In an effort to maintain a somewhat proper-looking post title, I refrained from inserting numerous exclamation points at the end of it. Please allow me to do so now:
This is a delayed post (very, very delayed), since we went here last May. I think this entire Japan trip revolved around USJ, to be honest. The temples, museums, and castles were just a bonus. A cultural, high-art bonus. This is a conscious effort on our (my friends and I) parts to be more uhhhh immersed in high culture.
Museums and temples provide a more sedate form of buzz, while theme parks, on the other hand, brought out the shrieking fangirl in all of us.
As a prelude, our trip to USJ went like this: 6am alarm, we left the hostel around 7am, and we arrived just before 8am at USJ. The park opened before 9am, so we arrived pretty early, which was good since it allowed us to have a good position in the line. And a good position in line is essential once the staff opens the doors to the park. Because once people pass through the turnstile, they take off.
They run. To the Harry Potter park. It is not unlike running in a zombie apocalypse movie, where the zombies have just breached the gate of your impenetrable fort, and now you’re running for your lives. They run because everyone wants to get to the front of the lines at the Harry Potter rides. It is every man for himself once you start running: there was someone that dropped their phone and it got kicked around. I did not see if the owner stopped to pick it up.
For me, however, as much as I wanted to run, I cannot. I am not physically primed for activities like this. So I strolled, then when I catch my breath, I run again. Let’s just say the Express Pass (an additional 7,00oY I think, but well worth it) was a good investment.
We stopped by Honeyduke’s first, once we got to Hogsmeade (ohmigod typing out “we got to Hogsmeade,” and “stopped by Honeyduke’s” gives me so much feelings) because apparently the candy runs out fast. I ended up buying chocolate frogs, chocolate flies (which were good, according to my friend), and pumpkin juice.
Then we were off to Hogwarts Castle!!11!
It was a particularly clear day, and the weather was perfect for strolling around (we went in May, so it was just at the end of spring, heading into summer). When you line up for the ride in the Castle (Forbidden Journey, which is 4D, and tosses you and your friends around. SO MUCH FUN), it leads you around the grounds – through the greenhouse (I need to read the books again), and then into the castle, where you get to see the common room, a classroom, the Sorting Hat…. At this point I can’t take anymore pictures with my camera, aside from my phone, because we have to leave the bags in lockers provided before you go into the castle.
For lunch we ate at the Three Broomsticks, which surprisingly wasn’t that full, and we were able to get a seat right after we ordered. Which you need to do to be able to get a seat – I liked this idea. There’s also the option of getting your Butterbeer in an ordinary cup, or getting it in a bigger, collectible one that you can take home. If you do plan on getting Butterbeer (which is non-alcoholic), splurge, get the collectible cup! There’s also the option of getting actual beer, in case you weren’t feeling up to drinking Butterbeer.
The Hogwarts Express is what first greets you when you come into Hogsmeade! It’s a miracle I got a clear shot of it, haha.
Of course, we had to stop by the Attack on Titan exhibit, which was fun, and I could’ve appreciated it more had I watched the anime before I went to Japan. But let’s be real, if you’ve any online presence at all, you’ll be familiar with it one way or another.
These statues/sculptures were huge. SO HUGE. Like in the picture, there could be an adult where I cut off the shot and I’d still get a clear one. It is that big. And epic.
A snack cart! Probably my favorite park staff, haha, she was so cute. Whenever there weren’t any customers she’d have her hands like this. Much dedication.
We all know Levi. I loved the end part of the tour around the lifelike sculptures of the characters, since they were great. (Case in point: this Levi figure) But the end is my favorite because the staff were all dressed like this, and then made us participate in an oath-taking which made us members of Survey Corps. At this point I was already cursing my lack of Japanese skills, but all the cast members are so into the roleplay, you feel it too. I loved it.
We returned to Hogsmeade at dusk, since we were still looking to buy other stuff. For my part, I wanted a scarf. It was the one thing I said to myself I was getting for sure. The rest, I’ll see. That wall is part of the interiors in Wiseacre’s Wizarding Shop, which is my room peg, if ever anyone asks me. Wiseacre’s leads into Ollivander’s, as well.
Are these not for sale?!? These window display trinkets were gorgeous.
I ended up buying my scarf (Ravenclaw!), and a wand. No regrets. The robe was too much, but maybe next time. He he he.
We also watched the 4D Evangelion show. Again, I could not fully appreciate this as it was all in Japanese, but you get the gist: you’re an EVA pilot, and then Shinji is Shinji (meaning he does not have his shit together), so at the end you’re saved by Asuka. Or was it Rei.
We stopped by the Shonen Jump shop (I forgot the exact name of the store haha).
Special shoutout to the Space Fantasy ride. Looks childish, kind of innocuous, which led to me being unprepared FOR THE ROLLER COASTER. IT WAS A ROLLER COASTER.
We actually made good use of the Express Pass, and used it on most of the rides it was available in, except for the Jurassic Park ride, it was closed at the time 😦 We spent a full day here, and it was just right for the rides, a bit of rest, and a bit of shopping!