I’m part of a generation that loves Harry Potter, because we quite literally grew up with him. Going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was like a dream come true. It was a magical, for lack of a better word, to have the place I’ve pictured in my mind and seen on screen all around me. I was blown away by the amount of time and detail that went into making the “World”, like Moaning Myrtle screaming in the bathroom or the slightly crooked chimneys.
After a short wait we entered Olivander’s wand shop which was a room lined with shelves full of wands. The guide spoke a little bit before pausing as if surprised and then opening up a secret door to reveal a second room, the “real” Olivander’s shop. We filed in and stood around the dark room as Olivander picked one person to come forward to receive their wand. The girl he chose tested two wands, waving them in the air to produce angry responses from the room. Then Olivander brought out the final wand, blowing dust off the top of the box and speaking in a hushed voice of excitement. It was all exceptionally well down and for all the kids in the room I could tell it felt real too.
After we finished with the wand ceremony we excited into the shop where there are shelves filled with wands for purchase. It was really cool that you could buy wands of specific characters, like Voldemort, Dumbledore, and of course, Harry Potter. They even had some less major characters like Narcissa Malfoy and Luna Lovegood. I was very, very tempted to buy either Hermione or Professor McGonagall’s wand but decided against it in the end.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is the biggest attraction in Harry Potter World, and though it lasts only 5 minutes or so it lived up to the hype. The ride is in the Hogwarts castle, and the line winds around the building, through the Hogwarts green houses and through the castle itself. It was nice that the line itself was part of the experience. We passed the type eating some of our Bertie Botts Every Flavoured Beans. I thought everyone was exaggerating when they said how disgusting some of the flavours are. Some of them like Toothpaste or Earwax were unpleasant but not so bad but the Vomit flavoured bean almost made me actually throw up. Kudos to you, bean-creators and taste-testers.
The amount of detail in the castle was amazing, from the statues to a room full of talking portraits. Once we got to the ride itself we had to put our belongings in lockers and jump on to a moving conveyer belt before sitting in our seats. The ride itself was a combination of movement and 3D. We soared through the sky in a Quidditch match, chased dragons, were chased by giant spiders and dementors, with everything culminating by a view of Hogwarts students and staff cheering for us in the entrance to the Great Hall. It was exhilarating and the perfect combination of fun and scary.
We were lucky to have a sunny day, a nice break from the rain and snow we’ve been experiencing. We lined up and got Butter Beer, which was 700 Yen for one or 1200 for the drink plus a take-home cup. Butter Beer was delicious, a combination of caramel, cinnamon, and lots and lots of sugar. Mostly just sugar. I got the hot version, which had nice foam on the top. It was cute seeing everyone walking around with little foam mustaches. I tried the cold version too, which was more refreshing but maybe a little sweeter too.
We bought our tickets ahead of time at a Lawson’s so we wouldn’t have to wait in line. There’s a special train line that goes to USJ, and as we were waiting some girls came up to us to talk and advised us “DASH!” when the doors opened. A little confused, we did as we were told and thankfully so because everyone on the train ran through the station and up to the gates. We arrived an hour before the opening of the park (which was meant to be for nine) but discovered that they had opened it up early! As soon as we made it to the front of the line and passed the gates we started running again through the park to where we had to pick up our timed entrance tickets for Harry Potter. I’m glad we ran, because we got an early slot at 9:00 and spent a bit of time relaxing before we went in. We were in the park until about three, and I enjoyed every minute of it! Just wandering through the shops and sitting down drinking butter beer made me really happy. By the time we left Harry Potter we were so tired that we didn’t do much else in USJ. I’d like to go back and try some more of the rides, or go back to Harry Potter World in costume!｡^‿^｡