Wizarding World Diagon Alley opening date and Hogwarts Express ticket details explored in Universal Orlando survey

in Theme Parks, Universal Orlando, Universal Studios Florida

hogwarts-express

When Universal Orlando surprised the world last week by announcing the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley for the Universal Studios Florida theme park, some details remained a mystery. Even in our exclusive interview with executive creative director Thierry Coup, an opening date for the new area could not be narrowed down beyond the vague 2014 timeframe.

Moreover, logistics were not yet clear of how guests would have (and pay for) the opportunity to ride the Hogwarts Express train between each half of the Wizarding World, split among two Universal Orlando other parks, each requiring admission.

But today Universal Orlando began to survey select fans online, revealing some new information about Diagon Alley and proposing several scenarios for how the Hogwarts Express train system will work.

Parkscope first reported on the survey, sharing screenshots of questions asked as Universal begans to work out the details.


Opening Date…?

Universal Orlando’s online survey flat out states that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will open in the summer of 2014. If true, that’s certainly a more specific timeframe than just “2014” as announced last week.

And it’s not surprising either, considering the original Wizarding World opened on June 17, 2010 and next month Universal will be opening Transformers: The Ride 3D on June 20, 2013.

So it’s possible we’ll see an opening date for Diagon Alley some time around June 20, 2014 (maybe June 18 or 19… or maybe even July…) – but by no means is that confirmed and certainly not announced. (In fact, Universal probably hasn’t even set a firm date yet.)


Hogwarts Express tickets

From the survey details, Universal is considering many factors that will complicate exactly how the Hogwarts Express train system will work. With the immense popularity of the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal is forced to consider the possibility that guests may board the Hogwarts Express and not be able to get off directly into either land – Hogsmeade Village or Diagon Alley – as a result of overcrowding. Likewise, there may be guests who simply want to take multiple / round trips on the train.

With the Hogwarts Express connecting two parks, a park-to-park ticket will surely be required to board in one and get off in the other. But Universal is considering round trip options for those who only want to visit a single park. After all, there will surely be some visitors who have already seen the original Wizarding World and simply want to take in all that is new without paying for admission to a second park.

In other words, there are no firm details have been announced for Hogwarts Express ticketing because Universal is still sorting them out.


Naturally, information shared in Universal Orlando’s online survey is a work-in-progress, by definition. They send these surveys out to get feedback on what they are considering. As such, all of the information above could change at any moment. But it does begin to give a clearer picture of what guests can expect as the excitement continues to grow for the opening of Diagon Alley next year.


Visit Parkscope’s original post for survey screenshots and more information shared from Universal Orlando on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.

7 Comments

  1. ridisneyfan

    Ricky: Thanks for the update. I’ll bet Universal uses this to force a “hopper pass” option so that guest will be forced to pay for both park’s admission. Maybe at a reduced price but still, they are in competition with Disney who has it down pat!
    Another option would be to allow both areas to be cordoned off so that with the purchase of one park’s ticket with a slightly added cost, you could get the other end of the train ride as part of the deal, but can’t go into the rest of the park without upgrading. Will wait to see what they come up with.
    Thanks for the coverage.

  2. Since1976

    I predict Universal will settle for the simplest option: park hopper tickets. I don’t see them making crew members verify people’s tickets to make sure they have round-trip or park hopper ones.

    I imagine the entry and exit points for the train will have to be huge — not unlike the monorail station or ticket gates at the Disney parks.

    I don’t envy Universal’s transportation managers’ headaches right now.

  3. Jayzen

    This is really simple to solve. I remember riding a monorail at Disney that was a split/stop train. Part of the boarding platform was for people bound for the contemporary resort, and the other half for people going to TTC. We were loaded into different parts of the train, which stopped in the contemporary, but only half of the monorail doors opened — so contemporary resort guests could depart for the hotel and board for the TTC. Then we continued to the TTC where the entire train was allowed to exit.

    Since this is a “train station” they could do some really neat themeing with conductors checking people’s tickets and herding them to the appropriate part of the station. Park hoppers could have their choice of one way or round trip. Single park tickets could only ride round-trip (essentially making it a full attraction instead of transport), boarding and departing in their park of origin. They could given give one-park guests a souvenir ticket that could get stamped for the trip. There could be some neat effects that happen as the round-trippers half of the train remains in a tunnel and experience something while the rest of the train departs and boards.

  4. EricJ

    Well, now I’m confused–If there’s going to be a Diagon Alley as well as a Hogsmeade, does that mean they’ll have to move Olivander’s Wand Shop, the Leaky Cauldron and the other faux-shops over to where they’re “supposed” to be? 😉

    1. Ricky Brigante

      They haven’t released those details, but it sounds like there will be an Ollivanders in Diagon Alley, where it belongs, and they’ll likely keep the location in Hogsmeade as well, as it is so popular. But I think you’re confusing the Leaky Cauldron (Diagon Alley) with the Three Broomsticks (Hogsmeade). And new stores will open in Diagon Alley as well.

  5. Mike

    It would be really simple if the ticket system was better, the current paper ones combined with finger scan seem to be way to complicated for many visitors, requiring staff to run each scan station.

    I can understand they don’t want you sharing your ticket but there has to be a better, quicker and more automated way.

  6. Anthony

    I go to the universal parks about once a month, and love seeing the progress they are making building Diagon Alley. Last night while in line for a house at HHN, I saw many of the Hogwarts Express train cars(they look awesome), as well as part of the train track. The Express is going to be amazing.

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