This morning Universal Orlando took the first major step toward the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley expansion by removing the construction walls surrounding the London waterfront embankment.
Though Diagon Alley itself is still completely hidden from view behind a row of facades, the London buildings and courtyard are no less impressive, packed with details and a few magical touches.
Video: London waterfront overview for Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando
Replicated in a massive scale are the fronts of King’s Cross Station, Charing Cross Road (leading to the Leaky Cauldron), Grimmauld Place (home of the Black family), Leicester Square Station for the London Underground, and Wyndham’s Theatre along with several other mock storefronts.
The Eros Fountain from Piccadilly Circus is also recreated as a centerpiece to the area alongside the famed Knight Bus.
Dangling inside the Knight Bus is a shrunken head, straight out of the “Harry Potter” films, currently inaccessible but soon to be interacting with guests in a Caribbean accent, one of the few touches that makes it clear this London area isn’t entirely for Muggles.
Guests will access the Hogwarts Express train via King’s Cross Station to travel to the Islands of Adventure side of the Wizarding World in the new Hogsmeade station. But neither the Hogwarts Express nor the rest of Diagon Alley have soft opened just yet.
Inside Grimmauld Place, house of Kreacher occasionally peeks out of Sirius Black’s window, seen below from a few weeks ago.
Video: Animatronic Kreacher house elf peeks from Diagon Alley window at Universal Orlando
A menu board for an outdoor vending cart also reveals some of the food that will be served in this area, all British fare of course.
It’s all a big change from the former Amity area that housed the Jaws ride just a couple years ago.
Spotted inside the newly revealed area this morning was a Universal Orlando photographer and Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative.
Woodbury quickly disappeared behind one of the entrances to Diagon Alley, soon to be packed with people.
No official opening date has been announced for Diagon Alley either. A press preview is scheduled next week, June 17-19, with a public opening likely to follow shortly thereafter. Soft openings could happen any day or time with no guarantees.
More photos from the London embankment of Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida: