Harry Potter, Har-RY Pot-TER! Yes, it was Harry Potter World time! Hooray!
I started the day with my Japan early wake-up (boo!). I bought sunscreen and coffee for the group (yay!) and because everyone else was still sleeping, I headed into the park. I went to Harry Potter world to check out the scene.
I think I’ve said it before but I am so in awe of J.K. Rowling. She is so creative to have dreamed up such a world and to see it come to life was really cool. It almost felt magical! I’ve never seen the movies but I’ve read the series twice. I walked through the forest and into Hogsmeade. The buildings were super cute, but I waited until I was with Brady and Ricardo to go into the shops. I made a beeline for the rides, but I got confused between the Flight of the Hippogriff (baby roller coaster) and stood in that line for 5 minutes. I left and went to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. I went into the Singles line, which moved quickly. The line snakes through Hogwarts castle, with its many rooms filled with talking portraits that have mouths that move with English words but overdubbed in Japanese.
The ride is awesome! My favorite was the VR parts where I felt like I was riding on a broomstick right behind Harry (Potter, not the Prince!). I definitely recommend it.
I had done some pre-reading about Universal Studios Osaka and one common theme was the crowds. We went on a weekday and were charged the “low-peak” ticket price. The park was crowded but the worst wait I saw during the day was 90 minutes. The waits were also shorter than the estimates. For our particular visit, I was glad we hadn’t bought the Express Pass, Since we were moving at a mellow baby pace rather than racing from ride to ride, it wouldn’t have been worth it.
One thing that I really think would make the experience better is if re-entry were allowed. It seems crazy to me that a park with nearby hotels and catering to kids does not allow parents to take a mid-day break and come back. Boo! This should definitely be fixed!
Anyway, back to our day. I texted Brady and Ricardo and asked what house LR was in. Gryffindor, naturally. So, I played the part of proud auntie and bought LR a little wizard robe. I was very excited for the photo ops and it should be big enough that he can wear it for Halloween. I also rode the Hollywood Dream coaster, that was fun.
Next, I met up with Ricardo, Brady, and LR at the entrance and we headed back to Harry Potter World! After several photos, we entered Hogsmeade and promptly bought a Butterbeer. I bought mine in a souvenir cup because I am a big sucker. Then, we went to the Three Broomsticks and sat by the Black Lake. Brady and Ricardo ate but I wasn’t super hungry. We did, however, graduate to adult beers.
We went to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. LR missed the height requirement by a few centimeters. 🙁 Brady and Ricardo were set up with the “Child Switch,” which involved taking turns on the ride and waiting in a little child-friendly room in the interim.
After the ride, we walked through the shops of Hogmeade. I had spent my allowance already on LR so it was just window-shopping for us. I would have loved a wand but they were so expensive! I felt like a Weasley.
Ricardo wanted to check out a live show so we went to Waterworld which was stunt after stunt. The pre-show entertainment was also very funny. It felt like a Japanese game show with lots of slapstick humor. And lots of water guns and water pails, with contents aimed at an unfortunate group of Japanese students.
After WaterWorld, we went to Jurassic Park where we went on Jurassic Park: the ride and the Flying Dinosaur, which was an insane roller coaster. The rider gets in and then the seats rotate 90 degrees so that the rider is hovering like a pteranodon!! The hills, loops, and twists were super intense. We all liked it but also felt like our head were partially blown off.
We ended our night with the Hogswart Magical Celebration. The light show was amazing although the best part was the houses being announced in Japanese.
So. You think our night is over? Wrong! Brady had gotten a recommendation for an Osaka izakaya and even though we alternated in thinking we were too tired (first her, then me), we decided to go! KannoMiho is an izakaya with great sake and sashimi. I also ordered “Ichiban gohan” after the guy next to us told us it was recommended by his rice connoisseur friend. [Note to self: Must get more niche-friends.] We had a great night out and got back to the hotel after midnight. It was a crazy, great day!