UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN
Park News - (6/17/13) Theme Park University takes a look at the new Resident Evil themed shoot-em-up attraction at Universal Studios Japan where guests are let loose inside the park’s Palace Theater with an airsoft gun to shoot at live zombies who are after them. The idea seems based on a couple of similar style attractions set up in the UK. Follow the link to read more.
(6/11/13) Universal Studios Japan is holding the One Piece Premier Summer special event, running from July 5th to September 8 that will feature in park characters, live shows, special food items and more. Check out the video ad below.
(5/30/13) Universal Studios Japan will add a new Resident Evil Live (aka: Biohazard Live) attraction into the park for a limited time this year where guests will be able to shoot the zombies using the same style “practice guns” used by the Japanese police and military. The attraction will be set up inside the Palace Theater. So far I didn’t see anything about this on the official Universal Japan website yet, but this article mentions it will open sometime in July.
(11/19/12) A reader sent us a link to a great new video showing off an amazing Universal Wonder Christmas themed projection show on the buildings at Universal Studios Japan that is wild, and includes live actors on the structure blended in with the projection effects. Check it out below, as it includes the entire nearly 25 minute show performance.
(10/31/12) Universal Studios Japan welcomed the park’s 100 millionth guest through the gates on Monday. The park has been open since March 2001.
2013 - Hollywood Dream - Backdrop - (5/6/13) Videos of “Hollywood Dream – Backdrop” have been found onYouTube this week, where an entire train now runs backwards along the course. The first video is from a local talk show where I can only assume they put one of the coaster’s soundtrack performers on the ride as they sing along with the track chosen. The second shows a little before and after footage of the ride in action.
(1/23/13) The Backwards coaster movement continues, making the leap across the Pacific from the US as Universal Studios Japan has announced that they will introduce “Hollywood Dream - The Ride - Backdrop” for a limited time starting on March 15th until July 7, 2013.
According to the press release, they say you can still ride Hollywood Dream both Forwards and Backwards during this time period. The regular Purple train will run forwards while a special Red and Gold train will run backwards.
The park will also hold the first Universal Easter Celebration to celebrate the first anniversary of Universal Wonderland from March 15 through June 30th. To celebrate the Universal Rainbow Circus show is coming to entertain everyone with acrobatic stunts. Hollywood Wonderland will also feature an Egg Hunt Rally event from March 15 to June 30th.
2013 - Spiderman 4K/3D Upgrade - (6/11/13) It appears that the fantastic upgrade given to the Spiderman ride at Islands of Adventure in Florida will soon be opening at Universal Studios Japan. This will bring the upgraded 4K / 3D projection experience featuring newly animated ride footage to Japan for the first time. Based on the video, I believe this will open on July 5th.
Late 2014 - Wizarding World of Harry Potter - (3/11/13) A few new pictures, including some aerial shots, show off the progress on The Wizarding World of Harry Potter under construction at Universal Studios Japan. Check them out over at TheThemeParkGuy. From what I can tell, this is an exact replica of the building shape used in Orlando. Based on the rest of the plot of land to be built upon, guests will also approach Hogwarts Castle from the exact same direct as they do in Orlando when passing through the town of Hogsmeade and turn that corner to get that awe-inspiring view of Hogwarts for the first time.
(1/1/13) They don’t mess around in Japan… because the massive building that will be themed as Hogwarts castles for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has already risen high into the sky. Check out the latest construction pictures posted to TheThemeParkGuy.
(5/14/12) According to this article, which features of picture of the Phelps twins at the Wizarding World announcement in Japan, the addition of the new Harry Potter themed land to Universal Studios Japan will increase the theme park’s footprint by one fifth. Taking that for what it’s worth, I’m guessing we will see the Wizaring World fill in that parking lot section I was thinking about last week, rather than take over any existing space.
