The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando opens July 8.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando opens July 8.

Credit: Universal Orlando Resort

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.

Harkening to the hidden world of the Harry Potter books and movies, Universal Studio's Diagon Alley sits behind a wall of facades representing London icons including King's Cross railway station.

Harkening to the hidden world of the Harry Potter books and movies, Universal Studio's Diagon Alley sits behind a wall of facades representing London icons including King's Cross railway station.

Credit: Universal Orlando Resort


A part of Universal's Diagon Alley project, "Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts" (shown) is an interactive exhibit that features 360-degree themed sets, 4K digital high-definition animation, and 3-D projections.

A part of Universal's Diagon Alley project, "Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts" (shown) is an interactive exhibit that features 360-degree themed sets, 4K digital high-definition animation, and 3-D projections.

Credit: Universal Orlando Resort


This "thrill-ride," part of "Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts," plunges visitors deep into the vaults of the fictional bank.

This "thrill-ride," part of "Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts," plunges visitors deep into the vaults of the fictional bank.

Credit: Universal Orlando Resort


The Hogwarts Express arrives at Universal Orlando and will transport visitors between the Potter-themed spaces at its Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure parks.

The Hogwarts Express arrives at Universal Orlando and will transport visitors between the Potter-themed spaces at its Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure parks.

Credit: Universal Orlando Resort


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