HELP US KEEP REPORTING. DONATE TO ORLANDO WEEKLY PRESS CLUB.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Universal Orlando Diagon Alley Preview Day 2: Today Show and Universal Studios Florida

Posted By on Wed, Jun 18, 2014 at 4:31 PM

click to enlarge Waiting my turn outside Diagon Alley to talk to the Today Show co-hosts. (photos by Seth Kubersky)
  • Waiting my turn outside Diagon Alley to talk to the Today Show co-hosts. (photos by Seth Kubersky)

Waiting my turn outside Diagon Alley to talk to the Today Show co-hosts. (photos by Seth Kubersky)

As you may have already heard, the Today Show has announced July 8 as the official opening date for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter -- Diagon Alley at Univeral Orlando. Most of the media won't see the inside of the new attraction until tonight's red carpet VIP party, but early this morning I was invited through Diagon Alley's magical wall to interview the Today Show co-hosts before their 9 a.m. broadcast.

I met Al Roker (who is surpisingly petite in person) and Tamron Hall, and spoke with Willie Geist and Natalie Morales about their impressions of the new Harry Potter land. (Kathie Lee and Hoda weren't there because "they found out Butterbeer was non-alcoholic.") I'll publish excerpts from our interview soon, but it was frankly hard to focus on the television personalities while inside the overwhelming Diagon Alley environment, which outdoes the already-impressive concept art in its immersive detail.

After our interview, I attended a "State of the Universe" press conference with Universal Orlando President Bill Davis and attraction designer Thierry Coup. Other than the aforementioned July 8 opening date, no new information was revealed about Universal's future, though we were told upcoming plans would be revealed in the coming months.

click to enlarge Potter film stars at the "State of the Universe" press conference.
  • Potter film stars at the "State of the Universe" press conference.

Potter film stars at the "State of the Universe" press conference.

 

Finally, I took a VIP tour of Universal Studios Florida, which featured a feast inside Moe's Taven (Duff beer for brunch!) and an opportunity to speak with executive producer Mike West, who discussed details of the park's popular Simpsons attractions.

click to enlarge moes1jpg

click to enlarge krustyjpg

Here's a video of our conversation with Mike West:

Follow me on Twitter at @skubersky tonight for live reports from the Diagon Alley red carpet event, and (hopefully) my first reviews of the anticipated Hogwarts Express and Escape from Gringotts rides.

Tags: , , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 21, 2020

View more issues

Calendar

© 2020 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation