Universal Photo Report – Wizarding World of Harry Potter
One of the biggest pieces of theme park development currently in the works is of course the expansion to Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
On my recent trip to Florida I managed to take a look at exactly how far they had come in turning what used to be the small town of Amity into a sprawling city of pointy rooftops and narrow walkways we know so well from the 8 feature films.
For those of you unaware it is more than just a Hogwarts Express planned for this land, they are also well on their way to adding:
- King’s Cross Station and the Hogwarts Express (Confirmed)
- Gringotts Bank (Confirmed)
- Diagon Alley (Confirmed)
- Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes (Confirmed)
- The Leaky Cauldron (Confirmed)
- Ollivander’s Wand Shop (A much larger version than the one currently at Islands of Adventure)
- Madam Milkin’s Robes for All Occasions
- Knockturn Alley
- Borgin and Burkes store of Dark magic
- Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment
- Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour
The Orlando Informer has many articles detailing a few of these including some sneaky pictures of the already completed track that will link the Hogwarts Express between the parks. As well as the tracks, photographs from above the park show what look like the train carriages they will use on the track. Six very large, well themed black and red cars and two engines are on site.
The first time I noticed the development was on my day at Universal Studios. Before I had even entered the park I noticed two cranes towering over all the major attractions. As you get past Transformers and on your way down towards Men in Black a large wooden fence to the left of the walk way shields you from the work area, but of course with the buildings being 4 or 5 stories tall you get to see more than the fences actually cover.
As you can see from the above picture they can’t do too much to stop you from seeing what is going on.
The above picture was taken with my back to the lake. This waterfront will eventually be built to display entrances to Gringott’s, Diagon Alley and the Railway Station.
While I was admiring the work I didn’t know exactly what I was looking at. Could it be an entrance to Diagon Alley? Was it the interior of what would become the Gringott’s attraction? But after returning and seeing building plans this looks like it will become Universal Studios side to the Hogwarts Express.
I tried to get a much better view of the work by standing up against the fence and barely stretching my camera up over the 8 foot fence. But I was noticed by workmen who quickly told me that for the health and safety of myself and the workforce I should step away. I quickly retired back to this position and took the above picture so you can see the framework of the buildings and what they look like before and after the ‘padding’ process. I assume that they will stay as they are for now until they bring the design teams in to add the final theming steps.
The one other place I got a great view from was while riding both of the Dueling Dragon coasters at Islands of Adventure. While being slowly lifted up the first hill you can get a good birds eye view of some of the developments if you are sat on the front row or side seats. Obviously I couldn’t take any pictures from here but I advise any upcoming visitors to definitely take a look.