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Gringotts, while not onExpress, IS offering a Single Rider line right now, and wait times for that are about half of the normal standby queue, which is not bad considering wait times leveled out to about 3 hours this weekend (thats 1 and a half hours for single riders).

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I would like to share my amazing experience at Diagon Alley yesterday!

 

First off, my family and I got to the park at about 6:55 and then headed straight for Universal Studios. The ticketing gates were already opened and we were put into a holding area in the Hollywood section of the park. They had metal barricades lining the streets. We went on the sidewalk and waited as we thought they would open every single barricade. At 7:30 they announced to us that we will be following workers with a tiny yellow rope into the Diagon Alley area. They also announced that they were opening only one barricade, the single middle one...and we were on the sidewalk. Once they opened it, I never felt so uncomfortable being pushed around and having so many people touching me. Anyway, we managed our make our way up towards the front of the yellow rope by sneaking around...a lot. They took us through Springfield and through MIB just to get in line. Then they said to us to get into single file line! With all of the people pushing, there was no way that was happening. Then we were led through the queue lines to get into Diagon Alley.

 

We then finally made it and we ran into the land and right into line for Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts! However, the line was already at 150 minutes. We darted for Single Rider. We waited only 45 minutes in Single Rider to ride but that line filled pretty quickly!

 

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts 11/10

My family and I ended up riding in the same cart just all different rows. My sister was in the front right, my mom middle right, and me back right. I didn't know what to expect from the ride as I didn't read any reviews to ruin any spoilers. All I can say is WOW! I was blown away from the innovation and the whole ride experience itself! It is probably my new favorite ride Universal and maybe my new favorite ride EVER! It was so creative and was amazing! The sets were huge and the ride was so cool with many different effects. It is truly a combination of basically every ride at Universal. However, the ride broke down with one scene left. We were the first break down of the day. The train was brought back to the station and we exited the ride. However, we got to ride right back on because of the break down...and we all got to ride together! I didn't mind riding again! We were in the 2nd row this time and it was even better (since we finished the ride lol). It was amazing! We got out of the ride at about 9:10 and the ride wait was at 240 minutes! We managed to basically get 2 rides in an hour.

 

Now it was time to check out all of the shops. I personally bought an interactive Elder Wand and played around in the whole area with. Some of the spells I couldn't get and needed assistance with but most of them I got! There was an employee at each wand station helping out if needed. All of the shops were very well! I also had some Butterbeer Ice Cream! It was amazing! Knockturn Alley was pretty cool and again all of the employees were completely in character.

 

For instance, at one of the wand stations in Diagon Alley, the employee asked if we went to Gringotts and opened an account. We told them we tried but then we ran into issues. I said we encountered Bellatrix and "The name that shall not be said." The employee started to freak out! Haha.

 

After we experienced every shop, we left at about 10:00. 2 hours in the new land and we basically did everything there!

 

Hogwarts Express 11/10

We went to the Hogwarts Express which had a 10 minute wait. It wasn't even 10 minutes. It was like a 5 minute walk and then just a small wait for the next train to arrive. When we scanned out annual passes, I had my wand out. The worker said, "That's a weird looking stick!" I just laughed as she is portraying a Muggle! It was these experiences that made Diagon Alley even more of an incredible addition to Universal. I completely missed the Platform 9 3/4 effect as we continued to walk. I got a glimpse as we just kept walking but I didn't realize when or where the effect would be. Again, I refused to look up anything of the ride. But it was still neat to see! The whole experience had many neat effects that I didn't know how they did at all! It was so cool! I wish I could go back.

 

What an amazing day it was! I'll post pictures later on and I am still uploading them to my computer. Please excuse me as I watch Harry Potter Weekend on ABC Family haha.

