Forget Platform 9 ¾. Beginning July 8, those looking for passage to the wizarding world can head to Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla., to visit its 20-acre Diagon Alley theme park. For the uninitiated, Diagon Alley is a fictional wizards-only shopping street from author J.K. Rowling’s best-selling Harry Potter series of young adult novels, which have been made into eight feature-length films comprising one of the highest-grossing movie franchises in history.
With input from Rowling and the movies’ production designer Stuart Craig, Universal’s creative team remade the cobbled streets, drooping roofs, and whimsical Gothic and Victorian–inspired facades and interiors of key structures that frame the Diagon Alley detailed in the books and movies.
At a press preview this week recorded by Theme Park Insider, Alan Gilmore, art director for Diagon Alley and the franchise’s films, said the park is inspired by “the layered architecture” of London. “[It] is drawing a design logic where it’s almost an enhanced reality, where the buildings lean a little more, the colors are a little bit stronger, but it gives that sense of magic,” he said.
More views, courtesy All Around Orlando: