You’d think I would have traveled by the Floo network to visit Whimsic Alley, a Harry Potter fan’s dream store. Alas, I just parked at the first available meter. I’ll work on apparating for next time.
Though many think that Whimsic Alley is just an online retailer, it is so much more. Their enchanting retail location is nestled among the museums and stores of the Miracle Mile area in Los Angeles. An actual size Dobby looks out at you from a large window display. You see witch and wizard robes, books, candy, and a mandrake among other decorations in the storefront. There was already a lot to look at before I even entered. I was excited to go in, but not before I carefully examined everything in the windows. By the time I finished, I was practically bouncing up and down with joy. I walked through the front door and squeaked. Or maybe it was a squee. I’m sure I’m not the first person to have this reaction.
You walk into an alley. Cozy shops line either side. Wizard mannequins (they wouldn’t use Muggle ones!) model Quidditch attire and house robes. Glowing lanterns lead the way. Just like that, you are immersed into the wizarding world of Harry Potter. Go ahead and pretend you’re shopping for supplies for your first year at Hogwarts.
They have robes, hats, school uniforms, spell books, quills, and wands. Take your time wandering through each shop along Whimsic Alley. Though you can fill up your school trunk faster than a Golden Snitch can get away, stop and look around. Don’t miss all the wonderful decorations and props—and make sure you walk down the hallway with the moving portraits to Platform 9 3/4. Keep going and you’ll see the Great Hall. The store hosts events from tea to kid’s activities to a complete Yule Ball in this large room with enchanted floating candles.
Witches and wizards don’t need to shop anywhere else. Besides all the basic magical supplies, the store also has a selection of candy, including Acid Pops and the like, and Harry Potter merchandise. You can find a Hedwig plushie and a lightning scar temporary tattoo in this area. I also spotted a small alcove of Twilight themed products, but I just pretended it had an invisibility cloak over it and moved on.
The attention to detail is exquisite. One reason Whimsic Alley is so grand is because Hollywood set decorators designed the shops. The staff was also helpful, and the store had a vibe that I haven’t experienced anywhere except Disneyland. It’s that magical. Visiting the store is an experience, a special treat for an afternoon, rather than just shopping.
I’ve shopped online with the Alley and had a fantastic experience. However. If you are in the Los Angeles area and you are a fan of the Boy Who Lived, hop on your broomstick and get to Whimsic Alley as fast as you can.
View more pictures of the store here.
This article was reprinted from Geek With Curves, a blog written by our own Amy Ratcliffe.