3-16th September 2005

Travel
Arrive in Tokyo, free time there
Toshimaen, Hanayashiki, Korakuen/Tokyo Dome
Disneyland Tokyo
DisneySea
Yomiuriland, Korakuen/LaQua, Sega Joypolis
Tobu Zoo, Nasu Highland
Bullet Train to Osaka, Expoland
Hirakata, Nara Dreamland
Parque Espana
Nagashima Spaland
Higashiyama Zoo, Fuji-Q
Fuji-Q, Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise, Yokohama Cosmo World
Travel

 

Day by Day Reports

Day 1 – Travel

Justin Garvanovic
No reports as such today – it was just the flight out.

So, all went well. We got on a plane, it took off, it landed.  🙂

 

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Day 2 – Tokyo

Justin Garvanovic
Day 2 started in the air really as we landed on day 2.

Did a small “check in” with those already there, before heading off to Aqua Stadium for a quick off the itinerary ride on Galaxy Express 999 like that. It’s pretty good and has a fun launch that keeps going even around the bend directly out of the station…

Trip starts in earnest tomorrow – wish us all luck!

 

John Coffield
A group of us went off to explore the Tokyo Tower. It’s a copy of the Eiffel Tower, only taller. Then it was off to the Aqua Stadium to ride the “Galaxy Express 999“. With a fifteen minute preshow for a 45-second single loop coaster in the dark – a unique experience to say the least.

 

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Day 3 – Toshimaen, Hanayashiki, Korakuen/LaQua

Tom Barr
If you really want to find out what people from an area are about the best place to go to is an amusement park. Hanayashiki and Tokyo Dome, were great places to see what Japanese entertainment and people are like. Too bad rain affected our Toshimaen experience.

Jan Duncan
I don’t know what I really expected to see today, but I must say I was NOT disappointed. The Hanayashiki park was pretty small, but showed how one could pack a whole lot of park into a small space. Even the walk to the park was a memorable experience – the beautiful shrine and area around it with amazing shops. Tokyo Dome was a totally different type of park, modern and new. Sorry the rain prevented our coaster time!

B. Derek Shaw
Five weeks ago I was saying hello from Budapest. This time I’m half way around the world in Japan! The first day was an attempt to visit three parks. Mother Nature wasn’t as cooperative. Hanayashiki was first up and a place I only got to briefly see in May, 2003. There are tons of great walk-thru’s a maze and a dark ride in addition to the oldest coaster in Japan. (Don’t let that title fool you – it packs a decent punch.

Toshimaen was a rain out, except for four non coaster rides and lunch. (What was in that hot dog I ate?) Toyko Dome was a partial wash out – only two of the four coasters were operating. Hopefully, I will get back later on during the trip, or visit again sometime in the future!

Thomas Enders
Heute war fuer mich der erste Tag in einem japanischen Freizeitpark, und es war sehr schoen, die vielen freundlichen Japaner an den Fahrgeschaeften zu sehen. Sie geben sich sehr viel Muehe, um den Gaesten das Fahren so angenehm wie moeglich zu machen.

Ich denke es werden noch sehr viele schoene Tage in diesem freundlichen Land folgen, auch wenn heute das Wetter nicht so schoen war.

Justin Garvanovic
Rain stopped play today – almost! Hanayashiki was fantastic – a great little park with some fun rides. Tosimaen was a wash out – no coasters were running due to the rain – although what the threat is I don’t know. There was no lightning. The two biggies at Tokyo Dome were also down – what everyone doesn’t know though is that we’re going back on Thursday… 🙂 Not many reports today, still ironing out technical issues…

David Cornell
Hmmm.. If we are supposed to only say nice things (Justin: No, you can say what you want) then I guess I’ll say…

We are traveling in Japan during the rainy season. Japan does not run rollercoasters in the rain. However, before the rain, our first park, Hanayashiki, was fun. Right next to a large complex of temple, it seemed like a little Blackpool in the center of Tokyo. There was a new ride or walk through attraction behind every little door every 10 feet in this one large city block area. I liked the bumper cars with scoring based on passing through colored lights, not bumping. The coaster made one circuit around the park in about 30 seconds. It had lots of pops out of your seat and knees into the front of the car. Too bad the rain ruined the rest of the day.

I did spend alot of time spinning on the mouse at Tokyo Dome, it was under a roof. But the huge Thunder Dolphin stood definantly closed in the rain.

Hopefully the rain will help us a Disney. I hear they do run coasters in the rain.

Talhat Mahmood
Day three seemed to be the day of haunted houses and ghost trains, due to rain for most of the day, with the one at LaQua being the scariest thanks to live actors. Hanayashiki was a small family town park, which had one coaster and a fair amount of good rides.

Toshimaen was wiped out because of rain. LaQua was set in a very bizarre downtown location. Thunder Dolphin looked good, but we couldn’t ride it because of rain. Just to let Jeff know, the human dustbin is working well.

Tim Herre
I loved this place! It’s the Japanese version of Bakken. Best ride in the park was the Haunted Hotel walk through. The coaster was also some kind of unique experience and certainly not built for people taller than 1.60 metres. Now it’s time for Toshimaen – can’t wait!

Malcolm Marr
First park was Hanayashiki and it has been the only park I have been to that you can shout to your mates on the other side of the park. Like Blackpool it has rides on top of rides and if you don’t explore enough you’ll miss some gems such as a sound illusion attraction that was close to scary enough for me to want to give up and run out. There was also a fun house attraction that David Ellis would put at the top of his favourite attractions list. It featured, tits, bums, penises and pissing amongst other weirdness.

Owen Rees
Brillant compact park, friendly staff.

Gloria Nakamura
House of Ghosts: You sit down around a rectangular dining table, and there are headphones at each place other than the head of the table. You sit down; you cannot move your chair closer to the table; it is bolted to the floor. The lights go out; all of a sudden, you hear things in your headphones; a man is whispering in your left ear; you hear china being smashed; then somebody is cutting your hair. I thought we were being kidnapped; so they could send the hair to your nearest and dearest. But now that we know it’s called House of Ghosts. Either way, it’s the best attraction in the park, and well worth going to. Other people are going to say that the Sumo wrestling woman with the huge breasts was the best – the picture would have been good enough; you don’t have to go through it!

Richard Bannister
Loath as I am to agree with Gloria about anything (hehe!) I have to agree that the House of Ghosts (or, according to the sign, Sound Fusion) was the best attraction in the park. I was trying to decide why this has never been tried elsewhere in the world, but I guess if something similar was put in an American park some people would vandalise the headphones! On an unrelated note, after a week in Japan it’s a relief to turn my brain off and let someone else worry about transport to and from the parks. No doubt I’ll enjoy this trip just as much as every other ECC trip done in the past.

Evan Hoagland
Hanayashiki – A fine small park, with lots of stuff; I liked the walkthroughs. There was a maze with a medieval theme, including jail like bars you had to push apart to walk through. At the end of it was a boy with a button to press which caused pee to be squirted at you. There was a walkthrough with lots of unique set pieces; one woman had her neck extend into the air; a female acrobat swinging on a ladder before her bottom landed on top of you; there was a great big man who squirted water at you through his belly button, and other special attractions. I enjoyed the pedal cars around the park; the small space shot tower, with a good view. There were hanging boats with a view of the park; there was an elevated viewing garden. Nice food there too, and the oldest coaster in Japan – a simple lap of the park. Overall I had a fine time.

Marlon Scott
Hanayashiki was an amazing park packed into an impossibly tiny spot in the Asakusa neighborhood nestled against the majestic Senso-Ji Temple and surrounding Asakusa Kannon area. The roller coaster dates from the 1950’s and is a quirky ride around the park. It surprises and delights with abrupt drops, tunnels and wacky scenery. Very Fun! Toshimaen looks like a charming little park but because of the rain, no coasters could be ridden. The Cyclone looks to be a unique rambling run throughout the park. But oh well, it’s not to be. The carousel, however, was running and it was stunning! It was laid out in concentric rings, each one spinning faster than the one outside it. Very ornate-built in the early 1900’s imported from Germany. La Qua is the massive 21st century version of Hanayashiki. Rides, shops and restaurants stacked atop each other. I liked Geo Panic. Some clever illusions! Looking forward to riding Thunder Dolphin later this week. Rain rain go away!

Matt Crowther and Betsy Abrams
This was our third visit to Hanayashiki, but this was the first time we had an opportunity to stay long enough to ride other rides besides just the coaster. I had forgotten that the coaster packs a pretty good wallop in the back seat, almost brutal. This park is right next to some of the best known temples in Japan, it was neat to see those again as well (but we were disappointed to find that the shrine to Pigeons had been removed). At Toshimaen it was disappointing that we did not get to ride the coasters because of the park’s Cedar Point-like no coasters will run in any sort of rain policy, although Betsy and I had ridden them already on a previous visit. Even the log flume was not operating- figure that one out. The 1907 antique German carousel was worth riding again, especially because of the three levels all rotating at different speeds.

Martha and Al Amborn
Godzilla storms Tokyo-steps on coasters. It was Martin’s fault. Just kidding.

David Hamburger
Hanayashiki was far cooler than we expected. Far more then just a historic coaster. Lots of neat dark rides, classic old rides and one of the best haunted swings I’ve been on. Toshimaen was a bust. No coasters, and the dark ride and walkthrough were just ok. But they did have one of the best carousels ever. And it was a RACING carousel, believe it or not! We didn’t end up getting on Linear Gale or Thunder Dolphin at Tokyo Dome Ccity yet, due to rain. But we still managed to have a blast. Geo Panic was unique and pretty fun, and the Mouse was good as well. But the Zombie Paradise dark ride was really well done, especially the boy band zombies breakdancing! And the Bikkiri House walkthrough had easily the best spinning tunnel I’ve ever seen. We could hardly stand up! We all can’t wait to HOPEFULLY come back on Thursday.

Jenny Steward and Ivan Lucas
Hanayashiki was a great park, the shot tower and the ‘sound vision’ ghost room was really spooky. The walking ‘sit-on panda’ was fantastic fun too! Can’t wait for the rest of the parks!

Patrick Flumet
Une premiere journee augurant de la qualite de ce voyage. On ne peut effectivement reprocher a personne le temps pluvieux qui a laisser six coasters en rade. C’est exactement ce genre de journee qui donne l’occasion de visiter toutes les autre attractions souvent laissee de cote. Par exemple the 13th door excellente maison hantee ‘live’ ou encore la grande rou a La Qua, et Hanayashiki etait vraiment tres attachant. A demain.

Christopher Smith
Well, after innumerable episodes of Lost on the plane, and some great sights from the trip bus we checked into the super lush Miyako hotel, and after checking out the various kimonos and slippers on offer in the room, we settled into the beds (with a full compliment of pillows no less). Day three took us to the oldest coaster in Japan, and a short drop tower (at only 60m), perfect for warming up. The following parks that day were somewhat spoiled by the lukewarm weather and rain, but sitting in the giant ferris wheel 300 foot above ground looking UP to the first drop of Thunder Dolphin I realized a softer start to the trip wasn’t too bad, A night on the town in Harazuku (sp) followed, and amongst many crazily dressed people we purchaced some equally unusual items for both presents and to wear later on the trip.

The Frenchies
Les 4 frenchies sont ravis de rencontrer plein de gens tres sympathiques pour leur premier voyage avec ECC et ACE . Ils ont meme decide de creer FCCE ( French coaster club enthousiast ) , a ce jour ils sont deja 4 membres . Tres contents d avoir une chance de rider le Thunder Dolphin  et Linear Gale jeudi car on etait un peu depites hier .

Bill Tyson
The first few days of the excursion have been a great jump into Japanese culture. The people and places have been incredible. Even the rain has not dampened my spirits on this trip. A look a Thunder Dolphin  and I can see what a grand trip this going to be.

Craig Knor
Rain rain rain-Missed coaster, but had fun.

Kevin Moran
Hats off to the organizers for making the trip painless!!! Hope to circle back & hit the coasters we missed. Meeting lots of new friends.

