Saturday, December 06, 2014

NBC's "Harry Potter: The Making of Diagon Alley"

There is a full 42-minute NBC special “Harry Potter: The Making of Diagon Alley”, hosted by Meredit Vieira, on Youtube, on a channel of Nik Beumer, link here.

The film traces the construction of the new Diagon Alley replica as part of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at the Universal Orlando Resort. The whole concept also includes a Hogsmeade section in Universal’ separate Islands of Adventure.  There is a new Hogwarts express train connecting the two,
The film shows the entire construction process of the train, built in Switzerland, and then the building o the Diagon Alley Village, and area about seven blocks deep and ten blocks wide, behind the King’s Cross station and London waterfront.  The guests enter through an unmarked broken brick wall.  The area has quaint buildings tilted to look as they do in the film.  An important specific attraction is the Gringott’s Bank, and the ride “Escape from Gringotts” (description ) is one of the main events .  The film concludes with some kids (some of them from Universal families) attending the preview of the grand opening in July 2014. 

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and the Phelps twins (now grown) appear.  The orchestra is shown rehearsing John Williams’s score. 

The whole construction project sounds like grown-ups, with hundreds of millions of capital from Wall Street, playing with blocks like we did as kids in Ohio, building model cities with buildings and toy trains and cars behind grandmother’s house  (to be washed away by weekly Ohio summer thunderstorms) – “baby play” – but not now. 

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" is reviewed on the Movies blog July 15, 2011.

Why J. K. Rowling's books series became such a tremendous commercial success for Schoolastic and then Warner Brothers would make an essay in itself.  Universal would have had to pay WB for the legal right to use this material in a theme park.

Wikipedia attribution link for picture of Honeydukes shop 

Update: Dec. 25, 2014

NBC Today Show did a tour of some of Diagon Alley and some of the Orlando Universal theme park rides.  

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