Universal Studios Florida’s long awaited announcement regarding the second phase of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was made a short time ago via webcast, a muggle technology. The Diagon Alley expansion was first announced on May 9, 2013 and has been hotly anticipated and speculated upon since. Fans of both Universal Studios and Harry Potter have been guessing at the enchanting attractions concealed within this new area with rumours including a fire-breathing dragon, Knocturn Alley, the Knight Bus, Florian Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour, The Leaky Cauldron, Gringott’s Coaster and the Hogwarts Express. Teaser trailers have further whet park-goers appetites. So what charms did Universal Orlando Resort have to share today? We were there to cover it and have all the details for you below.

We waited with anticipation for the event to begin . . .
Matthew Lewis, who played Neville Longbottom, was on the webcast.
Mark Woodbury
James Phelps and Matthew Lewis

Matthew Lewis, who played Neville Longbottom, introduced us to the webcast. Mark Woodbury (President of Design and Development at Universal), who was standing in the stunning vaults of Gringotts, was there to tell us everything we’ve been waiting for. James Phelps (Fred Weasley) and Matthew Lewis joined him to share their thoughts on what they had seen already. The announcements were:

The Hogwarts Express:

Guests with a park-to-park ticket will be able to travel between Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios. The attraction was described as an exact replica of the movie train, you can board at either Hogsmeade station or Kings Cross station. Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood) was waiting on board to chat about the memories she had of making the movies.


There was an announcement that the Knight Bus will be part of the London facade then…

Madam Malkins Robes For All Occasions:

New shop containing costumes and wizard-wear for all.

Magical Menagerie:

New shop: Owls, snakes, toads – perfect pets for all young witches and wizards.


A second branch of the wandmakers shop originally found in Hogsmeade – with multiple show-rooms.



For parchment and quill supplies.

Wiseacres Wizarding Equipment:

Selling telescopes, binoculars, hour glasses, magnifying glasses and armillary spheres.


Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes:

Three storeys of shelves packed with everything for your practical joking needs.


Quality Quidditch Supplies:

Quidditch robes, equipment and brooms.

In Hogsmeade, Honeydukes will be expanded into the current Zonko’s space and Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes will be opening premises in Diagon Alley incorporating Zonkos merchandise into their store.

Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour:

A place for hot wizards and witches to cool down with a frozen scoop or two.


The Leaky Cauldron:

A fully themed dining option serving British pub fare.

Knockturn Alley:

Fully immersive and dark, everything you would expect from the darker side of wizardry.

Borgin & Burkes:

Selling Deatheater masks, skulls and other dark magic items.

Harry Potter & the Escape From Gringotts:

An incredible coaster that is multi-sensory, multi-dimensional and promising to be very exciting.


Thierry Coup (Vice President of Creative Development for Universal Creative) & Evanna Lynch entered the vault and closed the webcast by answering questions about Diagon Alley alongside Mark, Matthew and James.


For more information visit www.universalorlando.com/harrypotter

The announcement was short and sweet, not going into the finer details but certainly satisfying the appetite for the crowds that are sure to descend in the next couple of months. If what is promised is delivered then Diagon Alley will be a spectacular success and I personally cannot wait to experience it for myself.


Will Phase 2 cast a spell over Harry Potter fans as the Wizarding World managed to do so well in the summer of 2010? Time will tell, but I have no doubt that the magic will transfer once again leaving guests captivated and returning for more.

We will leave you with a special Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast with your hosts Lee, Tracey, Darren and Hunter as they discuss this latest event as well as news, rumors and stories about the Universal Parks from around the globe.

Direct Download  |   iTunes

Discussion about the Diagon Alley event now available in the MiceChat Forums – HERE

  • StevenW

    Not much more than what I already heard about.

    • They didn’t reveal much new, but it’s got me looking at my calendar to book a trip to Orlando this summer. I’m sure that was the ultimate goal . . . a reminder that something new is about to open.

  • fnord

    Pretty disappointing.

    • BradyNBradleysMom

      I don’t think this is the right attitude to have, fnord. Remember that this might be “pretty disappointing” to you as a Micechat reader…because you know all the scoop because you read Micechat and heard all this already.

      Universal made this video for the 95% of people out there who do not read Micechat and who do not follow theme park news every day like most of us do who read Micechat. So what is “pretty disappointing” for you is brand new information for people who are jumping up and down with excitement today.

      I am sorry you thought it was “pretty disapointing” but I think it was pretty cool that all the rumored things we heard were coming are still going to be part of the project. I don’t think this Diagon Alley expansion area is going to disappoint anyone when it opens.

  • fnord

    I’ve been hoping that Universal would figure out that the best solution for multi
    park admission is a one day all parks flat rate, at the current one day rate.
    This would make everybody eligible for the hogwarts express, and would directly
    challenge the bloated WDW system that can take so long to get from one park to the next, disney should be begging people to change parks frequently, as it keeps them off the rides.
    Multiday tickets would be available at multiples of the one day price.

