The opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter saw attendance at Islands of Adventure rise by as much as 36% in 2010. According to Jason Garcia of the Orlando Sentinel, this saw resort executives pondering "when to expand Wizarding World and how to keep business balanced between Islands and Universal Studios Florida". In April 2011, Brady MacDonald of the Los Angeles Times speculated that an expansion of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter would see attractions such as Diagon Alley and a Gringotts-themed dark ride replace Islands of Adventure's Lost Continent themed area.
Demolition of the Jaws ride and the surrounding Amity (March 2012)On December 6, 2011, Universal Parks & Resorts announced that
they would be expanding The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The expansion was described as "significant" by officials; however, no further details were released at the time. The announcement came just four days after Universal Studios Florida announced that they would be closing their Jaws ride on January 2, 2012. On January 25, 2012, the Los Angeles Times stated that Universal Studios Florida's Jaws ride would be the site of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion. The aforementioned attractions would be complemented by a replica of the Hogwarts Express to transit guests between the two parks. Demolition of the Jaws ride and the surrounding Amity area began almost immediately after its closure. After the site was levelled, work began on land reclamation as well as the construction of a series of buildings including a large show building.Further details about the expansion of The Wizarding World of Harry
Potter were announced on May 8, 2013. Officials confirmed that the expansion would predominantly be set in the adjacent Universal Studios Florida theme park and would feature attractions themed after Diagon Alley and London. The rumored Hogwarts Express connection between the two parks was also confirmed. Officials stated the expansion should open in 2014.
On January 23, 2014, officials announced the name of the flagship attraction would be Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. They also indicated that a 2-park pass would be necessary to ride the Hogwarts Express, which is set to connect Universal Studios Florida with the existing Harry Potter attraction at Universal's Islands of Adventure.
The official opening date of the Diagon Alley phase was announced at an exclusive and private press conference on June 17, 2014 for July 8, 2014. On June 18, 2014, the Diagon Alley red carpet premiere took place with Domhnall Gleeson, Bonnie Wright, Evanna Lynch, Matthew Lewis, James and Oliver Phelps, Tom Felton, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis and Helena Bonham Carter attending. New photos of Diagon Alley were later released the same night and the official opening date was publicly announced by Universal Orlando president Bill Davis. King's Cross station opened on July 1, 2014 as well as the Hogwarts Express Hogsmeade Station at Islands of Adventure and soft openings of Diagon Alley began on July 3, 2014. Diagon Alley officially opened on July 8, 2014.