Nerds and muggles rejoice! Amidst this week's media blitz hyping its second Harry Potter land, Universal Orlando Resort announced Wednesday that the much-anticipated Diagon Alley will officially open to the dizzied masses on July 8. No word on whether there will be a soft opening for especially excitable fans, but there are vacation packages that start as soon as June 29 that are promising a look at the new digs. We're sensing that Diagon Alley — a tricked-out village that includes shops, fire-breathing dragons and a new thrill ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts — will be somewhat popular, especially since Universal's first Potter installment, which includes the Hogsmeade village and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, helped the park set new attendance records. Diagon Alley will open in Universal Studios and will connect to the first Potter park, in Universal's Islands of Adventure, via a fully operational Hogwarts Express train.
Click here to follow Times staffers Sean Daly, Sharon Kennedy Wynne and Eve Edelheit — plus check out @thingstodotampa on Twitter and @tampabaytimes on Instagram — for all the latest snapshots and updates from this week's Diagon Alley press hullabaloo.