Rick Widger & Colleen Hutchings
One day into the trip, and we’re already getting rain. Still, it hasn’t dampened the fun. Though we missed some of the coasters on the first day, the dark rides and walk-throughs were a highlight. Our favorites so far were the Zombie Paradise dark ride, and the 13 Doors haunted walk-through (lots of close-up stunts and some live actors, which you don’t see much in the States anymore).

Also, there have been a couple of, shall we say, R-rated walk-throughs that were quite hilarious. All in all, the trip is shaping up to be an awesome experience, as we knew it would. Cheers to all back home.

Ricky Cooper
Spinning mice rule!!!!

You can go a long way on a smile and a bow.

The ride ops have all been fantastic and enthusiastic. It’s been a great trip

thus far. Disney is next!!

Andrew Weiss
Rain rain go away. Hanayashiki was a nice little park. lots of hidden rides. some good dark rides. coaster was fun. Tokyo Dome City also had good dark rides. 13 doors very scary.

Stefan Rothaug
Viele Parks und wenig Regen; trotzdem waren fast alle Bahnen zu! Macht nichts! Lustige Darkrides und Walkthroughs in Hanayashiki und Toshimaen und ganz besonders die feinen Schockeffekte in LaQuas Horrorhaus sorgten fuer gute Laune.

Virginia Dismer
Hi to everyone back home; enjoying the trip. Things are a little different over here, but fun. I’ve been to some really interesting parks; I enjoyed Hanayashiki (and the surrounding temple district) the best.

Anneliese Heiner
Hanayashiki Park had a Crystal Maze type attraction; this wasn’t much of a maze as US people would think about it; instead, you had to solve certain puzzles to get from one section of the maze to another. We were not expecting this, and at one point we almost turned around and went back because we could not figure this out. The coolest part was when you came upon a grid of prison bars that blocked further passage; eventually we figured out that the middle bars in each section could be pushed aside to get through.

Couple of funny things on the way to Disneyland; soon after we left the hotel, we saw a bunch of kids going to school. They couldn’t hear us, but somebody shouted out at them “Study hard, kids – we’re going to Disneyland!” Also, on the way to Disneyland, we passed two very large Ferris Wheels; when we passed the second one, I called out to Justin – “Justin, we’re going in circles – we already passed that Ferris Wheel”. It’s also interesting looking at the different styles of buildings that we pass; it seems like every building is built by a different architect.

Tokyo Dome City; Geopanic is an indoor coaster with lots of cool lighting effects. Spoilers follow; many of the lighting effects are concerned with faking out the riders, for instance the train goes through a series of red lighted circles, and it looks like these continue straight ahead but the train veers off to the left. It had a straight acceleration part of the track; the acceleration is enhanced by arches of light zooming past you. Ahead of you you see some lights continuing straight ahead on the ceiling, but then the track descends. Another lighting effect was green squiggles of light, and that particular effect was a recurring theme in other dark rides we rode later on.

Also at Tokyo Dome City were three haunted houses; Bikkirihouse was more funny than scary; it was a walkthrough haunted house; it had tilted pathways, a few traditional haunted house effects, with creatures moving behind a screen as you passed. There were some mirrors; there was a mannequin, the statue associated with Belgium; and when you pressed a doorbell the statue peed at you, but it was behind glass so you did not actually get wet. The best part of this attraction was a catwalk that went through a rotating room; the rotating room had stars, and of course it looked like the catwalk was moving and the room was still. The second haunted house was a dark ride, Zombie Paradise. This one was a lot more gruesome than one would expect in the States. The third one was 13 Doors. This one surpassed scary and verged on evil; it was a walkthrough haunted house; it was so scary that Mark and I started arguing over who was going to open each door. There were actual people who would pop out from windows to scare the guests. In one small room there were a bunch of black robed creatures hanging from the ceiling; they were close enough to touch, but I wasn’t about to. In another room we had to push past sheets of white cloth. The most evil part was at the very end, after you thought the attraction was over. At the beginning of the attraction you were given a card on which you write a secret message; at the end of the ride, they put your card underneath a UV light and the ride operator tells you to look through the glass on top. When you do so, instead of reading your secret message, a disgusting gory mess pops out at you. (Note from Richard Bannister – I wonder how many members wrote “OPEN THUNDER DOLPHIN!” or something like it on their secret wish cards!).

Andycoasterboy-san
Hanayashiki was a big surprise for me, as it was one of the theme parks I did when I came over on my first trip in 1994. It was great to see the whole group having a good time on all the rides and attractions. Unfortunate about the weather and the lack of working rides at Toshimaen. Also, shame about the weather at LaQua and the lack of Intamin action in Thunder Dolphin. Jeff, the Japanese beers are great.

Evan Hoagland
Rain kept coasters closed at Toshimaen. I explored and found a building dedicated to butterflies and beatles. The butterflies were all dead and mounted, as were most of the beatles. But there were also live beetles on display. Many were quite large. And they had live beetles for sale. Any where from 700 yen to at least 15000 yen for the big beetles.

Ric Turner
Hanayashiki was a real treat. It was an amazing slice of Japanese humor mixed with old and modern rides in an old Tokyo neighbourhood (sorry for the British spelling, I’m typing this on an English PC.) It was amazing to walk around an ancient temple, then turn the corner and find a rollercoaster running down the alley.

Tim Galvelis
Konniciwa

Well here’s two days in one. Haniyashiki is an excellent park. Very Tivoli like in its ability to cram as many rides into such a small space. Quite the walkthrough capital of the world. Okay, maybe not, but it sure does try. The roller coaster is simply fantastic, with some hysterically cheesy props throughout the ride. Definitely a park to return to.

Toshimean park was an unfortunate rainout, except for an extremely excellent carousel, and I’m not really one who’s easily thrilled to ride a carousel.

LaQua, had the same unfortunate incident with the rain, but we did manage to get rides on GeoPanic, and the spinning mouse, and I’ve got to say that GeoPanic is a very good ride. Yes, it is jerky, but the fear factor of thinking that I was going to be hurt on the ride, was nonexistent. We’ll be able to ride the other coasters later in the week, so I’ll leave the rest of this report till then.

More on Disney tomorrow…

John Coffield
Hanayashiki is an amazing and very tiny park with the delight of little discoveries around every corner. Not a single square inch is wasted. The Roller Coaster goes around the entire park. Toshimaen was rained out, which gave me a chance to explore a very unique carousel. It has three separate rings of action. Sadly the horses have had their springs removed, so they no longer rock back and forth. Tokyo Dome/LaQua is a small urban park. The spinning mouse was quite a delight and GeoPanic was a unique ride in the dark.

George Greenway
Hanashika is a lovely compact park, only one coaster that circuits the perimeter of the park. There are a lot of side shows to seek out. we left just as the rain started, not good news for the next park, Toshimaen, It was unable to open its rides while we were there for safety reasons. we had a brief look round the park and left for Tokyo Dome. two of the rides were unable too run in the spitting rain, drizzle. it was here that we found English had a multitude of words for raining, the Japanese have only one “rydo closedo.” we saw the operator on Thunder Dolphin and conveyed the message “we will be back”.

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Day 4 – Disneyland Tokyo

Marlon Scott
Tokyo Disneyland is similar to the Florida Magic Kingdom but deceptively disorienting (though my jet lag contributed to that I’m sure).

Space Mountain is an exact copy of the track layout of CA Disneyland (minus the new sfx) and very average. Big Thunder Mtn has a nice double dip into their “Dinosaur Gultch”. The best ride there was Winnie the Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, a childrens dark ride with most amazing ride vehicles I’ve ever seen!

A few of us have already sneaked over to LaQua for our first rides on Thunder Dolphin. Other than the first drop, the forces are not as extreme as other coasters of it’s type, The location precariously perched atop a several story set of buildings in the middle of the city is a stunner!

Owen Rees
This was my first ever Disney. The staff where very friendly. The park was in pristine condition. Light parade was magical.

David Cornell
Disneyland Tokyo was great. Today the rain worked to our advantage, keeping the crowds away. It was amazing that one of the best rides in the park was Winnie the Pooh. The cars, or “Hunny Pots” ran on an open floor spinning and dancing and even bouncing. Space Mountain was OK. Two cars with 6 seats each. I still like the Florida configuration better. Buzz Lightyear was much better than Florida, There were four different point totals for each type of target. I almost got to level 4 of 7, 95,500 pts. I am so glad our tour busses were able to pick us up at 10pm. Got a quick sleep and now am going back to hit Disney Sea.

Robert Hill
Fantastic day at Tokyo Disneyland. Rode Space Mountain 10 times, and all the people here (employees and other customers) are the nicest people in the world! The queue lines for every attraction were quick due to the excellent system of how great they work here. An excellent experience, pure pleasure and fun!

Ricky Cooper
Tokyo is my first time at any Disney Park.

You haven’t lived until you hear the bear jamboree with Achy Breaky Heart in Japanese!!

The Tiki Room in Japanese is a riot.

Loads of fun.

Dolores Damm
Today was truly a magical day because I was able to see it through the eyes of a “Disney Virgin,” my friend, Ricky Cooper. Starting with his exhilaration and gleeful laughing on Space Mountain, to jammin’ along with the Bears in the Country Jamboree; from the surprises along the way in Splash Mountain to clapping and jivin’ in the Tiki Tiki Room. Watching the afternoon parade through his eyes made me feel like a child again, and grateful that I was able to share this wonderful day with Ricky, Maggie, Bill and Hector.

John Coffield
This was my third visit to Disneyland. Because of the morning rain everything was a walk on. Space Mountain is excellent and Big Thunder was one of the best of the disney parks. Gadgets Go Coaster is the only Roller Skater I’ve seen with two train operation, but the highlight of the day had to be Winnie the Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, with probably the most unique transportation system there is. A very beautiful park to say the least.

David Rager
I was able to share today with my wife and two sons (4 and 1.5 years old). It was their first Disneyland park. The biggest thrill I had today was sharing the three coasters with my eldest son. They were his first big coasters. The Winnie the Pooh ride was technically amazing. And my favorite souvenir is my Hero metal from The Cinderella Castle Mystery Tour.

Kevin Moran
Great day at Tokyo Disneyland! Space Mountain an unprecedented walk-on. More Disney fun today. Bye.

Andrew Weiss
Rain kept crowds away,which was great. Park was nice with 2 great rides, Pooh, which is an amazing ride. And the walkthrough Cinderella Castle. Rest of park was standard Disney. Theming not as good as Disney Paris.

John Covan
I find riding the bus and gawking out the window to be enormously fascinating. Tokyo is quite a visual sight with its close up views in neighborhoods and grand vistas of skyscrapers both near and far. Lots of spectacular waterways that look even more appealing at night. Much more interesting than I expected. I also got a kick out of seeing things singularly Japanese like little kids with backpacks hiking to school and construction workers all lined up doing calisthenics before starting their day. Tokyo Disney worked out quite well regarding crowds – I wonder how many more people there would have been if the weather had not been rainy. My friend Bob and I took in one of the parades. I chuckled when I saw the American Indians with Japanese faces.

Tom Barr
Unusual Things you see:

Most people sitting on the ground for parades and waiting for the park to open.

The big bike parking areas – most bikes are not locked.

Although crime does not seem to be a problem, they keep all the CDs behind the counter.

Andycoasterboy-san
Tokyo Disneyland is my favourite Disney due to the pleasant guests and ride operators, and the lack of people in the park. Winnie the Poooh is up there as the best indoor dark ride. After Disney we went to LaQua, as we were told by the front desk of the hotel that the weather was OK and not raining, and had two goes on Thunder Dolphin. Martin, stop being sarky.

Evan Hoagland
Hi Judy! Hi CJ!

Pooh’s Honey Hunt is wonderful. Was different hearing shows in Japanese. Some the songs in the parades were done in English. Had a lot of fun.

Tokyo the city really is safe. Bicycles park on the sidewalk with skimpy locks, and some seemed to have no locks at all.

