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More Details on the Diagon Alley Expansion

Posted by: Mel
May 09, 2013, 08:48 PM

InsidetheMagic has a new interview up with Thierry Coup, the senior vice president of Universal Creative, and has gotten some great new details on the exciting Diagon Alley Expansion in Universal Studios:

Q: How accurate is the Diagon Alley artwork to what will be built?

Coup emphasizes that the released rendering does not depict detailed plans, but instead offers a glimpse what the area will feel like.

“The illustration is obviously an illustration. It’s an artist’s depiction of what the experience will feel like but the level of detail that’s in this rendering is not true to the real thing. It’s going to be so much higher in details and we had to take some creative liberty as to where things are positioned exactly because we’re trying to put everything in a rendering and you want to make sure that the overall impression and the feeling is correct, which it is, but […] the real thing is going to be so much more than that.”


Q: Will Gringotts Bank really have a dragon perched on top?

A focal point of the released Diagon Alley artwork is the fire-breathing dragon sitting on top of Gringotts Bank, which will house the area’s main new ride. When asked if that dragon will really be part of the area or if it’s just there for the rendering, Coup jokingly replied, “It’s not in my illustration. Did you get one with a dragon on it?”

But getting serious, Coup did reveal that the dragon will indeed be part of Diagon Alley.

“It was such a big part of the stories and the last book. So yeah, we’re bringing the dragon to life as well and the dragon will be doing some cool things, the way dragons do things, you know?”

A fire-breathing dragon played an integral role in the excitement that took place within the vaults of Gringotts Bank in the “Harry Potter” films.

So how closely will it resemble what’s in the artwork? Very, says Coup.

“The illustration is pretty accurate there, actually.”


Q: Will Diagon Alley stores be bigger than the tight spaces of Hogsmeade Village?

One of the few complaints about the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure is the size of its streets and shops. Small rooms and narrow aisles make navigating through large crowds quite difficult.= But Coup says Universal will continue to favor accuracy to the source material over comfort.

“We don’t want to create stores that don’t really fit with the fiction. So there’s still a sense of intimacy, though Diagon Alley is a larger place than Hogsmeade Village. It’s not a little village in Scotland. But we’re not going to drift away from being faithful to what the stories and the visuals were in the films. So you can expect it to be pretty accurate to what was there, which means it’s going to be probably a bit larger than Hogsmeade, because Hogsmeade Village, again, is a small village.”

The goal is to portray Diagon Alley with the most realism possible, even if that means sacrificing some personal space.

“It’s about a sense of discovery and the excitement of these incredible shops and restaurant and other surprises that take you into these incredibly immersive spaces. And the scale has to be proper. The details, the graphics, everything.”

Coup says the entire Diagon Alley area will have a similar to footprint to the original Wizarding World, roughly the same overall size.

Go to InsidetheMagic to read more about the details - including teaser information on the Gringotts Bank ride.

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940 Points

WOW!! The detailed interview here on InsidetheMagic addressed nearly everything I was musing over in the first announcement. The dragon IS part of the Gringotts ride. Reading this has made my desire even stronger to return to Orlando when Diagon Alley opens.

One of the final questions was regarding the California Universal Studios, and if this expansion of Diagon Alley will be included in the new Wizarding World in LA… but the answer was naturally vague. No matter. I do plan to attend the grand opening in LA come what may.

Posted by PollyC on May 10, 2013, 12:16 AM report to moderator
10268 Points

Personally, I’d prefer to see Gringotts intact and the dragon as the piece de resistance near the end of the cart rollercoaster, rather than perched atop a wrecked bank!

Posted by WeenyOwl {The Human Deluminator} on May 10, 2013, 11:23 AM report to moderator
80450 Points

It would have been cool if you could do actual banking there… Like atms & currency conversion… How many knuts in a US dollar?

Posted by Won_Two on May 10, 2013, 11:02 PM report to moderator
237 Points

Sounds great !

Posted by whysosirius on May 11, 2013, 11:31 AM report to moderator
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