    • I strongly disagree. How would they compete with other parks on a single day ticket if they were only offering a two park ticket? Even Disney isn’t forcing park hopper tickets on all guests.

      While most guests will likely buy two park tickets, the resort will still have a lower cost one park ticket for value shopping guests.

  • martinjbell1986

    I might visit once. Don’t think I’d spend more than a day there though.

    • Eric Davis

      You will get hooked! It is incredible!

      • martinjbell1986

        That’s what I’m afraid of! Flying over to Florida for 2 weeks takes enough money as it is! I will have to break down and go to Universal though once we’re there. Just showed my daughter the pictures and she got excited for it. She already wants a wand an Owl and a broom ($$$)

  • Malin

    First I think the concept art looks amazing. I was never fully excited for Diagon Alley since I viewed it more of the same stuff we can already do at WWOHP and I’m not the biggest Potter fan. But it does look appealing and will without a doubt be a huge success for Universal. My biggest concern regards capacity because looking at the concept art it appears no lessons were learnt with WWOHP. Perhaps Universal want to limit capacity so it can boast it has had to close the area down due to it’s huge popularity like with WWOHP. Still it will be a nice day trip out of my Walt Disney World vacation. But it’s not enough to make me stay onsite at one of the hotels.

    • gracin7

      Good point. While it looks appealing it does not seem enough for more than a day trip and will get very crowded very quickly due to bad crowd management techniques.

    • Badgermann

      It may be cramped due to the limited space available, putting an entire land into the space of one attraction, but not as a way to boast about its popularity. All that does is mean that they need to pay more people for crowd control and more complaints at guest services.

      The other issue is that JKR has creative control, and is very demanding in keeping the proper feel to the land. I am sure a more open Diagon Alley would hold more people, but may not have the same immersion effect.

      • Malin

        Universal has had 2-3 years before construction started to address capacity concerns. Employing more people to handle complaints is not going to bring people back to stay at your hotels. I agree expanding pathways and retail space might lose some of the atsmophere but then you have to question if Potter was the right choice to go inside one of America’s most visited Theme Parks.

      • Badgermann

        WWoHP saved IOA and Universal Orlando in general, prior to Potter opening, Universal Orlando was not very profitable. It boosted attendance by 20-30% and gave them an influx of cash that has recently culminated in them committing to dumping half a billion a year into building new attractiones every year, although I don’t know if that money is exclusive to Orlando or their theme park division in general. So from that perspective, it was a good idea to put HP into a theme park.

        If it wasn’t for HP, Universal would not be posing the threat to Disney. I doubt it will ever meet or surpass WDW, it simply does not have the acreage, but is has started to pull enough people away from Disney to make them sit up and take notice. Which is good for everyone. A little healthy competition will boost both of their bottom lines in the long run.

    • CaptainAction

      It’s your loss if you don’t stay in a 4-5 star resort like Portofino for the price of Disney’s Riverside.

      It’s your loss if you would rather stand up on a stinky, crowded bus instead of sitting on a boat ride through a beautifully landscaped mile long canal to the front of the parks.

      It’s your loss if you would rather be controlled by WDW Magic Handcuffs instead of skipping all the lines wherever you feel like going at any time.

      • Malin

        I certainly don’t because it limits my choice to only two parks both of which I have proven can be completed in a single day. I would be an idiot to base myself around a Resort the size of Universal because it’s cheaper. But if you want to put price first over quality and choice then win win situation for you. Just be prepare to pay extra if you want to use the facilities like the Gym.

        You can ride a boat up to the Magic Kingdom and in some cases even Epcot and Hollywood Studios. But most WDW prefer the Monorail or Bus because it’s much more frequent and quicker.

        When I last visited the need for Express Pass was not needed. Although rather a rip off to expect people to pay for for it either by a hotel stay or buy charging money. At Disney you get the same service for free.

      • CaptainAction

        Gym is fee when you join Loew’s First Club, which is free.
        It isn’t a gym, it’s a beautiful spa with nice sitting areas with fruit, coffee, newspapers, tv, etc. to relax after a good workout.
        We get $100 credit for all the restaurants at the Portofino or Royal Pacific every time we check in.
        We get a free upgrade to a 900 square foot suite with two full baths for our family of 5.
        (at WDW a suite easily runs around and over $1,000 per night at a simple 2-3 star moderate)
        We are given a free gift every first night of check in.
        The last free gift around our New Years trip was an very detailed dark chocolate 5×7 easel and frame which held an edible painting of the Portofino on white chocolate, and 12 white and dark chocolate tuxedo dipped strawberries.
        At WDW if you order a snack box of packages of crackers and cookies it runs $45.
        This free gift would have easily run $120 at WDW.
        After New Years the room went to it’s usuall price of under $200 per night for ALL THIS with the AP discount.
        Haven’t even gotten to early mornings and skipping lines.
        So enjoy standing up on the buses at WDW and spending $150 per night for a Motel 6 level of amenities and going to the Theme Park Museums where your day and meals has been scheduled for 180 days.

