I got an email from Universal Studios today to announce that Diagon Alley would be opening on July 8th!
We’ve been waiting for this for what seems like forever. With the Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train now open at Magic Kingdom, completing the New Fantasyland expansion, it had to only be a matter of time before Universal opened Diagon Alley.
My friends and I plan to be practically sleeping at the gates for when it opens, Hogwarts scarves, robes and wands at the ready!
There are some concerns I have about the new Diagon Alley expansion, though. Because as much as I love Hogsmeade, it sometimes presents some problems.
While it’s wonderful that Universal have taken their job so seriously at recreating a tiny unknown Scottish village, I think they’ve been almost a little too faithful in this endeavor… by which I mean the place is really tiny. Like, “we could have had more room in this shop but we wanted it to be ~*authentic*~ so now everyone is crammed in like sardines to the point it looks like a safety hazard” tiny. Because there are only a few shops in Hogsmeade, namely the merchandise shop (which is the exit store for the Ollivander’s experience) and the candy store, if people want to shop, they have limited space in which to do it. The Three Broomsticks never feels that crowded for me, but Ollivanders is hard to breathe in sometimes.
My other concern isn’t as much a concern as me bring nitpicky. I find it particularly on the Dragon Challenge ride, but sometimes the theming of the park can be a little transparent. The queue for Dragon Challenge is wonderful, and even though it’s a long walk, I feel as though I’m walking through an area of Hogwarts set aside for the TriWizard champions. Until you get on the actual ride and suddenly all around you as you go through is industrial sheds and gravel. I get that seeing most of the backstage area is inevitable on such a ride, but it looks untidy most of the time, mostly due to patchy grass and overgrown trees coupled with concrete and gravel.
So I hope that the new Diagon Alley improves on this; I cannot helpbut think it will, simply because they seem to have more space available and from what we’ve seen so far the recreation has been phenomenal.
So, here’s to saving my sleep for a 3am start July 8th!