'Harry Potter' stars attend red carpet event at Diagon Alley

Wizarding World expansion to open July 8, officials say

ORLANDO, Fla. - A moment Harry Potter fans from around the world have been waiting for finally arrived Wednesday night as Universal Orlando opened Diagon Alley to VIPs and the media for the first look inside the theme park's newest attraction.

[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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Stars from the movies made their way down the red carpet, talking with media from around the world about Diagon Alley.

"It's completely impressive once you go in. There's nothing to break that illusion. You are in it from the moment you're in there until the moment you leave," said Matthew Lewis, who plays Neville Longbottom.

After interviews, Universal Studios executive officers announced the cast who lead the VIPs and media into Diagon Alley for a night of celebration. Video cameras were not permitted inside Diagon Alley Wednesday. A full media tour is being held Thursday.

[RELATED: Diagon Alley opening date set]

The entrance to Diagon Alley is surrounded by shops that have come to life straight from the big screen and pages of J.K. Rowlings' seven novels.

The first thing your eyes can see is the dragon, which will blow out flames at any given moment. The dragon sits above Gringotts Bank which houses the attractions big ride, the escape from Gringotts, a rollercoaster you get to once you've made your way through the vault.

The Hogwarts Express is what will take you between the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley at Universal. That ride has been a huge hit with the movie's stars.

"You do think that you're back in the UK. When the train comes in to Kings Cross station it is exactly like if you got the train into Kings Cross. What you see and all that stuff, the attention to detail is just out of this world," James Phelps, who portrays Fred Weasley, told Local 6.

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