The article also says that the new Wizarding World will feature “several attractions, including a school for wizards” as well as a recreation of Hogsmeade Village. From the tone of the article, the Japanese are as crazy about the Harry Potter books and films as the rest of the world is. Just wait until they get a taste of Butterbeer…
(5/10/12) As I had heard rumored not long ago, Universal Studios Japan has confirmed that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be coming to the Osaka park. Construction is set to begin within the next few weeks on the $500 million new land which will include the iconic Hogwarts Castle, the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride and other attractions when it opens in late 2014. According to the article at the LA Times, the Japanese version of the Wizarding World will open far ahead of the already announced version coming to the Hollywood park which isn’t expected to open now until 2016.
Nothing was really mentioned about the location for the ride, but I believe Universal Studios Japan is fairly land-locked currently, and to build an expansion of this size, I’ve got a feeling that something may have to come out. There is one out of the way parking lot area nestled in between the Jurassic Park ride building and the Waterworld show stadium that could be used I suppose… or perhaps they may opt to remove their version of Jaws as well, though that put the Wizarding World right in the way of the Waterworld show crowds throughout the day. With construction set to begin very soon, it wont be long before we find out exactly where the new Hogwarts castle will rise.
(4/19/12) A mysterious pecking sound at my window tonight revealed an interesting new development. According to a brief message, delivered by Owl-Mail… I’ve been told that before the year is over we may see the announcement of yet another Wizarding World of Harry Potter project. This time for Universal Studios Japan. This begs the question, what attraction(s) will Universal Japan have to remove to make room for the new Wizarding World?
???? - Back To The Future Replacement - Rumor - (12/4/12) It has been several years since we’ve heard any kind of peep from Universal Studios Japan regarding a possible replacement for the last remaining Back To The Future ride. Previous rumor suggested that they were looking to shut it down by 2012, but so far this has not happened and isn’t even an active rumor as of late.
That said, I was watching some old videos of the BTTF ride from back in the day, and recalled a unique feature of the time machine cars used in the ride. As fans of the film series know, a primary feature of the dashboard was the three-color coded Time Circuits display, showing off your “Destination Time”, “Present Time” and “Last Time Departed”.
So when the ride starts and you jump ahead to the futuristic Hill Valley of 2015, you see that date displayed on the Time Circuits during the actual ride experience. However, a neat feature designed to make the ride seem more immersive when it first opened in 1992 is going to cause some problems in the near future for the remaining ride. As you board the ride car, riders are quick to notice that the “Present Time” listed on the Time Circuits is indeed the actual real world time in which they are in. While this was fine in the 1990s and early 2000’s... I’ve got to think that the guests in Japan are already getting a good laugh when they initial time jump is only a jump from 2012 (soon 2013) to 2015 to see “The Future!” Once 2015 comes around for real... the time traveling storyline isn’t going to make any sense at all. 2016 anyone? 2017? While Doc will say he is taking you on a trip to the future, guests will be transported back in time to 2015 instead of forward.
So in short... I think the clock is ticking away very quickly for our friends in Japan, as the caretakers of the last Back To The Future: The Ride attraction in the world. By the time 2015 comes around, it would only make sense to close the ride once and for all to create a new attraction, rather than risk a Time Paradox. And as Doc. Brown would be quick to point out, "The results of which could cause a chain reaction that would unravel the very fabric of the space-time continuum and destroy the entire universe!... Granted, that's the worst-case scenario. The destruction however might be limited merely to our own galaxy."
(8/23/09) This rumor may be a bit ahead of it’s time, but one source suggests that Universal Japan is ready to retire their version of Back To The Future as well by 2011/2012. As The Simpsons are not really really well known characters in Japan (as they are in America), porting in a clone of the same Simpsons ride is not an option. However the rumor we’ve heard is a bit of a stunner, as our source claims that they may be looking an at option to license Batman from WB to create new simulator ride themed to The Dark Knight. DeLorean… meet The Tumbler. Now of course the really odd question is... can Spiderman and Batman co-exist in the same park, being from two different comic book companies? Maybe not in the USA, but I do think it would work in Japan where they are both viewed as just American Superhero comics. Plus we know that at one point in time Universal was attempting to build a Batman themed attraction for Islands of Adventure when the park was first just a concept.