We’ve been posting rumors on a possible expansion of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida for months and today Universal has finally made it official! A new high resolution photo, as well as a press alert, have been released. More will be posted as news develops!
THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES: THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER – DIAGON ALLEY IS COMING TO UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT.
Building on the global phenomenon that is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. Entertainment today announced an expansion of historic proportion with the entirely new themed environment, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.
Scheduled to open in 2014, the world’s first centrally themed, multi-park experience expands The Wizarding World of Harry Potter across both Universal Orlando theme parks and allows Universal’s creative team to bring an unparalleled vision to this unique project. The new area will bring to life some of the experiences and places found in and around London in the Harry Potter books and films, offering brand-new adventures for fans and theme park guests from around the world.
Diagon Alley and ‘London’ will be located within the Universal Studios Florida theme park, which is adjacent to Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park, where guests now experience Hogwarts and Hogsmeade. The new area within Universal Studios will be just as expansive, immersive and authentic as the existing themed environment.”
The Huffington Post also has some more details on the expansion from Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative:
Filed Under: Harry Potter Theme Park
“Given the strong response that we got from our Guests as well as from Harry Potter fans, we knew that we had done something truly special in bringing to life this great body of fiction with such a high level of detail and authenticity,” Woodbury explained. “But even so, we knew that there were other great Harry Potter-related tales to tell. That there were stories, characters and experiences that we just hadn’t been able to fit into Hogsmeade & Hogwarts Castle.”
“So we then began to wonder: Given that we had these two great theme parks sitting right next to each other, could we maybe turn that to our storytelling advantage?,” Mark continued. “By placing Diagon Alley & London at Universal Studios Florida and Hogsmeade & Hogwarts at Islands of Adventure, could we maybe use the distance between these two theme parks as a way to echo the natural geographic separation that the readers find between Hogwarts & Diagon Alley in J.K. Rowling’s own stories?”
[...]“Those meetings [with Jo] are fascinating and wonderful opportunities to have, to be able to talk and collaborate directly with J K Rowling and the Warner Bros. film-makers. This was a big idea. And everybody immediately saw that when we initially laid it all out. And the fact that we wanted to continue to tell the Harry Potter story, the places that we had chosen to develop — Diagon Alley & London & Gringotts & Hogwarts Express — were really big ideas and bold moves, I think that the ambition behind that was very much appreciated,” Mark stated.
“As we went into this project, the folks at Universal Orlando & Warner Bros. Entertainment set the bar very high and we weren’t about to compromise. We knew that London & Diagon Alley & the Hogwarts Express had to be equal to and better than Hogsmeade & Hogwarts Castle in every way and at every level. And that’s exactly how we approached this expansion project right from the get-go,” Mark said.
“Our goal here is to fully immerse people into the Harry Potter stories. So the architecture plays a big role in that. And starting with the London area, which is totally authentic and recreates & captures the essence of the iconographic parts of the fiction in that space, we went big,” Woodbury continued. “And then we find our way into Diagon Alley in much the same way you do in the books and movies. And that’s a totally different environment that gives Guests an even deeper immersion into the world of Harry Potter. And those buildings are big as well. Four and five stories-tall in some places.”
“After teasing people with that static version of the Hogwarts Express in Hogsmeade, we’re now going to give them the opportunity to climb aboard that train and go on an actual journey. And we’re not going to do the usual theme park thing, where you get on an attraction that promises to take you on a journey, but then when you exit your ride vehicle, you’re actually back in the exact same spot where you began that ride,” Mark enthused. “After people climb aboard the Hogwarts Express at Universal Orlando Resort next year, as they exit that train, they’re going to find themselves in an entirely different environment, in a completely different place. Whether they’ve journeyed from London to Hogsmeade or visa versa. And we’ve made sure that even your train trip aboard the Hogwarts Express will be part of the ambitious immersive storytelling experience that we’re trying to create for our Guests with this Potter expansion.”