The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! This is where a real adult goes to celebrate her birthday, at least that’s what I tell myself. Last month I went to Universal Studios Japan with the boyfriend, and even though we’ve been to the one in California, it was still a lot of fun and actually quite different! You can check out my post on that HERE.
Thanks to our handy dandy Express Passes that we purchased online, we were able get a 2:45~3:00 time slot for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. The ride was awesome! It was part 3D, part animatronics and a dash of rollercoaster. Definitely my favourite ride at the park.
After the ride, we spent quite a bit of time taking pictures of Hogwarts castle. It’s honestly every thing I hoped it would be, full of detail, mystery and magic. If you wait in line for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, you get the chance to walk through the castle. If you use your express pass, however, you end up skipping all the cool stuff inside. Luckily, we found out that there was a separate line just for the castle walkthrough. There was no line and we got to take our time looking at the moving portraits, walking through the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom and even entering Dumbledore’s office. I think the portrait room was by far the coolest. Many of the portraits were actually animated and conversed with each other including Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw and Salazar Slytherin. Although it wasn’t as big inside as I had expected, it was still 100% worth seeing.
Exploring Hogsmeade took up the rest of our time. We got to look at all the shops like Zonko’s Joke Shop, Dervis and Banges and, of course, Honeydukes where I was finally able to acquire a magical box of Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans. Of course my favourite shop by far was Ollivanders. While you can easily wander into the shop from it’s back entrance, if you wait in line at the front you get to go into a special room where one lucky muggle is picked to try their luck at being chosen by a special wand. I didn’t get chosen, but it was cool watching the show and experiencing the magic of flickering lights, moving wand boxes and collapsing shelves.
After the show, we were led into the main wand shop were we could pick from a large variety of character and non-character wands. There were also a few interactive wands that lit up at the tip. I really liked those, but in my opinion the non-interactive ones were much nicer since they are made of hand painted resin. It was a tough choice, but eventually I chose Fleur Delacour’s wand and my boyfriend strangely chose Lord Voldemort’s. I wouldn’t say he’s gone to the dark side, he just likes stuff that looks cool.
Aside from shopping, I also caught some shows. There are two shows that go on a few time throughout the day and I was lucky enough to get to watch them both. The first show was the Triwizard Spirit Rally where the ladies of Beauxbatons Academy of Magic and the gentlemen of Durmstrang Institute give special performances. The boys did a staff and tricking demonstration while the girls did a lovely ribbon dance.
The Frog Choir was an acapella group of Hogwarts students that performed a mix of Harry Potter songs and pop covers, accompanied by two rather large frogs. I really enjoyed this show, but they did so many songs that we eventually had to take off to check out other stuff. One of the best things about all these shows was that everything was done in both English and Japanese.
The only thing we didn’t get to do was eat at the Three Broomsticks because it closed much earlier than we had anticipated. So, if you plan to visit I suggest going there early on. On the bright side we still got to wrap up our evening with two hot butterbeers in very cute collectable mugs. If I had to describe the taste I’d say it tastes like a cross between butterscotch and shortbread. I’ve never had it cold, but it definitely hits the spot hot! It was the perfect way to end our magical visit at Hogwarts. I can’t wait to visit again someday.