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Chef Jayson From The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley

This week, Rick introduces us to Steve Jayson, Executive Chef for Universal Orlando Parks and Resorts, and they discuss the amazing food and beverages available at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmead and Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando Resort!

Hope you enjoy today’s video, be sure to leave a comment and share it with your friends!


It’s Time For ‘A Celebration of Harry Potter’

Harry Potter film stars Robbie Coltrane, Michael Gambon, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps and Evanna Lynch are slated to appear at the second annual “A Celebration of Harry Potter” – a special event hosted by Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. Entertainment.

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The event allows fans to celebrate all of Harry’s adventures, from the beloved books to the feature films. Creative talent also set to appear includes Paul Harris, the world’s only Wand Combat choreographer, Kazu Kibuishi, illustrator of Scholastic’s re-imagined Harry Potter book covers, and Eduardo Lima and Miraphora Mina of MinaLima, who established the visual graphic style of the Harry Potter films.

“A Celebration of Harry Potter” will take place from January 30 – February 1, 2015 at Universal Orlando. Fans will enjoy three days of incredible experiences, including Q&A and autograph sessions with Harry Potter film talent, special discussions and demonstrations with creative talent, and access to the “A Celebration of Harry Potter” Expo – where fans can enjoy the Sorting Hat experience, pose for a photo in a recreation of the iconic Great Hall set and celebrate their Hogwarts house pride in an interactive Pottermore exhibit.

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Guests can also experience Harry Potter’s world for themselves by visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and the all-new The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida. Vacation Package guests and those with a park-to-park ticket will also be able to board the iconic Hogwarts Express and enjoy a unique journey as they travel between King’s Cross Station and Hogsmeade Station.

Access to “A Celebration of Harry Potter” is included with regular theme park admission or with an annual pass, with admission to certain activities being granted on a first-come, first-served basis. While most of the activities for “A Celebration of Harry Potter” will be open to all Universal Orlando Resort park guests, guests who purchase the exclusive event vacation package will enjoy certain special benefits and reserved sections for the discussions and demonstrations.

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“A CELEBRATION OF HARRY POTTER” DISCUSSIONS AND DEMONSTRATIONS”

Discussions and Q&A sessions will be available featuring Harry Potter film talent and crew, with special demonstrations and discussions for kids. Admission into discussions and demonstrations will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Specific times will be released at a later date.

Behind the Scenes: Harry Potter Film Talent Discussion
Enjoy a fascinating and interactive Q&A session featuring some of your favorite actors from the Harry Potter films. Discover what it was like to work on the most successful film franchise in history.

Duelling Demonstration & Wand Combat Masterclass with Paul Harris
Pick up your wand and take part in a live duelling masterclass, hosted by Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, featuring the world’s only Wand Combat choreographer, Paul Harris. Paul choreographed the epic battle scenes in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and will be on hand to teach you the technique behind wielding a wand.

Creating The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Alan Gilmore, Art Director for the Harry Potter films, will explain how he and his team brought the world of Harry Potter to life from the fiction to the films, and eventually in the two lands of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort. In addition, hear firsthand from Universal Orlando’s Entertainment team how live shows in both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley were created, as well as some of the hidden “secrets” and innovative interactive elements contained within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Graphic Design for the Harry Potter Films with MinaLima
Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima, from the graphic design studio MinaLima, will share insights into their role as Graphic Prop Designers for more than a decade on the Harry Potter movies. They will discuss and show some of the iconic props they created for the Harry Potter films, including the Marauder’s Map, the Daily Prophet and The Quibbler, amongst others. Still immersed in all things Harry Potter, they will also talk about their recent involvement in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.

Illustration of Harry Potter with Kazu Kibuishi
Award-winning illustrator Kazu Kibuishi, who reimagined the Harry Potter book covers for Scholastic, will be drawing some of your favorite Harry Potter characters live on-stage in this interactive panel for all ages.

This year’s “A Celebration of Harry Potter” will also include kids’ discussions and interactive experiences such as a special duelling demonstration and wand combat masterclass with Paul Harris, an interactive ‘Dance Like a Beauxbatons and Battle Like a Durmstrang’ experience, as well as Harry Potter film trivia.