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Thank you, necoastergp. but I have educated myself with the Universal express pass system in that you can just walk on rides without wait times. I have bought 1-day park-to-park unlimited express passes for my family . . . my questions are these, (1)How much are the express passes going to help me in saving waiting time, and (2)Are theses passes going to cut wait time at all for Diagon Alley, Gringotts, and Hogwarts Express? What do you think? Also, can you go both directions on Hogwarts Express with Unlimited Express Passes, or just one way? Sorry, more than a couple of questions, but if anyone could answer my questions, that would really help me plan my trip to these amazing parks next week. Thanks! I'll even post a Canadian review of the park and new Harry Potter area and let you all know what my family thinks of it! Our trip was planned months ago, it just happens to be a week after Diagon Alley opened, ha! Perhaps the rest of the park will be really empty. We're looking forward to going to Springfield and having a Flaming Moe. We are 5-pin bowlers here in Canada and we think there should be a bowling alley in Universal's Springfield area, what do you think?

 

The unlimited express passes will work on virtually every attraction in both parks other than the the two Harry Potter ride's (Gringott's and Forbidden Journey). They will cut your wait times to usually 15 minutes or less, usually less, unless the park is insanely busy still completely worth it in terms of riding everything and getting re-rides. The only ride whose express line could be longer is Despicable Me due to capacity and popularity. Some rides are essential walks thru the queue to the loading platforms with express though. To answer #2 from what I can tell Forbidden Journey's line has been manageable since Diagon Alley has opened as low as a half hour to an hour wait and the ride line can move quickly if people aren't stopping to take pictures in the queue consistently. The HE both ways also seems to be moving its line quickly with waits 30 minutes or less at times so express won't be missed too much. Gringott's will be the only real problem as the line seems to be over 3 hours consistently and up to two hours for singles which might be your family's best bet if a must ride. Other than that Springfield is awesome and you should love the express unlimited when touring the parks it makes a huge difference. Just remember if you have to wait even a little bit for anything in express it's still considerably shorter than the guests in the regular line and you can do these rides/attractions with a minimal wait as many times as you want.

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Thank you very much, necoastergp. You have been very helpful and thank goodness the wait times have gone down from 7.5 hours, we wouldn't have waited that long but 1.5 - 2 hours for single rider line is much more reasonable. I will post my reviews when I return in a couple of weeks. If you ever need any information about Canada's Wonderland near Toronto, then please, be sure to let me know, I'd be happy to give you the help you just gave me and my family. Thank you again, talk to you soon . . . off to Springfield, Jurassic Park and Hogwarts we go! . . . oh, and how big are the drops on Gringotts in terms of number of feet, as my nephew is 11 and doesn't like big drops.

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I left Cabana Bay at 5:50 am today on the first bus to the parks. We were in the park by 6:25am. We were in Diagon before 7am for early entry and Gringotts was posted at30mins. We actually waited closer to 60 mins. It was only running 1 side btw. When we got off the ride it was a 180 min wait, a full 20 mins before the park was open to regular guests. So while yes it's having issues and not operating at max capacity the demand for this thing is nuts. Amazing ride btw

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I would like to share my amazing experience at Diagon Alley yesterday!

 

First off, my family and I got to the park at about 6:55 and then headed straight for Universal Studios. The ticketing gates were already opened and we were put into a holding area in the Hollywood section of the park. They had metal barricades lining the streets. We went on the sidewalk and waited as we thought they would open every single barricade. At 7:30 they announced to us that we will be following workers with a tiny yellow rope into the Diagon Alley area. They also announced that they were opening only one barricade, the single middle one...and we were on the sidewalk. Once they opened it, I never felt so uncomfortable being pushed around and having so many people touching me. Anyway, we managed our make our way up towards the front of the yellow rope by sneaking around...a lot. They took us through Springfield and through MIB just to get in line. Then they said to us to get into single file line! With all of the people pushing, there was no way that was happening. Then we were led through the queue lines to get into Diagon Alley.

 

We then finally made it and we ran into the land and right into line for Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts! However, the line was already at 150 minutes. We darted for Single Rider. We waited only 45 minutes in Single Rider to ride but that line filled pretty quickly!

