Harry Potter fans of all ages have been on the edge of their broomsticks waiting for Universal Orlando’s announcement of the opening date for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Diagon Alley, and the time has almost arrived!
Both wizards and muggles alike will enjoy boarding the Hogwarts Express from Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure for a short journey to London’s King’s Cross Station and the famous Platform 9 ¾ into the iconic wizarding hub of magic to shop at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes and Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, dine on authentic British fare at The Leaky Cauldron, and get this – enjoy butterbeer ice cream at Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour!
And of course, no experience at Diagon Alley is complete without checking out the most anticipated 3D thrill ride of the year: Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Plan on spending plenty of muggle money this summer.
As if it weren't apparent already, I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, and while napping under the stairs was purely accidental, I was once again on deadline; my having the ringtone "Night Owl" on my iPhone, was absolutely intentional. While it didn’t sound remotely like Harry Potter’s owl Hedwig, it was all I had to choose from. I guess J.K. Rowling had yet to approve an appropriate Hedwig ringtone for fans to purchase.
“Meredith, I would like to invite you to the media preview week of Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.”
I couldn’t believe my ears. Had an owl tried to reach me when I wasn’t home?
I was slightly disappointed at the thought of not having received a yellowed parchment envelope addressed to: Ms. Meredith Myers, The Lazy Redhead Under the Stairs; sealed in purple wax, stamped with an H, and delivered by owl. But truthfully, the phone call was just as good. Universal Orlando obviously had the owls working overtime for this thing and it was probably just easier to call.
As the publicist began to explain the details of the week featuring media presentations with Universal Orlando executives and coverage of this and that, my mind was already hopping just like those delicious chocolate frogs.
Me. Diagon Alley. Gringotts Bank. Bring on the butterbeer, bitches!
Okay, I don’t think the people at Universal Orlando would appreciate me saying the word ‘bitches’ as it is clearly a family destination, but I was excited. It was like I had won the Quidditch Cup!
I couldn’t wait to drive the Knight Bus, trade beauty secrets with Bellatrix Lestrange, and give one of my socks to the house elf in my hotel. I bet Diagon Alley even had fountains of butterbeer for me to jump in!
But like Professor Quirrell balancing his gigantic turban, I would need to keep it together.
I was, after all, a professional journalist writing for a respectable publication, not crazy Rita Skeeter of The Daily Prophet. If I were going to attend this media event, I would need to ask questions that would show my ethics, intelligence, and most importantly, my ability to report news of real importance.
“How hard is it for a muggle to get a small business loan from Gringotts Bank?
“Is Dobby available to be my house elf at the resort?”
“Is Hagrid meeting me at the Hogwarts Express in King’s Cross Station or Hogsmeade?”
Oh, it was going to be a magical week at the Universal Orlando Resort.
To join Meredith on her adventures at Universal Orlando Resort’s Diagon Alley Preview, please follow her on Twitter at @StandUpLibraryN, at Instagram @StandUpLibrarian or at cltampa.com/arts.