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A first look inside the ambitious Harry Potter theme park opening next month

Diagon Alley set to open at Universal Studios Florida on July 8th

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Muggles of every stripe will soon be able to visit Diagon Alley and partake in the wizarding world's commercial wonders. The new expansion to Universal Orlando's Harry Potter-themed area comes replete with iconic locations like Ollivander's wand shop and The Leaky Cauldron. Frothing mugs of Butterbeer and plushies modelled after the franchise's more recognizable creatures will of course be available for impulse buyers. And for those looking to add magic into their lives, "interactive wands" can be purchased and used to cast spells in the park.

The real highlight of Diagon Alley sits below the watchful gaze of a snarling, porcelain-scaled dragon. It's a ride called Harry Potter and the Escape of Gringotts, which charts one of the most thrilling events from the Harry Potter universe. Festooned with details like animatronic goblins and photos from the Daily Prophet, the 4-minute experience begins with an innocuous meeting with Bill Weasley before descending into a wild subterranean escape through Gringotts bank.

The thrill ride requires visitors to don 3D glasses and features 360-degree themed sets, intense 4K animations, and 3D projection systems for complete immersion. According to Theme Park Insider, visitors will be strapped into twin, 12-person cars which will be rocked by actuators and also sent speeding along rails. Clever deployment of fog blasts and water spritzers help add authenticity to key moments, even as epic confrontations play on-screen. Together with the rest of Diagon Alley, 'Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts' opens to the public on July 8th.


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