Star-Studded Wizarding World of Harry Potter Red Carpet Event Celebrates Diagon AlleyNews
With less than a month until Diagon Alley's official July 8th opening, Universal Orlando kicked off the celebrations with a bang. Rolling out a red carpet across the London facade and welcoming media from near and far, they set up a livestream consisting of interviews and some very special surprises.
The livestream began with a swell of of the film score we know so well, and its first hour was a series of interviews with the actors present. Once the red carpet had cleared out, the livestream stalled for several minutes - leaving viewers with images of the media crowd - as the Universal team prepared for a "presentation" to come.
Soon enough, the lights dimmed and a Knight Bus Conductor - all charm and wit - bounded through the crowd and onto a podium.
He told the crowd of the magic beyond the walls, his spiel complimented by a nearby train whistle. As he tried to convince the muggle crowd of the wizarding world and its dragons, the Diagon Alley dragon roared and flames billowed behind the London facade.
The Conductor welcomed Universal Orlando and Warner Bros. executives, who gave touching speeches that thanked not only the park’s team but J.K. Rowling and “the best fans in the world.”
The evening was rounded out by a short but poignant ceremony where the cast lined up in front of that iconic brick wall. Robbie Coltrane, who had been using a scooter for most of the day, stood tall and waved a pink umbrella at the wall. The bricks gave way, and Robbie bellowed a familiar line - "Welcome to Diagon Alley."
The livestream cut to shots of Diagon Alley, all lit up, busy with wizards and witches milling about.
The cast entered Diagon Alley to preview the area and, as more than one of them said they hoped to, possibly ride the mysterious Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Fireworks exploded. The music swelled.
LeakyNews had staff both on the scene and at home. There is more coverage to come as media previews and soft openings begin.
LeakyNews On-Site Coverage
The view from the media area:
Bonnie Wright on the red carpet:
Evanna Lynch on meeting the Crumple-Horned Snorkack: "It was like meeting Jesus but I wouldn't be as excited about Jesus."
As Seen On the Livestream
"We had set the bar pretty high with Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey," says Mark Woodbury. "So with Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts, we're combining some pretty stuning technology."
Domnhall Gleeson comments that it was fun to be able to say "Mad-Eye's dead" in the film, as his dad played Mad-Eye.
Universal Creative staff talk about the Hogwarts Express, saying guests will be able to walk through the brick wall to Platform 9 3/4 just as Harry did.
James and Oliver Phelps:
The crowd on the scene:
Robbie Coltrane: "It's like a family reunion."
Michael Aiello of Universal Creative discusses capturing the essence of Stan Shunpike for the Knight Bus Conductor actors. He also talks about developing the Tales of Beedle the Bard live show, including its sixteen-foot-tall Three Brothers puppets. He calls their interpretation of the stories "expanding the fiction" of Harry Potter.
From @JimHillMedia: "I just asked this guy how to get to the head of the line for Gringotts Coaster."
From @bioreconstruct: "Guest views of the red carpet grand opening of Diagon Alley from around the lake."