Detailed artwork has been released for the new Harry Potter expansion, Diagon Alley, that is currently under construction inside Universal Studios Orlando. Included in the new land will be a major new attraction, brand new shops and dining, and transportation that will connect the two parks. Today, we take to the air to bring you a birds-eye tour of the construction site and compare it to the released artwork. Plus, we’ll bring you the latest information from around the resort, including Transformers and Cabana Bay updates.

Universal Orlando Resort

This past week, Universal dropped a bomb on the theme park world when they unexpectedly released Wizarding World Phase 2, Diagon Alley, concept art.  While none of the information in their release would be considered “news” to MiceChat Readers, who have heard all of the info here months ago, the concept art is quite beautiful. We were so inspired that we decided to dust off the MiceCopter and take to the air once again to show you a building by building breakdown on the project.

Artist Rendering of Diagon Alley. CLICK TO ENLARGE

We’ll do our best to provide you concept and real world views of the entirety of this huge project. From the artistic representation above and construction photo below, you can already see that the project very closely mimics the concept art.

Overview of Diagon Alley construction site. CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

MAIN ENTRANCE

The exterior of the land will look like London and the Kings Cross train station and will completely conceal Diagon Alley on the other side. But once you pass under the facades, you’ll be in a faithful recreation of the world of Harry Potter.

An overview of the shopping courtyard.

While the concept art lacks detail and is highly stylized, we are still able to make out some of the individual shops which we can expect to find in the new land:

Flourish and Blotts
Madam Malkins
Olivander’s
Quiditch Quality Supply and Owl Emporium
Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes (you can just make out the side profile of the round window with the arm and top hat)
This is what the Weasley’s shop looked like in the film and what we can expect it to look like in the theme park as well (given the clues from the concept art above).

London Water Front

You’ll note number 12 Grimmauld Place in the lower right of this image.
And here’s what the concept art above looks like in the real world.

The first part of Phase 2 that you will be able to see as you approach from around the Universal lagoon is the London Waterfront area. The concept art alludes to some additional details we can expect to find upon opening.

The purple triple-decker “Knight Bus” from the Harry Potter film, Prisoner of Azkaban, is parked on the waterfront. This will make for a great photo op.

Kings Cross Station

One of the main attractions in Phase 2 will be the train to Hogwarts Express from Kings Cross Station.  This large façade will become part of the iconic skyline for Phase 2.

Hogwarts Express Station

Inside Kings Cross you will find the entrance to Platform 9 ¾ that will take you to the Hogwarts Express Train that will transport you from London to Hogsmede, creating the first inter-themepark transportation anywhere.

Hogwarts Express

Once guests board the Hogwarts Express, they will be whisked away on a magical journey from park to park that will include up to 4 different story lines for day vs. night and to London and to Hogsmede.  Guests will be treated to in cabin effects and will truly feel like they are making the pilgrimage that young Harry and friends made every year when they would go to school at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The elevated line runs the entire length between the Studios and Island’s of Adventure. From one Wizarding World to the other.

 

But you won’t see any of the ugly back stage areas from the train. All views from the attraction will be simulated. You’ll really feel like you are being transported somewhere magical.

 

Here we see the other station being constructed in Islands of Adventure.
The station is wedged between the Dragon Challenge coaster just above it and the Sinbad theatre to the left.

Hogsmeade is in the top right of the pic.

GRINGOTT’S

The most anticipated addition to the Diagon Alley expansion is the Gringott’s bank coaster.  Set in the depths of the cavernous, subterranean storage vaults, riders will race along a winding track narrowly avoiding all sorts of dangers.

The entrance to the attraction will, apparently, be adorned with a fire breathing dragon. While concept art is notorious for adding fantasy images which never make it into actual production, it is very likely that the dragon will be an important element of the new land.

Here’s the back side of the massive Gringott’s show building.

So, what’s missing from our report that can’t be captured yet in concept art or MiceCopter photos? Well, while none of the items below have been officially confirmed by Universal, we’ve been told by sources that there will be some very popular additions to the expansion. Readers should expect to find an enclosed Knockturn Alley area, which will contain a Borgin and Burkes walk-through attraction (which promises to be pretty dark and scary). Leaky Couldron will be the main restaurant. And Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour will help keep the crowds happy and sugared up.  Universal intends to stretch out the concept art releases and news to generate as much buzz as they can before the attraction opens (likely in late spring of 2014).

It’s already an impressive looking project. We can only expect it to get more exciting as the facades and details are added. We have lots of interesting information to share with you about this project going forward, so please be sure to check back weekly.

CABANA BAY PROGRESS

Thanks to the MiceCopter, we can show you the current progress on the new Cabana Bay Beach Resort.  With the tower and the pool areas now defined, and the lobby building beginning construction, guests will be staying at Universal’s new “Value” resort in under a year.

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

FACADE WORK

Some refurbishment is being conducted in the New York and Hollywood sets as the park prepares for what they expect to be another banner summer.

SPRINGFIELD

Work continues in the Springfield expansion next to the Simpson’s ride. Though construction might appear to have slowed down on the exterior, interior work is being completed at a rapid pace. The water front will begin to receive a bulk of the attention once the main interior work is completed.

TRANSFORMERS: THE RIDE 3D

Last minute details are being worked on to get this new attraction ready for its official June 20th debut. The “Garage” will allow the large stilt walkers to walk on and off stage with ease once it is completed. And guests might be able to get a special treat from this location that people have come to love in Hollywood.

Finishing touches are being added. The obligatory disclaimer is now up, and there are just a few more touches (and one big touch) that is going to be added to the building.

Universal Islands Of Adventure

JURASSIC PARK REFURBISHMENT

Jurassic Park went down for a quick refurbishment after the previous dates were scrapped due to various operational needs and scheduling.   We hope that the Animatronics on this ride receive some TLC, because they were beginning to look really rough.

 

MARVEL SUPERHERO ISLAND

Over in Marvel Super Hero Island, more street work continues. Crosswalks are currently being repainted.

And if you are still looking for more Universal fun . . .

NEW: MiceChat Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast

We have a brand new Unofficial Universal Orlando podcast for you today. It’s a fun look at what’s hot in the Universal parks:

Thank you!

With that, we end our high flying Universal Orlando Resort update today.  Are you excited about Transformers, Springfield and Diagon Alley? Let us know in the comments below and please share today’s update with your friends and family. It takes a lot of fuel and effort to get the MiceCopter airborne, but your comments and social shares make it all worthwhile.