Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Part II: The Shops

Friday, August 13, 2010 - 
Though our excitement was overwhelming for the Forbidden Journey, there was still so much to see and do.  A whole section of Islands of Adventure is dedicated to Harry Potter - and the detail is impeccable.  It feels so real, like you a character walking around the movie.  Every time I watch a movie, I always think how I would love to be there - and this is as close as you could get. A whole different world - completely immersed in the magical world of Harry - and you could be a wizard.  Extremely different from the other parts of the park - utterly amazing!

Before I begin - I encouraged my dear friend MM to read all the books (and I wanted her to watch the movies as well) before we got there.  If you go to this park and are not a HP fan, at least watch the movies.  You will appreciate the details and overall excitement SO much more!  Even as a HUGE Disney fan, I wouldn't doubt that Disney isn't looking at this and thinking "wow" because it really is amazing.  And if you have any previous knowledge, you'll appreciate it that much more!
As mentioned in my previous post, after you enter Hogsmeade, you immediately see the Hogwarts Express, billowing smoke.  Great photo opporutnity for sure!  And of course, Harry Potter soundtrack music is playing

The windows in Hogsmeade into "shops" are fantastic.  There are a variety of fronts, ranging from a music shop to a cauldron.  So much detail, I can't imagine the upkeep that the staff will have to do to ensure it is all clean. Here are just a few of the wonderful fronts!
Hermoine's dress from the ball
Two of the shops that you can enter are Zonkos Joke Shop & Honeydukes.  Technically, they are one shop which you can walk between once in side.  Beginning with Zonkos, the windows had some great displays - 
Hilarious - LOVE it!

Overall, the entire decor was a red theme with fun items on the wall, just things you could see that the Weasley brothers would say or represent. 
Many of the items you would imagine to be in Weasley's shop (the brother's joke shop) as well as items you may recognize, including a Skethoscope!  The items just repeated over and over in the store, but there were many items for you to choose from.
Honeydukes - the candy store!  There great windows on this store front, decorated with pink and green.  There is a window with a large chocolate frog, and if that doesn't make you want to buy a $10 chocolate frog of your own, I don't know what will!

Lots of chocolate, great packaging, and a wizarding card.  I did purchase one, but my chocolate frog melted before we even got back to the hotel.  Disappointing?  Absolutely - I wanted to see how it looked!  
But the card I received was Ravenclaw - kind of perfect considering that is the House I think I would be sorted into.  Other items do include Bernie Bott's Every Flavor Beans (small box for $10) and other bulk candy items.
It was so crowded, I had a tough time seeing everything!

Next up - Ollivanders! Random detail to point out, I believe this shop is supposed to be an extention of Ollivanders.  I say this, because like all HP fans, we know the wand shop is located in Diagon Alley, not Hogsmeade.  Small detail, but couldn't be happier that it was included
This is the longest line we waited in - to see the presentation of a wand to one lucky boy or girl (out of approximately 30 - which is about the number they can fit in the showroom.)  The room is amazing, just rows and rows of wands, very similar to what I imagined in the book, and was reinforced in the movies.

It was a great show - the excited child stepped forward and the wizard tried out a few different wands.  Of course, the first few weren't the right fit, and the wizard had to help step in to correct the 'mishaps' that had occurred.  All in all, the show only took a few minutes, but was well worth the wait.
Once the right fit was found - we were all escorted into the Owl Post, where you can send postcards from Hogwarts or purchase your wand.  And trust me, there are many characters wands to choose from!  Plus, they have birthday wands!  In the rafters, owls perch themselves and parcels wait to be picked up!.
It was extremely busy, you could barely move!  Groups from the show kept being escorted in, but people weren't leaving at the same rate.  You could barely move, let alone see everything you wanted to see.  Once you make your way through the madhouse, you enter Dervish and Bangles, another store.
 Inside, you can purchase all types of Quidditch items (including a Snitch or broomstick!) as well robes, keychains, etc.  There were so many items, but this one is my favorite - and no, it is not for sale.
Book of Monsters!
The other shop is Filche's Emporium of Confiscated Goods, which is the store you end up in after riding the Forbidden Journy.  Same thing, lots of souveniers, ranging from scarves to t-shirts, etc.

Next up, I'll recap the other two rides in the WWofHP as well as Three Broomsticks!