Universal Announces Opening Date of Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley | Fanboys Anonymous
Universal Studios has finally released the opening date for the highly anticipated Diagon Alley expansion for Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Harry Potter stars James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), and Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom) excitedly made the announcement alongside creative director Theirry Coup and Universal President and Chief Operating Officer Bill Davis on Wednesday.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley will open July 8

Muggles and magical folk alike will be able to pass through the brick archway into the narrow streets of Diagon Alley on July 8, just as Harry, Ron, and Hermione did each year to stock up on all their magical equipment and Hogwarts apparel in the best selling Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling.

It's been a long and exciting wait as the Orlando theme park kept its summer 2014 opening date unannounced to the muggle world (including park employees) well into the vacation season. The anticipation skyrocketed as Universal released teasers for their new ground-breaking ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, which reunited Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint to reprise their roles for special 3D scenes.

Although Universal's opening date may come as a disappointment to the fans who had hoped for an earlier opening, the park moved cautiously to ensure the new technology was up to speed for its debut to avoid a repeat of Wizarding World's tech issues at its 2010 opening.

The new 20-acre expansion of the original Wizarding World - Hogsmeadewhich opened four years agois expected to be extremely overcrowded. The wait time for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Hogsmeade was around 9 hours during its opening weeks, according to a park employee at Hogsmeade, and lines for the park stretched out into CityWalk.

Hop aboard The Hogwarts Express train that connects Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure for a one-day park-to-park ticket that costs $136 per adult. The ride will take guests from Platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross station, passing by replicated scenes of London and the British countryside. (You must buy a park-to-park ticket in order to ride the Hogwarts Express and enjoy both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.)

Diagon Alley will include fully replicated Gringotts bank, Ollivander's, the Leaky Cauldron restaurant, Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment, and morebut that's not the only magical part about the attraction. Grab your wand a find special medallions on the ground that each include a different spell to unlock a whole exciting adventure as you practice your magic!

Both Diagon Alley at Universal Studios and Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure are a collaboration between Warner Bros., which owns the rights to the Harry Potter film franchise, and Universal, which operates the theme parks.

An exclusive Harry Potter vacation package will allow guests to visit Diagon Alley starting June 29. Starting at $109 per night, the package includes 4-night accommodations, 3-day park-to-park tickets, breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron, and 1-hour early park admission.

Don't forget to stop at Ollivander's and find out which wand chooses you, see what fun Fred and George Weasley have come up with at Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, and enjoy a nice glass of butterbeer!

Fanboys, ready your wands! Let us know how excited you are in the comment section below!

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