Hector Jimenez
My best days at a Disney park ever. With virtually no lines throughout the two days we were able to experience the parks as they were intended. My favorite ride all day was Pooh with its amazing ride system and a very unique bouncing effect. It is also amazing how nice and clean everything is in Tokyo and how nice and helpful the people are here.

Martha and Al
Great day at Disneyland. Winnie the Pooh was the most incredible dark ride of my life. Crowds were light, and I had the opportunity to enjoy so many ride we usually avoid. Justin has fired me three times (Justin: Soon to be four!) Enjoying Japan and all the sights, souinds and smells and food.

Lisa Scheinin
Screw Disney, I went to the parasite museum instead. All it needs is a coaster or ten. Now I’m hungry…

Matt & Betsy
Had a fantastic time- the rain in the morning kept the crowds away- we never had to wait more than 15 minutes for any ride, a miracle for this park. The Winnie the Pooh Ride was amazing, and we enjoyed all the coasters and dark rides as well. The only disappointment was the souvenir selection- despite acres and acres of retail space, all of the merchandise was generic junk. We were fairly sure at the start that we would not have that good a time, mainly based on our past experience with the crowds, but boy were we mistaken.

Tim Herre
I have never experienced a Disney park that deserted. Almost all rides were walk on or had a short wait of approx. 5 – 10 minutes. Winnie Pooh was a blast, so was the classic Space Mountain. Cool day that was!

Malcolm Marr
Now this is how Disney should be; no lazy and overweight people in electric carts, no fake “have a nice day” sincerity, no attitude, no unruly kids (this includes schoolkids who were in the park too) and just all round hospitality and enjoyment. The people were so nice and being geijin were quite popular with the locals. The Winnie the Pooh ride is more fun than Spiderman and is probably my favourite dark ride. I won’t spoil it as there are enough people on the trip who think spoiling ride details will make them popular with their geeky chums. It is a shame that people would have to travel all the way to Japan to experience it.

B. Derek Shaw
Today was Disneyland Tokyo. While it was not crowded and I got on everything I wanted to ride, I still prefer “Iron” and traditional amusement parks to the plastic, synethic theme park it is. Disney does do a great job, for what they do. The Pooh ride was exceptional, Space Mountain decent, Big Thunder Mountain fun and Gadget’s Go Coaster nicely themed. My biggest dissapointment was the lack of any Tokyo Disney logoed patches, magnets, buttons, postcards and polo shirts. Perhaps I’ll send them a letter thanking them for helping me save money, since they had no souvenirs I wanted. That’s not how you keep your per caps up Disney!

Tim Galvelis
Disneyland, Pooh’s Honey Hunt was excellent. All of the coasters are identical to California so if you’ve ridden them then you know what to expect. The park overall is way to Americanized to think that your in Japan.

George Greenway
The rain was here for the next few days thanks to a hurricane nearby, but this being a Disneyland day we were not to be let down. all the rides were running. Thunder Mountain is a the classic design. I’d been here before and headed for the Pooh dark ride. it was soo good I got another fast pass to ride it again. Its the most amazing interacting ride story book you’ll find. It runs 3 cars at a time and they all have different patterns through the story so try it again with a different car.

 

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Day 5 – DisneySea

Bob Roginski
My experience with DisneySea was Far more enjoyable than I expected. My favorite ride was the Journey to the Center of the Earth, which I rode a total of six times with John Covan. The ride was excellently themed and had many thrill elements. We also enjoyed the Indiana Jones ride which we rode twice. We made an effort to sample as many of the major attractions as possible.

Malcolm Marr
Islands of Adventure is NOT the best themed park in the world. DisneySea really is stunning, everything is themed, even the paving for blind folk (who will never get to see it) changes around the park and they’ve even gone so far as to have a full-sized ship to explore. Best attraction is probably the 20,000 as under the Sea ride which is very cleverly done and different depending on where you sit in the vessel. Journey to the Centre of the Earth is a great adaptation of Test Track. The park lacks a great coaster, Raging Spirits isn’t it, but this does not detract from the day’s enjoyment. Staff are still super friendly, and I’m starting to get the confidence to converse in Japanese with the locals, albeit in pidgin form. Park was quiet enough to get onto everything, without overexploiting the fast pass. In fact towards the end of the day they gave us no benefit whatsoever as the queues were so short. I have taken loads and loads of pictures today, it’s that good a park.

B. Derek Shaw
The Imagineers worked overtime on this one. DisneySea is STUNNING! I was impressed with the overall presentation, compared to the Disneyland clone next door in the parking lot.) Even though I’m typically not a Disney-holic, I can appreciate the package they assembled. Details were well done.

Every park employee is trained to say, Have A Nice Day! Also they love to wave and wave and wave (until my hand started to hurt. “Journey” is fantastic – half dark ride, half launch-type coaster experience. Indiana Jones was fun. Flounder’s was good and Raging Spirits was tolerable (get rid of the over-the shoulder restraints and loop and the ride would be more respectible.) Again, minimal souvenirs with park logo. Apparantly they don’t want or need the additional advertising – the merchandising department missed the boat on this one.

Eric Sakowski
DisneySea was a nice surprise with the best, most extensive theming ever put into a theme park anywhere in the world. The harbor inside of the Journey to the center of the earth ride is ground zero for an ultra realistic Disney created fantasy environment. Ironically the windy weather only added to the oceanside theming within the harbor area where the remnants of the typhoon were still releasing a wrath of violence. The scary weather resulted in short lines and for most, some of the best memories ever to be had at a Disney park.

Martha and AL
I continue to be amazed at the beauty of the Japanese theme parks. The employees are so friendly that we are worried that they put something in the drinking water. We are shipping home several gallons just in case. Toyko DisneySea is such “not” a yucky park. It is a combo of BGW, Europa, and Phantasialand. Real pisser was the backlash from the Typhoon that sent tropical storm winds that shut down some water related rides. Raging Spirits sucked. Have to go now-am writing on the coach, Wild Bill Marion is talking about the restaurant that serves cooked bull penis.

Andreas Lindemuth
Disney Sea takes theming and service to a new level. The only amusement park where trays are carried to your table in a self service restaurant. Ride operators still smile and wave at you even if you are rider number 784,766 on that day. Theming is more realistic than the real thing, including painted “rust” on steel constuctions. Don’t go to this park for its coasters. Raging Spirits is slightly better than its counterpart in Paris, but still bad. The coaster part on “Journey to the Center of the Earth” is smooth and fun, but “20,000 Leagues under the Sea” is the better ride experience overall. But the park highlight is the theming, and it’s just stunning.

Richard Bannister
What on earth is a monstrosity such as Raging Spirits doing in such a high class park? And more to the point, why on earth did Disney spend what is reported to be fifty million dollars on a ride with all the comfort and fun value of the average travelling Pinfari? This little whinge aside, it is a rare thing indeed to see such a spectacular park. It is truly a testament to what the Disney Imagineers can do when they’re given a blank chequebook. Superb shows, excellent dark rides, beautiful theming, and more made for a truly immersive experience. In fact – to make this a perfect park, perhaps the two coasters could be removed? 🙂

Patrick Flumet
Back to Disney!!!!! C’est comme prevu incroyable et les deux parcs rivalisent d’inventions pour etre plus beaux et plus attractifs les uns des autres. Disney Sea est mon favori surement parce que c’etait la premiere fois que jy allais vu que c’est le seul du genre. Les coasters sont OK mais les attractions comme “Le voyage au centre de la terre” vous coupent le souflle par leur theming et leur ingeniosite. Sans parler de la surprise!

Excellentes journees que ces deux dernier jours.

Bob Armstrong
DisneySea was the best Disney day Cheri & I have ever had. Journey to the Center of the Earth was probably the best attraction in the park. I think we did it three times. The park has many really neat attractions.

Christopher Smith
Two days of Disney, and we were transported to the worlds of Jules Verne, Indiana Jones, and Buzz Lightyear amongst others. These parks provided great themed rides, and the rain provided opportunities for Disney induced shopping sprees. Dave, Ivan, Jenny, myself and a few others took a shopping trip to ‘electric town’ following Disney world, and although we were very late and ‘specialist’ shops with only magazines, videos, hand held devices and costumes were open, we were not deterred and had a look around and in many places purchases were made!! I’ll sign off with a shout out to Anna, Kat, Kirsty, J and Sal, see you soon…

Marlon Scott
Had my first “Japanese Breakfast” this morning. Miso soup, asst veggies, something that looked like seaweed, fish, some kind of chewy, twisted noodle, White gooey stuff (yuck!), cold pork soup with an egg, and roasted tea. It was mostly good, but more like something I’d have at the end of the day. The buffet they have at the other restaurant is absolute top!

Mike & Kammy Sislofsky
Since we haven’t written since the beginning of the trip, we will summarize quickly. It has been a great start, except for a little rain on Monday. Hanayashiki was a great little park with attractions spread out over the small plot of land the park occupies. Great little coaster with lots of action, some great flat rides, dark rides, walk-thrus, and one of the fastest haunted swings we have ever done. The shrine area around the park was very interesting as well. Toshimaen looked fairly average, but we were not able to do much there because of the rain. Tokyo Dome City (part I) was very nice. There was not a whole lot to do there, but each attraction was very well done, and the spokeless ferris wheel was excellent.

The two Disney parks were very nicely themed (as usual). The prize of Disneyland is certainly the Winnie the Pooh Hunny Hunt ride. It is trackless, and the cars (honey pots) each intermingle with each other. The whole park was a lot of fun.

DisneySea is definitely one of the best themed parks anywhere. Everywhere you look is so overwhelming and dramatic. We really enjoyed the thrills of the Journey To The Center of the Earth attraction. The only unfortunate thing is that they did not put as much thought into their coaster lineup as they did with the rest of the park’s theming and attractions.

Dan Harvey
Tokyo Disney Sea was very enjoyable. It’s amazingly clean, and as with all parks so far, the people are extremely kind and very polite and helpful. The attention to detail at each attraction in the park was quite impressive! The Little Mermaid show was terrific! The way the characters moved around on their wires and trapeze apparatus was very fluid. The food in the park was interesting as well as compared to US park food. It’s the first time I ever had a salad with jellyfish in it. That was a unique flavor and texture. The Dim Sum was pretty good as well. It was unfortunate that the winds were so strong that they cancelled the water parade and fireworks. We were told the winds were around 40MPH sustained. At least the rain held off most of the day, unlike at Tokyo Disney, although at least all attractions were open! I ventured into the Japanese breakfast this morning, which was different, but I enjoyed it. All but the vinegar soaked plumb… pucker up!

Nige Harness
Konnichiwa! Japan – WOW! Firstly the people are absolutely charming. So polite, willing to please and serene – as ride ops they are as close to perfection as you could imagine. Food… interesting, jellyfish salad being a good example! The absolute highlight thus far is Tokyo Disney Sea – the most incredibly well themed park in the world. Impossible to describe with just words – you need to see the pictures. Journey to the centre of the earth presents a new level in theming – from the descending lift to the earths core to the final fast launch its magnificent. Indiana Jones and the crystal skull is just as good effects wise, as is 20,000 leagues under the sea – a really unusual submarine themed ride. A truly awesome park in every way. Other things of note: Tokyo – forget the hype – traveling around on the trains is easy and cheap once you understand the system. Cabs are great for short hops and nowhere near as expensive as in the UK!!! It is pretty humid however and this proves tiring after a day’s coastering. That’s all for now – looking forward to finally riding Thunder Dolphin, it’s spectacularly sited in Tokyo Dome City. To Hil, Abi and Ben – Yeeeeeehaw!!!!!!

David Hamburger
Tokyo DisneySea is absolutely gorgeous. Easily beats any other park in terms of design and attention to detail, especially in the Mysterious Island section with the volcano and all of the Jules Verne theming. Journey and 20,000 Leagues were incredibly well themed and fun rides. Raging Spirits – well, the theming was nice, but Advil should sponsor the ride! It’s a real shame that we missed the parade and big show, but that’s life. At least both Disney parks were dead and we got FAR more rides in at both parks than I ever dared hope to get. And most importantly, TDS actually had tons of cool merchandise, unlike Tokyo Disneyland. I spent well over $100 on merchandise alone! We also did a quick run outside the park on the monorails with the Mickey heads for windows and hand grips. Real cool!

