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Day 11: Sakurajima

07.12.2016

It wasn’t difficult to wake up bright an early for our plans for today. Other than Luna Park in Sydney and some parks in the Philippines, I hadn’t actually been to a “proper” theme park before, so Universal Studios in Japan for their 15th Anniversary was a pretty big. The hotel we were staying at had a shuttle straight to Universal, which meant we could be there bright and early to get in line.

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Despite getting there before any of the rides actually opened, the lines were already pretty long. We managed to get inside in pretty good time and went straight to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

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The first ride we went on was a 4D Virtual Tour of the Harry Potter movies. Despite the fact that it was mostly in Japanese and I felt a little sick from all the movements, it was a pretty awesome ride. The wait itself felt a little long, but in retrospect it wasn’t that bad. We also went on the Flight of the Hippogriff ride which was exhilarating but a little short.

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By the time we finished with those rides, the whole of Hogsmeade was pretty packed. We wandered in and out of shops looking at uniforms, wands and all sorts of merchandise and it made me so nostalgic and the need to watch the Harry Potter movies again was so real.

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I finally got to try Butterbeer, and it was pretty good! Since the weather had us freezing, we had the Butterbeer warm, and it was an interesting drink – but one I definitely enjoyed.

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Once we had finished up in Hogsmeade, we began our walk around the park. The first thing we noticed was the screams of people overheard, so naturally we followed them to the Jurassic Park ride: The Flying Dinosaur. This would be the very first (proper) rollercoaster. (And I say proper because the first rollercoaster I actually went on was a relatively small one that lasted for 2 minutes at Luna Park in Sydney. We spent 2 hours waiting in line, watching group after group take off whilst behind held Superman style. It looked absolutely terrifying and I was unbelievable excited. There are no words to describe the ride itself, only that if it wasn’t another 2 hour wait, I would have gone again. Exhilarating, insane, amazing – none of these words seem to do it justice. It was always a fear of mine to go on rollercoasters like that, so I’m glad that I managed to do it.

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Once we were done, we had lunch at Mel’s Drive-In which was an American diner style restaurant. Can I just say that while the line seemed incredibly long and the whole place really busy, the service was so good – the system that they had in place was so efficient and there are definitely places in Australia who could get a few pointers from the Japanese.

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We walked around a little after lunch and wandered into a few souvenir stores. We also managed to find some carnival games (and sadly didn’t win anything). They had baby Elmos, baby Cookie Monsters and baby Snoopys for prizes and I so badly wanted to win one! There was a little girl who looked about 4 who managed to win a baby Snoopy, and it was adorable to see how shy she got after winning.

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We spent the next half hour walking around the entire theme park, making sure we didn’t miss any of it. Despite being ridiculously full from lunch, we couldn’t walk past the giant turkey legs, which was too much even to share between two people but still yum.

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Even though we said we wouldn’t, we ended up watching the parade and got drenched in bubbles (as did my camera, but she’s a fighter and seems to be totally fine!). Once we were satisfied, we made a relatively quick stop at the Universal Globe and took a million and one touristy photos (#noshame).

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After a quick train ride, we were back at the hotel. We made another 7-Eleven run for dinner and after a hot shower we headed to bed for an early night. Tomorrow would be shopping at Dotonburi and my wallet and luggage were ready!

-SKC.

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