This trip we got a 2 day plus 2 days free ticket to the Universal parks. It was our first time seeing Diagon Alley and it totally surpassed our expectations!
First of all, it is not easy to find the entrance to Diagon Alley. Universal built a facade that looks just like a London Underground station, and if you duck into a dark corridor and go down a path you will find yourself in Diagon Alley. To the right of the Leicester Square Station sign, the dark area is where you enter.
First stop (of course!), The Escape from Gringotts ride! It was as good as Forbidden Journey, maybe even better. I rode it one time with a set of identical triplet boys, which I didn’t know existed. One in nine million chance, which is why I have never seen them before I guess. Anyway the ride itself is just brilliantly done. Bellatrix has a starring role and she’s excellent.
The theming in Diagon Alley is incredible, just like at Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure. There is only one ride though, so no rides for smaller children. Our favorite discovery of the day was Butterbeer Ice Cream, available at Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour. I have heard a lot of people say they thought Butterbeer was too sweet and I tend to agree, but the ice cream is just spectacular. They also serve the ice cream at Three Broomsticks at Islands of Adventure, if you can only make it to one Universal park.
I went to The Fountain of Fair Fortune and had a Dragon’s Scale ale. It was delicious! They serve Butterbeer in there too, along with some other drinks we didn’t try. The Fire Whisky is real whiskey with Butterbeer.
On a side note, we talked to the bartender at Duff’s over in the Simpsons area and he said Universal has their own brewery. Not only do they make the beers for Diagon Alley/Hogsmeade, they also make Duff and are currently working on a Lady Duff and some others.
There are so many stores, hidden alleys, and places to eat at Diagon Alley. I really think you could spend a full day there.
If you see the round sign that says Potions, that’s the entrance to a dark alley with some shrunken heads and a really excellent shop. We got a t-shirt there and watched people trying out their magic wands in different places.
We didn’t get to visit a lot of the stores because there is just so much to see at Universal Orlando. Hopefully next trip we will get to go again. We looked at the wands but they are $48 + tax for the ones that actually work “magic” on all the hot spots. I didn’t get one but we had fun watching kids (and adults) working their magic on fountains and lights and other things. Pretty cool!