Coming off from the previous post, also about Universal Studios Japan, we are now going into detail about the one thing you have to be prepared for when coming into this Osakan theme park.
SETTING: Still freezing out butts off in the “Spring” cold temperatures, which are now at 10 degrees, overcast and windy. Poor tropical people, us.
Get ready to wait. And wait. And wait.
Hello Kitty’s Cupcake Dream
The first ride we ever did was the teeny tiny little Mad Hatter Tea Cups-ish ride. Except that it’s not the Mad Hatter, it’s Hello Kitty. And that it’s not Tea Cups, they’re cupcakes. And the ride itself is smaller. That was a breeze, we waited for 10 minutes – because we got lucky. Another half an hour and the line ballooned to a wait time of 45 minutes. Total wait time: 10 minutes
Hello Kitty’s Ribbon Collection
The next attraction we went to – without even knowing what it was we were lining up to – was a Hello Kitty Bow Boutique something. We just went it, not knowing what was in store for us. We only found out after lining up for half an hour that it was—and get this – a photo op with Hello Kitty. That was it. You line up for half an hour, snake through this tiny building only to end up in a room with a giant pussy cat and another constantly-bowing Japanese photographer who is most probably telling you, “Yes, Mommy, you can be in the picture, too.” And of course, you had to pay for the photos – About 1,000 yen each. Alangan after waiting for that long, we weren’t going to get the photos? So we bit the bullet and bought both photos. Total spent: 2,000 yen. Total wait time: 30 minutes
For the third line we went in as a family because I knew from experience that it was going to be “easy.” We lined up for Jaws – all four of us, not knowing how long the line was going to be. We slowly snaked through aisles and aisles, passing by Amityville display artifacts until, finally, we were able to indulge in the ride – which is as awesome as it was in the 80’s.
But back then, Jaws didn’t have its own ride- it was part of the obligatory-back lot tram tour in Universal Studios in Hollywood. Back then, the tour just stopped into a lake and then out of nowhere, the giant shark lunged at the tipped tram. And then, that’s it. On to the next attraction, the flash flood, was it?
Anyway, the waiting time we spent in there was already “ridiculous” for me, especially when we were considering that we had a senior with us. Total Waiting Time: About 1 hour
The Happy Meal was too short for the Jurassic Park ride – and we weren’t willing to get wet on a day that’s this cold anyway. ZeFolks were basically calling it a night (at 2pm) but we still had some energy left so we ventured through the park ourselves. It was fun to enjoy the park without having to look back to where the seniors were at.
We headed for the Water World stunt show but got there too late. We could’ve waited but 4-year olds weren’t built to wait in an empty and freezingly-cold amphitheater for 2 hours. So we skipped on. And yes, we did skip.
Next on the Japanese-language park map was Back to the Future. The line outside declared a 65-minute waiting time for the ride. I stopped, sat down and reconsidered. Would we really like to go into THIS ride? Tonie doesn’t even know who the hell Marty McFly is.
It actually started to rain a bit
We sat around for another 10 minutes – I found out that I was EXHAUSTED. My legs almost gave way. I didn’t even notice that I was already buckling underneath. We’ve been walking non-stop the whole morning and afternoon, half of it with Tonie on my shoulders that we haven’t really stopped to rest.
We were gonna call it a day and just spent the rest of it walking around for photo ops. It was my first time to be exposed to cold weather for this much time. So far, it’s been 6 hours in the bone-numbing cold and we’ve hardly had the time to warm up.
We walked and was shown the answer to our theme park dilemma. The Happy Meal saw the most enticing sign ever: a giant Spider Man seemingly jumping from a building. Amazing Spider Man 3D ride, it said. We were sooo going to do this. Indicated waiting time: 90 minutes. I sighed, swallowed down my fear and shouted, “Challenge Accepted!” And yes, I really did shout.
The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man in 3D
The first 20 minutes of waiting was a mental mess, I kept bouncing around the idea of whether we should do this or not. The longer we stayed there, the more people we saw walk towards the back of the line, see how damn long it was and walk away. After the first 20 minutes, the little one was getting tired. So I let her sit on the railings, which we’re not allowed to do, according to a park official who pointed it out to me. By the time 40 minutes was down, my shoulders were hurting from having a half sack of rice on it. She’s not that heavy but after a while, it gets to you, you know? By the time we got to turn the corner from which we thought was the last one until the ride comes into view, a whole room opens up and guess what? More lines. We pass that room and go into another. Same thing. We go into 3 more rooms and each time, I wanted to cry. Will the line ever end? We’ve already past the point of no return and it was getting hopeless. The first hour passes and we’re still inching our way through rooms.
GENTLEMEN, START YOUR ENGINES!
Notice how my smile disappears and Tonie gets sleepier as time passes
The first hour mark
Finally, after another half an hour, after nearly wanting to give up, break down and cry, we were given our 3D glasses. It won’t be long now. I’m pretty sure they weren’t going to give us 3D glasses to hold unto for the next 10 minutes or something. And just as we were given our glasses, we turn around to see boarding area! An hour and a half of bouncing around the entire complex and it finally gave us a view, an estimate of how much farther we had to endure. We could see it, the molded plastic seats in the ride never looked so comfortable in my life. 4 minutes after we got our glasses, the doors finally closed down to our awesome Spider Man ride. Given that it was a 3D ride where Spider Man was talking in Japanese, you didn’t need to be a genius to figure out that yes, he needed OUR help in saving New York City.
This was the time,about 2 minutes before we got to actually ride
We emerged victorious. I believe I had a lump in my throat. And I’m pretty sure my moment looked like this:
That’s how it felt to me anyway.
Was it worth it? Yes. Would I do it again? That same day, no. Another day, yes!
For me, it was such a culminating event that I just HAD to buy the Spider Man plushie after the ride. I just wanted to remember that experience. I wanted to relive the pain in my feet, the soreness of my shoulders and the short temper that Tonie almost threw out the window – all for a 4 minute ride that was in a word- Amazing.
And that was the end of our ride-scapade in Universal Studios in Japan. We ended on a high note and was satisfied, despite not being able to get on the other rides. Maybe next time?
We walked out of the souvenir shop, got our souvenir ride photo and walked out just in time to see a park show. Given of course, it was in Japanese – but seeing a guy shoot out of a cannon need not be translated, methinks. There were balloons and confetti that I almost thought were specifically for me. I survived the Amazing Adventures of Spider Man ride.
When the crowd dispersed and things went back to relative-to-the-park normal, the wind picked up and started making us miserable. We stood by the heated lamps like the tropical losers that we were and stayed there for a while. The weather wasn’t going to get any better. It got really cloudy and the sun was already headed down. We headed back to where ZeFolks were because we still cherished the use of our extremities. Finally, when we walked into the heated building, I collapsed into the plush hotel lobby chair. As I felt the blood quickly rush back into my legs, Tonie yelled, “Mommy, let’s play!” I groaned and I almost cried. And yes, I almost did.
For you guys out there, if you still want take on Universal Studios during Spring Break, you’re on your own. It’s a unique experience indeed but you know what? There’s something more evil than this experience. Oh yes, but you’re going to have to stay tuned for that. But let me give you a hint: it starts with T and ends with Okyo Disney Sea