When I was in my teens, I was such a huge Harry Potter geek; I drew a lot of Harry Potter fanart and daydreamed about living in this magical world. So I could just imagine my 18 year old self giggling away and freaking out if only this place opened back then!
But who am I kidding? It may have been 10 years (what?!) since the peak of my Harry Potter fan life but I was still so overwhelmed when I entered The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan (the same feeling I felt when I went to the Warner Bros. Studios for The Making of Harry Potter in the UK!)
So come and travel Harry’s world with me and my friends who are fellow Harry Potter fans, and let’s all geek out together!
Let’s start our trip with the Hogwarts Express! Nothing going on here, except that there was a train conductor who you can take photos with. Haha! So let’s move on.
There were performances that were also Harry Potter-themed. They call this The Frog Choir. It was nothing special, but cute to watch anyway (for a few minutes.) I was hoping to see the Triwizard performance but I’m not sure if they have it in Osaka or just in the Orlando/LA parks. And the only reason I know about it is because I saw a video online.
One of my favorite things about the Harry Potter films are the graphic design of all the commercial items and magical objects in the wizarding world (I spent a good 20 minutes oggling at that section when I visited The Making of Harry Potter in UK a few years ago!)
I love how everything looks colorful but vintage at the same time; like in those old carnivals! It must have been so much fun to work on these! A designer’s dream come true!
After oggling at the first few stores, we decided to get all the rides done first so we lined up for The Forbidden Journey, which is a crazy 4D experience! Thankfully, this was part of our fast pass tickets (details about that below, at the end of the entry) so although the line was marked at 90 minutes, we were able to get in super fast.
No spoilers, but it was really awesome and you shouldn’t miss it because can really feel as though you’re part of Harry’s world, riding a broomstick and doing all sorts of things!
But there’s one part that was kind of surprisingly frightening, which I imagine might be really frightening for kids so, you might want to double check on that in case you’re bringing kids with you! Also, my best friend and I (the scaredycats who wouldn’t ride scary rides, as mentioned earlier, haha!) felt pretty dizzy after the ride so we had to sit and relax before we went on to the next one.
The only other ride in the Harry Potter themed park was The Flight of the Hippogriff, which is an outdoor coaster. It’s not a wild coaster and it was only super fast (not speed, but as in, it ended so soon) so I don’t really recommend waiting in line for it if the line’s too long. Thankfully, it wasn’t that long the time we went.
After that, we went around to explore more of the place. Most of the time, I was recording videos with stuffed toys for Luke because he loves fluffy animals! Then, I send the videos back home to Mor. Haha! #momlife
Tried on some robes too! In our group, there are three Gryffindors, one Ravenclaw and one Hufflepuff! I’m not a Gryffindor because I’m not brave!
If you buy a wand, there are specific spots all around the park where you can “complete tasks” with it. They’ll give you a map with the designated spots. One of my friends, Diana, got a wand to give as a gift, but we ended up using it (haha!)
This is Lor making it snow ala Elsa!
And of course, what’s a trip to Hogsmeade without Butterbeer?! I’ve tried the regular Butterbeer before but It was my first time to try Frozen Butterbeer! Too sweet for my taste but I still enjoyed it because the weather was so hot!
Visited Ollivander’s and watched the interactive show, which was kindda lame in my opinion so I won’t really recommend it unless you have a lot of time to spare!
It would be cool if you were “the chosen one” but I read online that you don’t really get to keep the wand (you still had to buy it from the store!) so, meh!
Check out Moaning Myrtle’s toilet! When I said “I read online that the toilet’s are like Moaning Myrtle’s,” everybody said “LET’S GO!!!” Haha! There were “Moaning Myrtle sounds” playing too but I couldn’t understand it because it was all in Japanese!
Final Word: About Express Passes and Timed Entries
(Put this last so you can skip this part if you’re not interested to know about the details!)
We were told that entrance to The Wizarding World was timed. Meaning, you can’t just enter; you need to get a ticket for your timed entry. Based on our online research, they said that you can either take your chances by rushing to the ticket booth on the day you visit or you can secure a timed entry before hand by buying an Express pass that included entrance to The Wizarding World.
We debated long if it was worth to spend extra but because Harry Potter was the main purpose of of our Universal Studios visit, we didn’t want to risk not being able to enter. So we opted to buy the cheapest Express Pass tickets which included the timed entry. Entrance tickets were 7400 yen and the Express 4 passes (cheapest option) were an additional 4500 yen. Ugh. Not only was it expensive but we also had to ask help from a friend who can read Japanese because you can only purchase through their Japanese website. (We were THAT excited, okay?)
So was the Express Pass worth it?
On the day of our visit, it turns out that they didn’t implement timed entries to Wizarding World. It was probably because there weren’t a lot of people anyway (we went on a Thursday and the weather was pretty hot)
We didn’t need the Express Passes for the rides either because there wasn’t much of a line! Like I mentioned earlier, we were able to ride Space Fantasy twice and it took us only around 10 minutes max to line up and wait. The only ride where it was worth using was for The Forbidden Journey. The wait time was 90 minutes and we were able to bypass the line.
Was it worth it? Definitely not for us! But I can imagine that it would be well worth it if you end up visiting at a time when there would be a lot of people in the park. I have a friend who said they were only able to ride two rides at Universal Studios because of the long lines and another friend who said that the line at The Forbidden Journey was 4 hours (!) so in that case, an Express Pass would have been very very worth it.