      • williameshea

        Captain, I’ve stayed at Portofino Bay several times — a graceful, beautiful, calm, quiet, luxurious resort, with wonderful staffers making you feel like a valued guest. All, if you get a chance to stay there — do. Question for you, captain: I’ve seen very good deals available to season-pass holders (go to their official website and look up room costs, using the letters APH for a discount code, to see what you’d pay as an annual pass holder — the savings may well pay for the pass, like a hundred dollars less per day for your stay). They also have deals like, stay 5 days and pay for 3. I think you can’t combine deals like those, with the free upgrade of one level for room for being a member of their frequent-stayer organization — am I correct? Also, I believe you have to have X numbers of stays within a certain period to qualify for the free upgrade — could you tell me again if that’s correct? I haven’t really checked out the details in several years. Thanks. Bill

    • cruise

      I don’t get your point about no lessons being learnt? WWoHP was crowded the summer it opened yes, but I think it has become very manageable. Do you build for the first summer and sacrifice the quaint feel of the wizarding world, or do you pull a DCA and build walkways as wide as freeways? Some might even argue that the quaint real feel of the land IS the reason for the success… and in that case, lesson learned.

      • Malin

        Often even now the land has to be closed for capacity issues. That was the whole point of building the overflow. Besides kind of seeing conflicting reports because I was under the impression Universal wanted Diagon Alley to be a game changer and not something that would only be popular for a year.

      • Badgermann

        WWOHP is only closed for capacity issues a few days a year during the peak week between Christmas and New Years. Otherwise, it is generally free flowing, even if it feels a bit crowded at times.

      • Malin

        Sounds like joining your elite membership club only makes sense if you are a frequent visitor. Most people who visit Universal are not and it’s this little detail that is the reason thousands of rooms get booked up on a nightly basis at WDW while Universal rooms have to charge cheaper rates. You are given vouchers to spend money in the Restaurants is more of a scheme to get you to dine at them while many WDW Restaurants are fully booked months in advance and don’t have to offer such discounts. And such a shame the Express Passes don’t cover the only ride at Universal that truly matters. You’ll have to queue up like everyone else visiting for the day from Disney. Or you can take advantage of attending WWOHP an hour early which in itself is not an exclusive offer and is offered to all UK Guests booking tickets with Universal for free without the need to stay on site.

  • TVsRobLowe

    How disappointing – A not-so-cleverly disguised multi-story shopping mall and a clone of Revenge of the Mummy’s ride system (in the same park?!).


    That’s the best they could come up with? Jaws closed for this?

    Avatarland will set it’s sights on this “land” and knock the bejeesus out of it in tech, entertainment, guest approval, and guest spending. Just wait. Universal can just keep pumping out garbage like this (See: Transformers & Simpson “land”) and eventually it will backfire and all of the people who decide to wander over from Disney will get wise to their crap and stop coming.

    • mainejeff


    • fravitmonk

      lol. how’s that seven dwarves mine train coming along?

    • Diagon Alley, Gringott’s coaster, Hogwarts Express, Knockturn Alley and a bunch of well themed shops and restaurants will likely cement this Wizarding World expansion as a brilliant choice by Universal and a massive hit with theme park goers.

      Avatar will likely be VERY good at Disney as well, but Potter has an easier sell as it’s a more beloved franchise. Avatar will have to prove itself after it opens based upon how fun the attractions are. Uni’s Potter lands sell themselves. That’s a big difference and a huge advantage for Universal.

      • Malin

        If you are right and it is a massive hit for the Park then I hope Diagon Alley can handle the extra crowds. Or it’s another overcrowding situation like WWOHP. I think calling the land an overflow is appropriate.

      • LoveStallion

        Exactly, Dusty. Bottom line is that HP is a far more beloved franchise. I’ll still go back and read my way through the books all these years later. The last time I saw Avatar was four years ago.

    • unclemike

      Other than they are both coasters, I don’t see Gringott’s being a clone of Mummy. At all.

      • TOONager

        I talked with a Project Manager during New Years and he said it’s a cross between The Mummy ride and Spider-Man/Transformers.

    • CaptainAction

      Hey Rob,
      Time to go clock in. You are late for your shift at Small World.
      You are a funny little castmember.

    • CaptainAction

      It’s time for you to clock in. You are late for your shift as Tweedle Dum..
      You are a funny little castmember.

    • MikeK

      To upgrade their parks, Universal is spending half a billion a year for the foreseeable future. This is more than Disney is investing. If rumors are true, Iger needs the board of directors approval to increase investments in the parks. And didn’t get it.
      For the first time in history, Disney has a true competitor. Regarding the coaster, I heard it’s more than a Mummy clone. It also goes off track into a mini simulator, so there are a lot of firsts. Something Disney used to be known for.

