The last day of our Kansai trip was spent at Universal Studios Japan, which was not in my initial itinerary plan. But wifey said it would be nice to check it out. Her big small hint landed us in this popular Osaka Theme Park. Hubby 101: what wifey wants, wifey gets. Knowing that this crowd magnet will be swarmed with people, I have planned to counter that by;
– Reaching the theme park way before its opening hour.
– Buying the entrance tickets in advance
– Visit during the weekdays
Apparently, everyone had the same idea. There was already a huge crowd waiting and queuing in line to the turnstiles. Wah Lau eh!! Look at that!!
The ‘visit during weekdays’ plan kinda flopped too as that faithful Tuesday happened to coincide with Japanese schools’ half-term spring break. At least we did skip the equally maddening queue to buy the entrance ticket. Once the park opens, crowds swarmed in and people dashing towards the rides. Wow! And we Singaporeans are labelled as Kiasu? That’s definitely leaps and bounds ahead of us…err…time to buck up Mr Kiasu?
The Rides in Universal Studios Japan
The attraction which got people all excited, for them to dash towards it, is the Hollywood Dream. This badass ride is the highlight of Universal Studios Japan and rightly so. The queue watch screen indicates a 45 minutes wait. Gosh, and that’s only 10 minutes after opening its gate. Realized that we couldn’t avoid the lines so we just joined in. The wait lasted almost an hour before it’s our turn.
The ride itself is great for an adrenaline rush! I enjoyed the fast and thrilling ride tremendously. I liked it so much that I took it 3 times eventually. The Back to the Future ride was next. Yet again, the queue was super long too. It’s so counter-productive to wait an hour each time for a ride that lasts around 3 to 5 minutes.
Universal Express Booklet
So I went back to the ticket booth and purchased the life/ time-saving Universal Express Booklet 4 Rides (The Express Booklet 7 Rides were already sold out). The best decision ever because it cut our waiting time down to 10 minutes or so. We got in a car soon after and went on for the fun ride, though it didn’t impress me much. Perhaps I should have opted for the Jaws ride instead…shoulda woulda coulda…oh well.
Spidey’s turn next. The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman is yet another popular ride with snaking queue…express booklet to the rescue! We only waited around 15 minutes, yeah!! The ride was really good. It brought us around the dark streets with spidey while he battles his archenemies. I highly recommend this ride.
It’s now time for dinosaurs. Jurassic Park is yet another ride not to be missed. This ride will wet your pants, literally, since the finale is when the boat plummets down the slide into the pool. Trust me, it’s impossible to stay dry, just look at the next few pictures below. The solution is simple – buy those cheap-looking plastic raincoats via the vending machine at the ride’s entrance.
After using 3 out of the 4 rides with the Universal Express Booklet, we were left to choose between Backdraft and Hollywood Dream. Backdraft is not a ride but a live show with fire effects. I would prefer to do Hollywood Dream but wifey didn’t want to take the ride again. So I ended up utilizing both the remaining Express Booklet tickets for Hollywood Dream. Adrenaline rush x 3. What a day and way to conclude our Osaka Trip!!
The rest of the day was spent doing the usual touristy stuff. If you are like me who don’t frequent theme parks, here are 2 practical tips.
#1: Be prepared to wait. And wait. And wait some more.
Given that the theme park will ALWAYS be crowded, it’s best to be mentally prepared for that. Else there will be loads of frustration with time spent staring into space. Since waiting cannot be avoided, do your part by avoiding the weekends and holidays. Purchase your tickets in advance at JR station or Lawson’s store to avoid queuing at the ticket booth. Reach earlier to do the blockbuster rides first before it gets even more crowded.
#2: Make full use of the Express Lanes on popular rides.
The Express Booklet will cost an extra 3,290 JPY for quicker access to 4 rides or 5,040 JPY for 7 rides. Yes, this is on top of what you paid for Universal Studios Japan entrance fee. But it’s a big time saver use like a trump card. There’s a reason why these Express Booklets sell out quickly so grab it right after you enter the park.