I believe it’s been established that I am quite the Disney fan. But I also have other loves – one of which is Harry Potter. On our last trip to the World, we decided it was crucial that any true fan should visit the theme park created in Harry’s honor.

Universal’s visitors must all flock to Hogsmeade and stay within the fictional town’s snow-capped walls. At least this was my experience when we arrived and were welcomed by throngs of Butter Beer thirsty ninjas. They elbowed their way past anyone and everyone in an attempt to be the first in each line – of which there were many. Because of this, we didn’t go through the hassle of purchasing anything in the gift shops. We didn’t wait in queue for an hour to pick out a wand in Ollivander’s, and I decided a Quiddich sweatshirt could be more easily obtained online.

That is, until we arrived at Honeydukes – or Heaven, as I like to think of it. A candy-coated, gloriously sugar-laden Heaven.

Universal may be smaller, less magical, and overly crowded in Harry Potter-ville, but one thing they’ve done right is THEMING.

Honeydukes alone proved this. The outside facade, complete with a roof practically sagging under the weight of snow, was so realistic one would think they were in a small village in England (had it not been for the pushing and shoving of other park visitors).

Once inside, the aroma of melted chocolate and sugar-filled bon bons hit with a force of its own. The walls were painted in inviting candy hues, the floor was a fun black and white tile, and every inch of space seem to be taken up by something that simply screamed JK Rowling and her conjured up world.

Disney would be wise to take note of the effort Universal goes to where theming is involved. I noticed that each gift shop sold something different – which has been lacking in the Disney Parks over the last few years. Having merchandise that is more original to the shop and land in which it’s being sold would do a world of good to their sales, I have no doubt!

But back to the edible delights.

The line here – like everywhere else – was very long. Because this was where the majority of my money would be spent for the day, my husband went to take his place in line while I shopped like the crazed, candy-loving person I am. Having previously taken notes on the Butter Beer ninjas outside, I was able to dodge other shoppers, pull things from over little heads, and dive under taller people in my effort to secure the items I felt were crucial.

But here I was forced to pause. The Bertie Botts tower of Jelly Beans was simply something to stand in awe of. Like everything else, it was truly beautiful.

After a moment to pay homage, I continued on my way, filling a bag full of fun treats that were sold by the pound, grabbing a Chocolate Frog, and debating the need for a Cauldron Cake before handing it all to the cashier.

The experience went far toward redeeming the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in my eyes. Will we be back? I’m not sure. Perhaps if they expand!


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