This day would turn out as one of the most (if not the most) memorable in our 9-day trip in Japan. A trip would never be complete without bloopers. Misadventures make trips (more) memorable, and though I (try) to plan out EVERYTHING for our trips, we almost always find ourselves in situations that are quite stressful. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, travel tests your relationships. This is also the reason why I LOVE MY FRIENDS.
I planned for this day way before we left Manila. We did not buy the Express Pass, so we needed to be at the gate by 8am. Obviously there will be throngs of Harry Potter fanatics that would line up for the Harry Potter World (well now I know that there were also a lot of Flying Dinosaur fanatics). The “game plan” was to be first in line at the gate so when it opens, we go straight to the timed ticket machine, and not the actual gate. The purpose was to get timed tickets for all of us so we don’t have to wait in line and have guaranteed spots at a later time. That would mean we get to explore more.
The official opening time of the park is at 9:00am and we were there before 8:30am. The line wasn’t that long, there were about 15 or so people in front of us, not bad. We waited patiently. I explained the game plan to the gang, even had a map to make sure we were all in the same page. I was very serious explaining to them this and that, pointing at the map like a freaking basketball coach on a championship game coaching his players. I knew we would lose sight of each other once we get in, and I just wanted to make sure that we would all go in that one place.
So they opened the gates, and all hell broke lose! Every person in front of us ran like crazy after passing the turnstile. Me, being the calm and collected person that I thought I was, got so pressured to get to our destination that I followed everyone running. I’ve never ran like that my entire life. I only looked back once to check if my friends were behind me, and when I saw Mikki I continued running like crazy until my stomach hurt. Guess who was the first one to break the “game plan” (raise both hands). Haha!
I ended up doing exactly the opposite of everything that I’ve planned. By the time we were in Hogsmeade, I knew I made a mistake, and there were too many people lining up to turn back.
I had Mikki and Myann with me, and no sign of the others. We decided to go ahead and ride since we were already far along the line, we were almost inside Hogwarts (I can’t believe I just wrote that).
The potterhead in me was screaming with joy and excitement. Imagine being a fan all these years, reading and re-reading all the books through the years, and having to see everything in front of me, life-size!
For me, the top 3 attractions at USJ are:
- The Wizarding Wold of Harry Potter (!!!!!)
- The Flying Dinosaur (!!!!)
- Hollywood Dreams (!!!!)
Here are a few tips to maximize your time at USJ:
- Wednesdays and Thursdays have the least crowd
We already know that weekends are a big NO if you’re visiting theme parks, especially if you don’t like crowds. I read somewhere that Mondays and Tuesdays could get crowded too since Japanese schools sometimes send their students on excursions on Mondays and Tuesdays.
We visited on a Wednesday, and there wasn’t much of a crowd.
2. Book tickets in advance
The price of the ticket is the same online and at the gate, so to save time, buy your tickets online. We used Klook to buy our USJ tickets, and out transaction with them was entirely fuss-free. I like Klook because their prices are in Php, there are no hidden costs, and the prices you see are all you’ll have to pay.
3. Get an Express Pass!
We didn’t because of our stacked-up budget (it was huge), but I truly recommend that you get an Express Pass when you go to USJ. It’s an additional cost because you’ll need to buy this on top of your USJ ticket, but you will appreciate its value once you’re stuck in a long line for your favorite ride.
There are a few types of Express passes, and unfortunately none of them allow express entrance to all attractions. Just for your reference/info, here’s the best Express Pass for me:
USJ Express Pass 7 – The Flying Dinosaur
- A: The Flying Dinosaur
- B: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™ in 4K3D
- C: Flight of the Hippogriff™
- D: Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
- E: The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man – The Ride 4K3D ORJAWS®
- F: Hollywood Dream – The Ride OR Backdraft®
- G: Jurassic Park – The Ride® OR Terminator 2:3-D®
- A, B, C and D attractions are time-designated, please visit them at the time printed on the ticket.
- Despicable Me Minion Mayhem – Precautions: Guests must be at least 122cm if unaccompanied, at least 102cm if with a supervising companion
- The Flying Dinosaur (please note: guests must be between 132cm and 198cm to ride this attraction)
- Includes The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Timed Entry ticket
- Source: Klook.com
All my favorites are in this pass, The Flying Dinosaur, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, and Hollywood Dream.
The absolute best of the best for me was The Flying Dinosaur. We waited for more than 2 hours! But it doesn’t matter how long the line is, trust me it’s 100% worth it. It’s not as scary as it looks, but the thrill factor is totally off the charts. Next is the Hollywood Dream, super thrilling experience.
Click here to go to Day 8