New Harry Potter land draws huge crowds before it opens

Thousands wait, hope For Diagon Alley soft opening

By Erik von Ancken - Anchor/Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - Diagon Alley at Universal Studios doesn't open until July 8, but it's already drawing thousands of people a day who wait in front of the gate and hope that Universal Studios will decide to let them in for a soft opening.

"Cumulatively probably six hours," said Lysha McDowell from Boston of how long they waited.

She, her husband and her friends booked their vacation to Universal specifically to visit Diagon Alley, which was supposed to have been open by now. So they spent their day at Universal Studios trying to accomplish their mission.

"We waited for nothing," McDowell said.

Others said they waited all day, several days in a row, at the gates of Diagon Alley.

"They said that there was no way to get in, no soft openings, and the grand opening is July 8," said Brienne Thibodeau from Boston.

But Local 6 discovered that some park guests were being allowed past the crowds, through the gates and into Diagon Alley. Universal Studios is selling a "Harry Potter Experience Package" that allows guests who stay at Universal hotels a window during which they are granted access to Diagon Alley.

"So excited. Almost cried but I didn't," said Jenny Rynearson from Oregon, whose husband surprised her with the experience package. The couple even rode the Gringott's ride, a 3-D rollercoaster-type ride that continues to be in technical rehearsal.

"She told me this was truly one of the best days of her life," said her husband Joe Rynearson.

Copyright 2014 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.