Monday, July 20, 2015

Universal Studios Japan and The World of Harry Potter

I have been waiting for this moment for a long time. You see, I am a Harry Potter fan and this is the only reason I wanted to go to USJ. I have been to Singapore many times and have never felt the need to visit USS, but this was different for me.

We decided to visit on a Monday, thinking it will be less crowded compared to weekends. Well, I am not sure how crowds are during weekends but the number of people that was there that day was not what a Monday looked like to me. LOL

We purchased our tickets from the JR Osaka Station so we could avoid the long line for purchasing tickets on site. This proved to be a good move since line was indeed long for ticket purchasing and for the entrance. So at least we can skip the first line and just fall in line to get in. You will be given a studio guide in Japanese upon entrance but you can go to the Guest Relations Office and ask for an English one.

First thing we did when we got in was look for the Harry Potter ticketing area. You see, you need to get a time stamped pass in order to get in. This is free of charge but you also need to fall in line for this. The entrance was across the Harry Potter World area near the washrooms. It was pretty fast since there were a lot of attendants and they will also explain the time stamps and all to you. Take note that this is really a good "first thing" to do since we got there at 10:30 AM but we were already scheduled for the 1:00 PM entrance. Once we have this secured in our pockets, we felt comfortable to roam around. 

Hollywood Boulevard

Love this diner! But it was always full!

Pink Panther Cafe!

Those hearts on the floor...

I wanted to watch but the husband didn't. Puft.

Evangelion! Love this!

Huge Titans

Hello Kitty Ribbon Collection

Jaws area was closed so this was the only 
part we got to see.

The husband wanted to go into the stores right away looking for a jacket. That's his thing, jackets from places he's visited. While other collect magnets, mugs, caps, the husband collects jackets of his travels. Well, we did find a lot of items but to his dismay, no jacket. We found a lot of Harry Potter items, though. But he told me not to buy anything first because most probably there is also a Harry Potter store inside the Harry Potter World. 


These were for sale, too.

Ooohhh... Chocolate Frogs!

Around 12:45 PM the hubby and I decided to go to the Harry Potter World entrance and see if we should fall in line. It was a good thing that we did because the marshals were allowing us to come in earlier than our time! Woohoo!

It's the Weasley's car!!

You are now entering 
The World of Harry Potter

The Hogwarts Train

I got teary eyed just by looking at it. LOL

All those "snow" covered roofs. 

The Three Broomsticks!
Hogwarts Castle

The Three Broomsticks is an actual diner where you can hang out and eat. But when we got in it was full and very humid inside. I could not breathe! So I had to skip eating here. The first thing we did though was to fall in line to get some Butterbeer! You will not get anywhere and anything here without falling in line!
The line was VERY long and it took around 
30 minutes before it was our turn.

This is the rear part of the kiosk for Butterbeer

A very happy me when I finally 
got my order!

You have the option to just order in an ordinary plastic cup or in this novelty Butterbeer mug. You also have the option to order it cold or hot. It was pretty good and had a hint of the beer taste. But I found it overly sweet. 

Next, we went to find the souvenir stores. It was very crowded, like Divisoria during Christmas season! I only had one goal and that was to buy a Gryffindor scarf. The husband did not want to come in anymore and opted to wait outside. So I had to "football player" my way inside, it was all worth it because I got what I came for!

Me celebrating my success in buying 
my Gryffindor Scarf

Before heading over to Ollivander's, I felt the need to use the washroom. I thoroughly enjoyed it because it looked like I was in one of the Harry Potter movies, they even had a crying Myrtle sound effect! 

Entrance going to the washrooms


The entrance to Ollivander's is at the side of this building. The picture above shows another door and that is actually where you will come out after watching a re-enactment of how Harry Potter  was chosen by his wand. They had a British actor portraying Mr. Ollivander and they asked for a volunteer from the crowd to act as Harry Potter. No one wanted to volunteer so the actor chose a young girl from the crowd. It was entertaining, complete with special effects, it almost felt real! The lucky girl also got to take home the wand that has "chosen" her. I am green with envy. 

Our view while in line for Ollivander's

Inside Ollivander's

We are now ready to go into Hogwarts Castle, we were saving the best for last. We did not ride the Flight of the Hypogrifth because it looked like a kiddie rollercoaster and we felt it was not worth lining up for. We spent a good 40 minutes in line to get into the castle and were rewarded with a guided tour and a 3D Hologram of Harry, Ron and Hermoine talking in Japanese. LOL

Inside Hogwarts Castle

Map decor inside Hogwarts

Moving paintings!

Here's another one!

And a whole lot more! I love it!

There's the Japanese speaking
Harry, Ron and Hermoine.

And the Fat Lady talking to us
on our way out, urging us to
move along, LOL.

To be absolutely honest, the whole experience was dented by the Japanese speaking Harry, Ron and Hermoine. I guess Japan really created this for their locals and not as a tourist site. Most of the crowd are Japanese anyway, not a whole lot of other nationals. This made me want to go to Orlando or Hollywood to experience the World of Harry Potter in English. But of course there is the cost of going to those places to consider. Haha!  

After the World of Harry Potter we decided to go into the Spiderman 4d theatre. We waited in line for another 40 minutes for our approximately 2 or 3 minute ride. But it was all good, it was fun and very entertaining. 

By the time we got out from Spiderman it was already dark and we were hungry. Right outside the park there is a strip of restaurants, all of which appears to be full. The quickest turnover of customers were at Mo's Burger. At first I thought I will regret eating here but boy was I wrong. I absolutely loved their burger and even ended up ordering seconds!

My Mo's Burger, I got 2 of these! So good!

It was now time to call it a day. The husband and I walked leisurely to the train station to head back to our place. All in all, I felt it was a day well spent. I am glad we dedicated one whole day to Universal Studios, otherwise we wouldn't have enjoyed it as much. I would definitely go back again, and hopefully we can find a day where the park is less crowded. I would like to visit the new Minions area. Maybe early next year again, I love winter in Osaka. 

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