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A Complete Survival Guide to Diagon Alley at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

July 16, 2014 at 4:10 PM | by | Comments (0)

Magic is seriously in the air this month, as we've been in Orlando for an early preview of the newest addition to Universal Orlando: Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Last week was the official Grand Opening, but here you'll find all the juiciest tips for enjoying the most exciting amusement park debut of the year.

Thinking of heading to the new Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter park at Universal Studios Orlando? You better be ready to sweat, wait in long lines, and yet enjoy it all along. But still, it's a good idea to do your homework for something like this, which will see record visitors for the next few months (at least!) and which will try your spending power to the max.

Jaunted's Quick and Dirty Survival Guide for Diagon Alley:

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75 Original Photos of Diagon Alley and the Hogwarts Express, at Universal Orlando

July 9, 2014 at 12:35 PM | by | Comments (0)

Magic is seriously in the air this month, as we've been in Orlando for an early preview of the newest addition to Universal Orlando: Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Yesterday was the official Grand Opening, but here you'll find all the juicy photos of the most exciting amusement park debut of the year.

Seven hours was the average wait time to experience all Universal Orlando's new park had to offer yesterday, during The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley's Grand Opening. That's actually not much of a surprise considering the wait was closer to 8 hours during the 2010 debut of the sister park, Hogsmeade, which now joins Diagon Alley to form a Potter powerhouse of experiences, shopping, rides, and refreshment at Universal Orlando and Islands of Adventure.

Don't let the 7 hours intimidate, however; that's just first day frenzy. Although what Universal has created with Diagon Alley is a stupefyingly tremendous world straight from the JK Rowling novels and resulting films which everyone should see, waits for the Gringotts ride and more should settle to a manageable 2 hours-ish as the summer progresses.

What you won't have to wait for are photos of the new park, as we've got full, original photo galleries of over 75 images from our own visit. Enjoy:

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How Universal Orlando's New Diagon Alley Gets It Very, Very Right

July 1, 2014 at 9:48 AM | by | Comments (0)

Magic is seriously in the air this month, as we've been in Orlando for an early preview of the newest addition to Universal Orlando: Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This weekend saw the soft-opening, but here you'll find all the juicy details of the most exciting amusement park debut of the year.

Diagon Alley has been described as 9 new shops and 1 new ride. While that's true in the most bare-bones sense, a visit to Diagon Alley reveals that it's an immersive world unto itself, where no detail is too small and from which no visitor will leave without some degree of awe.

In fact, we think Diagon Alley improves upon the original 2010 Hogsmeade portion of The Wizarding World, as one would hope after having four years to tweak and test. Here's why:

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The Six Awesomest Details of Universal Studios' Brand New Diagon Alley

June 23, 2014 at 5:51 PM | by | Comments (0)

Magic is seriously in the air this week, as we're in Orlando for an earlier preview of the newest addition to Universal Orlando: Diagon Alley at The WIzarding World of Harry Potter. Stay tuned as we get sunburned while slaking our thirst with Butterbeer, and all the juicy details of the most exciting amusement park debut of the year.

Perhaps you've heard rumors about interactive wands and a fire-breathing dragon. It's true—both of these wonders are found in Diagon Alley, but they're not what caused us to gasp in awe this week, during early previews of this new area of the theme park. Here's what did:

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Finally! Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando's Wizarding World of Harry Potter Announces Opening Date

June 18, 2014 at 10:47 AM | by | Comments (0)

Magic is seriously in the air this week, as we're in Orlando for an earlier preview of the newest addition to Universal Orlando: Diagon Alley at The WIzarding World of Harry Potter. Stay tuned as we get sunburned while slaking our thirst with Butterbeer, and all the juicy details of the most exciting amusement park debut of the year.

July 8. That's the date heard 'round Florida, nay the world, as Universal Studios Orlando announced it this morning as the public grand opening of the new Diagon Alley at The WIzarding World of Harry Potter, part of UO's Islands of Adventure theme park.

Four years ago when The Wizarding World first debuted the Hogsmeade portion, eager fans of the Harry Potter series happily waited in lines up to 8 hours long in order to be among the first inside Ollivander's Wand Shop, Honeyduke's Sweets, The Owl Post and, of course, first to experience rides like the Dragon Challenge roller coaster and the "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" cinematic journey through Hogwarts.

Now, Diagon Alley promises to double the size of "Harry Potter-land" with new rides, new shops, new eateries, and a freaking Hogwarts Express train to traverse the distance between Hogsmeade (Scotland) and Diagon Alley (London).

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Geronimo! The Most Scenic Skydiving Destinations in the United States

June 16, 2014 at 10:37 AM | by | Comments (0)

Since the physical rush of skydiving is bound to occur regardless of your location, the components of a good skydiving destination are found more in the surroundings than in the act of jumping itself. Aka, the scenery.

