June 25, 2014
Diagon's Nods to Universal's Past
Diagon Alley is taking its next step towards opening. One week to the day journalists were first given a sneal peek, Universal Team Members are starting previews.
They run from 6-10pm through Saturday -- only workers, no friends and they have to get a ty. So, sorry -- there is close to zero chance of normal park guests getting into Diagon Alley or on the Hogwarts Express Until Sunday at earliest. That's when the first ordinary people are guaranteed access to Diagon. They bought special Potter hotel packages.
However, Team Members WON'T be getting to ride "Harry Potter & the Escape From Gringotts." Universal says the ride remains in "technical rehearsal."
It is not clear if the Potter package people will get to ride.
Many Universal workers will be looking for some special details amid a land FULL of detail after details. You, see Diagon was built where the old Jaws ride and Amity village once stood.
Sorry, Jaws fans -- the ride never was nearly as exciting as that early 90's artwork made it seem. It was a fun ride when it worked, but Diagon blows it out of the water (pun very much intended) Still, Jaws is not forgotten. There are tributes in the park and the new land,
First, the Jaws photo op was moved a few feet into San Francisco, next to "Chez Amity." Moving into London, look closely in the windows of the red record store for a homage to the film's lead character. There are at least two tributes inside Diagon Alley itself.
See those beautiful telescopes on display in "Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment?" They were made from parts of the old Jaws boats.
You'll have to go window shopping for a slightly less subtle nod to Jaws. Look deep into the window of "Mr. Mulpepper's Apothecary" next to the soon-to-be-swamped " Florean Fortescue's Ice-Cream Parlour "
Insiders tell me those jaws were saved before the bulldozers wiped out one of the boathouses from the ride.
There are probably more tributes to Jaws. These nods to the past are a theme park tradition. At Disney, look closely inside the Magic Kingdom's "Winnie the Pooh" ride - -and you can see this painting.
That's J. Thaddeus Toad handing over the deed to his space to Pooh. Mr. Toad's Wild Ride was demolished for the bear of little brain. Inside New Fantasyland -- look inside the caves leading to Prince Eric's Castle.
And you may spot that tribute to the park's old "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" ride. There's also a tribute in the little market building across from the ride's entrance.
That wind vane is in the shape of the giant squid Captain Nemo used to battle every couple of minutes in the old submarine ride. The mermaid area is built on the site of the 20K Lagoon.
Do you have any favorite tributes? Email me. I always appreciate the feedback. You can always find all of my blog entries atwww.clickorlando.com/themeparks