 

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts 11/10

My family and I ended up riding in the same cart just all different rows. My sister was in the front right, my mom middle right, and me back right. I didn't know what to expect from the ride as I didn't read any reviews to ruin any spoilers. All I can say is WOW! I was blown away from the innovation and the whole ride experience itself! It is probably my new favorite ride Universal and maybe my new favorite ride EVER! It was so creative and was amazing! The sets were huge and the ride was so cool with many different effects. It is truly a combination of basically every ride at Universal. However, the ride broke down with one scene left. We were the first break down of the day. The train was brought back to the station and we exited the ride. However, we got to ride right back on because of the break down...and we all got to ride together! I didn't mind riding again! We were in the 2nd row this time and it was even better (since we finished the ride lol). It was amazing! We got out of the ride at about 9:10 and the ride wait was at 240 minutes! We managed to basically get 2 rides in an hour.

 

Now it was time to check out all of the shops. I personally bought an interactive Elder Wand and played around in the whole area with. Some of the spells I couldn't get and needed assistance with but most of them I got! There was an employee at each wand station helping out if needed. All of the shops were very well! I also had some Butterbeer Ice Cream! It was amazing! Knockturn Alley was pretty cool and again all of the employees were completely in character.

 

For instance, at one of the wand stations in Diagon Alley, the employee asked if we went to Gringotts and opened an account. We told them we tried but then we ran into issues. I said we encountered Bellatrix and "The name that shall not be said." The employee started to freak out! Haha.

 

After we experienced every shop, we left at about 10:00. 2 hours in the new land and we basically did everything there!

 

Hogwarts Express 11/10

We went to the Hogwarts Express which had a 10 minute wait. It wasn't even 10 minutes. It was like a 5 minute walk and then just a small wait for the next train to arrive. When we scanned out annual passes, I had my wand out. The worker said, "That's a weird looking stick!" I just laughed as she is portraying a Muggle! It was these experiences that made Diagon Alley even more of an incredible addition to Universal. I completely missed the Platform 9 3/4 effect as we continued to walk. I got a glimpse as we just kept walking but I didn't realize when or where the effect would be. Again, I refused to look up anything of the ride. But it was still neat to see! The whole experience had many neat effects that I didn't know how they did at all! It was so cool! I wish I could go back.

 

What an amazing day it was! I'll post pictures later on and I am still uploading them to my computer. Please excuse me as I watch Harry Potter Weekend on ABC Family haha.

 

Here are some pictures from my trip to Diagon Alley on 7/12/2014.

I know the pictures aren't the best of quality as my camera is getting pretty old.

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Arrived at 7am

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Hello Universal!

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We were told to go this way to a bunch of metal barricades.

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Through the Brick Wall! Into the entrance of Diagon Alley!

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Diagon Alley!

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Dragon!

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This was really neat to see

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Fire!

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Onto Kings Cross!

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Hogwarts Express!

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I had to post this. I took this of my sister. Thought it looked pretty cool!

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Please, can anyone tell me the height of the drop(s) on the new Gringotts ride as my 11 year old nephew will not go on it if he doesn't know how high the drops are, and are the drops straight down or on a slope? We are going next week, please help us, thank you . . .

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Please, can anyone tell me the height of the drop(s) on the new Gringotts ride as my 11 year old nephew will not go on it if he doesn't know how high the drops are, and are the drops straight down or on a slope? We are going next week, please help us, thank you . . .

I really don't think there are any "drops", I haven't been on it but I think there is a tilt track at the beginning and nothing else really that tall. Someone whose ridden could be more specific and confirm this though.

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^^There is a slight drop at the beginning of the ride that is probably 15-25 feet, but not overly intense. The drop is at and angle and falls in a traditional coaster fashion after a non-traditional track tilting section does its thing. The drop is more like what you'd find on Space Mountain or even Revenge of the Mummy and nothing like a vertical drop segment like on Verbolten or Thirteen. There is a simulated drop later in the ride that looks like you are falling a great distance but in reality you have barely changed elevation much if at all.

 

Exact stats on the ride have yet to be release and won't likely be anytime soon.

Edited by jedimaster1227
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Please, can anyone tell me the height of the drop(s) on the new Gringotts ride as my 11 year old nephew will not go on it if he doesn't know how high the drops are, and are the drops straight down or on a slope? We are going next week, please help us, thank you . . .

There is only one coaster drop. It felt about the size of Pirates of the Caribbean.

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A few thoughts about Diagon Alley.

