Yer a Wizard, Harry!

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Who else read The Cursed Child, only to be left with an urge to re-read the actual Harry Potter books?

It’s better than nothing, but reading it made me understand how important and complementary JK Rowling’s sarcastic, witty and intelligent descriptions are in lifting a sometimes cliché-filled and flat dialogue. That being said, I am one of those fans who will still cherish every bit of Harry Potter JK throws at me. Like manuscripts, scribbled drawings and theme parks!

Living in South Korea, Japan is but a 40-minute flight away, and in Osaka lies Universal Studios. Universal Studios, as you might know, is home to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter™. I discovered this neat little fact back in March when I joined my friends on a Japan trip on a whim. BUT, I forgot to show the photos from heaven on earth.

So without further ado, here are some photos to make your inner Harry Potter geek jealous.

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Oh yes, first some photos of Universal Studios itself. Also a magical place.

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In Japan, it’s apparently very normal for high schoolers to dress up when they go to theme parks. Like these cool gals. I wish we’d gotten the memo so we could have dressed up too.

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Now that we got that out of the way, it’s time for some photos from the thing that everyone came there to see. This is the entrance to the place where dreams come true. You book a specific time to enter the Wizarding World-part, so that it won’t be too crowded, and walk around the park in the meantime or wait by what looks like a sunny version of the Forbidden Forest.

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Once it is time for you to enter, you walk through said forest for what seems like a lifetime (>1 minute), before you finally see the familiar gates to Hogsmeade. #geeksqueeel

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…. and discover the Hogwarts Express to your immediate right. The sight of the train and the conductor and the station and everything made me feel like I was 11 years old again and reading about Harry’s first trip to Hogwarts. Where the hell is my letter?

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^ I mean, honest to God, I want this on my living room wall. I’ve turned into that kind of person that the marketing and sales people at Universal love.

“Broomsticks, wands or other wizarding artefacts are left unattended entirely at the commuters own risk.”

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And then we discovered butterbeer:

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They come in both hot and cold versions. Personally, the warm one was entirely too sweet for my taste buds, but I finished an entire one anyways.

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Honeydukes(!). More on that later.

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A Mandrake displayed in one of the shop windows.

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As we passed Ollivander’s, music started playing and students from Durmstrang and Beauxbatons entered the stage at the end of the village. Cue dancing, acrobatics and costumes that are now on my Christmas wish list.

On a semi-related note: Durmstrang is, according to JK, supposedly possibly located in Norway or Sweden for some illogical reason that makes no sense whatsoever.

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But then I forgot about Durmstrang completely, because we reached the highlight of the park: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

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You could take a tour through the castle itself, and also take a 4D-ride on a broomstick through the castle grounds. The line for the latter was more than 45 minutes long. Naturally we took the ride 3 times.

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Gryffindor is leading the race for the house cup, even without Dumbledore’s extremely biased way of giving last minute points to his old house.

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Whenever I see this mural I think of Neville and cry a little bit on the inside.

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Back in Hogsmeade, we looked into more shop windows and shops.

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We ended our day in Hogsmeade at Honeydukes to buy as much candy as we could safely carry with us. Which turned out to be one of every item in the shop. Chocolate frogs, Fizzing Whizbees, chocolate wands, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, and Sugar Quill lollipops. Like kids in a candy store. Literally.

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We packed our stuff and traveled back to the “real” world to look at what else Universal had to offer.

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We met the cookie monster, and I got a cookie monster beanie:

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But then, as it grew darker, we reconsidered and ran back to Hogwarts to have one last go at the 4D-ride. I almost cried when we had to leave.

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To sum it up: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ is worth every penny if you’re a merchandise-loving, nostalgic, Harry Potter-obsessed fan like me. Go there. Just do it.