Lisa Broadrick
Still can’t believe we’re in Japan, keep thinking that I’m going to wake up in the airport and find out that I’ve missed my flight. DisneySea is the most incredibly themed park on the planet!!! I must get back to it in the future!

Stefan Rothaug
DisneySea ist perfekt! Die Thematisierung ist so unglaublich, dass der Park sogar ohne Attraktionen einen Besuch wert waere. Die fantastischen Darkrides haben mich wieder einmal so begeistert, dass es mir voellig egal ist, dass dieser Park keine grosse Achterbahn hat! Gestern Pooh-san, heute Indy: Nippon-wa darukuraido-no tenkoku desu (Japan ist das Darkride-Paradies)!

Florian Kragl
Meine Lieblingsrides in Disney Sea sind Indiana Jones und die Reise zum Mittelpunkt der Erde.

Die Reise zum Mittelpunkt der Erde ist ein Jules Verne inspirierter Darkride, bei dem man mit toll designten 6-Personen Fahrzeugen das Innere unseres Mutterplaneten erkundet. Erstaunlich was tief unter uns alles kreucht und fleucht. Bei der abschliessenden rasanten Flucht zurueck an die Erdoberflaeche beschleunigen die Vehikel so vehement und erreichen eine so hohe Endgeschwindigkeit, dass dabei die meisten Powerd Coaster alt aussehen wuerden. Bei nicht voll besetzten Fahrzeugen erlebt man sogar Airtime.

Zur diesjaehrigen Neuheit Raging Spirits gibt es nicht viel zu sagen: Wie erwartet ein Konglomerat aus gelungener Thematisierung und rauher Fahrt.

Rob Derman
DisneySea is just amazing, the most beautiful park I have ever seen. It puts anything in the US to shame.

In both Disney parks it was really cool how the Japanese ride ops and the other park staff react to us. I think they are genuinely excited to see us! Also, it is really neat to ride rides like Star Tours and Indiana Jones in Japanese – it’s really neat.

If all of you at home and Viacom are reading this, hi, “wish you were here” really cool!

Sayonara…

Bob Hoffman
DisneySea is one of the best themed parks I have been in. The park is well run except for the single rider line on Raging Spirits. We took are time making are way to Raging Spirits, stopping to take lots of pictures. By the time we got to the ride, it was a 1 hour wait in the stand by line. We decided to try the single rider line. We got to go to the front of the line, they put is together anyway and in the front car. I don’t think they get the single rider concept.

Steve Gzesh
Disney does know how to do parks. Tokyo Disneyland was much more of an exact clone of California than I expected, but it was great nonetheless. Pooh’s Honey Hunt was way cool! Gotta get one of them in the US parks! DisneySea was totally unique and cool. Major theming (no surprise really) and has some great rides including Journey to the Center of the Earth and Indiana Jones. Tons of restaurants, but not many snack vendors. Popcorn is plentiful, however, with some of the most unusual flavors I’ve ever seen for popcorn: caramel, honey, sea salt, curry, strawberry, cappuccino, coconut, and apple!

Bob Englander
Had an interesting adventure at DisneySea yesterday. One member of our group got height-checked (he was just touching the bar at the upper limit, so the op at the FastPass gate called her manager and eventually walked us up the exit ramp and put him & my brother on the next train, leaving me to get on the one after that). The ride chose that time to break down, so they got stuck on the final brake run while I got stuck on the mid-course brakes and had to be walked down off the coaster, giving me the best ride on this coaster since I missed the loop and most of the shoulder-harness-induced roughness (yes, I was crazy enough to ride it again).

Gage Knor
Today I went to Disney Sea. My favorite ride was Journey to the Center of the Earth. It was short and I wish it was longer. It had good theming.

Maggy Linka
Getting to feel Japanese, a bit. The food tastes more normal nowadays, but still can’t read a single sign! Makes one feel a bit like a non-reading pre-schooler. Braved the subway during rush hour, which was quite an experience – not as many obvious kooks as in New York’s subway, but lots of stand-up sleepers.

The teens are very trendy. Most of the girls wear pointed high heels to the amusement parks. The guys wear a chain as a belt. And the in thing to buy at Tokyo Disney are head bands with a variety of Disney-character ears.

Today is a more suburban-park day. Several school groups of little children in the park with us. Really fun day today! Hooray for sunshine!!

Jeff Waters
Incredible park, like EPCOT on steroids; had a great time there; people were very friendly; the ride operators were to the point of almost being automatons. The Japanese people I find are very reserved, but you can loosen them up very easily, and they really know how to have a good time. Most of the rides in the park were really good, especially Journey to the Center of the Earth and Indiana Jones. Little disappointed with Raging Spirits; very rough for a new coaster. In fact, I don’t know anyone on the trip who ventured back a second time. Managed Journey four times; Indiana Jones three times; other than the shows they were the highlights. Miss my family; see you soon.

Chris Penn
I should be at work. I’m off sick!

Dolores Damm
As sunset approached, DisneySea captivated me. Standing by the mediterranean harbour area at evening looking at the crescent moon and the entire vista was truly a breathtaking postcard-like setting. The most beautiful park I’ve ever been to; not to be missed.

David Cornell
Today we hit the second Disney park in Tokyo, DisneySea. This is Disney’s version of Islands of Adventure with a Mountain in the middle instead of a lake. It has fantastic rides that reapply proven Disney technology like Star Tours and Test Track but with loads of improvements in size and theming. There were lots of places to explore and climb on. Unfortunately the big roller coaster was not great. It was a reapplication of Indiana Jones in Paris. The restraints we not shaped like a person but rather an oil drum. The circular curve poke the front of my upper ribs many inches in from my side. Plus, the 6 clicks on the bar were not enough they had to puch it down two more. But I rode it and now that is done. Overall it is a wonderful park to explore, relax in, and enjoy a wide variety of food from around the world.

Talhat Mahmood
When you hear horror stories about how long the lines are at the Disney parks; while we were there the two days we were very lucky to be able to complete both parks by mid afternoon. DisneySea is probably the most superbly themed park in the world; the rides are all great. The only black spot is probably the coasters. The weather is really hot. It looks like becoming one of the great trips.

Brian Sisk
Hi everyone! The Disney parks were great; DisneySea is especially outstanding. Loved the duck, mushroom, and asparagus pizza. Glad the Typhoon has moved on.

Andycoasterboy-san
Tokyo DisneySea, with a gazillion yen thrown at a piece of land, you can create DisneySea. Not the greatest park for world class coasters, but nevertheless some unique attractions. Jeff, you would love the sushi and sake.

Owen Rees
DisneySea – what a beautiful park!

Evan Hoagland
Name comes from it being by the sea and all the areas have wome sort of body of water theme. Yesterday and today were wet and these were fine parks to be in as most of the attractions were inside and they ran the coasters in the rain. Very short to nonexistent lines at both parks. And fast passes were usefel for the rides with longer lines, even so I think the longest estimated line was 40 minutes. These parks each had rides not available at the US parks and the theming at DisneySea is of the highest quality.

Hector Jimenez
This is the best park I have ever visited. Nothing I can write can do this park any justice. All I will say is that Journey to the Center of the Earth is even better the 25th time and it was the first time. If anyone ever has an extra day in Tokyo I would recommend visiting this park. BTW typing on a moving bus is not as easy as it sounds. I have had to rewrite this several times as it keeps disappearing on me. I hope you enjoy my short review.

Para todos mis amigos hispanos le tengo que decir que Japan es el pais mas efficiente que e visitado. Si tienen solamente un dia en Japan tienen que visitar Tokyo DisneySea el parque major del mundo.

Keith Johnson
Tokyo Disneysea was a fantastic park. The theming was absolutely amazing. I know that I will be coming back to experience this park all over again since I did miss a few things. Oh yes, to my good friends the Hoys… I found quite a few 7 Eleven stores, but unfortunately they do not sell Slurpees:)

Tim Herre
Tokyo DisneySea is by far the best themed park in the entire universe. OK, there may be a cool place on Pluto nobody knows about, but around here, there is absolutely nothing that could come close to this beauty. So, it would very appropriate if anybody who has not been to this park yet would shut up forever when it comes to theming. Thank you, Mike. Also, the prices where absolutely OK – I do really wonder what all this hype regarding overpriced Japan is about? 1600 Yen for a three-course meal is surely not too much, isn’t it?

John Gerard
I really enjoyed Hanayashiki. It was very interesting to see such a complete park stuck right into the middle of an urban setting. There were some very interesting attractions there, especially the Circus walkthrough. The whole park was like a miniature Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

LaQua was also pretty cool. I was disappointed at not being able to ride Thunder Dolphin because it looks like a fun ride but I have my fingers crossed that we will be able to ride it tonight. The flume ride there was really unique, as there is a dead end right after exiting the lift. Then, a turntable positions the boat in the right direction and off you go. At the end, the ride operators actually wipe down the log before allowing the next set of riders in. Think you’ll ever see that at an American park? GeoPanic was a hoot-more like an updated Fire in the Hole than a coaster-hence my criticism: “Less toaster, more coaster!” The over the shoulder restraints folded back from the front, rather than being pulled down from above. Honey Coming rocks!

Tokyo Disneyland was most excellent-especially the Pooh ride, which defies description. I couldn’t get enough of that one. Many of the rides seemed similar to the US park. Lunch at the Queen of Hearts was like a long version of the Alice in Wonderland ride! Try the soft-serve green apple or grape sherbets located across from the Jungle Cruise entrance.

DisneySea blew me away! Right from the main entrance with the Mediterranean seaport to the Volcano, the minute touches were very impressive. Theming equal to, if not greater than, IOA. My favorite parts were the Journey to the Center of the Earth, 20,000 Leagues, Indiana Jones, Aquatopia, Triton’s Kingdom, “Encore!”, the “Under the Sea” show, and the Teddy Roosevelt Lounge located on the USS Columbia (which was very elegant and looked like it belonged on the Titanic). Tiramisu ice cream sandwiches, mmmm!

Tim Galvelis
DisneySea, Completely amazing park, that is extremely well themed. It’s almost on par with Efteling as the most beautiful park that I’ve ever been to. Journey to the Center is probably the best powered coaster that I’ve ever ridden. Raging Spirits is almost worth the credit. Got to ride my first Indiana Jones dark ride, had to travel half way around the world to do so. It’s a great ride.

George Greenway
the forecast was rain, but the sun was out, Disney Sea cannot be believed. It is the most amazing elaborately themed park you’ll ever see. careful planning of the day is needed to cover all the major dark rides, we collected fast pass tickets for journey to the centre of the earth, the best ride in the park. beware it takes allot of walking to do this park in one day, and of course it rained in the afternoon, a good time to do the aquotopia water ride.

 

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Day 6 – Yomiuriland, Sega Joypolis

Marlon Scott
Nice relaxing (but hot!) visit to Yomiuriland. White Canyon was a fun twister-type wood coaster loosely based on the Texas Cyclone. It was rough in a few seats but overall rideable. Horrible headrests plus rollbars over your heads though.

Bandit was a scenic, fast steelie with a few moments of airtime. It was exhilarating streaking through the trees with the scent of jasmine flowers in the air.

Cheri Armstrong
Yomiuriland was very HOT. The coasters were much better than I expected. I liked the White Canyon, reminded me of the Riverside Cyclone, with the Morgan trains. The Bandit was actually quite fun.

Lisa Broadrick
Yomiuriland was a cute little park; the Momonga was actually quite a fun little coaster with none of the pain you’d expect from a Togo. Bandit on the other hand was like getting a mammogram! The restraint came down so hard and completely mashed me! To all my fellow FF’s, we’re gonna have to plan a club trip out here! I haven’t found anything to complain about here! Everyone is so friendly here!