 

1. Diagon, and ESPECIALLY Gringott's is the priority for nearly every single human visiting Universal this week. I've been opening day and twice since, and I've learned that the AREA is hitting capacity before park opening every day, which is nuts, and the only plus time to ride Gringott's is as early as possible. For anyone who CAN come during a lesser season (Early September??), probably a great idea.

 

2. Getting into the area after 9:30 or so is pretty easy and usually quick even with return tickets, but Gringott's regular queue isn't going under 4 hours and is running at maybe 50 percent of its capability (I've heard 4 or even 5 trains out of seven, but just one station and FREQUENT breakdowns). Everything that is new-Harry Potter that is also not Gringott's has minimal wait times at worst.

 

3. Everything at Studios other than Despicable has atypically light morning crowds. Only Rockit/Despicable/Transformers are getting even hour wait times in the afternoon. IOA is pretty light other than the water rides, I saw Forbidden Journey at 30 minutes at 2PM on Friday.

 

4. As for the land itself...The most immersive themed environment in Orlando. It honestly feels like you walked into a foreign country. Rediculous amounts of artwork/detailing/animatronics/interactive elements/new food options. The shops are incredible fun, and are clearly upgraded all around from Hogsmeade. Not comparable to New Fantasyland, IMO it's just excessively better in representation of the property. Little details and fan service just oozing from every corner.

 

5. As for the ride itself...MUCH clearer storyline than Forbidden Journey, and definitely has some new and interesting technical elements. Is it the clear world's best attraction I had hopes for? No, not really. It rides a LOT like transformers in the end, but again the theming is new-precedent-immersive which really propels the experience. It's certainly an A attraction, top 5 percent in Orlando.

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Thank you all so very much! My family and I went to IOA in 2012 and were blown away! The theming is uncomparable anywhere else on this planet! The level of detail is incredible. I have not heard anything negative about the quality of the video screens on Gringotts, so I'm guessing it is pretty good. The new ride, Guardian at Canada's Wonderland is 4D and is having some technical issues with the quality of the video screens becoming quite blurry due to not sync-ing (is that right?) the speed of the cars with the motion on the screens, however, that doesn't seem to be an issue on Gringotts. Only a few days until my family gets to go on this incredible ride, I'm just hoping for a really slow day and hopefully a less than 2 hour wait perhaps in single rider line . . . how has the length of the line been, say near closing time at night? In 2012, we went on Jurassic Park river ride twice in about 10 minutes, about a half an hour before park closing . . . we'll have to come back in a couple of years after the Jurassic Park expansion, I think we already know that is probably going to be incredible as well!

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A few thoughts about Diagon Alley.

 

1. Diagon, and ESPECIALLY Gringott's is the priority for nearly every single human visiting Universal this week. I've been opening day and twice since, and I've learned that the AREA is hitting capacity before park opening every day, which is nuts, and the only plus time to ride Gringott's is as early as possible. For anyone who CAN come during a lesser season (Early September??), probably a great idea.

 

2. Getting into the area after 9:30 or so is pretty easy and usually quick even with return tickets, but Gringott's regular queue isn't going under 4 hours and is running at maybe 50 percent of its capability (I've heard 4 or even 5 trains out of seven, but just one station and FREQUENT breakdowns). Everything that is new-Harry Potter that is also not Gringott's has minimal wait times at worst.

 

3. Everything at Studios other than Despicable has atypically light morning crowds. Only Rockit/Despicable/Transformers are getting even hour wait times in the afternoon. IOA is pretty light other than the water rides, I saw Forbidden Journey at 30 minutes at 2PM on Friday.

 

4. As for the land itself...The most immersive themed environment in Orlando. It honestly feels like you walked into a foreign country. Rediculous amounts of artwork/detailing/animatronics/interactive elements/new food options. The shops are incredible fun, and are clearly upgraded all around from Hogsmeade. Not comparable to New Fantasyland, IMO it's just excessively better in representation of the property. Little details and fan service just oozing from every corner.

