Universal Orlando has unveiled the highly-anticipated Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion, Diagon Alley. Last night, invited celebrities, VIPs, and press had a brief opportunity to preview all that is Diagon Alley.
It began with red carpet arrives as “Harry Potter” film stars and many more celebrities poured into Universal Studios Florida. Noteworthy names included Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange), Robbie Coltraine (Hagrid), Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley), Domhnall Gleeson (Bill Weasley), James Phelps (Fred Weasley), Oliver Phelps (George Weasley), Warwick Davis (Griphook) and Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom).
Once gathered, the film stars met for a special “moment” in the London waterfront embankment.
Video: Diagon Alley opening moment with Harry Potter film stars at Universal Orlando
Immediately following the fireworks blast, attendees were invited into a reception inside Diagon Alley, offering a chance to casually explore the new area and all its incredible new offerings. Since this evening was meant as a party and not a formal coverage opportunity, Universal prohibited press from bringing cameras inside, emphasizing that there will be plenty of opportunities to capture the magic of Diagon Alley during tomorrow’s media day.
Cell phones, however, were allowed in with Universal encouraging all attendees to share the excitement of this unveiling via social media. So below is a nighttime preview of Diagon Alley, featuring as much of the expansion as we could capture while exploring it all in a limited timeframe. We were among the last out of the area just before 1am, taking it all in as much as possible before the crowds descend when it grand opens on July 8.
We did manage to catch a round-trip ride on the Hogwarts Express train as well as experience the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride in addition to exploring the various areas of Diagon Alley.
Video: Diagon Alley walk through at night
Video: Hogwarts Express full ride POV – Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade
Video: Hogwarts Express full ride POV – Hogsmeade to Diagon Alley
Video: Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts full queue walkthrough
(Video recording is not permitted on the Escape from Gringotts ride.)
Aside from these videos, we snapped many photos with our cell phones throughout the special evening, seen in the photos and slideshow below. The incredibly impressive new area is more than jaw-dropping.
Check back later today and tomorrow for a much more thorough look at everything in Diagon Alley during the daytime.
More photos from Diagon Alley preview night:
(Photos by Daniel Andersson and Ricky Brigante)