July 8th, 2014 marks the official public grand opening of The Wizarding World: Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando Resort.

Diagon Alley Opens

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In the days leading up to the grand opening, Universal was soft opening the land, trying to get a grasp on capacity, and how long people on average spent in the land.  I know for myself personally, there is never enough time inside Diagon Alley. On the day of this photo shoot, I planned on 30 minutes in the land, and ended up being there over 2 1/2 hours.  The people watching is one of the most enjoyable things, as you see people dumbfounded, and delighted by why they are experiencing. Truly magical.

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Outside Diagon Alley, queues and barricades have been set up for the massive crowds that will descend on the Universal Orlando Resort.

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Diagon Alley is stunning.  Once you walk inside, the immersion is complete and you are no longer in Florida. . . you are now in the Wizarding World.

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Now that regular day guests are getting to see Diagon Alley, it is fascinating to see how people wait for the Dragon to breath fire, and then cheer ecstatically, and scream with fear as the Dragon Roars and shoots a fireball into the sky.

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The entertainment offerings in Diagon Alley are a bit more robust and accessible for the casual guest, who might not be the biggest Harry Potter fan, but might just want to listen to some good live music.

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Once again!  A FIRE BREATHING DRAGON! Sorry . . . I just can’t get enough of this!!!

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The Hogwarts Express is running with amazing efficiency, and I was amazed by the giddy reaction of guests to the Platform 9 3/4 effect.  Pure magic.

BreadBox Opens

With the opening of Diagon Alley comes the completion of the final CityWalk refresh projects.  BreadBox opened this past week, with simple sandwiches made with top of the line ingredients.  

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 I would equate BreadBox with Earl of Sandwhich at Downtown Disney.  It is delicious, fresh, tastes homemade, and is affordable.  I believe this will be my goto restaurant from now on at CityWalk unless I’m looking for something a bit more extravagant.

World Famous Hot Dogs Opens

Across from Antojitos, World Famous Hot Dogs has now opened and is serving guests the most famous hotdogs from America’s Baseball parks.

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That wraps up this week’s update, and we will be back next week hopefully with a full review of Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts, which opens today (July 8th, 2014).