It’s undeniable that my main reason for going to Universal Studios Japan was to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. And I wasn’t the only one. As soon as the gates opened, literally everyone made a mad dash towards Hogwarts. I ran myself, my frozen leg muscles creaking from exertion. I saw a kid make a face-first dive because of the slippery street. We were almost there when we saw the Flying Ford Anglia. Collectively ignoring it, deciding to take photos after the ride, we ran some more until we reached Hogsmeade. Seeing those snow-capped shops got me choked up. This is it, I thought. I’m finally here.
Past the gates and into Hogwarts, we were asked to deposit all our loose belongings inside the lockers. After that, we made our way inside, still rushing, afraid of any long lines so early in the morning. But really, waiting for your turn on the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™ ride would not be boring as there were the moving portraits, Professor Dumbledore, the famous trio, and even the sorting hat to keep you entertained. But my favorite by far was the floating candles. I was truly anticipating seeing them and I was not disappointed. After the floating candles, bliss. I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face as we rode that 3D four-seater. First we went through the floo, then we flew over water, past beasts, dementors… I didn’t want it to end!
(Pardon my grainy photos as it was really dark inside Hogwarts)
Exiting Hogwarts led directly to Filch’s Emporium™ of Confiscated Goods where I was overcome by the extreme urge to buy every merchandise I saw. Haha! Kidding. But really, there was so much I wanted to buy! And what made impulse control even more difficult was that there were seven more stores in Hogsmeade, all seducing me to buy their magical items!
Next we tried Ollivanders™ where a bilingual Ollivander selected a volunteer to experience how it was to for a wand to choose a wizard. To all our surprise, the girl got to keep the wand in the end!
Afterwards, I went to the Conveniences or the restroom which was also Harry Potter themed! it was like going inside one of Hogwarts’ toilets, complete with the haunting moans of Moaning Myrtle. It was really impressive.
Last before we left the Wizarding World was a taste of the famous Butter Beer. Since it was winter, we chose the hot butter beer, but skimped out on the mug. But my gosh! That Butter Beer was yummy! It started out very sweet and creamy with all that foam, then it mellowed out to a gingery taste. It was the first time I wanted to be a beer commercial model. Haha!
Of course, Universal Studios Japan is not just about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. There are a total of seven themed areas, the other six being Amity Village, Hollywood, Jurassic Park, New York, San Francisco, and Universal Wonderland.
Exiting from the Wizarding World led us to Amity Village, setting of the movie Jaws (and its sequels), which was mostly boardwalk town. The only ride in this area is Jaws but we were more concerned about lunch that time so we did not try looking it up.
From Amity Village, we found ourselves in Jurassic Park where we chose Discovery Restaurant for our much-needed lunch. It was during lunch that we found out that Ms. Philippines lost then won the Miss Universe beauty pageant. That good news (and the food) greatly rejuvenated us.
The Jurassic Park Ride involves some water splashing on our already cold bones so we passed up on that one. And we also didn’t think it would be wise to be on a ride so soon after just having eaten lunch. Thus we walked around the streets of San Francisco towards New York, taking photos as we went along.
When we deemed it time to do some rides again, we went for the 4K3D The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman, dubbed as the world’s best attraction and the first to win the world’s best ride award for 7 consecutive years. Pretty much like the Transformers ride, this action-packed attraction started out as a tour of the Daily Bugle, the newspaper where Peter Parker works, coupled with some scenes from the Spiderman cartoons. As for the ride itself, fog, smoke, fire, water, picture-taking, you name it, this ride has it.
It was getting late, which meant it was getting colder. And it was that time when we made our way to Hollywood for some relaxing and entertaining indoor shows like the Animation Celebration and Terminator 2: 3D. The Animation Celebration features a blend of live action and animation, with Woody Woodpecker seamlessly interacting with an actor. Although the buildup was slow, it did give us a good chance to rest as it lasted 20 minutes long. Meanwhile, we were all very fond of Terminator 2 because of the hostess that entertained the guests. We did not understand anything she said (although we did infer that she was asking where people came from) but her energy was really high and I just loved her. I was sad (spoiler!) when she died during the show.
After that was one of the highlights of our trip to USJ: going Single Rider at the Space Fantasy Ride. We knew that the queue was long for this ride so one of us came up with the idea to split up and just team up with any group that needed one more person. I got included in a group of Japanese students and I had one of the most enjoyable rides ever! Space Fantasy involves flying through the galaxy, trying to save the sun. The ride would spin slowly, then speed up and go for an amazing finish! This is a must try in USJ. And yes, we did a do over.
After Space Fantasy, we ventured into the most kid-friendly zone of USJ: Universal Wonderland. There, we had fun at The Flying Snoopy where we controlled Snoopy ourselves, alternating between floating and diving. It was chill but really fun. Another ride that we had was Snoopy’s Great Race which was sort of like an indoor kiddie roller coaster.
It was almost time for Universal Studios Japan to close for the day. But we were not yet finished! And in the same way that we started our day, we rushed back to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to give Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey another go. It was such a great idea because most of the people had already started leaving and once again, we did not need to wait so long for our turn at the ride. But surprisingly, I got dizzy on my second time going through the Floo! Haha! I exited Hogwarts a bit woozy and had to cure my nausea by buying some Harry Potter merchandise. When I was feeling a bit better, we headed to the Flight of the Hippogriff, an outdoor roller coaster where we saw Hagrid’s Hut.
Thus our day ended. Would I go back to the Universal Studios Japan? Absolutely! But hopefully in fairer weather. ^___^
December 21, 2015
***Photos were taken using iPhone 6 and GoPro Hero 4
Studio Admission (One Day Studio Pass)
Adult: 7200 JPY
Child: 4980 JPY
Senior: 6470 JPY
Adult/Senior with Disability: 3600
Child with Disability: 2490
Twilight Pass (3:00-9:00pm admission):
Adult: 5800 JPY
Child: 4400 JPY
Universal Studio Hours: 9:00am-9:00pm
Ticket Booth Opens: 7:45am
Gate opens: 8:45am