I originally had no idea that this was even in Japan. Again, Chris was the one who brought it up. I was thinking of Disneyland, until I heard that Universal Studios had the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We didn’t want to go to two theme parks, as they are expensive! We also bought the express pass for Universal Studios which was also expensive but so worth it!! We only went on the rides that we could use the pass on, so we spent almost no time standing in line which I loved. That is always the worst part of theme parks. The wait time for the Harry Potter ride was 90 minutes (!), but with our pass, we were only in line for 5 minutes. If you ever get the chance to go, do grab that express pass!
Now the whole theme park itself is huge! We did explore other areas like Jurassic Park, New York, Hollywood, Amityville and so on. But all I really want to talk about is the Harry Potter area.
You go through a forest area for a while before reaching Hogsmeade. You get to come across Ron’s old car stuck in the Forbidden Forest. The car moves and smokes and honks, which was so cool!
As you enter Hogsmeade, you pass the Hogwarts Express.
Hogsmeade is literally how I imagined it in my head. They have permanent snow on top of the buildings which is hilarious since it was a bright sunny day. That being said, all the stores I remember reading about were there. Madam Padfoot’s Tea & Cakes, Three Broomsticks, Gladrags, Ollivander’s, Honeydukes… I was pretty much buzzing with excitement as I looked at all the stores.
I really wanted to see Hogwarts though, so before exploring the stores too much I ran ahead. When I saw the castle in the distance, I literally gasped. It’s incredible being able to see Hogwarts in real life!
All the stores were pretty much selling the same Harry Potter merchandise in each shop. But they were decorated to fit the theme of the store. They were amazing. My favourite was seeing the Monster Book of Monsters (which was huge!) in the Quill shop. It moved and growled in a giant cage! We bought quite a few snacks in Honeydukes. Including Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, and Pumpkin Juice. We also stopped by Three Broomsticks (again) to get me another butterbeer, but this time in the fancy takeaway cup!
You could go inside Hogwarts, but it was part of the Forbidden Journey ride. We explored the dungeons, Dumbledore’s office and a bit of the library before reaching the ride. It was amazing!! There’s a video that plays, and you ride along with it. It’s super vivid, and since you’re being moved around on the ride, it feels like you’re part of it. We flew over Hogwarts, played Quidditch, got attacked by Death Eaters and Dementors, even a dragon! It’s cool cause when the dragon came and opened it’s mouth, you got blasted with hot air. I was so happy the whole time! On the way out, we found some Quidditch flags supporting each house. I had to show my Huffelepuff pride!
We also watched a live “Wand Studies” Performance which was really cool. They had a normal conversation, but in Japanese and then English. So both groups could understand what was going on.
We bought a decent bunch of souvenirs from here, and it made it a little harder when we were working our way back to Kyoto. It was definitely worth it though! We had a fun time at the other sections of the park, but nothing can compete with being at Hogsmeade. I’ve been a very big fan of Harry Potter for a long time, and I never thought I’d be lucky enough to visit the Wizarding World at Universal Studios. It’s definitely something I can cross off my bucket list!
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On Monday, we’re back to Tokyo! I’ll be sharing about visiting Tokyo Skytree and our day trip to Mt Fuji and Hakone!
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