So what is this monster of a project? Back in 2010 Universal opened up a Potter-themed expansion to take over most of the "Lost Continent" area of the park, and after the smashing success, has wanted to cookie-cutter the success to the rest of its parks, and build upon it in Orlando. This (and a rather wonderful contract made with Rowling requiring features from all 8 films/7books) pushed Universal in Orlando into improving the original Wizarding World area by expanding it, putting Diagon Alley into the adjacent studios park (as opposed to Islands of Adventure: home of the Wizarding World). Before this there were quite a few rumors, and while most of them seem to have come true (like the existence of Knockturn alley and Florean Fortescue's ice-cream parlor) the actual aspects of the interior of the park have yet to be revealed to the public.
A quick list of confirmed features would be:
- Florean Fortescue's ice cream parlor-eatery
- Knockturn Alley-???
- Borgin and Burkes-"dark" artifacts
- Escape from Gringotts-ride
- The Leaky Cauldron-eatery
- Madam Malkins-clothing
- Ollivanders (a larger one this time)-MORE WANDS
- Weasley Wizard Wheezes-joke items
- Magical Managerie-stuffed toys
- Scribbulus- quills
- Wisacres- Thingies
- Quality Quidditch Equipment- Quidditch balls. (I want them I want them now)
- HOGWARTS EXPRESS (it prints money)
Now, this is an impressive lineup, and due to the Hogwarts Express, a park-hopping pass would be highly encouraged as that is the only way to ride the Hogwarts Express.
Though what does this mean if you're not in Orlando? Well, a few things, you could wait for the wizarding world to be build in your nearest area (One currently under construction in Hollywood, another one nearing completion in Osaka, Japan). Though the question remains whether or not these clones will enjoy the same peel of success as the original, as the new parks will have to make use of similar features, but will possibly be cannibalized due to the lack of a Diagon Alley. Osaka is bound to come out sooner than the Hollywood park, and it'll be interesting to see what happens in that case as well.
The one last thing worth mentioning, is the Halloween. Why Halloween? Universal has something called the Halloween Horror nights, and given the existence in Potter in its parks now, it leaves a question if any mazes will happen in these areas that are themed to Potter, or if Potter will be exempt from a properly themed "maze" like they did with Marvel that one time. Though I would assume that any Potter haunts would be themed appropriately and referencing the films, as opposed to the Maximum Carnage maze (which while it referenced the comics, portrayed quite a few heroes as dead without Marvel's permission).
So get ready witches and wizards... Diagon Alley (and two more castles) are coming.