Diagon Alley soft opens at Universal Orlando as overjoyed fans pour into Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion

in Entertainment, Special Events, Theme Parks, Universal Orlando, Universal Studios Florida

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The waiting crowds outside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion finally found their way into Diagon Alley today as Universal Orlando soft opened the immense new area.

Just two days after the Hogwarts Express soft opened, the expansive Diagon Alley welcomed day guests to explore its shops, restaurants, and many details. Though the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts still remains closed, scheduled to debut on the area’s official opening date of July 8, fans were no less thrilled upon finally stepping foot into the long-awaited land.

Universal Orlando’s official word on the soft opening preview came shortly after:

“We are now inviting guests to experience the atmosphere, shops, food and entertainment that Diagon Alley has to offer. Dine in the Leaky Cauldron. Grab your favorite Hogwarts house apparel at Quality Quidditch Supplies. And get that first taste of Butterbeer ice cream.”

But they do emphasize that it is a technical rehearsal and that not everything will always be fully operational all of the time. Diagon Alley should mostly be open from now forward.

The crowds went crazy every time the Gringotts dragon breathed fire by day, night, and even in the rain:

Diagon Alley soft opening at Universal Orlando

Throughout the day, guests filled the Diagon Alley streets, stores, and restaurants. Even without the main ride open, it was still a completely fulfilling experience for everyone who had been waiting so very long to step inside.

Diagon Alley soft opening at Universal Orlando

Diagon Alley soft opening at Universal Orlando

Diagon Alley soft opening at Universal Orlando

Diagon Alley soft opening at Universal Orlando

Diagon Alley soft opening at Universal Orlando

Diagon Alley soft opening at Universal Orlando

Diagon Alley soft opening at Universal Orlando

Diagon Alley soft opening at Universal Orlando

Diagon Alley soft opening at Universal Orlando

Diagon Alley soft opening at Universal Orlando

Diagon Alley soft opening at Universal Orlando

Diagon Alley soft opening at Universal Orlando

Diagon Alley soft opening at Universal Orlando

Interactive wands have been a big hit throughout Diagon Alley, as wizards and witches are on hand to help Muggles figure out how to use their new magic skills.

Diagon Alley soft opening at Universal Orlando

Diagon Alley soft opening at Universal Orlando

Diagon Alley soft opening at Universal Orlando

Diagon Alley soft opening at Universal Orlando

Diagon Alley soft opening at Universal Orlando

Diagon Alley soft opening at Universal Orlando

Escape from Gringotts will remain closed, for now. It could soft open before July 8, but so far it remains heavily “guarded.”

Diagon Alley soft opening at Universal Orlando

Guests arriving for soft openings will find the entrance to Diagon Alley on the far side of the London embankment near the Fear Factor entrance, with a large queue set up, ready for grand opening day. For now, the queue remains empty.

Diagon Alley soft opening at Universal Orlando

Diagon Alley soft opening at Universal Orlando

Take a full walk around Diagon Alley as seen during the preview days a few weeks ago:

For those that can’t make it to Diagon Alley any time soon, click here for complete coverage of all its new entertainment, shops, dining, rides and more.

More photos from the Diagon Alley soft opening first day:
(Photos by Ricky Brigante and Michael Gavin)

3 Comments

  1. Ray

    Thanks for the video! If I ever go back there, I can skip all of this area except for heading straight for the Gringott’s ride-nothing to see but shops, shops, and more shops! And I’m much more impressed with the Three Broomsticks restaurant than this new one anyway, so I wouldn’t waste my time in here just looking around for any reason. Knockturn Alley did look cool though!

  2. Liz

    My family and I went over the last two days and it was amazing. I didn’t get that many picture or see every shop we were just to excited to play with the wands we got and of course the Gringotts ride. It was open on July 2nd but broke down after a few runs on the 3rd. The ride was amazing we managed to get an unglitched run … Well mostly..the doors in the pre show room stopped working and we were stuck there in the goblin’s office for about 5 mins.

  3. Thanks for sharing! Having been to some soft openings myself at Disneyland (especially for Star Tours), I know what it’s like to be lurking on Twitter, waiting, waiting…and to FINALLY get in. The excitement is palpable in this post!!

    And that pic of the little kid as Harry Potter is priceless.

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