Unlike my other posts in this blog, I’m using English for this post especially for all Harry Potter fans out there who want to really enjoy their visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I know that some of you might want to read a review or tips before your visit, because I would do the same if I were you. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter that I will do a review on this post is the one in Universal Studio Osaka, Japan.
This autumn I finally went all the way to Osaka from Tsukuba (the place where I live now) just to reminisce my childhood memories, the story that never really leave us *I know you all feel the same way :”), the place where the magic happened, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Just after I got off at the nearest station from the Universal Studio, Universal City Station, I was welcomed by Harry Potter posters every where. It is understandable since this Harry Potter theme is rather new (it was opened for public on July 15th, 2014). And just after we entered the main road towards the main gate of Universal Studio, Harry Potter soundtrack can be heard. At that time I thought I could cry of happiness and excitement T_T
Well, I don’t want to spoil too many things, because I’m sure it would feel different when you enjoy it the first time without knowing anything about it 😀
So what are my review and tips for a day out at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter?
1. Come as early as possible
As we know in any theme park in the world, there are some regions related to a certain theme that we can enjoy in one theme park. In case of Universal Studio Japan (USJ), they have Hollywood, New York, Jurassic Park, Amity Village, Waterworld, Wonderland, and also our main highlight, The Wizarding Word of Harry Potter (WWHP). The system to enter WWHP is a bit different. Unlike other regions, you can’t just enter WWHP after you get your ticket from the main entrance. First, you have to take an entrance ticket to WWHP which you can get freely from a machine located exactly at the center of USJ (you can see the location from the map the staff will give you at the main entrance).
Why do you have to come earlier, because the line to take this entrance ticket is just like crazy. The machine will distribute a ticket with the time you can enter WWHP written on it. In my case, I came to the ticket machine at 9.15, and I got entrance time 11.20-12.20, which means I can enter WWHP during that time. But after we enter WWHP, actually we can enjoy it as long as we want. So the earlier you take the entrance ticket, the earlier you can enter WWHP, the more time you can enjoy it.
Note that they also have visitors limitation everyday. If the number of visitors reach that limit, the machine won’t distribute the ticket anymore. You don’t want to go home empty handed, right?
Actually you can also guarantee your entry to WWHP by buying special ticket at the main entrance. That ticket costs around 2000 yen. So if you want to buy it, you have to pay the ticket to enter USJ itself (6980 yen) plus special entry ticket (2000 something yen). If you have this ticket, you don’t have to line up for the ticket machine, and you can go in and out WWHP as you wish. You can find detail information about it from this website: http://www.usj.co.jp/e/attraction/att_detail/the-wizarding-world-of-harry-potter.html
2. After you enter WWHP, go straight to the main rides
WWHP consists of Hogsmeade and Hogwarts Castle. In Hogsmeade, you can find all those fancy shops that sell authentic and iconic souvenirs from the Harry Potter series, for example Zonko, Honeydukes, Owl Post and Owlery, Dervish and Banges, and so on.
In Hogwarts Castle, there are two main rides, “Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey” and “Flight of The Hippogriff”. Trust me when I say it, the line of these rides are insane. Therefore, after you enter WWHP, don’t take pictures yet, don’t shop nor wandering around, you will have plenty of time to do it later. Just go straight to the rides so you can shorten your waiting time. FYI, when I first came to the ride, the waiting time was already 3 hours. When I was about to leave WWHP area, the waiting time became 4 hours! Gosh!
3. Try Hogwarts Castle Walk
If you don’t have too many time in WWHP area because you also want to enjoy other areas, or you don’t want to line up for more than 2 hours for a ride, you can try Hogwarts Castle Walk. While visitors lining up to enter “Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey” ride, they will enter Hogwarts Castle so that they can wait while enjoying the castle’s interior. The interior was absolutely beautiful, and consists of some important iconic props from the movie, for example the talking paintings, the house points counter, Dumbledore’s office, The Defense Against The Dark Arts classroom, and so on (again, I don’t want to spoil too much!).
So in Hogwarts Castle Walk, you can enter different line to be able to enter the castle, without having to line up for the “Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey” ride. Good alternative, eh? Trust me, you don’t want to miss wandering around the castle.
4. Enjoy the street performances
There are two street performances, Frog Choir and Triwizard Spirit Rally. The performances were very beautiful. I enjoyed the choir so much, they sang some soundtracks from the movie with acapella style. And the Beauxbatons students wore the same uniforms they wore on the movie. Very pretty!
5. Flight of The Hippogriff
This ride is basically a usual typical roller coaster you can find anywhere. There is nothing special from this roller coaster, but if you want to stay only at WWHP area, it is worth a try. But if you will go to other areas, I recommend you to try roller coaster from Hollywood area because they are more challenging. And, if you have limited time in WWHP and it is not possible for you to ride both rides, you’d better choose The Forbidden Journey.
6. Take pictures of every detail
I thanked USJ management for making WWHP as detail as I could imagine. The buildings, interior decoration, some iconic properties (I don’t want to mention any of them here because I felt really surprise to find some stuffs that I didn’t expect to be there, and I want you to feel the same excitement as me 😀 ). So make sure to take pictures of all of them as they could be a lifetime souvenirs, too 🙂
7. Try the Butterbeer
Butterbeer is only sold at 3 places in the world, and USJ is one of them. It is sold in some stalls around the WWHP area so the line is not that long. You can buy it together with the mug souvenir, or only the Butterbeer with plastic cup. It is non-alcoholic, and the taste is like a soda drink (maybe root beer, I’m not sure) with float on top of it.
8. Don’t mind other regions and stay until night
If you are a truly Harry Potter fans (just like me), I want to say that, don’t mind other areas, but just spend your time in WWHP until the USJ is closed. In my opinion, the rides at other areas are not that challenging nor exciting. I don’t know why, but maybe because I’ve been to Disneyland, Disneysea, and Fujikyu Highland, the rides in USJ are just typical. Especially Fujikyu Highland has more challenging rides, and Disney Resort offers more rides that you and your family (if you travel with kids) can choose.
And what so special about WWHP?
- Obviously this is the only one WWHP in Asia, so if you live in Asia, this is the nearest WWHP you can choose.
- Since WWHP area is new, there are so many people also visit it, and the line for the rides, restaurant, shops’ cashiers, and even toilet are horrible, so I’m sure most of our time here will be spent queuing. Therefore we need a whole day to explore every detail in WWHP area. We even will need a lot of time to choose what souvenirs we want to buy because all of them are very iconic and authentic ’till I wish I could buy all of them >_<
- At night, there will be light up around Hogwarts Castle, so the castle will look even prettier than during the day. I didn’t stay until night in WWHP so I didn’t have any picture of it, but when I search #wizardingworldofharrypotter on Instagram, there are some people posts the picture of Hogwarts Castle at night, and it is so beautiful. I regret that I didn’t stay until late, so now I’m even planning to go there again for the second time before I leave Japan for goods 😀