A RIDE TO THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER
“In my opinion, not only had the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in USJ successfully reenact the series, it is one of the most comprehensive attraction in USJ..."
By: JiaJia Leng
If theme parks are about turning imagination into reality, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Japan(USJ) has done a pretty good job.
Being one of the top selling book and movie series, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter had plenty of resource to refer to when designing for attraction. However, it could also be a potential for backlash as it could easily be compared and contrasted. In my opinion, not only had the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in USJ successfully reenact the series, it is one of the most comprehensive attraction in USJ,
and here’s why:
THE STORY TELLING
The location of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is slightly off track from the core circulation of the park. Using it as a strategy (or perhaps it was planned), the zone uses a long narrow trail linking to the core circulation to lead guests toward its exclusive zone. The trail was design in a way to build up curiosity and create atmosphere, with tall pine trees and some detail from the series, such as the Weasley family’s flying car among the bushes. The narrative technique is also used in preshow or waiting lines of the rides, giving guests an interesting and engaging experience.
There are 2 main rides in the area, which is the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff. The Flight of the Hippogriff aims to suit all group, thus it is a less-thrilling family friendly ride. Starting with a castle tour replicating famous scenes in the HP movie series, the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey on the other hand is an exhilarating dark ride that brings you through the wizarding world. Even without 3D glasses, the experience was realistic with the precise movement of the mechanism, incorporating with sound and effects. It is definitely the one ride that should not be missed in USJ!
YOU ARE ONE OF US !
I think the best part of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the intergration of interactive elements around the zone. Although spells can only be cast with a purchase of the magical wands, there are still animatronics that could be engaged by guests without the use of wands. This is indeed a plus to creating an immersive experience in the zone, it is also a strategic way to activate secondary paths in the zone through guests’ hunt for hidden features.
THE NIGHT IS STILL YOUNG !
It was probably the best decision made to head back to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter when the night falls. Although scheduled with a projection show at the castle, the zone is comparably less populate than it was during the day. The projection show was mesmerizing, however, there are gems hidden in the details that stood out to me and got me in awe. To me, a visit to the zone at night is a must! The ambient of the zone at night is truly indulging, it is what brings the magic alive!
From the planning of the entry journey, to rides, interaction and all the meticulous details, I think the success of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Japan is absolutely deserving. Not only that the “hardware” of the attraction is well designed and polished, the “softwares” of the attraction, which are the staffs, are all well trained and passionate. Maybe there isn’t any real magic in the world, but the joy resulting from great experience is perhaps more effective than any potion.