During a webcast on Thursday morning, Universal Orlando finally unveiled a slew of information surrounding their Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley expansion.

UPDATE: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s website has been revamped and includes a video introduction from Hagrid played by Robbie Coltrane. Based on what he says, it looks like the actor reprised his role for the website and maybe even an attraction. Hear what he has to say by visiting the website and going into Diagon Alley. A picture can be seen below:

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We learned the following during the half-hour webcast today attended by Matt Lewis, Evanna Lynch, and James Phelps:

– The big thrill ride is “Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.” Universal thinks they’ve raised the bar on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. The escape from Gringotts will “bring the movies to life.” It’s a “multi sensory, multi dimensional experience.” One Universal rep describes the ride as suitable for the whole family. A press release says riders will “navigate their way through the perils of the Gringotts vaults.”

Knockturn Alley is “very scary,” says James Phelps (who plays Fred Weasley). “It shows that the Wizarding World isn’t all nice. It shows the darker side to it.” Adds Matt Lewis (Neville), “it shows that contrast between good and evil.” According to a press release, the area “features Borgin and Burkes – a shop specializing in the Dark Arts that will offer a wide variety of Dark objects, such as Death Eater masks, skulls, and other sinister items.”

– The first thing you’ll see at Diagon Alley is the Knight Bus. You’ll pass through the brick wall then walk down Diagon Alley which is “filled” with things to explore. New stores include (details below from a press release):

1) Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, a vibrant shop featuring novelty items, magical jokes, and toys inspired by the books and films that will amaze the mischievous child in everyone
2) Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, where guests will find a variety of wizardwear from Hogwarts school uniform ties, scarves and jumpers, to authentic wizard’s robes and character costumes
3) Magical Menagerie, which features a collection of plush animals, such as owls and Hippogriffs
4) Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, where guests can grab wizarding essentials such as telescopes, binoculars, armillary spheres, compasses, magnifying glasses and hourglasses
5) Quality Quidditch Supplies, offering a wide assortment of apparel and equipment including Quidditch sweaters, brooms, Golden Snitches, Bludgers, Bludger bats, Quaffles and more
6) Scribbulus, featuring authentic writing implements and products such as feather quills, ink and inkwells, bookmarks, journals, parchment paper, seals, stationery sets and postcards
7) Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour for frozen treats in a variety of tantalizing and unique flavors such as strawberry-and-peanut-butter ice-cream and many others

– The Hogwarts Express will be an “incredible” journey. Guests with a park to park ticket will be able to travel between the two lands in a “seamless adventure.” In the webcast we got to see inside the Hogwarts Express. Evanna Lynch appeared and said the train feels more realistic than it does in the films because it is bigger than a set.

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Check out beautiful new Diagon Alley concept art below. Click each one to see it full size!

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At Islands of Adventure’s Hogsmeade, the land will be expanding Honeydukes while Zonkos leaves.

A release date for Diagon Alley has not been announced but will be sometime this summer.

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