First off, whatever it is – it’s only considered a warm-up to the Disney Resorts in Tokyo.
Secondly, it’s a lot of fun. Relatively.
Yatta! (We did it!)
How to freeze yer 4yo butt off
The jump shot that wasn’t
USJ Fact #1: It is always crowded and with 90% locals
Universal Studios Japan is amazing. You’d imagine that there’d be more foreigners coming in to visit but there are actually more of the locals. And a lot of them buy the annual pass and go to the park a few times a year. In the time we were in lines, it was very, very rare to see other foreigners waltz into the lines. I’ve read about it before but didn’t know to what extent – really, at times, we felt out of place.
USJ Fact #2: Never ever go on Spring Break on Weekends, if you can
Go for the weekends, if you can’t help but go. However, Spring Break really isn’t a time you should even consider. It’s soooo crowded it’s not even funny anymore. Unless you’re like us and are biting the bullet in exchange for the cherry blossoms, in that case, good luck!
One of the rides that the Happy Meal wasn’t able to ride. This photo shall suffice in lieu of it.
USJ Fact #3: You can bring food and water in – just don’t be too obvious about it.
Park rules say that you can’t. But actually, you can. And we did. We already knew just how expensive Japanese stuff is, imagine putting it in a theme park! We had with us, a giant bottle of water and some itty bitty things we could eat throughout the day or as we died while waiting in line.
We still opted to have our lunch here though. It’s not that bad – for theme parks, that is- rounding of at 1,000 yen per meal.
USJ Fact #4: The Rides Are Ancient
Back to the Future, Jaws, Waterworld, Backdraft – these are just some of the things that peppered pop culture for the latter part of the last century. And though concepts like Jurassic Park and Spiderman are pretty constant and timeless, most of the park seems to play on the nostalgia bone more than the excitement one.
The Happy Meal had photos with Snoopy’s Lucy, the Pink Panther and Woody Woodpecker and she only got to know them all by Youtube, when I insisted that we watched some videos so she’ll know who they were.
Thank Buddha that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be coming in next year. It’ll be a breath of fresh air to have something from this millennium pop up into that theme park.
Still, the ancient-ness may be obvious but the excitement level is still pretty strong. I really didn’t mind that Jaws was shown in the 70s, or Back to the Future in the 80s – they were and ARE still pretty kick ass movies that deserve their homages.
The kiddie section that caters to the 4-7 range with attractions for Hello Kitty, Elmo and Snoopy
USJ Fact #5: Make use of the Cheat Tickets
Aka the Universal Studios Express Pass. It costs extra on TOP of the 6,600 yen 1-day studio pass (this is for 12 years and older, 4,500 for younger kids and 5,900 for seniors).
Actually, for the Express Pass you have 2 options. The 4-ride pass gives you a not-really-head-of-the-line-but-good-enough cheat on 4 of the 10-ish major attractions. This one costs an additional 3,200 while the 7-ride pass costs 4,900 yen.
We didn’t get them since Tonie can’t ride half of the rides anyway – too short. But we should’ve gotten the 4-ride pass instead. I didn’t realize when doing research that we could get a cheaper express ticket. Blah.
Oh well, shoulda woulda coulda. *shrug*
USJ Fact #6: If you’re looking for Universal Studios Japan specific souvenirs, good luck
We like collecting theme park stuff and when we were on the hunt for a theme park specific, non-character laden souvenir magnet, we couldn’t find any. As a matter of fact, there weren’t any – not a magnet, keychain, shirt or anything. They were all either attached with a small dolorian, T-rex, or had Snoopy dangling on the other side of it. I don’t know, maybe it’s just us – but they’re not so big on that kind of souvenir.
USJ Fact #7: If you can’t speak Japanese, do not prioritize the shows.
Unless you’re cool with just body language and not knowing why everybody is laughing, then go ahead.
Finally, the biggest and best advice I could give to you:
Will be featured on the next post – just because it is sooo damn long. Like, dayummm!
Our first sighting of cherry blossoms was also found here!
What are some of the hard-way-learned lessons you discovered on your theme park trips?