Though the Diagon Alley expansion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter isn’t set to open until summer 2014, Universal Orlando isn’t wasting any time bringing out iconic elements, beginning with the arrival of the Hogwarts Express.
Some might say they’ve already seen the Hogwarts Express locomotive parked outside the Wizarding World that opened at Islands of Adventure three years ago, but that stationary statue pales in comparison to Universal’s new plans: a real, full size working train connecting the two theme parks. The cars first arrived backstage several weeks ago, spotted by many fans in the park. Likewise, monorail-like raised tracks have already been erected.
Now, Universal has offered a first official look at the locomotive and train tender being lowered onto the tracks for the first time, looking as iconic as ever.
When the expansion opens next year, guests will be able to board this working Hogwarts Express to travel between The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, currently open in Islands of Adventure, and the new London area, part of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida. The journey itself remains a mystery as to what guests will encounter during the ride, with rumors pointing to scenic countryside views and perhaps a visit from some dementors.
Universal hasn’t set an official opening date for Diagon Alley jusgt yet, but it’s likely to make its debut in less than a year. And testing of the train should begin soon, with a soft opening possible months in advance of the completion of the rest of the themed area.