Top 5 MUST DO’s At Universal Orlando’s New Diagon Alley

Florida News - June 19, 2014

With the grand opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando Resort,  we thought that we would share our, not to be missed, Top 5 Must Dos At Diagon Alley:

5.  Have a Meal at The Leaky Cauldron

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Not only is the Leaky Cauldron an iconic location from the books/films, it’s a great place to share a meal with your muggle/wizard friends and family!  We strongly suggest the Guinness stew!

4.  Cast A Spell With Your Interactive Wand

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Located throughout Diagon Alley (and also now in Hogsmeade) you can cast your own spell at certain spots and the buildings and decorations will actually animate!  You can purchase your interactive wands at Ollivander’s Wand Shop which is a must do in itself!

3.  Spend Time in Weasleys Wizard Wheezes

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Fred and George Weasleys’ colourful shop offers a cornucopia of magical jokes, tricks and toys including Pygmy Puffs, U-No-Poo, Skiving Snackboxes, and more.  make sure you take time to look at all the details located within Weasleys’ – it’s remarkable!

2.  Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour 

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Are you a fan of Butterbeer?  if so, you will really enjoy the ice cream version.  You may also try any of the other incredible flavors of frozen perfection like clotted cream, earl grey and lavender, and even chocolate chili.  There are also more traditional flavors as well as some continental breakfast items.

1.  Harry Potter and  the Escape from Gringotts

Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts

Once you enter Gringotts bank (under the massive fire-breathing dragon) you meet with several of the Gringotts tellers who usher into the most breath-taking 3D ride we have ever been on.  It was incredible in the movie and even better at Universal Orlando Resort!

Honorable Mention – Ride The Hogwarts Express

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If you have a Park-to-Park admission ticket, you can pass through Platform 9 ¾ and board the Hogwarts Express from King’s Cross Station in London, located inside Universal Studios Florida theme park, and travel to Hogsmeade Station, located inside Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park (right next door to Universal Studios). Or you can ride the train in the other direction! It’s truly an amazing experience.

Those are our Top 5, we would love to hear yours!


Relive Harry Potter Films at Universal Orlando’s CityWalk AMC Cineplex

You’ve probably heard that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley is opening on July 8. And having spent time in this amazing new land, we can tell you that it is simply breathtaking…the iconic locations seen in the films have been replicated and expanded beyond what I could ever imagine.

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So if just thinking about Harry Potter or looking at all the images from Diagon Alley has you itching to go back and watch all the films, AMC Universal Cineplex 20 with IMAX at Universal CityWalk is showing all eight of the films on select dates through mid-July.

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Be there when Harry is chosen by his wand at Ollivanders, inadvertently turns up in Knockturn Alley for the first time or faces dark forces during the epic Battle of Hogwarts—all on the big screen. It’s a great way to get ready for your own adventure and experience the films that inspired The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Harry Potter Show Times & Dates:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Tuesday 7/1 – 1pm & 7pm
Wednesday 7/9 – 1pm & 7pm
Thursday 7/17 – 1pm & 7pm

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Wednesday 7/2 – 1pm & 7pm
Thursday 7/10 – 1pm & 7pm
Friday 7/18 – 1pm & 7pm

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Thursday 7/3 –1pm & 7pm
Friday 7/11 –1pm & 7pm
Saturday 7/19 –1pm & 7pm

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Friday 7/4 – 1pm & 7pm
Saturday 7/12 – 1pm & 7pm
Sunday 7/20 – 1pm & 7pm

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Friday 6/27 – 7pm
Saturday 7/5 – 1pm & 7pm
Sunday 7/13 – 1pm & 7pm
Monday 7/21 – 1pm & 7pm

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Saturday 6/28 – 1pm & 7pm
Sunday 7/6 – 1pm & 7pm
Monday 7/14 – 1pm & 7pm
Tuesday 7/22 – 1pm & 7pm

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Sunday 6/29 – 1pm & 7pm
Monday 7/7 – 1pm & 7pm
Tuesday 7/15 – 1pm & 7pm
Wednesday 7/23 – 1pm & 7pm

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Monday 6/30 – 1pm & 7pm
Tuesday 7/8 – 1pm & 7pm
Wednesday 7/16 – 1pm & 7pm
Thursday 7/24 – 1pm & 7pm


Universal Orlando Keeps Pace with New CityWalk Openings

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CityWalk, the nightlife entertainment area at Universal Orlando Resort, is in the midst of a partial 2014 makeover that is helping the attraction keep pace with the rush of new Universal guests expected for this summer’s openings of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Studios theme park, and the nearby 1,800-room Loews Cabana Bay Beach Resort on the Universal Orlando campus.