      • Malin

        First I’d be very surprised to see anything new come to the Orlando Park for the next couple of years after Diagon Alley. Anyone expecting something for Summer 2015 is going to be very disappointed. Now ride simulators have been going for years and while mixing the two technologies together is a first it’s still just an infusion of pre existing ride technology that the Parks have been so heavily focused on bringing us lately. I’d much rather for instance see something new and truly unique then a motion simulator in front of a projection screen.

      • CaptainAction

        Wrong Malin,
        You are stuck in a WDW mindset where if they give you a new ride every THREE YEARS folks like you think you have been blessed.
        Universal is building a Jurassic Park Coaster which breaks round this year.
        They also have plans to re theme the whole area around Woody Coaster into something still unknown.
        Universal gives it’s guests multiple attractions during the same year.
        All these things were done at Universal while those TWO poor castmembers assigned to Dwarf Mound Coaster struggle to complete it before year 3.

    • CaptainAction

      Springfield is creative, funny, and the new food items are good.
      Transformers is better than anything WDW has done the last 10 years.
      Just keep riding Little Mermaid and trying to sell yourself that it’s not lame.
      Then notice you are the only one on Little Mermaid while there is an hour wait for the old Peter Pan and Winnie rides.
      Go drown your sorrows on a Lafou Brew and a Shank Steak (gross) and keep telling yourself, “This isn’t so lame, this isn’t too lame, is it? Oh no, it is lame!”

      • jcruise86

        I like Transformers, but I like Radiator Springs Racers even more, and love everything about Carsland, except its promoting cow tipping.

        That written, my family is far more excited about Universal’s Harry Potter additions than anything coming out of Disney. Universal’s Steve Burke is much better than Iger, Staggs, Rasulo and Crofton. And, yeah, there is something underwhelming and a little depressing about the Little Mermaid ride–especially the Under the Sea room and the goodbye wedding scene.

      • Malin

        Wait a second you are calling an average Park burger with a bit of cheese sauce on top good? You have just lost all credibility right there.

      • Malin

        Ok I will save this quote and ask you again next year why the new ride at Jurassic Park hasn’t opened yet! Because it’s very unlikely you will see another ride on the scale of Transformers open in a years time. Transformers was a clone which the Park had to rush into construction after realising it had nothing new to offer during a year of big expansion projects at Disney and SeaWorld. Plus it didn’t want AP’s not renewing Passes a year before Diagon Alley which was the case with WWOHP. You won’t see them make that mistake again. But so glad to read the desperate Woody Wood Pecker Kid Zone is to be removed. Not before time really but I hope the next idea doesn’t involve another motion based simulator with video projections. But these kind of projects are quicker to install and maintain.

    • cruise

      ….. yea let’s leave out the Hogwarts Express because that’s so unique it might just topple your argument.

      The biggest point is that EVEN IF Avatarland is a bigger success than WWoHP (which could happen), I will always side with the Co. that is pushing out a new groundbreaking attraction every year over a property with twice the parks (and over 10x the size) that has accomplished half as much in the last ten years.

      I feel like this post has to be a joke though, because if Transformers, Despicable Me, The Simpsons and the possible JP expansions are a joke, what is Enchanted Tales (don’t get me wrong, I love this attraction, but I’m not about to fly across the country to see it)?

      • Malin

        A train is not unique and and video projections across the windows have certainly been done before. What Universal has done is stole a concept from Ocean Park, Hong Kong and given it a new theme. And Ocean Park most likely stole it from someone else.

      • CaptainAction

        Hey Malin,
        WDW needs to STEAL SOMETHING then.
        WDW’s version of creativity today is to put ONE DUMBO next to ANOTHER DUMBO.
        Woops, they stole from themselves.

      • Country Bear

        Funny comments from everyone.

        I don’t believe WDW has proven to be more innovative than Universal recently. In fact, Universal has technologies that WDW could only dream about using (though they likely never will, even if they owned them). They just don’t want to spend the money on anything. And if they do, it needs to be the least amount of money to get the most bang for their buck. Oh dear, is that the accountant in me talking again? Let them eat cake.

        Since we’re judging everything before its even opened, what about Avatarland? They indicate that there will be a boat ride and a Soarin’ type attraction. What is innovative in that line-up? They already have both of these things in their parks. What is so innovative that it squashes Universals efforts to innovate? I see nothing currently. The only difference is that Universal is building things of substance and Disney is not.

        I assume an argument is coming for the Dwarf mine train ride now.
        Though it doesn’t appear large enough to be an E Ticket, that’s how Disney is selling it. Let’s just see how it compares to Gringotts. After all, it is an E Ticket and it is a coaster – so they must be equally comparable. To say that the Dwarf mine ride is innovative (it’s a coaster) would force you to also say that the Gringotts coaster is innovative. We’ll see which one is a more innovative experience shortly.

    • armyofrobots

      You really had me going for a minute there. Aw, man. Thanks for the good laugh.

