Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Japan Trip Day 5: USJ

Last night I checked the opening hours and the website stated 9am. We reached about 830am and they already allowed people to enter. Hurray!! I wanted to take a photo with the Universal rotating globe just before the entrance but my friends wanted to go inside quickly. Sian... One friend kept mentioning about timed ticket to Wizarding World of Harry Potter and I was super pissed. I told him that only when park is crowded then there would be a timed ticket. Otherwise it would be free to enter and exit the Wizarding World anytime.

There were not so many people yet and we could even take picture with the Weasley's Ford Anglia without a queue. Taking a picture without other tourists at Hogsmeade entrance was impossible though. My photo was not centered and when I asked my friend to retake, he refused. That was it! I decided that I would just split today and had fun on my own. No point going with friends with different interest. Fuck.

Although my mood was gloomy, there was no chance to waste to take pictures with the Hogwarts Express, Three Broomsticks (not open yet), and the Owlery. Again the fucking friend did not want to help to take a photo outside Ollivanders. For the photo with Hogwarts in the background was taken by the USJ staff. That was the beginning of my thick skin journey to just ask staff and strangers to take photos. The photo taken was not too good (my legs and the towers were cut) but I was too shy to ask her to repeat, even when she asked. Haiz.. Regret.. My first time ma.. I thought she would be stationed there throughout the day but that was not the case.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey was our first ride of the day. It was not bad to just queue for about half an hour for that. Before entering the castle, we had to store our belongings at the designated lockers. After which there is a small walk through the castle which I think is disappointing as a Hogwarts Castle Walk attraction. Despite all the rave reviews, I think the ride itself is too kiddy and is not as magical or exciting as the description. Perhaps after the experience of Battlestar Galactica, everything else feels like chicken feet. Lol.

After this, my friend wanted to do the Dragon Ball attraction. Again I was pissed again. Theme park is usually designed with one main pathway around the whole park. It does not matter to walk which way since eventually we will be able to reach. Bleah.. Dragon Ball attraction sucks because it is like a theatre show. The movement of the seats is not dramatic or exciting, the animation of the fights are nothing special too, so the whole experience is just like watching cinema. My friend wanted to watch Jojo which would be in the afternoon but I would give it a miss since it would be this kind of cinematic experience.

I split myself from them as I wanted to freely explore the park. The next ride I went was Spiderman which is another one that has great reviews for USJ. Thank God for the single rider as I only needed to queue for about 15 minutes. There is no need to deposit the bag and the seat is only secured with a bar across the thigh. It looks like not a very exciting ride but oh boy I had a better time than at Harry Potter ride: it was more bumpy and exciting and there were more heat and water effects. At the end, Spidey took a photo and I was planning to re-do this ride another time later and I would remove the 3D glasses to take a good photo. Lol.

I returned to Wizarding World of Harry Potter and whee there was still no timed entry. It was still about 11am but I decided to have lunch at the Three Broomsticks before the lunch crowd came. I chose roast beef (the most expensive in the menu) and cold butterbeer. Yeah!! Finally I get to taste butterbeer although actually there was nothing fantastic about it. Haha.. I still could get an outdoor seat although it was still under a canopy. I asked the staff to take a photo of me and because of my seat under a canopy, I could not get a nice picture with Hogwarts at the background. My face appeared black under the shade.
The butterbeer glass is a souvenir to bring home
With full tummy it was time to explore the various Harry Potter shops to decide on what to buy. I made up my mind not to get the jackets because they are quite pricey and I don't think I would have the opportunity to wear them in Singapore's weather. Hedwig dolls looked horrible so it was an easy decision not to get. I was still undecided if I would get some wands.

USJ is already celebrating Halloween event and when I walked from Spiderman back to Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I passed by a photo shop which would also do a halloween make up. I spent quite a long time to decide if I should enter to ask for more details but in the end I decided to just have a thick skin and enter. It was quite expensive as it cost 5000 JPY just for a halloween scar. For the photoshoot, it would cost near 10000 JPY and I did not even bother to ask how much.

Minion park was super duper crowded. I think this is the most popular area, even more than Harry Potter, which is a good thing as I am not a fan of Minion. Haha.. It was still early so I decided to be more adventurous to try other attraction. I tried one of  the Halloween's attraction called Deadmen's Forest which had no queue. Forest theme also did not sound as scary as those haunted house kind. Before entering I asked if this only involved walking or there would be puzzle. I would not enter if there is puzzle since I will not understand.

This Deadmen's Forest is not scary at all. Perhaps because I was doing it in the middle of the day and the forest is an outdoor area. With the sun up high on the sky, it was not scary at all. Haha.. I would have to say that other people were really scaredy cats and I ended up in the front of my group. I did not find it scary because the Japanese were polite. Although they were dressed as zombie etc, their body language was not threatening and was not attempting to even come closer to scare us. Yet the other people were screaming like what.. Come on.. Well doing this at night may be more challenging. The memorable thing about this was there was a guy in full Spiderman body suit (minus the mask) behind me. Spiderman running from zombies is quite an interesting scene. Haha..