 

5. As for the ride itself...MUCH clearer storyline than Forbidden Journey, and definitely has some new and interesting technical elements. Is it the clear world's best attraction I had hopes for? No, not really. It rides a LOT like transformers in the end, but again the theming is new-precedent-immersive which really propels the experience. It's certainly an A attraction, top 5 percent in Orlando.

 

I went to Diagon Alley this past Saturday and made it right into the land at the park opening. Also, when I went Gringotts had both stations running and there was a very small break down in which I happened to be in the ride to break down. I went into single rider and I only waited 45 minutes right at the opening. The regular line was 150 minutes. When I came out at around 9, it was at 210 minutes. I had an amazing experience considering it was the weekend of the opening of the new land. The only thing I could say to fix is how you get to the land. They only opened one metal barricade to dart to the front of the yellow rope and everyone is pushing to get through that 4 foot of space to the yellow rope. Then you have the long walk of pushing to get to the land. Other than that, I thought Gringotts was an incredible experience and Diagon Alley itself really is the most immersive themed environment that any theme park has ever created.

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Has anyone tried to go on Gringotts near closing time, say, about an hour before park closing time? I've heard that Universal gets really quite near closing time as people head out to CityWalk at night . . . any thoughts? What time do they cut off the line at night? I just don't think there would be a 3 hour line up at 9pm, I just don't think so.

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^I'm not sure about the night-time waits, but since it is still very new and EXTREMELY popular, I wouldn't count on it having a super-reduced wait time at any point in the day.

 

Diagon Alley is going to be SUPER-crowded almost always for the next year or so. Heck, even Hogsmead is still SUPER popular and very crowded - and it has been opened for years.

 

I'd recommend getting there early, and diving into Diagon Alley first thing. Be prepared to wait for Gringotts and be prepared for it to be crowded. That isn't to say that it won't be fantastic and that you and your family wont enjoy the hell out of it - but go in expecting crowds. After you experience that - with your express passes - the rest of the day will be a breeze.

 

I'm sure you guys are going to love it and I can't wait to hear your opinions .

 

David

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Has anyone tried to go on Gringotts near closing time, say, about an hour before park closing time? I've heard that Universal gets really quite near closing time as people head out to CityWalk at night . . . any thoughts? What time do they cut off the line at night? I just don't think there would be a 3 hour line up at 9pm, I just don't think so.

 

It varies every day but they've been closing the line 1 - 3 hours before park closing based on the line and operations that day.

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^I think it will. It's very low capacity (I'm hearing less than 300pph right now) and it's the only ride in the new area (train doesn't count!). You're going to wait a LONG time if you want to ride this anytime soon.

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Actually, it fluctuates throughout the day really. This weekend it was as low as 2 hours, which for a new ride running at half capacity (or less), isnt bad at all. From what I have seen, I think its best to go early in the morning, but if thats not do-able, 6-7 pm should not be as bad as noon. Of course, it varies by day, but this has been the general trend all week sans the first two opening days.

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That's what I'm thinking OrlandoGuy. The crowds must die down sometime around dinner time, it just makes sense, put off dinner a bit, go on Gringotts and eat dinner after, makes sense to me, rather than standing in that amazing but very hot Florida sunshine, I think I'll save that for Daytona Beach . . . also, I think they should rethink about these new 'high-tech', well, I call them simulators. Guardian at Canada's Wonderland is very similar, although not nearly as well themed, but Guardian has about half that capacity right now, including 'break-downs'. If they built a high-capacity, highly-themed coaster in Diagon Alley, I think people would be just as happy and alot more people would be able to ride it without waiting a ridiculous amount of time in line . . . just my opinion . . . thanks David, I know we're gonna have a blast!

Edited by HAUNT MANIAC
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I think they should rethink about these new 'high-tech', well, I call them simulators. Guardian at Canada's Wonderland is very similar, although not nearly as well themed, but Guardian has about half that capacity right now, including 'break-downs'. If they built a high-capacity, highly-themed coaster in Diagon Alley, I think people would just as happy and alot more people would be able to ride it without waiting a ridiculous amount of tine in line . . . just my opinion . . .

 

Have you been on it? I think if you did, it would change your opinion. Gringotts is incomparable to a high-capacity roller coaster, especially if youre a Harry Potter fan.

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