[Qi Tyng Leong | Contributing Writer]
When in Japan, I visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which is part of Universal Studios. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is different from the Warner Brothers Studios in Watford… because it’s a theme park!
I was greeted by the iconic Weasley’s Ford Anglia crashed into a tree at the entrance. Once inside, I made my way to a restaurant modelled after the Three Broomsticks where food and drinks were served, The Hog’s Head was actually connected to the Three Broomsticks. I got to choose between two options of butterbeer in Japan; they had the same version we have at the Warner Bros Studios and they had the blended version. Personally, I think the one by Warner Bros is tastier.
The Hog’s Head’s visitors were able to order a crafted beer specially made for the bar called the Hog’s Head Brew. I didn’t get to try it because of the long queue! For those unwilling to queue for beers, there were butterbeer barrel caravans around the Wizarding World. I noticed that the Warner Bros Studios offered a souvenir cup or a tankard, while the Wizarding World only had a normal soft plastic cup or a tankard.
The Owl Post was opposite the Three Broomsticks, it doubled as a souvenir shop. The owls sat along the walls were animatronic so they gave a realistic vibe. The shop I had been most eager to visit was Ollivanders; the wands were on sale and there were were signs along the shelves describing the different types of wood used.
There was a life-sized Great Lake and a replica of the Hogwarts castle. I went into the castle and saw the moving portraits, which also talked. Unfortunately, I couldn’t understand them because they talked in Japanese. Visitors standing in line got to enjoy being spoken to by the portrait of the Fat Lady herself! To keep things even more authentic, Moaning Myrtle’s screechy voice came out of the public bathrooms amid the flushing noises.
Map of the Wizarding World Photo credit: Qi Tyng Leong
Since it was a theme park, there was a ride in the Castle called The Forbidden Journey in 4K3D. It was an entertaining ride but it probably offered a richer experience to those who knew Japanese. There was also an outdoor ride called The Flight of the Hippogriff, I saw Hagrid’s Hut from there but it was not meant for visitors. However, I did get to see Dumbledore’s Office and the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom!
If you’re planning on visiting Japan, I would recommend visiting The Wizarding World, it’s a completely different experience to the Warner Bros Studios and you’re going to love it!
All images: Qi Tyng Leong