The new Diagon Alley expansion to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando is set to open to the public on July 8th. And while we’ve seen concept art, up to now Universal haven’t let us see the real thing.
But as these photos show this may well be the best themed land in any Theme park in the world.
Now a lot of the stores are just facades, but some of them are real (all the better to sell you stuff) and the attention to detail shines through in these photos. Granted you are never going to see the place this empty, but it looks beautiful
So I previously wrote about the fact they seem to be prepping the new interactive magic wands and have set up plaques in various locations around the Wizarding World ready for the wands. But since Diagon Alley In Universal Studios remains closed despite the construction walls coming down, no one had seen anything in action.
But Hogsmead over in Islands of Adventure is open and they’re going to have the interactive elements there too. TouringPlans have posted a short video of the interactive shop windows in action (not the wands themselves mind you) which will give you a good idea how this is going to work.
It looks really cool, but it also looks like it may create massive congestion all over the Wizarding World (like it’s not already congested in that part of the parks). TouringPlans makes reference to the interactive wands themselves cost less than $50 which leaves a lot of room for the exact pricing.
Lots more cool photos and information to absorb over on TouringPlans.
There have been rumors about interactive wands for months now, but nothing has been officially announced.
The idea is simple enough and a variation on what Disney have done in Epcot with Phineas & Ferb in the World Showcase area and in the Magic Kingdom with the Pirates Adventures. Basically it would be an RFID token that triggers some sort of animatronic or action in a specific location.
And described like that it sounds very simple and unimpressive, but consider a child purchasing a special interactive wand and then being able to levitate something…
The markers shown here are inscribed with what is immediately familiar to Harry Potter fans as a spell. Presumably then this is a trigger location for an action.
Disney have thought up yet another way to part you from your money while you visit Walt Disney World. This time out, it’s Disney’s Hollywood Studios (usually considered the runt of the park litter) that will be getting the attention. Disney have announced a new ticketed party called Villains Unleashed for one day only (August 23rd). The party will feature 50 Disney villains in one form or another plus some special events like Hades Hangout & Dance Party, Oogie Boogie’s Variety Show, A Star Wars villain zone, a fireworks show and an extra pre-show to Fantasmic. Of course there will also be special food (I’m betting on at least a couple of cupcakes), beverages and merchandise to buy. Because… it’s Disney and they like your money almost as much as you do. Disney actually did a similar event last year, but it wasn’t what they call a “hard ticketed” event. What that means is that you have to buy a ticket specifically for this event and it will give you access to Hollywood Studios for the evening only (usually that means starting around 4pm). If you wanted to get there earlier you’d have to buy a regular ticket as well. Since the event last year was insanely popular and caused some traffic control issues, the hard ticketed approach makes sense as well as money. If I was a Florida resident I’d probably want to check this one out. At $67 plus tax it’s not outrageously expensive because you can ride the rides while you’re in the park, plus you don’t get to see many of the villains in the parks.
So the final element in Disney’s New Fantasyland expansion for The Magic Kingdom is finally open and now everyone (or at least everyone with $100 for a park ticket) can try out the new family coaster/dark ride The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
It’s been pretty extensively covered everywhere so I’m sure you’ve seen the promotional photos and the video footage. It’s not a thrill ride by most people’s standards and comparison’s to Diagon Alley over at Universal when it opens may be unfavorable. But the photos shot by Disney Photography Blog show just how beautiful the theming on this ride really is.
Over at TouringPlans they’ve posted a great article that gives six reasons why Disney’s Animal Kingdom is not just a half day park.
I’ve heard a lot of people online make the half-day park claim and several people in my own family aren’t inclined to give it more time than that either. But I really think they are missing out.
It’s true that if the only thing you care about is rides, then you’re not going to occupy even half a day. But opening your eyes to all the things going on around you reveals so much to do.
It is one of, if not the most immersive theme park environments you can experience. The mix of shows, animals, education and rides put together gives loads of things to do. And the place is just gorgeous.
People who don’t give it a chanced because they’re so focused on, ride, ride ride, are missing out big time.