Kazan Cathedral, Saint Petersburg

Monday, 26 June 2017

Universal Studios Japan (USJ)

Google Maps: Universal Studios, Osaka, Japan
First thing first. You cannot cover all at Universal Studios Japan (USJ) without a plan. So here is step by step guide to help you.

1. Reach USJ by 8.30AM. Based on inbound crowd, the entry time changes between 8AM and 9AM. Avoid weekends & holidays because they attract both tourists and locals. Best days are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Buy tickets in advance through www.usj.co.jp or in worse case counter. There are two tickets. One is the Studio Pass for entry, the other is Express Pass (optional but strongly recommended) for selective rides.

Universal Studios Japan Map

2. Suggested is Universal Express® Pass 4 (Standard) as it covers two of the longest queues - Harry Potter & Minion Mayhem. If you do not want to buy Express Pass, suggested is you go for Harry Potter after 5PM and do not cover Minion Mayhem. Both have 2-3 hours queue for normal pass and eat up precious time.

Harry Potter World, USJ

3. Go for the Roller Coasters as early as possible. Three reasons - 1. Most with kids go for Minion Mayhem and rest to Harry Potter creating the fabled 3 hour queue. 2. Roller Coasters have queues that move quickly thanks to the throughput. Flying Dinosour takes 30 per ride and Hollywood Dream takes 24 each time. 3. You do not want to take these rides after lunch else your stomach may say no.

Minion Park, USJ

4. Few rides are closed for the day for some reason or another. Then there are older attractions (like JAWS as we found the wrong way) that you can altogether avoid. Check those through feedback blogs before so you can plan. Do plan the sequence of rides you will take before you enter else you will waste precious time thinking and figuring.

Flying Dinosour, USJ

5. Plan in as much sequence as possible, there are too many things to do for a day at USJ. Below is the suggested sequence.

5A. Right side rides (recommended to be covered first)
  1. Harry Potter World (only if you have Express Pass else try at 5PM) - Wait time 60 min for Express; 180 min for regulars) - Crazy stuff for Pottermore fans. You will love the show as I did. Cover Hogsmeade and Hog's Head if you want. Try Butterbeer, its tasty.
  2. Minions Mayhem (again only if you have Express Pass else avoid) - Wait time 60 min for Express; 180 min for regulars) - Kids stuff but then Minions are the new Penguins and everybody loves them.
  3. Hollywood Dream - Wait time for regulars says 60 min but you will get there in 30 - There is an option in reverse direction as well called Backdrop. Its a standard roller coaster and fun.
  4. Flying Dinosour - Wait time for regulars says 120 min but you will get there in 60 - The most amazing thing in USJ, don't even think of missing it. Its some experience, the 360 degree roller coaster.
  5. Jurassic Park Ride - Wait time for regulars is 60 min - Was closed for the day but heard its good.

Near Entrance, USJ

5B. Left side rides
  1. SpiderMan - Wait time for regulars is 60 mins - Awesome for those in 30s as they will relish the Spiderman of old. The graphics are super and the ride is great.
  2. Space Fantasy - Was closed for the day but were told its good.

Spiderman Ride, USJ

5C. Remaining rides
  1. JAWS - Old ride and hardly exciting, avoidable. Then there is a long queue.
  2. Backdraft - Didn't get much feedback so didn't try.
  3. Terminator 2 - Its a 3D show but was closed for the day.

Honey Duke's Butterbeer, USJ

6. Try for the shops and restaurants only after 6PM because that is the time when you will need it, all exhausted that you will be. We liked the Oliwanders shop in Harry Potter World and the Universal Studios Store right after the entrance.

USJ Globe

Thats it. Have a great day at the USJ.