      • Malin

        Expanded capacity for Dumbo is the same principle of Universal building Diagon Alley. Certainly I was left with that impression after seeing 30 people be crammed into a Wand store at WWOHP. Oh the creativity of Universal. But this in reality is just a response to poor planning.

    • williameshea

      Where do you get the information that it will be a clone of Revenge of the Mummy?

  • BradyNBradleysMom

    Here’s a question I have about all the Potter merchandise: will Universal continue to sell the more obscure-sounding things, even if they are not giant profit makers?

    I ask because the type of merchandise they say they will sell is perfect for the theme…but how many theme park visitors will be buying this stuff. I love that they are putting all these wizard shops in…but I worry that Universal will eventually do what Disney does, and get rid of all the cool, oddball stuff and just fill every store with the generic junk that tourists buy the most. Look at what Disney did to Buena Vista Street at DCA. They got rid of all the themed window displays and the themed merchandise…and just filled everything with the same junk they have everywhere else.

    Apparently, Zonkos didn’t sell enough merchandise, so it’s being taken over by the Honeydukes store.

    I wonder if they will keep Ollivanders at Hogsmeade when they have the new one in Diagon Alley.

    • mainejeff

      I actually found Honeydukes to be too small and cramped with a limited selection……I’m glad that they are expanding the store as well as (I assume) their candy/sweet selection.

      The toys, jokes, etc will work much better in the Weasley shop.

    • Not that Zonkos didn’t sell enough, but that they needed more space for Honeydukes. Since there will be a big new magic/joke store in Diagon Alley, it made sense to move the Zonkos stuff over to the much large 3 story Weasley’s store. I’m looking forward to seeing this one.

  • ChrisNJ

    Very Nice. Can’t wait to see it all later this year.

  • Disneymike

    Here come the Disney apologists….
    Does anyone else but me appreciate the fact that Universal is raising the bar?
    And the mention that Diagon Alley is nothing but a “Multi story shopping mall”? Gimme a break. At the very least Disney is getting stomped by Universal by offering theme specific merch for the shops in Diagon Alley instead of the generic crap Disney stocks their shops with.
    Oh, and by the way, I have never watched a Harry Potter movie or read any of the books so I have no allegiance whatsoever.

    • TVsRobLowe

      Except Universal has already turned their Potter merchandise in to “generic” crap themselves by allowing all unique merchandise created for the area to be available in the Emporium-style stores at the front of both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios, as well as the Universal Store located in Citywalk.

      Too late, it’s already generic. All of the new stores won’t actually have new merchandise, just more of the same.

      • Malin

        How is building more stores and Restaurants that are similar in theme to WWOHP raising its game? If it was to truly raise its game then we’d be seeing something totally unique and original. Not a overflow for the WWOHP.

      • mainejeff


      • CaptainAction

        Hey Rob,
        Go clock in. You’re late for your shift at Dumbo.
        Funny little castmember.

      • cruise

        So unique WWoHP branded (branded to a land, not the entire park) merchandise is generic if its sold in an emporium-type store, but I’m supposed to go bananas for “Disney Parks” branded merchandise.

        Also have you been to WWoHP??? They may sell chocolate frogs in the emporium stores, but that’s like 1% of whats offered in the land?

      • Disneymike

        Really? Have you been in Diagon Alley? I didn’t think so.
        You know why? Because nobody has! Before you make sweeping generalizations that it’s “Garbage” maybe you should wait until it’s….

  • loaloa55

    Believe me, this is gonna hurt WDW badly. The whole Potter experience ( in both parks ) will be awesome.

    • Country Bear

      I agree that the new Potter experiences will be awesome. But I honestly don’t think it will hurt WDW. What it will do is increase Universal’s sales and fill their hotel rooms (which is what they want). Really it’s more about meeting Universals goals than smacking Disney.

      If Disney is impacted it will more likely be for reputation than anything else. And they’ve made it clear over the last 10 years that they don’t care about that anymore.

  • disneytom

    I had to chuckle at TVsRobLowe’s comments – inferring that the ride system for the Gringott’s coaster will be like the existing Mummy attraction and, in fact, calling the entire Potter expansion a glorified mall – – he actually used the word “garbage”. I just had to respond, when I think of glorified malls, the only thing that waltzes to the forefront of my mind is Epcot’s World “SLOWCASE” (the only part of Epcot that is actually keeping the place open as Future World has the excitement of cobwebs these days).

    Anyway, what everyone should be commenting on is how Universal can, in 2 short years, knock down an attraction that has a water component and rebuild it into a multi-story, multi-faceted mega attraction with incredible detail? Meanwhile, down the road, the Avatarland gets announced in 2011 and it actually won’t open until 2017 (barring any delays). And just how many dwarves are building their little mad-mouse style coaster over there – I thought there were seven dwarves but I really think there are only four or five working on this project at any given time. I mean seriously, how long does it take to build a mad-mouse coaster like that one? Garbage indeed!

