My Harry Potter Addiction: Diagon Alley Grand Opening 2014 (Part 2)

It’s been one whole week since one of the most adrenaline-filled, exciting, and rewarding experiences of my life; I attended the Universal Orlando Diagon Alley Grand Opening on Tuesday, July 8th.   Relive this amazing day with me as I count down my Sweet 16 favorite moments of grand opening day!

16.  Getting a good night’s rest in the cute sock-hop era themed Cabana Bay Resort on the Universal Orlando Resort property20140714-205355-75235400.jpg

15.  Selecting just the right outrageous outfit to display my Potter spirit on grand opening day


14.  Getting awesome shots of the London waterfront at dawn


13.  Getting my commemorative Diagon Alley 2014 pin

12.  Socializing with other Potter fans  in line at 3:30 in the morning!

11.  Sprinting through the entrance gates at 6 AM trying to get into the first queue

10.  Resting up against the Knight Bus listening to the Shrunken Head snore as the sun comes up, as I wait for the ceremony to begin

9.  Finding a surprise wizard-selfie on my phone

8.  Riding on Sirius’ motor bike with my buddy riding shot-gun in the side car

7.  Feeding the dragon Butter Beer Ice Cream


Outdoorsy Diva and Thempark Hipster joint effort selfie to feed the dragon Butter Beer

6.  Singing along with Celestina Warbeck, the witch who’s always on pitch, and The Banshees!   It’s truly a phenomenal show.  Come on soundtrack!!!

5.  Watching the grand opening fireworks explode above London and the Knight Bus

4.  Having a tasty lunch in the Leaky Cauldron and being greeted by the team members as an old friend because I had already been there quite a few times during the preview period.  What can I say?  The food is yummy and there are so many different things to try!

3.  Sprinting through the magical brick wall entrance into Diagon Alley and capturing the sheer look of joy on my friend’s face as she sees it for the very first time.

2.  Running down the red carpet hi-fiving the Diagon Alley Team Members as the confetti falls all around us!


1.  Hands down my Number One thrill of the day was going through the single rider line and going straight onto the Escape from Gringotts ride!   We were one of the very first cars to get underway which is extremely fortunate considering the extreme wait times for this ride.   It isn’t like anything I’ve ever experienced before.  We dropped, turned, and spun!  With He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named hot on our trail, my heart was racing as I tried to anticipate what was going to happen next.  It was impossible to predict and extremely thrilling!   I cannot wait to ride it again.

To make the day extra special, we were interviewed shortly after the ride by the Orlando Sentinel and our quotes and thoughts on the day were cited in the Tampa Tribune on the front page, the tbt*, and several other online media outlets.  I also gave my very first radio interview on WMFE Orlando NPR which was a really cool experience.  See press for links.

Check out my guest post on our favorite magical things to do over on the Central Florida Slug Club blog!

Please Read

After reading about the tragic story of Cassidy Stay, the young girl who is the sole survivor after the murder of her entire family, I was moved to hear her quoting my favorite Harry Potter quote at a memorial service.  “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.” (Prisoner of Azkaban)   My fellow members of Central Florida Slug Club and Portkey to Magic (local Harry Potter clubs) are collecting items to donate to Cassidy in effort to show her the love and support of fellow Harry Potter fans like her via the efforts of the Houston Harry Potter Meetup Group.   If  you too are a Harry Potter fan who lives locally in the Tampa Area and you would like to donate  items preferably HP related to Cassidy’s care package you can reach out to me directly and I will coordinate including your items with ours.      I would need to have the items by July 25th.   You can email me directly at

If you do not live locally but would still like to send her something you can mail to the following address, deadline is August 1:  HHPMUG, Attn: Headmistress, 14991 Usher Ln Splendora, TX 77372

Anyone else who is touched and moved by her story and would prefer to make a monetary donation may donate to a trust fund set up in the name of her family here:

Donate to Stay Family Fund


Lauren G., Outdoorsy Diva 

All pictures and accounts are the sole property of Lauren Gay unless otherwise indicated.  Copyright 2014

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  • Reply
    Jeyna Grace
    July 14, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    Awesome shorts! I could use one.

    • Reply
      July 15, 2014 at 7:42 am

      Thx Jeyna! I bought them in the Quidditch store when I went to the preview.

  • Reply
    Nichole C
    July 15, 2014 at 11:10 am

    Looks like SO much fun!! I am so excited to go this Fall!!

    • Reply
      July 15, 2014 at 3:26 pm

      Nichole it will not disappoint! I can’t wait to hear about your experience when you go.

  • Reply
    July 15, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    And the audience gives a thunderous applause!!! The pics made me feel like I was back there again! Thanks for the amazing post.

    • Reply
      July 15, 2014 at 3:26 pm

      Thanks so much NikkyJ! It was so fun to experience that with you.

  • Reply
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    July 18, 2014 at 11:49 am

    […] Stay tuned for Part 2 of my magical adventure when I recap the experience of Diagon Alley Grand Opening day! […]

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