×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Diagon Alley Premieres at Universal Studios Florida With ‘Harry Potter’ Stars

On the same day it opened The Wizarding World of Harry Potter four years ago, Universal Orlando Resort conjured up more magic to premiere its newest themed world, Diagon Alley, which opens July 8.

A red carpet event took place in front of the London Embankment section of Universal Studios Florida on June 18, featuring “Harry Potter” film franchise stars Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Felton, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Domhnall Gleeson, Bonnie Wright, Evanna Lynch, Matthew Lewis and James and Oliver Phelps.

Bonham Carter, Davis and the Phelps brothers are featured in Diagon Alley’s new retail locations and main ride, “Escape From Gringotts,” as well as the Hogwarts Express train that leaves King’s Cross Station and travels to Hogsmeade in the neighboring Islands of Adventure.

“It was fun to put on the costume again and be her,” Bonham Carter said of her role as the villainous Bellatrix Lestrange in the Gringotts ride, based on the goblin-run bank and dragon-filled adventure from the books and movies. The actress said it was touching to be asked to appear in her first theme park attraction, which she filmed two years ago.

The faithful recreation of Diagon Alley, with its restaurants like the Leaky Cauldron and Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes magic shop, impressed the actors.

Popular on Variety

The film production, “didn’t have the resources to make every shop a reality, so it’s amazing to see it all come to life as places you can visit,” Felton said.

Guests sampled British staples like fish and chips, shepherd’s pie and pints of brews made exclusively for the park, as well as the night’s most popular item, soft-serve butterbeer ice cream.

“It’s a bit odd,” Felton said of seeing more locations from the film rebuilt as an attraction — and to attend the premiere of a new “Harry Potter” offering. “It’s nostalgic in a good way. It’s interesting to think it’s never going to end. We are going to be doing this in 10 to 15 years. There will always be fans.”

Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara had spent the past several days visiting both parks with his daughter. “For a guy that travels a bit, it was a joy” to introduce her to the physical world of Harry Potter, he said. He thanked the fans for their loyalty to the property.

“We had a lot of concerns, so did [J.K. Rowling, who wasn’t present at the event] whether Harry Potter should even be in a theme park,” Tsujihara said. The final designs won everyone over. “When you come through the wall here you don’t feel like you’re in a theme park. That’s the most amazing part of the attraction.”

NBCUniversal vice chairman Ron Meyer called the relationship with Warner Bros. “one of the best partnerships ever,” given that it began six years ago to build the first Harry Potter park. “This has just come to life for all of us.”

More Scene

  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER

    Donna Karan, Mary-Louise Parker Honored at David Lynch Foundation's Women of Vision Awards

    Donna Karan, Mary-Louise Parker and Deborra-Lee Furness were celebrated for their charitable work at the David Lynch Foundation’s 2019 Women of Vision Awards. “We are all being guided to come together as one. There is so much chaos in the world right now,” Karan said, while accepting her Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual luncheon on [...]

  • Bill Hader

    Bill Hader, Greg Berlanti, Margie Cohn and Cindy Holland Inducted Into Variety Hall of Fame

    Variety’s annual Hall of Fame ceremony mixed comedy, gratitude and warmth at the annual awards ceremony Tuesday night at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. Because the class of 2019 celebrates technical innovation and achievement across film, TV, digital, video games and music. The honorees — Greg Berlanti, Bill Hader, Cindy Holland, Dametra Johnson-Marletti, [...]

  • Billy Porter FNAA

    Billy Porter Explains Why Fashion 'Can and Should' Be Activism

    On Tuesday in New York City, a handful of fashion’s marquee names, including Kenneth Cole, Tommy Hilfiger, Steve Madden and Pete Nordstrom, and many of its muses, including Billy Porter, Lena Waithe, Adriana Lima and Paris Hilton, gathered to celebrate the annual Footwear News Achievement Awards — or, as it’s more colloquially dubbed, the “Shoe Oscars.” Activism and the potential for designers to spur [...]

  • Tiffany Haddish Black Mitzvah

    Barbra Streisand Gives Tiffany Haddish Star of David Necklace for Her 'Black Mitzvah'

    Tiffany Haddish rang in her 40th birthday Tuesday night by celebrating her black and Jewish heritage with a star-studded “Black Mitzvah” party. One of Haddish’s famous friends, Barbra Streisand, was noticeably absent from the festivities, but sent the comedian a special memento for the occasion. “She got me this beautiful Star of David,” Haddish told [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content