    • Malin

      Your response is comical because you haven’t responded directly to any of TVsRobLowe’s comments and only responded to bash WDW. Trying to cover up Universal’s shortcomings by attacking another Resort instead of defending them says a great deal about your views and agenda.

      • mainejeff

        How can one respond to complete and utter stupidity?

      • disneytom

        Malin, which floor of Team Disney do you and Rob work on? Do you carpool to work together? I hate I-4 traffic, don’t you?

        Seriously??? Rob opines that the expansion at Universal is garbage because shopping is a feature and offers up the fact that the ride is a clone without even having ridden it – he goes on to say that Avatar will kick Potter’s arse yet I’m the one that’s “attacking” another resort?

        In retrospect, perhaps I shouldn’t have used the word comical, I think “sad” and “disappointing” would have better.

      • CaptainAction

        Malin and Rob,
        You guys are sad. When you try to find anything negative about a project that is better than ANYTHING WDW has done in the last 10 years.
        If you applied the same standards to WDW right now you would be spitting fire.
        No, you give a pass to a 2-3 year timeframe to build one kiddie coaster.
        The kiddie coaster will last less than 1 minute.
        You fake being excited about Avatar?!?
        I’m sure you will pretend to want to plan out every ride, meal, park, and day of your vacation 180 days ahead with Magic Handcuffs too.
        I can tell you guys are getting more and more emotional.
        It’s getting hard to even try and kid yourselves that WDW is even attempting to compete with Universal anymore, isn’t it?

      • Disneymike

        Hey disneytom, malin does not live in the USA so they can’t be working for TDO 😉 It also means that they are not frequent visitors to either WDW or Universal Orlando and can not possibly know by reading Micechat that Diagon Alley wont be a gamechanger or at the very least something that WDW has not attempted in years. 🙂

      • Rastuso

        What does TPR pay you to troll this site? Or are you one of its owners?


    • mainejeff


      But they’ve still got the bracelets!!!!!

      • Skimbob

        I think it boils down to this. Universal has their way of doing things and TDO has their way of doing things. I think Universal believes in moving faster to garner more attendees to their parks where the prevailing attitude at TDO is WDW is far superior and we don’t need to rush to keep our guests happy. They will just keep coming because we are Disney. Right or wrong that seems to be the prevailing attitude. Now let’s look at TDA. Their attitude is to keep moving forward with new projects except for when money puts projects on hold. DCA is a prime example of what can be accomplished if Disney puts its mind to do it right. Cars Land was worth every penny spent on it. Star Wars Land if it every gets green lighted will also be stellar because it will be done right. I will give TDO some credit on Fantasyland because it is a well immersed area and once it is complete it will be an awesome show piece even though many feel there should be an eticket ride. What we all need to decide is where we want to spend our dollars and that speaks louder than anything.

      • Malin

        How come if I say anything negative about Universal I’m accused of working for Disney. I don’t even live in the United States. Although if Disney are paying people to troll the message boards then clearly my check has been lost in the mail.

      • Malin

        Problem is I don’t need to try Captain Action the evidence is so clear. Perhaps if you were not so bitter towards Disney that you wanted Universal to be better then you might see it for yourself.

    • LoveStallion

      I think you need to learn the difference between “infer” and “imply.”

  • fravitmonk

    florean fortescues is my favorite announcement from today. everything else we pretty much already knew.

  • EC82

    Let’s see … Disney is spending a billion dollars on an NSA-style marketing and ticketing system to help it get guests to fork over more money. It opened a new land last year that has as its centerpieces a C-ticket style attraction, a restaurant and a kid’s coaster. And it is breaking ground on a new “land” at its Animal Kingdom park that has nothing to do with animals or with any movie or character Disney itself has ever created.

    Meanwhile, Universal has several of the very best theme-park attractions ever created, and is growing its parks by investing in actual lands and rides based on massively successful, enduringly popular stories, and people are “disappointed”? Only Disney die-hards could possibly be disappointed in this. (The argument could be made that Potter itself is just a licensed property/acquisition, same as Avatar, but Universal doesn’t have the kind of timeless properties Disney does. That Disney ignored its own creative legacy to “buy” Avatar simply blows my mind, especially since Avatar has not shown itself to be successful or long-lived in any way except its initial theatrical release seven years ago.)

    Bravo, Universal. This looks fantastic!

    • Well said.

      • Country Bear

        Agree completely.

    • LoveStallion

      Not to mention Disney licensed Indiana Jones and Star Wars decades before they owned Lucasfilm. Everyone licenses stuff. Such is life.

  • SpectroMan

    Do we have a full opening date for all of this yet?

    • Badgermann

      Nope, officially it is still “Summer 2014”.

  • tooncity

    Universal has stolen Mickey’s magic. Disney is out of touch with it’s customers. Hopeful, this will get Disney interested in actually investing it’s billion back into the parks.

    Walt Dated World and Datedland in CA, are just museums of old attractions.

