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Thread: Diagon Alley Will Exceed Your Expectations

  1. #1
    who gon stop me? HUH? josh's Avatar
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    Diagon Alley Will Exceed Your Expectations

    However high your expectations are, Diagon will exceed them. Just about everything about it is perfect. A few tips:

    Getting in is pretty nuts at the moment. They are distributing return tickets at kiosks in between Fear Factor and Men in Black with a one hour window sometime later in the day. Here at 10am on July 9th, the return times are 11:30am - 12:30pm or 1:30pm - 2:30pm.

    Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts (the ride) wait times are horrendous at the moment thanks to reduced capacity due to technical problems and the given popularity of a state of the art new attraction. If you are eligible for the extra morning hour (7am-8am at the moment), get there by 6:15am if you can and head to the ride first thing. Otherwise you're sort of screwed. At least for opening night, they shut down the line around 6pm because the wait was still 4+ hours, so there is no such thing as getting in line right at Park close so you're not wasting precious touring time in a long line. This may change.

    So if you want to ride Gringotts, it's either arrive for the extra hour early and head straight there or be prepared to wait hours and hours, mostly out in the sun uncovered. Be prepared.

    The stores are all really small and most have queues to get in. Plan to return in the final hour of operation when things should be thinner. With yesterday's rain the place was mostly deserted after 8pm. There was only one other family in Ollivanders with us and no waits to get anything other than ice cream. Note that if you're looking for Butterbeer ice cream in particular you don't have to wait for Florean Fortescue's which likely will have a line outside. Go to the store adjacent that advertises beer and ales.

    Leaky Cauldron (the main eatery) has not been busy thus far.

    Hogwarts Express is a separate entity and doesn't require any waiting to get into Diagon. As you're looking at the entrance, the station is on the far left in the building that looks like a train station. Waits have been relatively nominal - 15 to 45 minutes most of the time. It does require a park-to-park ticket and will spit you out inside the other theme park. You scan your ticket before getting in the queue to verify you have park to park access. There is a mechanism that will only allow you to ride Hogwarts one time in the regular line if crowds are particularly intense, but as far as I know this hasn't been necessary yet. For a return trip under this mechanism, you'll somehow have to wait twice as long as posted for the return trip. Plan accordingly if you don't actually want to transfer to the other park.

    Be wary of "Gilly Water." That $4.25 bottle of plain looking liquid is literally just a bottle of water. The $4 additive is basically concentrated flavored sugar. The process is sort of fun (a team member will explain what each elixir does and tastes like and you get to pour it into the water yourself) but it's $8.25 that's probably best spent elsewhere.

    There is a lot of stuff to buy and you will want to buy it all. Plan accordingly.

    Touring Tips:

    Again, if you are eligible for the extra morning hour and must ride Gringotts, arrive 45+ minutes early and head straight there. You may be routed around Springfield in a massive clump of people, but there is nothing else you can do so far.

    If you're not eligible, visit the other attractions from 8am-10am and pick up return tickets around 10am for an 11:30am or thereabout return. Hit some of the higher capacity attractions from 10am until it's time to return. Disaster, Men in Black, Simpsons, Terminator are all good choices (Beetlejuice and Fear Factor are around here too). Head over at the return time to have lunch and tour the area a bit. If you must ride Gringott's, this is it. Get in line after lunch. If you're happy to skip the ride, look around as long as you're comfortable and exit.

    Return in the final 60 to 90 minutes of operation to enjoy the area in potentially lower crowds. We'll see how much the area empties out given good weather.

  2. #2
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    Thank you for the update. I can't wait to see it in Sept, I am hoping things would have died down a bit by then. I'm glad we have early access. Will you be doing an update on the blog for it? I would love to see some pictures.
    Cindy



  3. #3
    who gon stop me? HUH? josh's Avatar
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    Yeah. OrlandoInformer.com and Blog.TouringPlans.com have been covering it in a lot of depth.

  4. #4
    May be computer illiterate, but I figured out how to set my user title myself when no one else could!! magic1106's Avatar
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    Thanks Josh! I don't know how you and Lisa do it.

    Someone posted on twitter yesterday that Gringott's wasn't worth the 6.5 hour wait and all I could think is there is no ride on this planet worth a 6.5 hour wait. With your advice, I won't have to worry about that!

    We are planning a trip to US/IOA in late September for HHN. I hope the crowds have become more manageable by then.

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    May be computer illiterate, but I figured out how to set my user title myself when no one else could!! magic1106's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by josh View Post
    Yeah. OrlandoInformer.com and Blog.TouringPlans.com have been covering it in a lot of depth.
    *ad naseum?

