Traverse City Record-Eagle

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January 24, 2014

New Harry Potter ride, shops for Universal Orlando

The new Harry Potter area opening at Universal Orlando Resort this summer, called Diagon Alley, will offer fans a new thrill ride themed on Gringotts bank from the Harry Potter book series, along with more than a half-dozen eateries and shops selling souvenirs like wands.

But the location of Diagon Alley will also require tickets for both of Universal Orlando’s theme parks if guests want to see both the new and original Harry Potter attractions.

Diagon Alley will open at the Universal Studios park. The original Wizarding World of Harry Potter area, which opened in 2010, is located at Universal’s Islands of Adventure park.

The two areas will be connected by a train called Hogwarts Express, but if fans want to see both, a two-park ticket will be required. Currently, single-day admission for both parks is $136.32, including tax, for anyone ages 10 and older.

“It’s a one-of-a-kind two-park experience that will completely immerse you in the story,” said Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative.

Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure are both part of the Universal Orlando Resort theme park, but guests can choose to buy tickets for one without the other if they don’t want to visit both.

Woodbury unveiled the new details of Diagon Alley in a media webcast Thursday.

The new ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, described as Diagon Alley’s “marquee” attraction, will be an indoor ride through Gringotts bank vaults. A park spokesman said other kinds of experiences to be offered in Diagon Alley will be announced at a later date.

Universal executives described the rich level of detail at Diagon Alley as “theatrical reality,” with shops selling souvenirs drawn from the Harry Potter books such as supplies for Quidditch, a game played on broomsticks.

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