The next two rides that I was interested were the Flying Dinosaur and the Jurassic Park. I read the Jurassic Park can be quite wet and I confirmed with the staff there. No shop was selling poncho and I saw people drenched so I decided to give a miss. The Flying Dinosaur is a monstrosity. After Battlestar Galactica experience, I swear that I would never ever torture myself to this kind of thing. Not to mention that the single rider waiting time was also 120 minutes. In the end, since I had so much free time, I decided to YOLO. The time was overestimation as I actually only queued for about 1 hour.

The set-up is already scarier than Battlestar Galactica because after sitting, the seat is rotated 90 degrees upwards and the humans are facing downwards. It is already super crazy as there is no sense of security with the feeling of being hung and hoisted on our backs. I tried not scream but apparently screaming is the most effective way to survive this. Even closing eyes alone did not help haha.. At the end of the ride, I looked at my watch and the ride itself was actually only for less than 2 minutes but it felt like forever. Haha.. As a memory of my craziness, I decided to buy the photo on the ride. For 2800 yen, the photo was actually not nice la. Really I just got it as a proof that I survived lol.

I almost went to the WaterWorld but after reading that it was more like a show than a ride, I decided to just return to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter again. Again there was still no timed ticket hehe.. I tried the Ollivander's wand show (which I think is quite lame..), Flight of the Hippogriff (despite the review that this was more for kids and yes it is actually quite tame as compared to the other rides), and repeated the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey again. Both did not have single rider queues. I waited for about 45 minutes for Flight of the Hippogriff which was accurate to the estimation. While for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, the estimated waiting time was 90 minutes but I only waited for about 1 hour. It was still freaking 5pm!! Lol. Time for some skin thickness again as I asked the staff to take photos of me with Hogwarts at the background haha..

I decided to eat dinner again at the Three Broomsticks as I wanted to watch the Dementor light show from there. Unfortunately I saw a wrong timing T_T The light show started at 630pm and not at 6pm.  Really sad because this time I could get a seat really in the open area. There was no way I could sit down quietly for 1.5 hours. Even after finishing my dinner and asked the staff for more photos, it was still 6pm.
The fish and chips was not even good (but nothing else boneless in the menu). Tried frozen butterbeer and the ice cream version
After that I waited at the designated areas to watch the light show which I have to say is disappointing. At this time, the crowd seemed to be focused at the Wizarding World for this show and after this, I lost my mood to revisit Spiderman. I decided to just do my shopping. So as not to go home empty handed, I decided to just buy 1 Harry Potter quidditch t-shirt. It is expensive (4800 yen) for a t-shirt but that is the most wear-able one.

Despite having the fake China-made Harry Potter wands, I know I always to get at least 1 original wand to compare the quality. I know I will get Sirius' as it has the most elaborate and beautiful design but I was decided between a normal wand (4500 yen) or a magical wand (4900 yen). The magical wand is the one that I can play at designated as if I am doing magic. It comes with a rather nice map of Hogsmade to find the areas and the spells (and wand movements) to do. The magical wand is bulkier and feels more like a toy so in the end I bought a normal one for Sirius' and for the magical wand, I decided to buy an original wand of Holly. I chose Holly based on the elaborate design of the wand rather than the description. I also bought a Sneakoscope (1600 yen) and unfortunately Remembrall was just for display but not for sale.

It was time to say goodbye to Harry and the timed entry for Wizarding World had begun. Lucky I already saw the dementor light show. I went to buy the One Piece premier show book (2500 yen) with the intention of selling it and Spiderman mask. The mask is made of cloth so it really feels authentic and it is reversible as Venom's mask. It feels like a 2-in-1 thing and not bad for 3900 yen. I bought a few more Spiderman paraphernalia hoping to sell them and get some money back. Haha.. I was tempted to get Dragon Ball's balls but decided not to since I am not a fan.

The halloween event had begun and the ghosts/zombies were roaming on the street but they were not scary at all. The only one I found scary was the one holding real chainsaw. Lol.. I was scared of the chainsaw. The actors were too polite and did not even try to come closer to scare the people at all.

We left USJ at about 8pm and I dropped by to JUMP shop near the station. The shop is bigger than the one at Osaka station but equally have nothing interesting to buy. My legs really could not make it anymore and I decided to go home earlier.

Overall I think USJ is not as exciting as Disneyland although it is also not as stressful as Disneyland. I say Disneyland is stressful because there are too many things to see and I really have to keep a watch on the schedule of the parades and special events. In USJ, I cannot be bothered with the parades and events lol. The only stressful thing about USJ is the fear of timed entry to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Having said that, I am still satisfied with the Harry Potter experience. The area is not as big as my expectations but the experience is still as magical as my expectations though butterbeer is just over-hyped.
Hogwarts at night.. Time to say sayonara
I am pretty proud of myself today as I think I have increased my skin thickness to ask for strangers to help me to take pictures. Haha.. even to repeat some of them. Well the strangers today were still USJ staff and the next level is fellow tourists. Lol.
Time for SERIOUS reflection after spending about 30k yen in a day (inclusive of food)

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