On the suggestion of my friend Farrah, I made a pit stop at USJ on my way back from Faith’s wedding in Kyoto.
I’m not a huge theme park kind of person, and I especially wouldn’t usually go on a weekend. But being that there’s still no international tourism and the park is still capped at 60% capacity, I though I’d chance it and I’m so glad I did.
One of the main draws for me was the fairly new Super Nintendo World area, the first of it’s kind in the world. I’m really glad we went for opening, because we got there at 9am, and by the time we got to the timed entry ticket booth, tickets were already sold out until 3pm.
Of course while we waited for 3pm to roll around we explored the rest of the park…
All attractions (except the new Demon Slayer ride) were under a 15 minute wait – so amazing! I’m not a big fan of rides as I get really motion sick, but I thought I’d be brave and go on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
Know that I absolutely screamed my head off all the way around, much to the amusement of the bairns either side of me. (I ended up going on two more times, since there was no wait!)
The cast members are all amazing, everyone from characters to cleaners stop and wave at you – I bet they’re exhausted by the end of the day from being so cheerful.
I had a bit of a funny turn when I was in the queue for The Three Broomsticks. Embarrassingly I suddenly felt sick, dizzy and claustrophobic and when I asked a friendly witch that I wanted to leave the line, they sat me down at a table with a large glass of ice water and an ice pack. So kind – Madam Rosmerta should be proud of her staff.
Originally I thought I was just tired from lack of sleep and a bit dehydrated and did feel much better afterwards. However now I do think it was the start of my gallbladder going haywire. I was able to enjoy the rest of my day – the only downside being that I lost my appetite and didn’t get a chance to try most of the snacks I was eager to. しょうがない!
I enjoyed the other areas of the park – the only place I avoided was anywhere I saw signs for Minions. Japan seems to have a blind spot for the annoying yellow wankers.
After a quick bite of some overpriced pizza…it was finally time for Mario.
I treated myself to a Luigi Power-Up band which you can use to interact with the world around you and collect coins on the USJ app. Usually I’m not lured in with gimmicky crap you can just use in the park, but as it’s also an amiibo, it at least has another use.
I really loved the open area, reminiscent of the famous grassland-themed worlds with heaps of easter eggs to find. It was the only part of the park that was a little too busy for my liking, but it’s kind of to be expected.
I didn’t have a chance to have a close look at everything as there were a lot of excited bairns running about giddily, but I thought it was really great and inventive for casual and hardcore fans alike.
I spotted some cranes in the background too which looks like it’s the beginning of the recently announced Donkey Kong extension opening in the next few years.
Because I’m a giant kid, one thing I really wanted to do was go to the Mario and Luigi meet and greet – and know that I’m not even joking a little bit when I say that when I heard the announcement I practically yeeted kids out of the way to get to the front of the line. Not my finest moment.
Worth it tho:
We of course went on the two Nintendo rides – Yoshi’s Adventure and Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge.
I was originally going to give Yoshi a miss as it looked like it was mostly for little kids – but when I saw a big group of fanboys in their 30s mooching on ahead of me, I thought I’d give it a try.
It was so cute and full of easter eggs from various Mario games!
Sadly, I found the Mario Kart ride a bit of a let down – the inside looked very impressive with the walk-up themed around the various Bowser’s Castle tracks and cast members in cute pit-crew gear. But for the actual ride you have to wear these VR goggles and they didn’t fit on my head very well so I had to move around a little to make the 3D effects work.
When they did work though, it was pretty cool!
All-in-all I really enjoyed my day, and we managed to spend 8 hours in the park before starting to lag.
I’d really recommend giving it a visit, especially if you’re currently in Japan and before the park gets packed again.
It was only about £59 for a day ticket which was well worth it in my opinion!
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