  6. #6
    who gon stop me? HUH? josh's Avatar
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    September should be a lot better by definition. I was not around for the Hogsmeade opening but this was significantly less "crazy" by all accounts even with long waits at the principal attraction with the reduced capacity. Word seems to be that Gringotts is running three of nine vehicles with intermittent trouble reducing capacity further. Getting on that ride is really pretty ugly at the moment, but things should only improve.

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    Senior Member nurs3kim's Avatar
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    DH really wants to go this trip but I say no way. It will be better next year. And we may splurge for an onsite room to get early access.
    Kim =)
    Summer '18 #24 for me, #14 DS14, #13 DS13

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    So no single rider line for Gringotts?

    DH and I toured IOA a few years back on NYE with decent success using the single rider system, since we didn't mind being split up.

  9. #9
    who gon stop me? HUH? josh's Avatar
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    There is a single rider that has been posted around two hours thus far.

  10. #10
    Senior Member neffernie's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update. I am debating whether adding a Universal day would be worth the cost. Do you think there is a big benefit to having the park-to-park access?
    Sweet Stephanie, bid adieu. Trampled waiting in the queue.

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  11. #11
    who gon stop me? HUH? josh's Avatar
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    There is if you want to visit both parks

    I think I would tell you that adding Park to Park is too expensive just to do Hogwarts Express if you're not planning to do anything at Islands of Adventure. But then people were spending full one day cost just to go to Hogsmeade for an hour and ride Forbidden Journey.

    If you're planning to do Universal I would plan two or three days there with Park to Park so you really get the full experience and minimize per-day costs a bit. It's very expensive to go there for one day, particularly compared to the cost to add another day at Disney World after the fourth.

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    I was lucky to get in on the soft opening Sunday and Monday. Yeah...it's just amazing. I won't spoil any of the fun of discovering all the cool stuff when you get there, but there are so many interactive/highly themed elements everywhere you look. Be sure and visit all the shops and buy an interactive wand. It's so much fun! One thing of note: go into Gringotts exchange (the shop, not the ride) and have a chat with the animatronic clerk. Next gen at it's best.

    Some favorite treats: the orange fizzy drink with a cinnamon rim and the Earl Grey and Lavender icecream...and of course BUTTERBEER. :)

    Gringotts wasn't running and I won't wait over two hours...if that. Was hoping they'd implement a return ticket here.

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    Stephanie, why not get a Forida AP?

  14. #14
    he's right
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    Josh: thanks for the update!

    Is there any online source tracking the state of Gringotts' technical challenges? I'd like to keep abreast of how fast they make progress there.

  15. #15
    who gon stop me? HUH? josh's Avatar
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    Outside of Twitter, Orlando Informer, and Touring Plans I'm not sure who would have more up to date info on the comings and goings at Gringotts and the wait times attached there.

  16. #16
    Senior Member neffernie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marianna View Post
    Stephanie, why not get a Forida AP?
    I have thought about it. I know my daughter and husband would probably enjoy it, but I get pretty bad motion sickness. The rides at US don't really appeal to me that much. I will look into the cost for the AP. Now that Diagon Alley is complete, it might be worth it.
    Sweet Stephanie, bid adieu. Trampled waiting in the queue.

    Time Travel : Verb Tenses
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  17. #17
    who gon stop me? HUH? josh's Avatar
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    Universal APs are pretty reasonably priced. I recently renewed my Premier (not Florida Resident) for $298. That includes complimentary valet parking or preferred self-parking, 20% off merchandise, 15% off most food, Express Pass at each eligible attraction one time after 4pm daily.

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    Josh, do you plan to visit again soon to take a look at DA entrance wait times? I'd love to get back up again some evening and maybe catch Gringotts, but only if it's a short wait to get inside DA.

  19. #19
    who gon stop me? HUH? josh's Avatar
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    Yeah plan is to return tomorrow. I would follow a few people on Twitter to stay up to date:

    @touringplans
    @orlandoinformer
    @skubersky
    @amusementbuzz
    @attractions

    Between those five you will either have somebody in Diagon Alley or someone actively re-tweeting someone in Diagon Alley.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by josh View Post
    There is a single rider that has been posted around two hours thus far.
    Yikes! Thanks for the info.

    Not that we are going soon at all. But I do plan to go eventually.

  21. #21
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    I do follow OrlandoInformer, but I like your take on things.

    I'll definitely keep an eye on the others. Thanks for those.

  22. #22
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    Wow, I was looking forward to going before and now I'm really looking forward to it. Thanks Josh!

  23. #23
    THE RULES!!! vicki_c's Avatar
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    Sounds great! I won't be there until Easter so chances are it will be just so but as crazy as it is now. Hopefully they will have everything running really smoothly by then though.
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    I came across this in park wait times work around on OI forums. Haven't tried it yet myself, but might be something to play with for those that are curious from afar.
    http://forums.orlandoinformer.com/to...e-6#entry53891

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    "I want to go to there" - Liz Lemon

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