When Harry Potter fans heard that Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter was expanding, there were parties in the street. You know, metaphorically. After all, the fact that we mere Muggles can attend the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was amazing enough and we probably would have been content with that until the end of days. To hear that Universal was going to add Diagon Alley to the Islands of Adventure was like telling us that J.K. Rowling was writing an eighth Harry Potter book. It was like telling us that our favorite characters didn't die before or during the Final Battle. It was like telling us that we were finally receiving our Hogwarts acceptance letters. It was more than we could have dreamed for, basically, and from the Diagon Alley Preview that was on the TODAY show Wednesday morning, the park is going to be magical.
First of all, can we start with the fact that they had Fred and George Weasley — aka James and Oliver Phelps — introduce the Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes shop in Diagon Alley? Did you cry? I cried. As everyone who read the books knows, and spoiler alert if you didn't, Fred dies during the final battle and George took over running the shop all by himself because J.K. Rowling is a killer of joy. Seeing them both together again in front of the shop they dropped out of school in the fifth book to found will make everyone tear up right away.
Second of all, Universal revealed Tuesday afternoon that they're going to add interactive wands to the park. These wands will allow you to cast "real" spells in Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley that will make special things occur. For this demonstration, they had Bonnie Wright, better known as Ginny Weasley, join Fred and George in showing the wands off because Hermione Granger might be the smartest witch of her age but Ginny Weasley probably has her beat for raw power.
All around the park, there will be a special medallions on the ground with the shape and name of the spell written on it. If you stand on the medallion and say the name of the spell while giving it the old swish-and-flick, the spell will work — something that will surely delight children and children at heart everywhere. I was delighted just looking at the picture.
If you're not sobbing and crying and clearing your summer schedule yet, then you're hiding your emotions really, really well. The more we learn about the new Diagon Alley set, the more excited I get. At 24 years old, I've already had to accept that my Hogwarts letter really and truly isn't coming, but just knowing that the wizarding world is just a plane ride away is like a balm on my wounded feelings. Besides, at least now I'm old enough to grab a butterbeer at the Leaky Cauldron.
Watch the TODAY show preview below and start practicing your Expelliarmus. Diagon Alley opens July 8th.