Dan Harvey
At Yomiuriland I did my first ever bungee jump! Although it was probably 100 feet, it was still a little scary looking down from the tower. What made it even harder to do is that the 2 people running it didn’t speak any English at all, so I wasn’t quite sure exactly what they were telling me to do. But once gravity took over, that was it. It was a blast! And at only 900 yen, such a deal! White Canyon was fun to ride, a bit on the rough side, but still better than SFNE’s Cycone! Hi Mom, Dad, Amy, Christina and Timothy!!!

Patrick Flumet
Premier woody du Japon. Merci pour ca. En plus après avoir vu “Bandit” en photo pendant si longtemps, maintenant je peux dire: I rode it!

David Hamburger
Yomiuriland was dead. If we hadn’t been there, the ride ops probably would have fallen asleep. Or died of heat exhaustion. Blazing hot day at a spread out park. Luckily, they had good frozen drinks all over the place! White Canyon was ok, but rough. And it certainly doesn’t hold a candle to the Coney or Georgia Cyclones. Bandit was pretty good. But if it hadn’t had those painful OTSHs, it would have been much better, since the turns caused quite a bit of head banging. SL Coaster stood for slow and long. And watch out for that branch that hit me in the face – HARD! I LOVED the cute park mascot: Landog, who was on signs all over the park. Sega Joypolis turned out to be a lot more fun than we expected, mainly because of the Half-Pipe Canyon ride which was awesome! Two people stood on this giant skateboard and pushed the button on the board with your feet at the right time to make it spin at the tops of the pipe, with points for the best turns. My team won 2 of the three rides I took! Speed Boarder was certainly unique, if a bit painful. And I did this weird walkthrough attraction, which put us into a horror movie, complete with a cell phone that foretold our doom. (Well, I assume that it did, since I don’t speak any Japanese!) I could have easily stayed for 2-3 times as long here, even though we had originally expected to be bored there. It just goes to show you how sometimes parks are so much more than just their ‘credits.’

Matt Crowther & Betsy Abrams
This was our third visit to Yomiuriland, but the last time we visited in 1999 it was rainy and gloomy, so it was nice to have a clear (if hot) day, as this is a scenic park with a lot of trees and terrain for good photographic opportunities. The park was very uncrowded (we outnumbered the Japanese civilians), so we could get as may rides as we wanted. The Bandit is still perhaps Togo’s best creation, it has gotten slightly rougher over the years, but is still a very fun and fast ride. White Canyon, despite the funky Morgan trains with the rollbars, was running well, not as rough as anticipated. All in all a very good visit.

Jeppe Nygaard
So this is my first report too. Japan has so far been a fantastic place. The people are very polite, and always paying great respect to theirs surroundings. The Subway is spotlessly clean and safe. I am very impressed. We have now done 4 days of parks. Tokyo Disney was Nice, The now Winnie The Pooh ride with “Honny Pots” moving randomly free around the ride was very cool, Best was Tickers Room. The park was almost dead. Great. Next day was Disney Sea, and it was absolute amazing. By far the best THEME park I had ever encountered.

The Volcano setting of a Jules Verne adventure just blew me away. WOW !! Best ride was Journey To The Center of The Earth, which I managed to ride 4 times. The Indiana Jones ride was very cool too. The new coaster Raging Spirits was a disappointment. Great theming, bad coaster. Unfortunately the evening show was canceled, due to high wind.

Yomiuriland was a typical amusement park to me. The Steel coaster Bandit was huge but not very good. Woodie White Canyon was quite good, except for the Morgan trains.

Then back to Tokyo Dome to ride Intamin’s “Thunder Dolphin.” Fantastic setting on top of the buildings. It was really very good. The best coaster so far.

The trip has been worked out very well so far, thanks to everybody who made it running.

Looking forward for tomorrow, but we have to get up at 5:15 URGH !!!!

Stor hilsen til alle jer derhjemme, hvis der er nogen fra Danmark som kigger med.

Stort knus til Johanne.

Steve Gzesh
I hit my latest milestone at Yomiuriland: #500 on Bandit! I definitely timed things well to hit the best coaster in the park for this milestone. The big controversy is whether it’s kosher to count Skycycle as a coaster since it’s pedal-powered. My take is that since it has a bona fide lift hill and you can coast on it, it’s countable – even if you can pedal your way around the circuit. At least I only counted Momonga (the stand-up and sitting loop coaster) as only one coaster. On to Tokyo Dome now to get one more chance to ride Thunder Dolphin, which has all appearances of being a worthy milestone coaster, too!

B. Derek Shaw
Two years ago (May 2003), when I toured Japan with Matt, Betsy and Lisa, Yomiruland was not on the agenda since they had been there previously. I was real happy to get there today to get my fifth out of six Japan wood coaster credits. (It will be a long time I’m afraid, to get to Jupiter, way in southern Japan.)

The park was a sheer delight! I had a really nice time. White Canyon was decent; Momonga was odd with the stand-up and sit down tracks alternating in the station with an on-going transfer track. Bandit! was great in the front and much rougher in the rear, while SL Coaster was fun, dropping immediately out of the station with the lift near the end of the ride (ala Ninja). Even the kiddie coaster was great fun, although it was odd riding with the Beach Boys blaring through the sound system in the station! The sky ride was spectacular, with a great view of the Yomiuri Giants baseball stadium and the Tokyo skyline in the distance. I also enjoyed the modern-ish tumble bug ride. Unfortunately no decent souvenirs, however I have lots of great memories in my mind (and on digital photos)!

Andrew Weiss
Tokyo Disney Sea was great, some of the best theming I have ever seen in a park. A couple of great dark rides, Journey was the best. The coasters sucked. All of the shows were wonderful. Yomiuriland was very hot. Liked White Canyon, Bandit would have been good, but restraints made it painful. The people are so polite and nice, even the teenagers, unlike American kids. I am waving so much, I feel like Miss America.

Richard Bannister
Sega Joypolis describes Speed Boarder as the first sideways roller coaster in the world. With a little bit of luck it’ll also be the last. A whole new meaning to “Useful addition to the park!”.

Eugene Robinson
This is a trip I would never take on my own as I am visually impaired. When it’s planned like this it’s a lot easier for me. It’s been a nice trip so far and one that I won’t let my vision ruin.

Favourite Park so far is the Tokyo Dome City, and the best theme park has to be DisneySea. Best coaster has been Thunder Dolphin.

Gloria Nakamura
The SL Coaster at Yomiuriland is basically a stuck in traffic ride. You come out of the station and it brakes, you go at little further and it brakes again and then you get wacked in the head by a bamboo branch (on the left?) because it’s been so long since they ran it that the foliage hadn’t been cut in awhile. So after a few rides it had to close so the trees could be cut back. The end is a lift hill just to get back into the station. It was so strange I wouldn’t have missed it for anything, except for Thunder Dolphin.

David Finkelstein
A side note for the Dark Ride and Funhouse Enthusiasts in DAFE. There are plenty of interesting experiences. Some of these parks have multiple rides and walk throughs. There are western style with the usual ghouls and stunts. There are uniquely Japanese style that can best be appreciated if you are familiar with the Ring and the Grudge, etc. They are big on stretching necks, decapitations and haunted/damned young women/geishas.

Of special note: Hanayashiki had a Japanese walk through with a sumo’s but landing above your head and a large women showing off her “attributes.” There was a seance room where you had to wear headphones. Tokyo Dome had the House of 13 doors, a walk through with actors jumping out at you and several surprises I never saw before in the states. There was also Zombie Paradise, an excellent elaborate ride with several encounters with an elaborate Zombie King and a lesson in how zombies prepare banquets. Yomiuriland likes “magic fingers” vibratory effects :). Disneyland had what you would expect. DisneySea had 3 good rides: 20,000 Leagues, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Indiana Jones.

Coasters have been interesting, to say the least: in ranging from the mediocre to the appaling so far. To date, the only thing remotely impressive was Thunder Dolphin, and some of what we could not ride at Toshimaen. Bandit was aptly named, it stole my airtime.

David Cornell
Yomiuriland was a great park. Wonderful view of Tokyo, lots of coasters, dark rides, and flat rides. The dog mascot was fun. I liked the dog themed Merry-go-round with the dogs barking to famous songs, like Rhapsody in Blue and “How much is that doggie in the window”. I found an extra roller coaster, Sky Cycle. The cars are 2 side by side seat pedal cycles on a tube track. It rolls, and coasts down hill. It has a lift hill and skid brakes. The other coasters were OK. They were fun to ride but had far too much restraint. Overhead when we did not go upside down. The wood coaster had a roll cage.

Then we went back to Tokyo Dome City to ride the coaster we missed due to rain. They were great, best of the trip so far. Thunder Dolphin has the best Intamin seats. Two extra feet!! of seat belt compared to MF. The LIM coaster has much more room than Vertical Velocity and its clones. The seat belt latch was mounted in the forward maximum length position.

At night we made it to Sega Joypolis. The sideways coaster was very fun and unique. I must return to Tokyo and spend a day at Tokyo Dome and another at Sega and the mall and boardwalk there.

Talhat Mahmood
Bandit is a coaster that over the years I had seen many pictures of in different coaster books and guides. Yesterday I succeeded in riding this famous coaster. The Bandit is very well laid out coaster, the only thing letting it down are the horrible restraints. White Canyon is a coaster that maintains it speed throughout the ride, although a little rough, but a very enjoyable ride. The park itself is a very nice mid-size park with a spectacular view of Tokyo.

Next stop was our second visit to Tokyo Dome, the first being rained out. Just like to thank Justin for re-scheduling it for us. Thunder Dolphin is a great coaster in probably the best location in the world. Even more spectacular at night.

The last stop of the day was Sega Joypolis, which has the world’s only sideways coaster. The ride itself very unusual and bizarre. I also tried out the half pipe skateboard me and my partner managed to get 46 points, and won by a large margin.

Keith Johnson
I liked Yomiuriland, but I would have enjoyed Bandit more if it didn’t have the over the head restraints. I also liked the SL Coaster because I have never been whipped by a branch whilst riding a coaster.

I really liked Thunder Dolphin at Tokyo Dome, and the only down side about it is that I did not get enough rides.

Sega Joypolis had a great half pipe skateboard ride, I have never worked so hard on a ride before. It was amazing to ride something while trying to win at the same time. They had a great haunted walk through, similar to the Ring movie.

Malcolm Marr
Apparently bamboo can grow up to one foot a day, in that case it had been a few days since the SL Coaster had been checked at Yomiuriland since there was a huge piece of it growing over that track. The best seat on that ride was in the second row as it was there that the bamboo would whip you in the face. The park is alright, nice park mascot, and plenty of room for future expansion. Bandit is OK but has too many straight sections. It did pick up speed in the afternoon and was causing people to pass out through the helix. The afternoon was spent back at Tokyo Dome where those who hadn’t ridden it earlier in the week got their chance to ride Daphne’s Japanese Thunder cousin. I prefer it at night time where it offers an similar experience to The Big Shot at Vegas where you get a great view over the city. “Do not run through the attraction, do not touch anything in the attraction, but most importantly of all, do not beat up the little girl” was the warning given to us on the scary Ring themed walkthrough at Joypolis. I was expecting to spend a fortune on the machines here but the selection was pretty lame, however the selection of simulator rides was great with Dark Chapel being the best, and you’re unlikely to ever get it in the UK, unless it is slapped with a 15 rating. Each station on the Japanese Metro plays it’s own jingle to indicate the doors closing. When I told Keith (who was very tired) that the jingle at Shibuya was steel drums, he asked me if I managed to take a picture of it. Fool!

Andreas Lindemuth
YomiuriLand was not exactly crowded, so the visit turned into an all-day ERT. Bandit is a good ride that could be much better if Togo had dared to include drops that are steeper than 45 degrees. The view onto Tokyo from the lift hill is stunning. White Canyon took care of my first genuine Japanese coaster bruises, one on the left leg, one on the right leg, both being produced within the same second while exiting turn number three. Better ride than expected though. Highlight on SL Coaster was a tree branch, see above.

The Sega Joypolis sideways coaster is … interesting, but it would not be too much of a shame if it stayed the only of its kind.

