New Harry Potter park: 5 first impressions

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Universal Orlando Resort opened its new, richly detailed Harry Potter-themed area for a media preview Wednesday night.

The new park zone is called The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley. It will delight fans of the book and movie series with a marquee ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.

Diagon Alley is also heavy on experiential retail, with stores so entertaining and visually stimulating that you almost forget you're shopping.

The attraction doubles the size of the Harry Potter footprint at Universal. Diagon Alley opens to the public July 8 at Universal Studios. A train called the Hogwarts Express connects the new area to the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction, which opened in 2010 on the other side of the park at Universal's Islands of Adventure.