Local 6 Theme World: Potter Progress
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September 3, 2013
Potter Part 2 Progress
Greetings from Universal Studios Florida. I got a chance this past weekend to grab you an update on the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion.
But I can't take credit for the first and most exciting photo. A Twitter follower (who asked to remain anonymous) sent me this backstage pic of one of the two locomotives for the Hogwarts Express ride linking the two lands.
I understand the ride's manufacturer hopes to start testing the cars on the tracks as soon as later this month or early October. Note that does NOT mean guest testing. This would simply be mechanical tests of the ride system itself. Once that is up and running reliably, Universal Creative will move in to finalize the show you'll see while in route to and from Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. While it won't be a terribly long ride, I am told it will be memorable with in-car effects.
And the new land it is in is shaping up to be something really impressive.
That's the view of Harry Potter's London/Diagon Alley from the new Duff Gardens area of Springfield. That is one large land. Let me zoom in for you on the left side of the picture.
That is believed to be the main entrance to Diagon Alley, though I am not sure yet how Universal plans to transition you from the exterior facade (London) into the realm of magic.
The shot above may help convey the scale of the project. You can see Potter-esque details are now emerging. It is especially clear from the side of the construction site.
To help orient you: "Muggle London" is on the left. Everything else you see is inside the previously wizard-only shops and restaurants of Diagon Alley, and the more sinister Knockturn Alley. The dark building you see at the far right is the outer wall of the main show building for the ride through Gringott's Bank.
You can get a look at just how big that building is in one of my previous updates. It will be exciting seeing this new land shape up over the next months. Target opening date is technically Summer 2014, but I hear the push is on for late Spring. And once Diagon Alley is open, I hear there may be some more work done to polish the existing Wizarding World - possibly with elements drawn up for sister lands under construction in Japan & Hollywood.
Look for more from Universal this week. I'll share some random thoughts on the state of that resort, and run down some of the rumors that have been rumbling about.
Keep your emails, questions, and comments coming! I always appreciate the feedback.
Here's a link to my most recent Theme World blog entries.
See you in the parks!