Why jump out of a perfectly good plane? One answer is the view. After the first ten seconds of freefall, everything begins to calm down as you reach terminal velocity. Suddenly, it doesn't feel like you're falling - it feels like you're floating in a wind tunnel. Aided by your guide who will point out major landmarks, the perspective and outlook over the landscape below is absolutely amazing. Once the parachute is open and you gently descend back to earth, the ground gets closer and the scenery begins to engulf you, a calm complement to the rush of the plunge.

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The World's Tallest Roller Coaster is on Its Way to Orlando

June 9, 2014 at 11:07 AM | by | Comments (0)

The world’s tallest roller coaster is on its way to the United States, and it will call Orlando home; however, it’s not scheduled to arrive at one of the Disney parks nor one of the offerings from the folks over at Universal Studios.

The plan is to bring the thing to a portion of International Drive, and it will make its debut—fingers crossed—at some point in 2016. The new behemoth of a roller coaster will be known as Skyscraper, and it’s going to call some kind of $200 million entertainment complex home. They’re going to call the whole darn thing SkyPlex, and it will be at the intersection of International Drive and Sand Lake Road.

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After Hours Attractions Arrive at Walt Disney World Just in Time for Summer

May 14, 2014 at 10:58 AM | by | Comment (1)

There’s more spots to spend those Disney dollars this season, as the theme parks in Florida are adding a couple new nighttime additions to the menu. That’s assuming that the usual opening hours aren’t enough for you, and that you haven’t returned to your hotel exhausted from the lines, the crowds, the children, and the fanny packs.

Over at Epcot they’re introducing something called Epcot After Hours Wind Down where visitors can enjoy a little extra fun after the park closes at around 9pm. Those willing to pay up $35 per person can enjoy wine pairings and tapas tastings across one of four of the different themed restaurants. This is in addition to your usual theme park admission, but it’s still not a bad idea—especially considering that booze is included.

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More $1 Bus Rides to Florida with Megabus' New Routes

May 14, 2014 at 9:26 AM | by | Comments (0)

Fans of Florida now have more options for getting into and out of the state, and we’re not talking about bumming a ride from Grandma and Grandpa. Megabus, the budget bus company who've been driving around Florida and the rest of the country for a few years now, is expanding their Sunshine State routes.

Orlando is getting the bulk of the new options, with buses to Miami, Tallahassee, and Tampa. If those destinations aren’t where you need to be—no problem—as Orlando also does the Megabus thing to places like Gainesville and Jacksonville, as well as Atlanta.

As is usually the case with Megabus, there's cheap $1 fares can be had, but they do require a little bit of planning and advance reservations. So if you’re looking to head from Orlando to New Orleans—yet another new option—check things out and get to booking it sooner rather than later.

[Photo: holl7510]

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New Airline Alert: 747s as Flying Billboards with Avatar Airways

April 23, 2014 at 8:20 AM | by | Comments (3)

We’ll go ahead and admit we have our doubts about Avatar Airlines. There’s been a few articles here and there as well as a couple of press releases, as this new carrier attempts to share their vision and create a little buzz ahead of what is, hopefully, their first flights.

As is usually the case when a new airline tries to enter the market, there’s little detail about the larger plan with Avatar Airlines. They’re setting up shop in South Florida, and they plan to exclusively utilize Boeing 747s to operate domestic flights. That should make for a nice novelty, as jumbo jets rarely run routes that stay in the States these days.

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First Time on a Jet Ski? Here's What You Should Know

March 27, 2014 at 12:21 PM | by | Comments (0)

This horrible, extended winter may have you daydreaming of a vacation to somewhere warm, sunny, and surrounded by blue waters. Just about every recreational body of water will have at least one business offering personal watercraft rentals and, as such, it's important to be familiar with the basics before turning the key on something like a jet ski.

Jet Skis are a highly maneuverable form of personal watercraft that can easily reach speeds of 65 mph, so they do not come without their risks. Recently, while staying at Waldorf-Astoria's Casa Marina Resort in Key West, we zipped out on some jet skis to hop waves and review skills. Here's what you need to know:

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Five Great Dive Bars Between the Florida Keys and Miami

March 21, 2014 at 12:31 PM | by | Comments (0)

Dive bars are a place you can go without needing to dress up and drench yourself in cologne. Each has its own character which makes the casual wanderer-in want to be him/herself. While in the Keys recently, we found a few such dive bars worth mentioning.

· Green Parrot Bar - 601 Whitehead St. Key West - Open Daily 10am - 4am
This dive bar is a long time favorite among locals and tourists. Formerly called The Brown Derby Bar during WWII, it was a favorite among the submariners and sailers stationed a few blocks away. Now called Green Parrot bar, some of the retired sailers still come back to the bar to find it virtually unchanged. I’m sure it can get very busy during the summer but the bartenders are quick and knowledgable so you won’t be waiting for your drink for too long.

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