December 24, 2014 – Well folks, this is it. The big update you all have been clamouring for from Osaka. The one and (close to) only Wizarding World of Harry Potter! There’s a lot of pictures to share, but unfortunately you will have to excuse my lack of Harry Potter knowledge. I’m a huge muggle. Additionally, I may repeat a few images from the last few updates, but this is all to make this as complete as possible. I also strongly encourage you to read part one, part two and part three before going on here.
ALL ABOARD THE WIZARD TRAIN!
As you disembark the train to get into the park, they throw the Potter stuff in your face.
When you see this sign, you know this is when it starts to get real.
Like any new attraction at a Universal Park, the tickets are themed to them.
And of course, you must get an entry ticket to get into Hogsmeade. No exceptions. So let’s get one!
Getting into the park requires you to follow fellow aspiring wizards.
At first it seems simple to just follow the posted signs.
You then go with the crowds in that direction.
Right past the entry way.
And then an employee has you turn around at a switchback.
From here, you walk through New York’s Central Park. Not sure what it was before Potter, but now it’s just a queue-land.
It’s a gorgeous area.
You start to realize the size of the crowd at about this point.
I really wish I had a chance to explore more of this area.
So much work was put into it.
The line moves very quickly so you have to be sharp with pictures.
All the plants are marked with famous names.
I honestly have no clue what they mean. Is it a walk of fame?
There wasn’t consistency or information.
Near the end, they basically have everybody split off so only one person needs to be in the group to get the pass. Pretty clever.
Here it becomes a mess where you fight to get a kiosk since there’s just a mess of crowds still.
They give you a choice of a few different return times.
And poof! The tickets are printed!
Golden Tickets. Literally!
Now we just walk out and kill time for the next 9 hours.
I’ll take this time to mention there will be one final update next week. I hope you can guess the theme. It’s a doozy and will easily be the biggest of all of these updates to finish off the year! (For your information, these are guests dressed up for Halloween)
Anyways, thanks to the magic of the Internet, we have now reached our specified return time!
Many folks are impatient and just spend all day here waiting, ignoring the rest of the park.
When your time is ready, you approach that umbrella.
They verify the return time on the ticket and you get excited!
Then you proceed through giant swaths of switchbacks. It’s a lot of walking. Makes you wonder what these are for if there’s a holding pen already.
The lines continue…
It’s not an ugly walkway by any stretch.
But it makes you wonder what is planned…
Very few were going “This Way”
Simply just a line for the photo op with the car.
As you get to the end of the road, you see a lot of selfie sticks. Why?
The conductor welcomes everyone.
This was getting less pictures than the conductor.
Some thought this was real water.
Line for butterbeer in front of Zonko’s
Here are your options.
Continues past Honeydukes.
Everything looks new!
“Meet a live owl” is an attraction listed on the map.
There’s so much to take in.
Really just a fantastic job.
But it gives you an eerie feeling that you’re in Florida.
The stage is used for shows like these singing frogs.
A ton of people were watching them.
In the distance is the obvious reason you came here.
Of course, if the ride is too much for you, you can simply just walk through the castle.
It’s a gorgeous site. Let’s go in!
Like I’ve stated time and time again on these reports. They really hate cameras. So you have to bear with me as there’s a lack of them in the important spot.
Locker layout felt the same. Giant mess of getting in and out.
Stop me if this feels familiar to some of you.
This is a way out of the castle. Maybe the first and only open spot in the entire land.
Phone camera is about all I could sneak on.
Because the inside queue is split between actual Forbidden Journey riders and the castle walkthrough, you go through fast. Most of your waiting is done outside in the greenhouse.
These rooms just feel like footnotes.
This is literally as close as the queue gets to this room. Unless you take the walking tour first, you will not understand any of the story.
And finally you reach the sorting hat and the ride begins.
On exit your group is handed this.
It is simply a reminder of the time you got off the ride and helps aid to find your on-ride photo.
The store is as packed as you can imagine.
Over in the back corner is where you specifically got in line to order your ride photo.
And that basket coaster is there, too. Looked the same.
Only this park will have this lake outside Hogwarts. I don’t see any conceivable way that Hollywood is putting in a lake of this size.
Butterbeer sells out fast.
In the meantime we can go for a wand!
If you can fit into the store.
Remember, a wand picks you, not the other way around, right?
Other store windows.
So clean and new.
Yes. They were trying to escape.
I could take photos for days here.
Good luck getting in there. It just wasn’t worth it trying to squeeze in.
Outside of Olivander’s.
Olivander’s window front.
Madam Puddifoot’s Tea & Cakes! Let’s get closer!
And Dogweed & Deathcap
Hollywood is already catching up to this.
In terms of food, there are a few known options.
Three Broomsticks! Let’s go inside!
Looks yummy! Kind of. Just expensive.
It was packed.
Well, maybe another time.
Maybe the Hog’s Head?
And sadly, that wraps this up. I really hope you saw what you wanted. We’ll be back soon to wrap up this giant trip with Halloween on New Year’s. Hah!
Chris Glass is an editor for Inside Universal.
Chris is a Los Angeles native who grew up visiting the best theme parks in the world, but that wasn’t enough. Whenever he has the chance, he flees the comfort of Southern California to see what the rest of the world has to offer, and is always happy to return home.
You may contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.