Wednesday, March 4, 2015

WWoHP: Diagon Alley

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was truly amazing. It felt like walking into the books.  Not just seeing familiar sights, but being IN the books.  It was way beyond "theme park" and just absolute perfection.  True to form, none of the magical world is visible to the muggle world.  You just see the London waterfront, though you do get to see the Knight Bus (though muggles might not know it's a magic bus, until they see it from the Hogwarts Express).
You can also see Grimmauld Place, though only the magically minded notice #12.  (We seriously saw people talking pictures in front of 13!)  Most didn't even notice Kreacher the house elf peeking out of the window every so often.
As it should be, there are no signs for Diagon Alley.  Just a small  opening you duck into to find the bricks already magically opened up. 
But then. Then you cry. Or maybe that was just me. (No, we later totally made a game of watching for criers!)  You see this glorious view of Diagon Alley and all of its magical awesomeness.  Magical stores and people and animals and food and just awesomeness.  
Of course the dragon over Gringotts Bank breathes fire. See our Gringotts pictures and videos here
Here are some panoramic pics of Diagon Alley so you can get an idea of the hugeness. And because I just got a phone with a panoramic feature. 
Here's a quick spin-around video of the magic.
video

Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes. 
It was so colorful and fun. There were even fireworks on the ceiling. 
Ollivander's Wand Shop.  They have a ceremony where the wand picks the wizard and Matt was chosen a few times. He eerily got similar wands with similar traits by different staff members!  There are stacks of wands in boxes all over the store, upstairs and downstairs.
All of the shops were interesting.  
Video of the self-knitting needles:
video

They had self-stirring cauldrons too. 
Video of those:
video

Quidditch supplies and banners for your favorite teams. 
And the pictures move of course. 
The pictures on the book covers move too. Lockhart was funny as you'd expect.  
All around every road there were cool storefronts. I peeked in all the curtains too, and only saw inside magical shops. So much attention to detail!
There wasn't a detail missed, as evidenced by the owl poo.  
Seriously, owl poo everywhere!  And you weirdly love it. 
There were wizards everywhere doing magic, so sometimes a light fixture might rain on you. 
We watched a very cool puppet show skit of The Tale of the Three Brothers from Tales of Beedle the Bard.
In Diagon Alley are great places needing their own posts: Gringotts Bank, Leaky Cauldron, and Knockturn Alley.  There was so much more, but pictures just don't do it justice. You simply must go!
See the rest of the photos:


See all our posts about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter or individual ones here:
Diagon Alley (Universal Studios) 
Gringotts Bank 
Leaky Cauldron 
Knockturn Alley 
Hogwarts Express  
Hogsmeade  (Islands of Adventure) 
Three Broomsticks and Hog's Head
Hogwarts Castle 
And don't miss the Sugar Bean Bakers tips, prices, & walkthrough guides for Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.

WWoHP: Gringotts

Gringotts Bank was amazing, and of course guarded by a dragon.  One of our favorite things about WWoHP is they never, ever break character. Instead of "this ride is broken", they say "this Ukrainian Ironbelly is having a hard time breathing fire right now, but she's very young, only 200 years old."
Fortunately, we got to see her breathe fire many times! 
I never want to bank without a dragon again. Fire!
video

The inside of the bank is so elegant! After you gawk at the opulence, you head down to the vaults to open an account. After some excitement, your journey really begins and you need to Escape from Gringotts! It's not a "ride", it's an experience like none other!  Scary, fun, cool, fast, slow, detailed, just amazing.
It's manned by goblins of course. 
They were real, of course:
video


As expected (but still surprisingly cool), the photos on the wall move and chat with you.
The photos in the newspapers move too.
We got to see Bill Weasley's office.
He even made an appearance!
The elevator goes wayyyyy down. 9 miles down. :)
The portrait read our safety instructions. 
video

The floating candles on the ceiling were perfection.
The ride ends in Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment and there's a beautiful Rotating Armillery Sphere on the ceiling and lots of magical items everywhere!
Matt with the statue of Gringott the goblin (the bank's founder) on top of stacks of gold coins.

See all our posts about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter or individual ones here:
Diagon Alley (Universal Studios) 
Gringotts Bank 
Leaky Cauldron 
Knockturn Alley 
Hogwarts Express  
Hogsmeade  (Islands of Adventure) 
Three Broomsticks and Hog's Head
Hogwarts Castle 
And don't miss the Sugar Bean Bakers tips, prices, & walkthrough guides for Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.

WWoHP: Leaky Cauldron

The Leaky Cauldron was amazing.  So many details.  Even if you're not hungry, you'll want to check it out! Yes, I walked through just taking pictures. No, I didn't care.
Lots of fun to see upstairs.
Of course they need cauldrons to cook in the fireplace!
Love the hot butterbeer!
And the pumpkin juice.

See all our posts about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter or individual ones here:
Diagon Alley (Universal Studios) 
Gringotts Bank 
Leaky Cauldron 
Knockturn Alley 
Hogwarts Express  
Hogsmeade  (Islands of Adventure) 
Three Broomsticks and Hog's Head
Hogwarts Castle 
And don't miss the Sugar Bean Bakers tips, prices, & walkthrough guides for Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.