well, guests at Universal Studios Florida can do this, too, since this store has tons and tons of wands to choose from. Having our own wand is awesome. Having one modeled after our favorite character’s is even better.
But having one that can then perform magic in Diagon Alley is the best! Yes, these interactive wands let people cast spells at different spots around The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which is truly special.
Universal’s theme parks create immersive worlds, meaning a visitor could be walking along tree-lined paths and seeing and hearing dinosaurs... and then could turn a corner and actually feel like they have stepped into Hogwarts. At Universal Studios in Orlando, the streets suddenly take on the look and feel of London. We see the Knight Bus. We see Grimmauld Place. We know that Diagon Alley is close!
First, though, we can look up in the window (if we know where to look and if we have the patience to actually stop out here) and see Kreacher, the house-elf that belonged to the Black family.
7 The Shrunken Head
Yes, the Knight Bus is located outside of Diagon Alley: the three-storied one that Harry rode once. Outside of this famous vehicle is the bus conductor, just like in the books and the films. If you take a look inside, you can see the curtains and beds that you've read about in these beloved books and seen in the popular films.
At the front, fans will find the shrunken head, who is a unique sort of backseat driver and who really talks in this magical place in Florida! Be sure to look for him and snap his pic.
6 Gilderoy Lockhart
Every window display in this area is worth staring at and interacting with (if possible). A person could visit multiple times and see something different and new and exciting… like Gilderoy Lockhart. We all remember his book signing and how in love with himself he was.
Well, his moving picture and written works can be found in the window at Flourish and Blotts. He may not have been the best Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, but his face is worth seeing at Diagon Alley. Fans can remember his time within this thrilling story.
Besides jaw-dropping window displays and incredible insides, the buildings in this themed spot also have some relevant ads on them. Big and bold signs give details on The Daily Prophet, pumpkin juice, and The Fountain of Fair Fortune, to name a few.
These ads help make this place seem even more magical, and many of them are simply photo ops. But if you visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you can enjoy pumpkin juice, as well as treats like gilly water, fire whiskey, bangers and mash and, of course, butterbeer.
4 Raining Umbrella
As mentioned up above, guests can actually cast spells and perform magic inside this well-known alley. One particular place to do this is outside of the bathrooms that are found by Magical Menagerie; there is an umbrella here, and to many, it may just seem like a normal umbrella.
Keep an eye on it, though, because a witch or wizard may be able to make it rain! This is a fun little detail that some miss since there is just so much to see, hear, do and love at Diagon Alley.
3 Knockturn Alley
Knockturn Alley exists. Yes, amidst the colorful and animated windows, there is a secret passage into darkness. There is a real Borgin and Burkes. There are skeletons and spiders. There are products that those who are into the Dark Arts would love. There is also a ceiling that makes it all even creepier.
And, set back in a corner, there is the vanishing cabinet. Those who know this story remember this triangular-shaped piece, and those who go to Diagon Alley can even hear the canary that is trapped inside.
The main attraction within this realm is Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Many of us, when reading this book or watching it in the movie, probably thought that Harry’s journey underneath this bank would make a fun ride. Well, here it is! And it even puts guests face-to-face with He Who Must Not Be Named. Before getting on the ride, though, everyone gets to enter into Gringotts and see the goblins who work there. They look so real!
The details in everything from what they are working on to the light fixtures hanging on the ceiling are too amazing, so enjoy them before enjoying the real thrills.
1 The Dragon
And, of course, Diagon Alley has the fire-breathing dragon. This is the Ukrainian Ironbelly from the books/movies, and it is the biggest and best thing within this area. As soon as we walk around that corner and enter the alley, we see it, up ahead, perched on top of the bank. We feel like it could take flight at any second. We even hear it growl.
And then… Everyone has their phones up, hoping to get the perfect shot of this creature blowing flames up and out! While the windows and stores are neat and while the ride is a blast, the dragon is a sight like no other.