6:30 pm EDT, May 9, 2013

‘Wizarding World – Diagon Alley’ tidbits surface: Big trains, family Gringotts ride

Universal’s announcement about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley expansion answered a few questions but raised even more unknowns.

Today, Senior Vice President of Universal Creative Thierry Coup addressed several questions.

Coup spoke with our friends at Inside the Magic – a theme park news site – and responded to numerous concerns that spectators have raised following the concept art and press release unveiling on Wednesday morning.

First, just how accurate is the concept art that we saw? It offered quite a few details, but even Coup admits that there will be a few differences between the art and final product.

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.

Despite some discrepancies, one thing that is accurate is the dragon. “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?” Coup went so far to say that is “pretty accurate there, actually,” when referring to the dragon perched on top of Gringotts. It will indeed breathe fire and “be doing some cool things.”

As for the Gringotts ride, we learned that it will be designed for the whole family. “It’s going to be definitely a family ride, that it brings all the thrills and excitement Harry Potter would bring to this world,” he said. “I can’t reveal too much, but I will soon – when I’m authorized to. It’s going to be fantastic, I can tell you that much. If you saw the films and you saw how cool these settings were, so it’s brought to life so the whole family can really enjoy it.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Coup says that the scale of the park is about the same size as Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure. In addition, the stores and restaurants will continue to have that intimate feel so it’s loyal to the books and movies.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will open sometime in 2014. Coup was hesitant to offer a more specific time frame in his interview.

Be sure to check out our breakdown of the concept art to get a close look at the themed land.

Thanks, Inside the Magic.

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