Universal Studios Japan during peak season is something else. I’ve been to the Universal Studios in San Diego and Singapore during what most would consider peak season, and I have to say it’s really different in Japan. During the time we were here, most of the Japanese were already on their year-end vacations, so between the locals and us tourists it got crowded real quick. The lines for everything from rides to the food were pretty darn long!
Despite that, I can’t help but admire how enthusiastic the Japanese are about their theme parks. Doesn’t matter if it’s a Disney park or USJ, their excitement and their willingness to enjoy every minute inside the parks are quite obvious from the way they dress up. It was kind of contagious actually. I wasn’t my usual impatient self even waiting in line at the Spiderman attraction for over an hour; and this is coming from someone who thinks waiting for more than 30 minutes just to ride a 1-minute attraction is a bad way to spend time. (That was the only ride I lined up for that day.)
Apart from that, I was super excited to head on over to Wizarding World of Harry Potter! I was nearly jumping for joy from the parking lot faced with this sight!
Actually, more than the rides, I had a lot of fun just walking around and kind of people watching. The clips I used for the video I made below came from spending about an hour just walking aimlessly through the whole park. Of course, half the video is pretty much dedicated to my favourite area of the park. You can figure it out right away once you watch the video!
Japan’s Universal Studios is fairly big, but I’m not quite sure if you can explore the whole park and ride all the rides in a day if you come here on a non-peak date. As always, visiting a theme park requires some strategic planning, but in my case all I cared about was getting my timed ticket to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Anyways, I’m sharing my favourite snaps from USJ after the jump!
We arrived at 9-ish and our timed ticket for Wizarding World was for 11.20, so my brothers, my cousing, and I decided to walk around. We ran into a bunch of people in mascots, like these guys. At first I wondered if they were a part of USJ’s staff, but then I saw they were wearing sneakers! 😛
I honestly have no idea what these people were doing or if they had some sort of variety show to film later in the day. (I saw TV cameras being set up inside the theme park so I just assumed.) They were so game to take photos though. They were literally being mobbed every two steps they make.
But if I were judging a pageant for most attention-capturing costume of the day, these man-llerinas will win hands-down! 😂 Cool costume right? I’ve never seen people in tutus with so much swag!
Throughout the day, we just generally messed around with the Minions scattered throughout the park. Aaaand we had some turkey.
There’s definitely something for everyone in here. The area for the kiddies is aptly called Wonderland, and as you can see we kind of stick out like sore thumbs in here. My cousin looks like he walked into the wrong room haha!
One of my favourite parts in the park that did not involve Harry Potter was Amity Village. The feel of the whole area, with all the wooden structures and the dock, makes it a really nice place to hang out and rest your feet if you’re tired from all the walking. Guess that’s why there were so many couples around here.
Contrasting couple moments below. Which one do you prefer? 😛
The Hollywood area is where the major roller coaster is housed. (They’re building another one with a Jurassic Park theme.) This is also where USJ’s Marilyn Monroe makes her regular appearance, and it’s such fun watching this lady internalise Miss Monroe!
Not to be outdone, the Sesame Street characters nearby have their own set of crazy antics. When they all gather together, a crowd forms to watch them do random silly things.
But I came here for the roller coaster really. I always have to ride the major roller coasters if I can. It was some time in the afternoon when I tried lining up here, unfortunately for me the ride was closed for maintenance at that time! They couldn’t estimate when the roller coaster would be back to running condition, and by the time we returned to check on the ride you had to wait over 240 minutes just to get in! WHOA. Thanks, but no thanks!
To make up for my disappointment over not getting to ride the roller coaster, I decided to try the “next best thing”. I had a blast with the Transformers ride in Singapore’s Universal Studios so I was expecting pretty much the same with the Spiderman 4D ride here.
The story of the Amazing Spiderman ride is much cooler in my opinion, but the effects were not as seamless as the Transformers ride in Singapore’s Universal Studios. Considering I lined up similarly as long for both, I think I’ll give the win to Transformers, just because all the effects felt more “real”. Maybe it’s just newer?
After going around we finally get to my personal main attraction! You guys have no idea how much I obsessed about coming to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and boy was it JAMPACKED. It doesn’t quite lessen the magic for fans of Harry Potter though. You kind of feel like the possibility of the Harry Potter-verse being real is a little higher when you’re in here. I’m looking forward to visiting the one in the US because apparently it never gets as packed as this haha!
Just a little back-story: I was one of the first kids in my class to discover the Potter books, and I got teased about it a lot because I would read the books during class and get reprimanded by the teacher! But for the first time ever in my childhood life I liked being teased since I was being called “Mrs. Harry Potter”! Gosh they had no idea how much I loved that idea. But then the books started taking the world by storm right around the time the fourth book was about to get released, and the other kids in my class started discovering the magic too. It was pretty bittersweet!
I really love the Honeydukes replica they made here. The colours are so eye-catching! There’s a super cute little cart set up outside for when it gets too crowded inside the actual store, which happens quite a lot! As much as I want to take home this cart, it’s a great place for you to buy Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, and Chocolate Frogs with all the holographic cards inside, if you don’t feel like butting heads with a crowd inside the Honeydukes store.
At the same time, you can go ahead and get yourself a glass of the very famous Butterbeer too, which honestly is a little too sweet for my tastebuds.
This was the line to ride the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction:
Now that I think about it, I wish I lined up for this instead of the Spiderman attraction. As a Harry Potter fan, the regret is real! (The pictures online don’t help too…) At the time, lining up for 200 minutes didn’t quite sit well with me. We literally just ended up taking pictures with Hogwarts Castle in the background.
There’s a little veranda where you can take some nice photos with the castle when you exit through the back door of Ollivander’s, but actually looking through the shelves of wands inside really makes the whole Harry Potter feels come to life! This is the place where Harry first began to find his identity as a wizard, so forgive me for having a fangirl moment as I recall the time I spent in here!
I was looking for the wand that lights up when you flick it, but apparently you don’t get it from Ollivander’s?
I haven’t gotten to the point in my life where I no longer enjoy a good theme park, but I wish I could tell you that I enjoyed this day to its fullest. I feel like I got to do very little during my visit though. Don’t get me wrong, the theme park is perfectly fine, but the lines… Yeah, I just don’t like lining up for so long! Nonetheless I would come back on a normal day just to ride all the attractions I didn’t get to, and maybe take more cute photos with the bros?