All in all, there were four haunted walkthroughs today, two at YomiuriLand, two more at Joypolis, while only the latter two can compete for the top rank in the best Japanese haunted walkthrough contest. However, prime candidate for that position is waiting next week at Fuji-Q.

Brian Sisk
We’re rolling along through beautiful Japanese countryside. Mountains, lots of green, farm land. There are small cemeteries in the middle of rice fields with tall headstones, making use of every inch of land. The Japanese people are very friendly-everyone loves to wave their hands side to side. I have no idea what they are saying but I wave back and everything is ok. We visited three parks yesterday. A beautiful hillside park-the Bandit is incredibly fast and smooth. The White Canyon was a pleasant surprise-a nice woodie. We went to Sega Joypolis at night-there is a great view of Tokyo at night-fantastic. And thanks to Justin for reorganizing our time to get us back to La Qua to ride Thunder Dolphin which was shut down due to rain our first time there. It’s a great Intamin hyper. I’ve always seen pictures of that neat drop through a building-it was fun to experience it.

Andycoasterboy-san
Moshi-moshi – day 4 and Yomuriland -after the obligatory group shot outside the park we venture into a small and compact park with a great woodie ‘White Canyon’ with a very weird roll-bar system!! Bandit is a great terrain steel coaster with a great first drop – a very early version of Goliath at Magic Mountain. Very hot which is a relief from the rainy start we have had to the trip. Then a short drive to a great piece of grey still in Tokyo which is Thunder Dolphin. After we all had rides on both including Linear Gale – we head to Sega Joypolis and the very weird Board Rider – start going sideways then half way through turn and continue going forwards -why?? Only the Japanese can tell you! Jeff the Sapporo is very nice as is the live Octopus legs 😉 you’d love it.. arigato until day 5.

Lee Bennett
After 15 years waiting I finally got to ride The Bandit. What a ride!!!

John Gerard
Yomiuriland-a big park with a small park’s sensibilities. Bandit was fun with some good drops and a couple good airtime pops. White Cyclone was pretty intense but unfortunately, like the Texas Cyclone used to be, there were obstructed views from every seat but the front. Made it a little hard to ride. The Togo standup/sitdown coaster was fun but short. Pretty smooth, too! The SL Coaster was very quirky-watch out for those branches! And, did the “bicycle” track ride count as a coaster?

Rob Derman
Big accomplishment today… I reached number 250, and Kevin reached number 300, on the same coaster. We made it a big one, the Thunder Dolphin at Tokyo Dome City, definitely in my top ten steel list… I am VERY grateful to Justin and Carole for allowing us to make up the rainout earlier in the week…

David Rager
The sun was out in full force today. I finally needed the sun screen and sun glasses. I’m glad we got back to La Qua today. Thunder Dolphin is running better than it was when I visited a couple years back. Hi Mom.

Bob Hofman
We have seen just about everything in the weather. Overcast, rain, wind, wind and rain, and today was the sun. Hot and humid. Yomiuriland was empty. There was probably 130 people in the park and 117 of them were our group. Most rides were a walk on except for the slow load times. They were not in any rush to get you on and off the rides. The best part of the day was the return to LaQua to ride Thunder Dolphin. It was worth going back for. Hi to all back home. Having a great time.

B. Derek Shaw (part two for Thursday}
It was nice to get back to Tokyo Dome City, albeit a short time, to take in the coasters that were closed earlier in the trip, due to inclement weather. I was glad to get some rides on Thunder Dolphin. Although not the best Intamin hyper coaster ever built, it is still a thrilling ride, sandwiched in between the mall buildings of La Qua and the busy city streets of Tokyo. It was great to go through the big hole in the side of the building. I also enjoyed the trick track on the roof top with the weaving back and forth effect. I imagine the placement of this coaster is a small taste of what the old Hong Kong Airport located in downtown Hong Kong might have been like. A great time!

Speed Boarder at Joypolis was as unusual and rough as I remember it from 2003, however the Half Pipe ride was great fun and exercise at the same time. (This is about as close as I will ever get to skate boarding.) Again, all three parks were awful with souvenirs – very, very little. I’m not happy, but my wallet sure is!

Bob Roginski
Many thanks go to Justin for arranging a make-up visit to Tokyo Dome City. Thunder Dolphin is a “must do” attraction that would otherwise have been missed. I was also able to experience the Linear Gale Intamin shuttle coaster which was somewhat disappointing in that it failed to rise more than halfway up either of its reverse points.

Jan Rush
While I was waiting in line for Thunder Dolphin (second seat from the front), the ride operator was holding a small toy dolphin. She wiggled it upwards, and then dropped it. I laughed; I didn’t have to know a word of Japanese to understand that gesture. The ride attendants weren’t quite sure what to make of the loud, clapping, coaster enthusiasts. Thunder Dolphin is a blast. Many thanks, Justin, for arranging our return visit to Tokyo Dome City.

Don Gworek
I have a web site of photos from the trip at snagson1.com/Japan

Jan Duncan
What a beautiful day yesterday – no clouds, hot & bright. Yomiuriland seemed like it was just open for us, very in matching caps, wearing backpacks and holding hands while following their teachers like little ducklings. I will remember the Joypolis visit for a tasty seafood curry we enjoyed overlooking Tokyo bay – glittering lights on the bridge, with the skyline in the background.

Stefan Rothaug
Gestern war der erste richtige “Achterbahntag”. Morgens fantastisches Wetter und kurze Wartezeiten in Yomiuri, mittags Thunder Dolphin – eine unglaubliche Bahn – und abends Joypolis: Speed Boarder ist absolut verrueckt. Die Passage mit Aussicht auf die Bayfront von Tokyo ist wundervoll!

Thomas Enders
Dies war ein Tag mit einem wirklichen Highlight der Reise: Thunder Dolphin.

Ein Intamin-Coaster der echt Spass macht. Von oben bei voller Fahrt auf die Strassen von Tokyo zu sehen ist atemberaubend. Zum Glueck hat die Zeit gerade fuer zwei Fahrten gereicht. Danke Justin, fuer den extra eingefuegten zweiten Besuch vom Tokyo Dome.

Dolores Damm
A bloody hot humid day at last filled coaster riding (and no rain). Stand up sit down looping surrounded White Cyclone with padding everywhere from top to bottom, ending the evening sitting sideways being jerked around. Ouch! Send for a chiropractor.

Hector Jimenez – Dia 5
Otro dia caloroso en Japon. Compre casi $25 dolares en botellas de agua pero todoavia tuve que sentarme porque tenia tanto calor. Me gusto todo en lo que me monte menos el ultimo del dia pero fue una experiencia unica. Ya estoy haciendo tramites para volver en unos anos cuando tenga el dinero y el tiempo.

Mark Brown
Bandit Roller Coaster is pretty hot, but the girls were hotter! Japan is a great place; like to come back later to do more sight seeing, after I learn the language. So far I’ve been able to avoid the crazy toilets that they have out here. It has been a challenge to get food here, because I’m having trouble asking for what I want to order. Very few Japanese know what I’m talking about. But it’s still a lot of fun. More later.

Anneliese Heiner
Yomuriland’s mascot is a small white dog with multicolored flecks. The dog’s likeness appeared throughout the park – on ride information boards, as small sculptures on the sidewalks (complete with multicolored paw prints preceding the sculptures) and as animals on the merry-go-round. The music on the merry-go-round was of a dog barking! Mr. Giggles, otherwise known as Ricky Cooper, was especially delighted by this.

There was a bunch of preschoolers in the park; they were very cute in their matching clothes and hats. They also had matching backpacks, which were lined up ever-so-neatly on the ground. The kids were highly amused by the bunch of gaijin adults riding the kiddie powered coaster; they pointed, laughed, and waved at us.

Bandit was lots of fun, starting with a beautiful view of Tokyo from the top of the lift hill. My favorite part of this coaster was the valley in the middle of the ride; the track is straight, and you have a great view of the upcoming track and how it goes through the trees. My ears almost popped on this part of the ride.

Another entry to the is-it-a-coaster list was the elevated bike ride. Yes, it is mostly human powered, but it has a track, a lift hill, brakes, and hills.

Tim Herre
Yumiuriland is a strange place: It looks like a traditional park and then there is that huge terrain coaster called Bandit that somehow doesn’t fit the place. But it was great fun, albeit the awful overheads. White Canyon is a great Cyclone clone and its brutality rules! The haunted houses were a disappintment though, I hope for better ones in the next parks. After Yumiuriland it was time for a second visit to Tokyo Dome City, and what a great decision that was – two thumbs up to Garvanovic-san for sorting that out. Thunder Dolphin is one of my favourite coasters now, I was lucky to get the front row and got the ride of my life. It certainly beats Expedition GeForce by great amounts, although that may have something to do with all the 14year old internet fan boys loving EGF, which makes it a less adorable ride for me. Linear Gale was on a lame setting, so that ride was, although actually Intamin-built, TOGO (try once – get off).

Final destination of the day was tha fab SEGA Joypolis with their weird Skateboarder Coaster. Although it was pretty crap, I loved it because of its strange, like-no-other concept. We did both walk-thoughs they had, Van Helsing and Final Call, with the latter being downright scary! The haunted house quality is one the rise, and we haven’t been to Fuji-Q Highlands yet …

Paul Asente
Watashiwa Landdog ga daisuki desu!!! Landdog, the ubiquitous mascot of Yomiuriland, is a rainbow-striped woofie with either too much mascara or too much caffeine. Let other people rhapsodize about Bandit and White Canyon… what other park has a Merry-Go-Landdog, that lets you ride Landdog while being serenaded by his charming voice? Where else for can you ride Landdog around the park for a mere 200 yen? Landdog and Honey Coming on the same day…can it get any better than this???

Christopher Smith
Hey Ho; well my last update came from the tour bus, this one comes from a slightly inclined Bullet Train at a few hundred miles per hour on the way to Osaka. Over the last few days I’ve been to Yomiuriland, this park had a good steel coaster, and more importantly I was able to try a shot and drop tower to psyche myself up for the > 100m drop tower on the last day. We also had time to race some yamiuris, although it seemed that they were in heat (pictures should explain). Following that we shot over to Tokyo Dome to ride Thunder Dolphin, this was the best ride so far and mainly involved the dilemma of weather to watch the awesome downtown Tokyo Skyline or the next drop as we swooped around the buildings. To finish up the day we had a night on the arcades at Sega Joypolis where full sized cars, ride on half pipes and coasters abounded.

Tim Galvelis
Yomiuri Land, well after almost 20 years of waiting to ride Bandit, looking at all of those amazing photos, wondering how amazing the ride must be, I finally got to ride it. What a complete let down. Bandit is an amazing structure, but the ride itself is worth the credit, the forget it. The SL Coaster is an odd attempt at making an odd coaster. White Canyon just so happened to be the best coaster in the park that day, behind the Standing Loop Coaster. The Big Wheel, and Sky Ride served their photographic purposes.

Thunder Dolphin, despite the opinions of the experts that have already ridden Thunder Dolphin, it really is an excellent coaster. Yeah the trick track is slow, but it does work being that high up above the city streets. I just wish it was a little longer, then it probably would have rivaled some peoples #1 steelies.

George Greenway
Yomiuriland has the second woodie of my trip, having survived Jupiter in Kijima, I’d hoped for a step up. It was full of energy and rough, alas i couldn’t re-ride it. the park is well laid out and as all have been so far really quiet. the coaster which had us all baffled was the SL. it had brakes out of the station and the lift hill to get you back into it. the day was getting hotter now the rains had subsided and we were ready for the second park, Sega Joypolis. I’d been to this before but never rode the coaster. It’s a sideways travelling model and gives the rider a good thwack in the neck on some of the corners. i was not brave enough to re-ride. i spent the rest of the time on the game sections, scoring 97% on jurasic park before get eaten by a t-rex.

