MONEY Tourism

Diagon Alley vs. Legal Pot: How Their Big Opening Days Match Up

A dragon breathes fire above The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley during a media preview
A dragon breathes fire above The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley during a media preview at the Universal Orlando. David Manning—Reuters

A new theme park area in Orlando and marijuana stores in Washington state both opened for business for the first time on Tuesday.

And that, perhaps surprisingly, is not the only thing they have in common. Here’s how the two opening days match up:

BACK STORY
Diagon Alley: Followup to very successful launch of Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park
WA Pot Shops: Followup to very successful launch of recreational marijuana sales in Colorado

IMPRESSIVE STATISTICS
Diagon Alley: Universal Studios says Diagon Alley will double the size of its Wizarding World theme park area
WA Pot Shops: Washington says it will collect $190 million in pot-related taxes and fees over the next four years

OPENING DAY WAIT TIME
Diagon Alley: Up to 300 minutes (a.k.a. five hours) for visitors to get inside the park on Tuesday
WA Pot Shops: Up to one day—at least a couple people waited in line overnight outside pot shops anticipating a Tuesday opening

RANGE OF PRICES
Diagon Alley: $96 to $136 per adult
WA Pot Shops: $12 to $25 per gram

CORE DEMOGRAPHIC
Diagon Alley: Anti-authoritarian fans of magic and fantasy
WA Pot Shops: Pretty much the same

PERSON YOU MOST WANT TO AVOID
Diagon Alley: Know-it-all spewing theories about stuff like the pros and cons of Half-Blood Prince vs. Order of the Phoenix
WA Pot Shops: Know-it-all spewing theories about stuff like the pros and cons of Cannalope Haze vs. Jamaican Lion

THING THAT WILL FREAK YOU OUT
Diagon Alley: Creepy animatronic goblins staring at you on Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride
WA Pot Shops: Creepy alive goblin-like customers staring at you—or at something—in front of the pot counter

RESTRICTIONS
Diagon Alley: Minimum height of 4 feet to ride Gringotts alone
WA Pot Shops: Minimum age of 21 to purchase marijuana

WARNINGS
Diagon Alley: Many rides not recommended for women who are pregnant and people prone to nausea
WA Pot Shops: Pretty much the same

MOST MEMORABLE THRILL
Diagon Alley: Trip on the Hogwarts Express
WA Pot Shops: Trip on edible marijuana snacks like those “enjoyed” by Maureen Dowd

WHAT’S SMOKING
Diagon Alley: Fire-breathing dragon atop the Gringotts ride
WA Pot Shops: Pretty much everybody

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