There are exciting new things happening every day at Universal Orlando Resort in Florida! This week’s update features: Diagon Alley opening date and sneak preview, grand opening of Cabana Bay Beach Resort and VIVO Italian kitchen, plus much more!
What’s New This Week?
Universal Orlando Theme Parks
New! Diagon Alley Opening Date Announced: Last week, Universal Orlando Resort officially announced the opening date for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. The first date this new land will be open to the public is July 8, 2014. While there are many rumors about a soft opening date, there is no official information available at this time.
New! Diagon Alley Preview Week Events: Last week was also the official “preview week” for Diagon Alley. Both The Today Show and The Tonight Show were broadcast live from Universal Orlando. Additionally, Universal itself hosted three live webcasts online. (Replays of all three are linked below.) Combined, these shows featured several guest appearances from many of the stars of the Harry Potter films, including Helena Bonham Carter (portrays Bellatrix Lestrange), Tom Felton (portrays Draco Malfoy), Matthew Lewis (portrays Neville Longbottom), Warwick Davis (portrays Griphook and Professor Flitwick), Robbie Coltrane (portrays Rubeus Hagrid), James and Oliver Phelps (portray Fred and George Weasley), Bonnie Wright (portrays Ginny Weasley) and Domhnall Gleeson (portrays Bill Weasley).
Additionally, there were two days of media previews and an evening sneak peak event for travel partners, like us. We had an incredible time exploring and enjoying The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley!
In order to get to Diagon Alley, we took a ride on Hogwarts Express from the Hogsmeade Station in the The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Islands of Adventure. We arrived in King’s Cross Station in London in the early evening.
Once there, were able to tour and experience the London embankment area.
Later, we toured Diagon Alley itself and were able to be among the first to ride Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts! The queue, the preshow and ride are all spectacular! It can be described a fantastic combination of the best parts and aspects from The Mummy and Transformers the Ride. The 3D effects are so good, at times you may think parts of the show are real! We don’t want to give away too much. Know that Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride is amazing and will definitely be a very popular attraction at the new Diagon Alley.
We also had the opportunity to dine in the Leaky Cauldron! The food was terrific!
Universal Orlando Resort Hotels
New! Cabana Bay Grand Opening June 16: Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort is now fully open! The family suites debuted back in March, but now the entire resort, including the standard rooms, and all the amenities are open to the public. With Cabana Bay, Universal puts a new twist on the 50’s and 60’s at this retro themed hotel complete with two huge pools, a lazy river, the first on-site bowling alley, complimentary fitness center and more! We celebrated the resort with a grand opening beach bash featuring a surprise performance by The Beach Boys on June 16!
New! Exclusive Florida Resident Vacation Package: Enjoy 3-Night accommodations and 2-Day Florida Resident Park-to-Park tickets to experience Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure! You’ll also enjoy Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ one hour before the theme parks open, breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron™ and more! Purchase now – July 31, 2014 with select travel through December 18, 2014. Prices starting from $105 per adult, per night tax inclusive.
Reminder! Wantilan Luau – Saturday nights year-round: Sit back and experience an evening of authentic Polynesian food and entertainment at the enchanting Wantilan Luau, a weekly Hawaiian dinner show featuring an all-you-can-eat buffet of Polynesian specialties, live Hawaiian music and traditional hula dancing. Hula and fire dancers delight the audience and entice a few to even learn the hula! Adults: $70 for Priority Seating or $63 for Regular Seating. Children (ages 3 – 9): $40 for Priority Seating or $35 for Regular Seating. Ages under 3 are complimentary. Price includes gratuity, non-alcoholic beverages, wine, beer, and Mai Tais!
New! VIVO Italian Kitchen Now Open: VIVO Italian Kitchen immerses guests in the essence of modern Italian cuisine. This original concept restaurant showcases a contemporary dining atmosphere, allowing guests to watch chefs handcraft pasta from scratch and create classic Italian dishes with a modern twist. VIVO is located on the ground floor next to Red Oven Pizza Bakery.
Closures and Refurbishments
- Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular: 6/21 & 6/22 9:00pm showtime, 6/23 – 7/5 9:45 showtime
Want to get all our tips and tricks for visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? We wrote a travel guide for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade! We included all our tips and tricks that we’ve learned over the last year to make your visit to the Wizarding World as magical as possible. Be sure to check it out!
Get your Harry Potter theme park souvenirs from the official Harry Potter shop, the WB Shop!