I can clearly remember the first time I saw Diagon Alley. I had taken my daughter to Universal Studios for her birthday and she entered before I did, but only long enough for me to take a picture of her as she entered. Diagon Alley is easy to overlook from the outside, just like in the Harry Potter stories, and its entrance is designed to hide the contents of this magical place. It never occurred to me to take a picture of my daughter's reaction when she was inside the entrance so this is all I have of that moment.
You have no idea how much I wish I had entered first so that I could take a picture of her reaction after she was inside. We both agree that it was like leaving the Universal Studios theme park and entering another world. That moment is lost forever but I came across a picture of a boy whose face shows the wonder so many of us feel during our first visits to Diagon Alley. I am very thankful to his mother who allowed me to use her photo in this post. This is, to me, the perfect picture of awe of seeing J.K. Rowling's stories come to life.
Universal Studios worked with the very people who helped bring Harry's world to life in the movies, including MinaLima and Stuart Craig, so I immediately felt a sense of familiarity. But, more importantly, everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, about Diagon Alley (and all aspects of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter) had to be approved by author J.K. Rowling. That means that what you see here is as accurate as it can possibly be, and the result is... Wow!
As soon as you walk through the brick entrance you'll see Gringotts Bank and the Ukrainian Ironbelly dragon escaping from the roof, The Leaky Cauldron, Weasleys Wizard Wheezes, Florean Fortescue's ice cream parlor, Ollivander's Wand Shop, and so much more. You'll hear snippets of music from the films that match the feeling of Diagon Alley. And, if you are feeling adventurous, you can even enter Knockturn Alley, though you can't see this unless you wander around a bit. Here is a small sample of what the little boy was looking at. Oh, and did I mention that the dragon breaths fire every now and then? Like I said, wow!
If you are planning on going and will be with someone who is a Harry Potter fan then I strongly recommend that you (or someone else) enter Diagon Alley first so you can take pictures of the other person's reactions. I promise it will be worth the effort!
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