6 Things to Expect from a Trip to Universal Studios Japan
The Lowdown on a Day at USJ
Whether you’re a Harry, a Hermione or a minion, a visit to Osaka is incomplete without a day or three at Universal Studios Japan. There’s much to do there and you probably won't be able to get through it all unless you have a time turner lying around. (If you do, tell me where I can find one.)
Here's 6 things you can expect from a day at USJ.
To celebrate their 15th anniversary, Re-born or “Re-booooooorn” is USJ’s theme of the year. Re-born promises to have your adrenaline pumping both during and after your USJ experience. In fact, a visit to USJ during the reborn period is professionally recommended. Really. According to psychiatrist Dr. Yasufumi (who has his own page on the official USJ website), just walking through the park can rejuvenate your spirits. Now that’s one doctor I can agree with.
Short wait times
I’m serious. Though everyone will tell you you’ll be waiting three hours to enter Harry Potter Land to drink sweet, sweet Butterbeer and eat imitation fish and chips, that is not necessarily the case. If you purchase an Express Ticket (well worth the extra cash) prior to your visit, your wait times will be way shorter.
Don’t buy your Express Ticket at the entrance, as the English USJ website suggests, as they’ll sell out faster than you can say expecto patronum. It’s best to buy them online instead. Here’s the catch — on the official site’s English version, there isn’t an option for purchasing them, which means you’ll have to befriend a Japanese speaker’s help or seek Google’s translating assistance. Speaking of English, don’t forget to pick up the English show timetable and the English studio map – only available at the entrance.
(Even stronger) yearnings to quit your day job
I have never seen so many smiles before. And I am not even talking about the children or their relieved parents who are taking a much-needed break from entertaining them. I am talking about the staff. Irrespective of the hot Japanese summer, I did not see, for even a second, one unsmiling worker. Genuine smiles were everywhere making me want to immediately quit my day job and take up work dressed as Shrek.
Cuteness in excess
If you have not seen a small child dressed as a minion, you have not lived. The Japanese are wizards when it comes to kawaii (cute) culture. From matching couple’s outfits, to frilly socks to yes, minion children, you’re sure to fall into a constant state of admiration. Or intense jealously. I recommend also dressing up in character-ware or fun bright colors just to be safe.
Not from your valuables falling as your roller-coaster twists and turns (though that could happen), but because of the ridiculous temptingness of the merchandise. Also the food. As well as inside the park, there are ample convenience stores, cafes and restaurants outside the main gate. Just for your information. Be aware that you can’t leave and re-enter the park (but who wants to leave ever anyway).
Lastly, expect the unexpected. Wear comfy clothes and shoes and take a backpack. Wear sun-screen, take a hat (take it off during the rides), snacks or rice-balls (to munch in secret) and a light water-proof poncho (for the Jurassic Park ride). Personally, I wouldn’t worry about water as there are drinking fountains everywhere.
And for a cheesy bonus snippet of what to expect… (drum roll, please): to have fun.