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It's not Thanksgiving without a new installment of the Harry Potter movies and this year is no exception. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I zaps into theaters on November 19. It's bittersweet knowing we’ll be entering Hogwarts for the last time, so we love that the final installment of Harry's story will be doled out to happy fans in two parts - Part II is scheduled to be released on July 15, 2011. Watching Harry and Ron and Hermione grow up before our eyes is a treasure our generation of kids has enjoyed, and one of the great joys of seeing a beloved book become a movie is seeing all the details that we could only imagine before. If you’ve read every one of the Harry Potter books, as we have, you’ve got your own images of the story in your mind, and going to the movies is a chance to see how each one matches up to the books. When author J.K. Rowling visited the set of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the very first time, she was thrilled with the authenticity of the way everything looked. She even asked to spend a day by herself on the set of Diagon Alley, because it looked exactly the way she had imagined it.
In anticipation of the film's release, we thought we’d get a step closer to Hogwarts itself by visiting Whimsic Alley, a delightful store on Wilshire Boulevard that sells all things Potter. Its name a pun like the Diagon Alley we all know from the Harry Potter books, Whimsic Alley is home to several smaller shops, including Habber and Dasher, where we tried on Hogwarts school robes and cardigans; and Phoenix Wands, where we’re pretty convinced we got a couple of spells to work using the beautiful hand-carved wands. We also loved trying to write with the beautiful feather quills, looking at the cover art of the Harry Potter books in foreign languages, and checking out all the new Harry goodies fresh from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando. We were lucky to be there for Tea Time in Whimsic Alley’s Great Hall, an enormous room complete with candles floating from the ceiling and four tables decorated in the colors of the Hogwarts houses. (When we were there, no one was sitting at the Slytherin table -- I wonder why?!) The hosts for the tea certainly knew their Harry Potter trivia! We left Whimsic Alley with our imaginations tingled, and our very own Time Turner necklace, ready to turn it backward so we could spend more hours in the world of Harry Potter.
Our Buttery Bits of Wisdom about all things Potter:
Visiting Whimsic Alley
Whimsic Alley 5464 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036
(3 blocks east of La Brea Blvd.)
Parking on the street, but watch for restrictions.
Age Recommendations: 7 and up
Time Requirements: 1 hour to visit the store, 3 hours if having tea in the Great Hall.
Our Tips for Extending this Adventure: