Hogwarts Express soft opens for excited #PotterWatch fans at Universal Orlando a week before Diagon Alley grand opening

in Entertainment, Events, Theme Parks, Universal Orlando

Today excited “Harry Potter” fans at Universal Orlando finally had the chance to ride the Hogwarts Express a full week before the official grand opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.

With a well timed tweet, Universal Orlando gave a nod to the most die-hard fans who have religiously been on #PotterWatch in the park, some having spent more than three weeks waiting in the hot sun with hopes of getting inside.

Their wishes came true as Universal moved aside barricades and let fans pour into King’s Cross Station a little before 3pm today, giving a first look at the Hogwarts Express to day guests, taking them to Islands of Adventure / Hogsmeade Village and back.

As both stations soft opened, fans began to geek out:

To access the Hogwarts Express, park-to-park tickets are required. Guests have already been lining up outside the new ticket windows at each train station to have a chance to ride:

Amidst all the excitement, Universal Orlando emphasizes the experience is in technical rehearsals and may not be fully functioning and could close at any time.

On the official Universal Orlando blog, the park confirmed that the Hogwarts Express will continue to be open “in limited hours” between now and July 8 when it officially opens.

Diagon Alley and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts have not yet soft opened, though guests who booked special vacation packages are being given an opportunity to explore these areas tonight, tomorrow night, and midday Thursday.

It’s possible these areas could soft open any time during those days or even over the busy holiday weekend – which would be appropriate, considering Diagon Alley replaced the Jaws ride and Amity village where it was permanently the 4th of July.

For those who can’t make it in person for today’s soft opening or next week’s grand opening, we have a full look at the Hogwarts Express experience, including video in both directions:

Video: Hogwarts Express train full ride POV – Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade at Universal Orlando

Video: Hogwarts Express train full ride POV – Hogsmeade to Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando

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