Skip huge Harry Potter lines to enjoy Escape from Gringotts, Diagon Alley in after-hours LeakyCon private party at Universal Orlando

Topics: Entertainment, Islands of Adventure, Special Events, Theme Parks, Universal Orlando, Universal Studios FloridaTags: ,

Since its grand opening on Tuesday, Diagon Alley has drawn thousands of “Harry Potter” fans to experience the new area, most of which have flocked to the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride – only to find 6+ hour waits to experience the attraction.

But there is an easy way to avoid all this commotion and enjoy Diagon Alley without the massive crowds. The upcoming LeakyCon event will be held in Orlando July 30 – August 3, 2014, a fan convention that has grown beyond its “Harry Potter” past to feature programming based on pop culture phenomenons such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Glee, Disney, Star Trek, My Little Pony, Twilight, and much more.

For Potter fans attending LeakyCon, there is also a special after-hours private party called Open at the Close which will grant access to both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade Village along with all of its attractions, including unlimited trips aboard the Hogwarts Express and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride. The separately-ticketed event also includes a menu of food from the Leaky Cauldron, Three Broomsticks, Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor, and unlimited Butterbeer, Pumpkin Juice, Fishy Green Ale, Gillywater, and other non-alcoholic drinks.

The Open at the Close party will beginning at 8:00pm on July 30, with private access starting at 10:00pm continuing for four hours of fun until 2:00am. The cost to attend is $150, available only to LeakyCon attendees. (LeakyCon tickets range from $60 for a day pass to $275 for full event access.)

Tickets for the after-hours event will become available on the LeakyCon web site tomorrow, July 12, beginning at 2:00pm ET. Registration for the LeakyCon convention is already available.


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2 Comments

  1. Leah Bickett

    What if you’re already a pass holder and bit need the ticket portion for the park?

  2. CCC

    Today at 2:30 PM

    Review and tips for the new Diagon Alley and Gringott’s Ride

    Ok so we’re not Harry Potter die hard fans. We happen to be our last day in Universal on the opening day of Diagon Alley. Do we pass it up knowing it will be crazy? No! We go since it might be a long time until we go back to Florida seeing as we’re in California.

    So what do I think of the Diagon Alley. It’s cute. Worth waiting for in that ridiculous 2 hour line just to get in? I say yes if you don’t plan to come back. If you can come back, do it another time…let the hype out for awhile if you live nearby…unless of course you are a die hard Potter fan.

    Tips: Just like the Forbidden Journey ride, the end of the line is the line to the lockers. ridiculous…..they don’t tell you if you have no bags, you just skip this line…at least I didn’t see beause we do have our bags. Ok I don’t know about line ethics or morality but the way they set it up is kinda annoying and not foolproof. For Forbidden Journey, go to the gift shop on the right. Facing the cashier, you’ll see the locker entrance. This is the same area where the exit to the ride so people will be coming back to the lockers to retrieve their stuff and it’s chaos and a sea of people. There are usually no attendants or it is too many people to keep track of everyone. If questioned, just say you are retrieving a friends bag. Then once in, stow your bag and then go out to the ride. You skip all the stupid locker line. I normally would have qualms trying to cut lines but these lines are too ridiculous considering I have dumped so much money on these parks. Shaving 30 mins of misery vs. the morality ….I’ll bend that rule in this case.

    For Gringotts ride, same thing. There are probably more attendants here because it’s new. But still, I can just go to the store…forgot the name…blue building jetting out to the right of the Gringotts building and gold statue. It has telescope and stuff above. Facing the building, it is the exit to the right. To the left are lockers where you can retrieve your bags. You can skip 30 mins. and go here to stowe your bag and enter the Gringotts ride. Bagless folks just enter the ride but they won’t tell you that. They’ll make you wait in the stupid locker line.

    Once in the Gringotts line, you’ll see the chandeliers on the right. That’sabout 1 hour line in the building and if you keep going to the end of the line under the overhang, that’s a 3 hour line and probably another 2 hours outside the overhang. They’ve designed for a 6 hour wait. REALLY? People do this? Well, we did! Not much food options and no bathroom inside. You’ll have to just go in an out which they let you but don’t tell you right away.

    The strategy here esp. if you have a big group of people is to take turns and work in shifts so others can enjoy Diagon Alley and even have enough time to eat at the Leaky Cauldron. At lunch time, it’s 45 mins wait. But outside of 11-2 is only 15 mins. Do not get the hotdog outside the alley. $10 when it is only $1 a Costco. Leaky Cauldron has food for about the same price that is better and tastier.

    Potter fans will like that all are Potter lingo and Potter items scattered all over. Wands selling for $35-$40 has sensors that will activate water, rain or movement at various parts of the Diagon Alley’s shops and areas. Employees dressed in witches and wizard outfits will help you. Diagon Alley is very cool. They did a good job on this esp. the details. The animatronic Goblins at Gringotts ride is very cute and life-like. Tip: Take the Olivanders tour at Diagon Alley vs. Hogsmeade; 10 min. wait vs. 30 mins.

    Ride itself….is not worth a 6 hour wait for me. But worth it for Potter fans. This line is oppressive. But the one thing they don’t tell is:

    1. You can go in and out as long as someone is holding your place in line (family/group or you might lose your place)

    2. Why? You have to get a drink, eat and go to the bathroom and might as well enjoy Diagon Alley and shop as well.

    3. You can go in and out of the locker unless there is no room. In which case, you can wait for lockers.

    4. Before you stowe your stuff, get your credit card, phone(important in finding each other in line) and money and water and snacks. You’ll need it in line and you can always throw it away. You can even bring a book or electronics and just go back when you enter the ramp to the building. That’s still at the 1 hour mark.

    5. Just keep track of time.

    6. Bring your umbrella, water and snacks. It is oppressive and hot even in the morning.

    Ride is a roller coaster 3D with spinning things and good visually. It’s prettycool and awesome but not awesome enough for us to wait 6 hours for. It felt short and could’ve used 2-3 more minutes. Those who read the book in our group said the escape from Gringotts was portrayed to be more escape and suspenseful. I think Spiderman and Forbidden Journey is equally awesome and a 45-75 min wait.

    Getting in to Diagon Alley itself is a 2 hour wait. Universal is horrible at giving estimates and communications.You’d think they know the flow of lines by now and should be giving closer estimates. Lines starts at Twirl and Hurl near the Kursty Land at the Simpsons at 9am on opening day. Might be different other days. But have one person in your party save your place and walk the line. You’ll find that it will turn to Men in Black and in the back of MIB building which is very very oppressive. Loops back to the line system of MiB and another line zigzags after that and in between the Fear Factor and Harry Potter. My suggestion, if that is the case, it’s a 2 hr line. Enjoy Universal Studios, ride a few 5 mins rides like Mummy and Transformers if not too long or Krustyland and meet your party at the entrance to Harry Potter near the bathroom between Harry Potter and Fear Factor. That’s a more efficient use of your time. Also, later in the day is better it seems.

    But for Potter fans, you’ll enjoy the ride and Diagon Alley.

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