Matt Crowther & Betsy Abrams
Wish I had more time at Sega Joyopolis. The Halfpipe Canyon was a bigger draw for me than the Speed Boarder coaster (which was fun). The Canyon is half ride, half game. Two people stand in restraints attached to a skateboard platform that rode a halfpipe track while attached upward to a pendulum type apparatus. The skateboards rode further up the sides of the halpipe and depending on some fancy footwork by the riders, one can spin the board around at the apex of the hills. I just liked how a recorded voice behind your head kept screaming, ‘OK, Roger!’

 

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Day 7 – Tobu Zoo, Nasu Highland

Owen Rees
Coasters were brightly coloured, and the petrol powered monorail was fun.

Brian Sisk
Nasu Highlands is my favorite park of the trip so far. Coaster plaza is amazing-5 coasters all twisted together, each painted a different color. I couldn’t get enough rides on their neat gas powered individual car monorail. You get to control the speed and stop for pictures along the way. Lots of fun to ride. I decided to try a real Japanese lunch. I have no idea what it was but I’m beginning to finally feel like I’m in Japan.

Lee Bennett
After an early start we were welcomed like royalty at Nasu Highland ! We were then treated to some excellent steel coasters Big Boom being my favourite !!

Say O nara !!

John Gerard
Nasu Highlands was a very nice park with some interesting theming and bright colours, especially on the SLC. The section with all the coasters in one place was particularly cool-all those fun coasters in one place! The non-mouse spinning coaster was my favourite (I definitely hope to see more of those in closer parks in the future), followed by Big Boom with its steep drops (and very slow lift). The Camel Coaster was a big steel Leap the Dips. Panic Drive-fun coaster, great name! The Space Shot ride came out of a building, adding to its thrill. Nice carousel and Lego area, too. Loved the 1950s themed area-check out the “interesting” bumper stickers in the store.

Tim Herre
Nasu Highland had a true roster of rides to offer; as much as four coasters intertwined within each other, of which Big Boom surely was the best. That back seat really kicked ass. Today a big school had a day out at the park, and the girls were all so cute! You wanted to take every single one home with you. Again the walkthroughs were a real treat, especially the one themed after a haunted girl’s university where you had to put headphones on. Their dark ride, Dark Castle, was also spooky. Owen Rees (big wanker!) then sent me to the wrong restroom, which was probably the scariest experience of the day.

To me, Tobu Zoo appeared to be pretty much run down. Albeit that, the TOGO looping wild mouse was quite enjoyable. I expected it to be a big pain in the arse but it wasn’t. Regina is a decent woodie, definitely not one of my favourites but not bad. Especially at night, the back seat was filled with airtime. Their Intamin Giant Drop tower was making strange noises while the car was being lifted to the top. Seems like maintenance is an alien concept to them, at least on the tower, because both coasters were running pretty well.

Richard Bannister
The designers of Nasu Highland clearly spent a lot time playing Roller Coaster Tycoon, with four brightly coloured roller coasters entwined around each other. The green one, Thunder Coaster, even featured some of the track pieces found in that game, down to the rather sharp joins in the corkscrew elements. Big Boom in the back seat gives as much airtime I have ever experienced on any coaster anywhere; well worth doing in other words! In contrast, the engineers at TOGO probably never played RCT, as they would have discovered that their Crazy Mouse design at Tobu Zoo did not have enough energy for cars to make it around the track without a tiny second lift hill after the loop! I wonder if any engineers lost their job over that one…?

Andreas Lindemuth
Producer Meisho appears to like extreme angles in the drops on their coasters: A maximum slope of about 20 degrees on the Camelback coaster vs some 80 degrees on the Big Boom coaster. The latter does not offer air time, but hang time: close to 2 negative Gs on the first drop. Followed by some for Gs at the bottom of the first drop. I did not fade out altogether, but I saw some stars on that passage of the ride. Nasu Highland is leading the dark ride competition so far, with their “Dark Castle” (which really IS dark). Two haunted walk throughs were available as well, but the Joypolis ones are still clearly holding the pole position.

Keith Johnson
I had a wonderful time at Nasu Highland. I especially loved the Big Boom coaster; it got my big boom really going today! And added attraction was Tim Herre running down the midway singing everybody salsa! He even got the ride attendant going on the River Adventure, including all of the park patrons riding it with us. So far this has been one of the funniest visits I’ve had of a park in years.

Malcolm Marr
Nasu Park would be Linz Hoy’s favourite park had she been on the trip. Plenty of Lego structures and a really nice mixture of rides. My favourite today was the yellow one (can’t recall its name) which spun like a waltzer even without the pikey on the back. On the way out I came across a blue backpack creature that wants to live with Linz so I’ve adopted it and will be bringing it home. I hope you don’t mind. The red coaster (can’t recall its name) needed more hills and the blue coaster (can’t recall its name) shows what Oblivion could be like had it had more rows to the train. Totally G-Force-A-Rific. It was a shame the black coaster (can’t recall its name) wasn’t running as it looked quite fun too.

Tobu Zoo was a really odd park, built on what appears to be a series of islands. Most of the rides are over the water. Regina is OK but Yomiuri’s White Canyon is the better of the two, although the restraints here are more conventional. Tomorrow is the bullet train which I’ve been wanting to do for years.

David Cornell
Today I don’t know. Backspace backspace. (Crazy laughter). Today we hit another fun park, packed with lots of rides. They had seven roller coasters, although most of them seemed like they were all the same roller coaster; the last one I rode had free spinning cars, and was my favourite one of the day so far. You spelt favourite wrong (RB the typist: no I didn’t). The spinning coaster was also my 100th new coaster for 2005. Its been a busy year. Now we’re headed to Tobu Zoo, where I will ride coaster number #666.

Evan Hoagland
Nasu Highland Fantasy Pointe; seven operating coasters and one not operating, and most of the coasters are all in one part of the park with a tangle of tracks. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen that tangle before many years ago in an ACE publication, and have always wanted to go there. I’m glad I did. They’re very colourful; blue, yellow, purple, green, and my favourite was the Camel Coaster, a long smooth ride, and they had the spin turn coaster which was a spinning coaster which was not a wild mouse. Oh, and they have a nice dark ride – Dark Castle, with large animated monsters. Just some place I really wanted to go to – I’m glad I went.

Ric Turner

Kuma the bear says hi to Kai and Zak. I’m traveling through Japan with your dad. Today we went to two parks, Nasu Highland and Tobo Zoo. Nasu has lots of coasters in the same place that all twist and loop through each other! Luckily each is painted a different color so you can tell them apart. Your dad took lots of picturs and would like to send them to you, but he forgot his computer when he left last week. What a dufus. I look forward to meeting you and all your other friends soon, love, Kuma.

Tom Barr
Nasu Highland-What a nice experience! Good coasters, great people, great park and really nice surroundings.

Craig Knor
Nasu Highland was a nice surprise for me. The setting in the hills made for a great experience. One of the highlights was riding Spin-Turn Coaster with Jacob Broadrick who celebrated his 300th coaster at eleven years old. This park has a great selection of rides in a beautiful setting.

Bill Tyson
The last few days have been just wonderful. The parks and the rides are great. From Space Mountain at Disneyland to Journey to the Center of the Earth at Disney Sea and Thunder Dolphin at Tokyo Dome City. Going to Yomiuriland and riding The Bandit and White Canyon. I thought it was really interesting that they had a coaster that had both stand up and sitdown trains that use the same track. Then off the Joypolis and a shaky skate board but a spectacular view of Tokyo bay, with a replica of the Statue of Liberty, as we ate dinner. Today, Nasu Highland was very nice with many coasters all together, it was wild that you could be sitting on one and have two others come right by you. Off to Tobu Zoo and Regina, rode it during the day and it was rather rough. Rode it again at night and it seemed to be a totally different coaster. What a ride speed, air and a whole lot of rockin. First Mouse I’ve been on that looped very interesting. It was also nice to walk through and see the animals. Needless to say this trip so far has been a blast.

John Covan
Nasu Highland is a delightful small park tucked into foothills of a mountain covered in mist. Most of the coasters are crammed together in a spaghetti bowl. Remarkable are the bat flyer and the spinning coaster . The mid-course brakes on the flyer damped the ride experience while other coasters let ‘er rip. The “hang & bang” Vekoma made me wonder if we had accidentally vectored through hyperspace back to America. Had lunch in a pleasant place serving tempura to strains of classical music – a good value and a chance to try authentic Japanese food right in a park. The workers attending rides were unfailingly cheerful and attentive.

B. Derek Shaw
Where could we be going with a 6:00AM departure from the hotel and a three hour journey to get there? Nasu Highland Park. It is situated high in the mountains in a very rural and beautiful area, 100 miles north of Tokyo. Nine coasters (8 operating with 1 SBNO) plus a good dark ride, stand-up parachute drop ride and of course a giant Ferris wheel (what respectable Japanese park doesn’t have one?) The carousel was very attractive, sporting animal shaped topiaries on the roof; however I thought it odd that “Battle Hymm of the Republic” (American patriotic song) was playing instead of more traditional carousel band organ music. The names of the coasters are hard to read and harder to pronounce, so here’s the order I rode them by color scheme: red, green, blue, yellow, purple and black, purple and turquoise, light green and pink and teal! (As riding partner Derek Cromarty remarked, it would be a real dilemma if they were all one color as no one would know which one is what, since many of them are intertwined with the others. I only wish we had about one hour more to fully explore this gem. Good food, friendly staff and yes, decent souvenirs, including polo shirts – a banner day in a terrific park!

Next up, Tobu Zoo. Regina was even better than two years ago. (Still rough, but very fast at night.) The other two coasters were fun too. I’m sorry to see Rocky (the white coaster) being torn down. The Intamin Drop Tower was a blast – down! Had va lot of fun on it. The bear shaped donuts were a nice treat. There is a fair amount of construction going on. I hope this will draw in more people, as the park/zoo appeared fairly un-crowded. Another ten coaster day – not too shabby!

Stan Dabrowski
First trip, having a blast. Met alot of great people. Regina and looping mouse great surprises. Disney Sea was a fantastic Park as well. Coming to Japan has given me a new appreciation for Minne Mouse ears and a greater appreciation for American fast food.

Andrew Weiss (aka Mr. ACE)
Nasu Highland is a very colorful park, all the coasters are a different color. The best was Big Boom, a great first drop in back seat.Dark CASTLE A VERY INVENTIVE DARK RIDE., with good use of silhouettes. Regina at Tobu Zoo was excellent at night, front seat a blast. Yesterday rode a very weird sideways coaster, which was more intense than I thought it would be. Really enjoyed Thunder Dolphin at Dome City, great view of Tokyo while riding,and excellent section of trick track.

andycoasterboy-san
moshi moshi – Nasu Highland is a great park nested in the middle of forested scenery. If you can imagine a bowl of noodles at a park that is what all the coasters look like all mixed together in a great mess of steel. A spinning yellow coaster, a great supa drop blue coaster, the oligatory rough green corkscrew, a very rough purple coaster and a nice humpy red coaster. Then we are off to Tobu Zoo and Regina, an Intamin woodie built on a lake, a very rare looping mouse and a rusty old drop tower which badly needed a spray of WD40. We are joined by some new 12 year old members who join us for the ERS…. How many Cds do you have. I am happy. Jeff and Wortsie the Sapporo is steel very nice Japanese beer.

John Gerard
Tobu Zoo was an interesting park; more of a traditional park feel. I really enjoyed the looping mouse coaster, especially the “mini Ultimate” section. The over the shoulder restraints hindered the ride experience somewhat, though. Regina was a good woodie with some nice sections of airtime and decent speed. Sky Love was an overhead monorail ride that was used as transportation from one end of the park to another, sort of like a skyride. It had an interesting feature of having a winged horse or elephant above the carriage that flapped its wings or ears as the car travelled on the tracks.

Timothy Galvelis
Nasu Highland was an outstanding park. We had a half hour of EPT (exclusive park time) in the morning – the Spin Coaster, was a lot of fun but just a little to spinning for me. The Big Boom coaster was probably the biggest surprise for me at the park. It was pure intensity even with the harnesses. I forget the name of the corkscrew right now, but that really doesn’t matter, because it is a forgettable coaster. The Camel Coaster turned out to be better than Bandit, but that’s not saying much. Unfortunately, Lightning, the best coaster in the park, was closed.