    • Not My Real Name

      But they are very nice museums. I’d still rather go to a Disney park than Universal. Nostalgia is a very powerful emotion.

  • EC82

    Hey, TVsRobLowe — Well, yes, the new Potter ride might be a “clone” of the Mummy in the same way that Splash Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean are “clones” of ride systems, or Big Thunder and Space Mountain are “clones” of ride systems, or Spaceship Earth and Haunted Mansion are “clones” of ride systems. While I’d personally love to see something a bit milder for the entire family to enjoy together, this sounds like a pretty impressive attraction.

    But over at Walt Disney World … When I look at Under the Sea/The Little Mermaid ride, I think: That’s the best they could come up with? 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea closed for this?

    When I walk through the barren, empty hallway that you exit after staring at the tiny Mission: Space screen for three minutes, I think: That’s the best they could come up with? Horizons closed for this?

    When I continue refusing to go into Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor or bypass the torture of Stitch’s Great Escape, I think: They closed Timekeeper and CircleVision and Flight to the Moon and all those classic non-movie-based attractions and that’s the best they could come up with? Lame commercials for their movies?

    When I look at the fact that the 27-year-old Captain EO is still playing at Imagination and the entire upstairs is closed, or when I pass by the entirely empty Wonders of Life pavilion, or when I look at the 19-year-old Ellen’s Energy Adventure (I STILL shudder at the name), or when I float by Discovery Island or see the completely non-functioning Yeti, I think: Really? That’s the BEST they could come up with? Just shutting down attractions and leaving them out in the open as a testament to their penny-pinching, un-creative ways?

    If the worst Universal can do is build two entire lands in the last few years and open an admittedly pretty bad roller coaster (that Ride It Rip It Whatever), then Universal is at least TRYING to do some pretty spectacular things. I’d rather see efforts being made than see entire BUILDINGS left abandoned and innovative multi-sensory explorations like Epcot used to have that are just thoroughly forgotten and increasingly sad to witness.

    • cruise

      My sentiments exactly.

    • Country Bear

      Here, here!

      • LoveStallion

        That’s “Hear, hear!” I’m busting chops today.

    • Malin

      I can’t agree when all we have been getting from them are motion based simulator rides sat in front of projections. This sort of thing is cheap to build and cheaper to maintain.

      • Country Bear

        And is EXACTLY what Disney is putting into Avatarland.

      • EC82

        Getting from who, Malin? If you’ve been on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, you know it’s way more than a motion-based simulator ride. It’s pretty spectacular (albeit somewhat nausea inducing for many) with absolutely jaw-dropping sets and animatronics. Spider-Man and Transformers combine 3-D motion simulators with real-world sets in ways Disney hasn’t been able to do. I wasn’t sure if you were referring to Disney or Universal as the ones that have been doing cheap simulator rides “in front of projections,” but that is clearly not what Universal has been doing.

    • BigBobxxx


      It is so great to have you and EPCOT Central back in action!

      Your comments give voice to what so many of us feel.
      The destruction of EPCOT Center still has me shaking my head in sorrow and disbelief.

      Seriously, today’s Epcot has become little more than a shopping mall with a $100 cover-charge, serving mediocre food at the highest possible prices to the marks that got screwed with one of the dining plans. 🙁

      • Malin

        Difference is Country Bear, Disney is not relying on this ride technology alone and what’s going into Avatar is much different to what Disney has recently built at New Fantasyland.

        EC82, Simpsons, Despicable Me, are both motion based rides. Transformers is a clone of the Spider-Man Ride and is also motion based. I personally I prefer Indy because the sets are real and not projected onto a screen. Yes Forbidden Journey is different but does this feature much of the above. Word is the new Coaster will also feature video projections and simulators. Is the Mummy the last real classic dark ride experience we will see with actual Animatronics and beautiful and detailed sets?

    • CaptainAction

      Well said EC82.

      I wish I had written that myself.

      You hit a lot of the nails on the head as to why we all know WDW just isn’t a theme park where Walt’s imagination and dreams are respected anymore.

      • AaroniusPolonius

        CaptainAction, the difference is that you aim to offend, wheras EC82 approach critiques with respect, which is why he resonates with more validity.

    • AaroniusPolonius

      Well-said. EC82.

  • martinjbell1986

    There is lots of money to be made in Florida for Disney if they start with some type Star Wars park experience so that it coincides with the movie coming out in 2015, but that would mean they’d have to start NOW on a project that big. KEEP INVESTING IN THE PARKS DISNEY! It paid off big time with Cars Land. Hurry up with MyMagic+ and start investing in what the customers want. California is in great shape for now, but Florida needs Avatar AND Star Wars to pull ahead of Universal.

    • Badgermann

      In terms of money and attendance, WDW is and will continue to be the big dog. TDO may not be generating the buzz that Universal currently has, but I do hope that the success of Universal and Harry Potter will force TDO to raise their game. Healthy competition will benefit both resorts and Orlando in general.