Tom Schroeder, the vice president of corporate communications for Universal Orlando Resorts, introduced some of the restaurateurs involved in the entertainment area’s new look at a CityWalk event during the recent media preview of the upcoming opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.

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CityWalk is the entrance to our resort and this year alone we are adding eight new venues,” said Schroeder. Among the new additions is Antojitos, a newly-opened Mexican restaurant that replaced the previous Latin Quarter. The restaurant, with the friendliest staff we encountered during our days at Universal, turned into a winning margarita-and-taco bar Cinco de Mayo-style fiesta during a brief media visit that we were reluctant to end. Already established at CityWalk is Red Box Pizza, which is located close to the CityWalk movie complex. Another is the Hot Dog Hall of Fame, soon to open on a site that was formerly the Galaxy Bar.

A third new restaurant is Vivo, a lively and upscale Italian restaurant that has already taken over the location of the former Pastamore Restaurant. A popular yogurt bar called Menchies is the place to create your own yogurt dessert, an attraction that replaced a former TCBY yogurt store. Opening soon is a unique dining concept called Cowfish, a “sushi burger bar” that has established its name in North Carolina as the place where diners can order sushi or burgers or a popular combination of both from the “Burgushi” menu. Yet another new concept is the Bread Box, a new take on the old neighborhood sandwich deli that replaces the former Cigarz cigar bar.

Steve Schussler, the culinary creator of Hot Dog Hall of Fame, said his outdoor hot dog stand, featuring baseball stadium style seating, will offer nine different hot dogs, 12 types of mustard and five kinds of buns for “best hot dog experience you have ever had.” Preview guests munched on Coney Island dogs, Chicago dogs, Boston dogs and several others that will soon be seen all over the CityWalk plaza. No opening date, however, was announced for the Hot Dog Hall of Fame.

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Guests Want “Authenticity”

Ric Florell, the senior vice president and general manager of resort revenue operations at Universal Orlando Resort, explained the thinking behind the changes at CityWalk. “At CityWalk we needed more focus on what guests wanted,” he said. “The Latin Quarter, for example, was successful but guests were telling us that instead of a Pan-Latin American concept an authentic Mexican Restaurant would be the next step up. Authenticity is very important to our guests.”

Florell noted that Red Box Pizza has already gained popularity for the specially imported Italian tomatoes and flour that have become signature ingredients of the pies on the menu. As for Cowfish, Florell described Universal’s excitement at discovering the hottest new food concept in North Carolina, a restaurant that eliminates the conflict between family members who want a traditional burger menu and those who want more diet-friendly sushi fish items.

“We are taking advantage of new things opening in our parks,” said Florell, noting that he is also responsible for the new Leaky Cauldron Restaurant in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, with its contemporary take on traditional British pub items including Ploughman’s Lunch, Fisherman’s Pie, Bangers & Mash, Fish ‘n Chips, Sticky Toffee Pudding and English Trifles.

“I’m surprised I don’t weigh 800 pounds,” said Florell with a laugh. “We are dedicated to all-natural ingredients and new food concepts are showing up in my office every day.”

Universal management promised that many of those new and “authentic” food concepts will be appearing at Universal CityWalk as the Universal Orlando Resort continues to grow in the months and years ahead.


Universal Announces Grand Opening of Diagon Alley

diagon-announcment Start planning your summer now because soon you’ll be able to experience more of Harry Potter’s adventures than ever before! Find out what awaits inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando Resort, including your chance to ride the Hogwarts Express! Don’t miss the LIVE WEBINARS from Universal Orlando Resort where you can get sneak peeks of the new Diagon Alley!  Click To Find Out More


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