Universal announces opening date for Harry Potter Diagon Alley

Wizarding World expansion to open July 8, officials say

ORLANDO, Fla. - Universal Orlando on Wednesday announced that Diagon Alley at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter will officially open on July 8.

[LOCAL 6 THEME WORLD: 6 things may not know about Diagon Alley | Diagon details | READ:  Ride revealed | WATCH: Hidden animation implies opening date]

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Harry Potter cast members and the Universal Orlando president made the announcement on Wednesday morning at a media event in Orlando. Check back for a full report of the red carpet event Wednesday night.

"Today we are reinventing the theme park experience once again with a whole new level of story telling that will blow your mind," said Universal Studios creative Thierry Coup. "When our guests step into this magical wall it's going to be incredible."

The expansion will double the size of the Harry Potter landscape in the park and will be tied via the Hogwarts Express train to the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal's Island of Adventure.

Universal Orlando president Bill Davis promised that there is more Potter fun to come.

"We are far from finished there are many many stories to tell and adventures to create for our guests as we move into the future," Davis said.

The announcement comes five days after a hidden flash animation was spotted on the Universal Orlando website implying an opening date of June 30.

In May, the theme park announced that the centerpiece of the new Harry Potter-themed area at Universal Orlando will take visitors into Gringotts Bank to help retrieve a magical object and re-create a scene from the wildly popular book and movie series.

Universal executives said the ride will be called "Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts."

The new area's centerpiece ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, will take visitors into Gringotts bank to help retrieve a magical object and re-create a scene from the popular book and movie series.

If fans want to see both parks, a two-park ticket is required. For adults, a two-park ticket for one day costs $136; for children, it's $130.

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