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Diagon Alley event, day 2: Special Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure tours

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Day two of the Diagon Alley preview event at Universal Studios Florida kicked off with a major announcement. As I reported in this article, the date was revealed at July 8.

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However, the "State of the Universe" where that date was announced was actually just one small part of a busy morning and afternoon. Evening is reserved for my first peek at Diagon Alley, but first we all head off on VIP tours of the two parks, Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure.

I've been on the regular VIP tours before, and they're real time savers, especially when you book them in the summer. How else can you get right to the front of the line, so matter how busy the park is and how many people are waiting for standby access, or even express.

I was happy to participate in what I thought was just one of those tours, but it turned out to be something completely different. In addition to hopping right on several rides, like Transformers, we had some special media moments that involved meeting may special guests, as well as sampling some Moe's Tavern libations. We also met some favorite characters and had interview opportunities. The videos are coming soon, but meanwhile, enjoy this sideshow of scenes from today's early adventures.

Of course the big fun comes tonight in the form of getting my various first look at Diagon Alley. I can't wait to try out the Gringotts ride and the Hogwarts Express. Follow me via @themeparkwriter for updates, and check my Examiner column for more articles about this incredible unveiling.

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