Hang onto your (pointy wizard) hats, Muggles! The eagerly awaited expansion of Universal Orlando's Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens to the public on July 8.
Among the new attractions: a fully decked out Diagon Alley with magical shops, a Leaky Cauldron pub and Gringotts Bank, where visitors can enjoy a thrill ride based on Harry, Hermione and Ron's madcap escape via dragon. Toss back a butter beer, don a wizard robe and don't forget to buy an interactive wand, so you can make frogs ribbit, armor repair itself and lights flicker to life. Lumos!
The original Wizarding World, which includes Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and the charming village of Hogsmeade, opened in 2010 in Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park. But the new attraction lies in the Universal Studios theme park, necessitating a ride aboard the Hogwarts Express -- the park's second new ride -- and a park hopper pass, which will set you back $136, versus $96 for entry to just one of the parks.
If a steamy sojourn in Florida at the height of summer doesn't appeal, there's always winter break -- or you can wait until 2016, when a Wizarding World opens at Hollywood's Universal Studios.