  • Country Bear

    This is a great announcement with some additional clarification of details for the Diagon Alley expansion. I didn’t expect to hear everything today, but this is a nice start. We know it’s coming for sure as it’s nearly completed construction, so it’s the biggest theme park news coming from any company this year so far. Due to its scale (argue theme and personal value all you want) it will be the highlight of the year for any park. The fact that Universal has already committed to spending $500 million per year on its parks also speaks volumes. It is a very exciting time to be a Universal guest.

    I see a number of negative comments posted here and it appears most of those are from Disney extremists. I was one once, so I get it. It’s sad that Disney is not responding to this in any way or with any action. As a Disney fan, I feel deeply snubbed. I’m sure they feel they don’t have to. But let me pose this question:

    If you are not a first time visitor to WDW or Florida in general, what is most likely to draw your attention to come back? I don’t believe it will be MyMagic+ as there is little to this that is about guest experience (memory making). But an epic expansion that includes 2 unique E Ticket rides and a new land will draw most everyone’s attention, new and old.
    Carsland did that for me at DCA and I planned the trip specifically to see this expansion. It worked and continues to work to attract. Diagon Alley will be no different for Universal. So the argument isn’t really about WHICH company is doing it, but WHAT they’re doing. Universal has publicly committed to doing something every year to draw your attention back to them.

    Is everyone doing that? I think not.

    • CaptainAction

      Yep Country Bear,
      We are trying to plan a trip to Disneyland mostly because of Carsland.
      It’s just funny that some folks try to tear down a company that is attempting and executing so much for their customers. The reason they attack it is to defend a company that has been truly letting them down for years.
      Is it really going to help WDW be better by trying to tear down every move Universal makes?
      WDW will become great again when they copy Universal’s enthusiasm for the guests.

      • mainejeff


  • WDWorldly

    Recent comments from Universal Creative that Disney fanatics would appreciate:
    1) There’s more to theme parks than thrill rides: “It became apparent really quickly that people enjoyed that discovery, shopping and dining experience almost as much as they did the attractions. And this just brings all that to life for them in Diagon Alley”- Mark Woodbury
    2) Building the same concept in other parks isn’t an excuse for cloning: “But what’s great about all of these other Harry Potter-themed things that are going into Osaka and Hollywood is that they’re all going to have their own unique elements. Things that you can only see and experience if you go to that specific theme park…” – Thierry Coup

    • Country Bear

      Loved reading this.

      Thank you.

  • EC82

    Looking at that image of the dragon, the promises from Universal’s creative folks about said dragon, and combining it with the disappointment I think most people feel about Beastly Kingdom never coming to fruition at Animal Kingdom (instead, Disney’s basically doing it … but with the sadly unconfident safety net of basing it on a non-Disney licensed property) — I went back and looked at a description for one of the rides that Beastly Kingdom MIGHT have had. Suspiciously familiar? I’m glad to know SOMEONE’S doing it! (Following is from Wikipedia.)

    The evil side would be dominated by Dragon Tower, a ruined castle home to a greedy fire-breathing dragon who horded a fabulous treasure in the tower chamber. The castle would also be inhabited by bats who planned to rob the dragon of his riches. They would enlist the guests’ help in their scheme and whisk them off on a thrilling suspended roller coaster ride through the castle ruins. The climax of the ride would be an encounter with the evil dragon himself, resulting in a nearly-barbecued train of guests.

    • Country Bear

      Thanks for sharing this EC82. I am so sad that Disney walked away from Beastly Kingdom because it would have been something that was original and unique to WDW. And just plain amazing. I suspect most of the Imagineers who worked on these concepts for Disney are now working for Universal. It would seem that universal is more invested in unique attractions currently.

    • Not My Real Name

      A dragon hoarding a fabulous treasure? That’s not original. That’s The Hobbit! A book that was published in the ’30s! That’s probably why it was dropped.

  • AaroniusPolonius

    What is truly exciting about the land is that it seems to be an evolution of what they did at Springfield, and that over the course of time, Universal Studios Florida will be less “studio” themed and more “land based.” I’ve never liked any of the movie studio themed parks (it’s such a cheap cop out to set up some inexpensive warehouses and call it a studio with “theme,” and adding playgrounds and facade sets is very Carnival Cruise Line without the cruise to me.) The front of London along the lake looks FANTASTIC in the rendering.

    I’m a little concerned that there’s only one centerpiece attraction and the train from park to park, but it’s a minor, slight concern overall. I think it’s a worthy addition to the parks down I-Drive. I’m interested to see if this, in combination with the hotel opening up, will begin to dent into Disney’s visitation, because thus far, it’s obvious that it’s SeaWorld who’s getting passed over as Universal ascends.

  • Not My Real Name

    Unintentionally funny is the claim that the Gringott’s coaster will go “deep underground.” Not in Florida, it won’t! Build a structure with a basement in Florida and all you’ll end up with is an indoor swimming pool. It’s got to be simulated somehow.