Panic Drive was a pretty intense mouse, especially when you ride it by yourself. Batflyer, of course was there for the credit, and still just as impossible to get into and out of. Then the last coaster for this park is the SLC, and the name of this one also escapes me right now, but I did manage to escape it alive.

More upbeat reports to come, including the extremely excellent BMRX at Kobe Portopialand.

George Greenway
Nasu Highland was asleep when we descended on it. It has a mass of coasters all different colours all intertwining, we agreed it must have been designed with roller coaster tycoon. The monorail gives the best view of the coasters, and if you wait long enough you’ll get 2 running at the same time for a great picture.

We moved onto Tobu Zoo. The parks up till now have not cottoned onto a “jetno coaster” trip. we were treated with an exclusive hour after the park closed of the 3 coasters. I’d ridden the woodie once during the day, it too was too rough for me, but as the rides were laid on i gave it another go. The front seat was an awesome ride. it was rough but had so much energy that you would be going in all 3 directions at once. well done to the park a superb effort.

Al and Martha Amborn
Nasu Highland Park was so fantastic, especially if you have arthritis-all the coasters are, like, 5 feet apart! The most peculiar spinning coaster is there. Don’t eat before riding. Having a great time, however Justin ‘The Donald’ has fired me 5-6 times as coach captain apprentice! For Steve Thompson, the choice of draft is Kinin!

Matthew Pearce
Have you ever played RCT – one of the parks where you have to complete coasters in a small area of the park? This is how the back section of Nasu Highland. A collection of green, red yellow and blue track from the four coasters. To the side is the SBNO coaster. The spinning coaster track runs through the loop of Big Boom.

The spinning coaster consists of twelve individually spinning cards, so you get the benefit of the spin without the turns of a wild mouse.

Big Boom is refreshing with the 75 degree angle drop, but a short ride.

Another good ride was the star jets. Think of an autopia / monorail combination. A lever between the front seats allowed you to control the speed and stop the car. Fortunately, this ride ran between and adjacent to the coasters so you could stop it for good photo opportunities.

The African Safari ride was a moving shooting gallery. Two riders per car use rifles to set the various animals in motion.

Emi and I ate trout on a stick. Possibly caught at the park’s fishing section.

This is a compact park, deep in the woods that is worth your attention.

Matt Crowther & Betsy Abrams
This is one of the few major parks in Japan that we had not visited on past trips- and it was a very pleasant surprise. The park is clean and very nice looking nestled in the foothills north of Tokyo, with a lot of lush greenery and even trout streams. At the back end of the park 5 coasters (one a SBNO Schwarzkopf) are all jammed in together, each a different color (great for photography). The most distinctive to my mind is Big Boom, a short single loop coaster with one of the most wicked steep drops on any coaster anywhere. There is also a nice dark ride, a rapids ride, a flume – this park is one of the least known but best in Japan.

Dan Harvey
Nasu Highland Park – what a great place nestled up in the hillside! Never have I seen so many coasters packed into such a small space. Each steel coaster painted a different color, all intertwined, what a site! Riding each coaster offered it’s own perspective view of the other coasters. The yellow spinning coaster was really different, spinning as it went down the tracks, sometimes spinning quite quickly. I wish my kids were here, they’d love this park!! Having the park an hour before it opened was really nice!! The variety of food choices was great. I had a soup that was terrific that was made right there in front of me with noodles, vegetables, slice of pork and tofu in a pork broth. I’m getting pretty good with chopsticks now!

David Hamburger
Nasu Highland was another one of those parks that was more than the sum of its coasters. We weren’t expecting much with no real signature top tier ride here. But the view all around was spectacular! Mountains all around us, and coasters everywhere! Especially in the back section called Coaster Plaza, which looked like something most of us would design in RCT, with 4 coasters of different colors intertwined. It made for some GREAT picture-taking, especially from the other nearby rides (and the Space Shot.) And how many other parks have such beautiful mountain backdrops? Big Boom, with it’s steep, airtime-filled drop was probably most people’s favorite coaster here, although Spin-Turn Coaster was probably the most fun.

Robert Hill
Nasu Highland was the greatest surprise! This is a wonderful and unique park where there is a great blend of coasters that can be identified by COLOR!! The red one (better known as Camel Back Coaster) was Number 400 for me, and this was a great one for that significant landmark! Very fun, lengthy and smooth (with maybe a harsh turn or two, but it was great)! The blue one (Big Boom) has an incredibly steep first drop that was awesome and very different from the front and back. Then comes the yellow one (the Spin/Turn Coaster) where a full length train has every car spinning throughout the ride, the first of its kind (to my knowledge) and I loved it! I also loved the ‘mouse ride’ with the old-fashioned cars! An excellent park and must-visit for any coaster enthusiast!

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Day 8 – Bullet Train to Osaka, Expoland

Owen Rees
Very interesting log flume (2 turntables). Daidarasaurus Sound more like a jet plane taking off.

andycoasterboy-san
moshi moshi – Today we have a very early start and have to put our luggage on a truck which we follow us to our hotel to Osaka. We all turn up at Tokyo station which is a bit of a feat in itself. Exactly on cue our Bullet train departs to Shin-osaka. Its amazing how efficient the whole process is from train arriving – gettig cleaned and departing, british rail system take note. We arrive and say farewell to Ryko (sp) who has been such a star getting tickets and answering everyones questions. Then off to Expoland the home of white coasters. Orichi a Raptor clone and Daidarasaurus a very long coaster which used to race but now welded together to make one long ride. A horrible Togo stand-up – ouch ouch. A very cool walk-through – basically a giant freezer which is a great addition to the park 🙂 Jeff and Wortsie, off for more Sapporos and Sake which are still very nice. arigato until tomorrow………

Ric Turner
Kuma the bear says “Today we got to ride a Japanese Bullet train called Shinkansen. It goes so fast that you cant see the things going by the window as anything but a blur! We rode the train from Tokyo to Osaka where we visited the site of Expo 70 which is now an amusement park called Expoland. This park has the longest coaster in the world! It’s two old coasters from 1970 that have been hooked together to make one super long coaster. It wasn’t very exciting, but it is sure long! Bye for now, love Kuma.”

Brian Sisk
Today we finally get to ride a Bullet train. Smooth, incredibly fast, and of course, right on time. When another train would pass us going the other way, the suction caused by the two trains would cause ours to lean slightly to the right. Scary. Then went to Expoland. 7 coasters including the longest in the world. A 6 minute, 24 second ride.

Tim Herre
First order of the day was showing the Americans what proper trains are. For me, being German and used to the ICEs in my country, those Shikansen seemed a little dated. But the legroom was fantastic and it was pretty fast, too. I spent most of the time rhyming new Lisa lines. Once reached Osaka, it was time for Expoland and its strange rides. Daidarasaurus is probably one of the oddest coasters on the planet, incredibly long but lacking decent airtime and suffering from a very low throughput. Fujin Raijin 2 was not as bad as I expected it to be – still rough, but after all an impressing ride with a helix you had to blur out on. Orochi was only running one train, so its throughput was very low, too, and we just got in one ride. Their haunted walk through that was an upcharge attraction had quite good actors but the walkways were just way too wide to be scared. They should subscribe to Haunted Attraction Magazine to learn how this has to be done. Leonard Pickel will tell them. And to come to and end: every park should have a walk in fridge!

Eugene Robinson
The two most different type of rides at this park was the chaos-type spinning ride near the front and the Ice House. Most of the coasters were pretty good; Daidarasaurus was probably the best one there, and if you want to know the worst coaster there it would probably be the stand-up.

Richard Bannister
Daidarasaurus can be succinctly described as “Martin Valt – The Ride”. It goes on and on and on, says nothing particularly interesting, and it’s a relief when it finally stops. It can be fun from time to time though!

Evan Hoagland
I’m sure others will report on the coasters; I’ll report on the other rides. There is a ride simulator in which four people can sit in a car that is actually fairly cool although fully enclosed. There is a screen in front of you; it is an Indiana Jones type thing which moves on a track, with skulls coming at you with passageways in a pyramid. There was a dark ride and it was hard to tell what was supposed to be scary; it was too dark to really see. My personal favourite on this very hot day was Ice World, literally a walkthrough refrigerator with a lot of lighting effects and stuffed animals. There were two bicycle rides; one called UFO cycle with you on the inside of a large wheel which turned around you; one pedal ride with an umbrella over your head. I’ll leave the coasters for others.

Anneliese Heiner
While waiting in line for one of the coasters, I commented that I hoped we could do a fun house in Japan. Sure enough, not too long afterwards we found one! It was fairly short, but it included a mirror maze, funny mirrors, and a catwalk throuhg a rotating room. The Ice House was a hit among our group; this was a building kept at about -30 degrees C, and people walked through it to enjoy the cold, the ice on the walls, and the lighting. There was a simulator theater playing a movie called “Volcano.” I think I had seen this one quite a while ago, but I had known it as “Red Rock Run.” I was glad to see it again, as it was more like a roller coaster than most simulator movies. Think of a high-speed mine ride through a volcano, with both regular and inverted batflyer-like tracks, and you get the idea. Another hit was a paratrooper-type ride, which I had thought would be vomitrocous but I rode after hearing multiple recommendations.

John Gerard
The Bullet Train! Zoom zoom zoom! So smooth–you couldn’t tell how fast you were going unless the train passed by something very close. Expoland was a very large park with some minimal theming. The coasters were, how would you say, “interesting”, especially Daidarasaurus, which seemed to go on forever and was one of the loudest coasters I’ve ever ridden on. The standup coaster had a lot of directional changes, which usually are good on a standup, but had some rough transitions. The helix was very intense. Orochi was very similar to Raptor but the final helix went down instead of up, leading to a little more intensity. The Ice World was a very welcome walk-through: more like a butcher’s freezer with a few penguin and bear statues thrown in for good measure. There was another spooky walk-through that dispensed a personalized printout at the end with some undecipherable numbers: was it a score? was it our life expectancy? who knew? Then there was the “individual capsule simulator on a track” ride which held four riders each and was pretty fun. There was a shooting dark ride, as well. There was a “pedal on a track” ride called UFO Cycle that, due to Paul Asente and my scientific assessment, could actually count as a rollercoaster. There was a lift hill and at the top of the lift we just let the vehicle coast down the track and we made it to within about 10 feet of the station without pedaling. All the criteria of a coaster were fulfilled. Nevertheless, it won’t make it into my coaster count. Nice park, wish I could have stayed there longer.

Paul Asente
Orochi was delicious. How many parks have coaster-oriented snacks? In this case they were delicious little Orochi-shaped sponge cakes filled with yummy azuki bean paste. That’s gooood eating. Expoland also had a little area with independently-operated food stands where I had a really tasty tako (octopus) egg pancake for lunch. Ice World was freezingtastic! And John Girard is a pachinko wizard for sure…such a supple grip! Landdog is looking forward to visiting Nara Dreamland. I think it’s his kind of park for sure.

Russell M. Van Tassell
Yesterday was the Bullet Train… as John said, so smooth that you couldn’t really tell just-how-quickly the train was moving. Leaving the station, we simply started moving forward… almost no sound except for the occassional track-tie clicking somewhere under the wheels. The trains themselves were very long… sixteen large cars or more, each 20 or more rows (and five seats across). Not terribly surprisingly, trains met moving in the opposite direction simply went by in a mere second, the only symptom being the feeling of the air pocket before and after the trains passed.

Expoland was a rather interesting park with a pseudo-racer coaster that (literally) screamed along its tracks. The sound was more like the train was sliding along the tails rather than simply rolling… the sound itself seemingly becoming more and more annoying as the afternoon progressed. In any case, it was still a fun coaster which essentially gave you two complete runs for a single ride — I managed a few good pictures from various turns of the ride, as well. The paratrooper ride here deserves honorable mention, as-well — I had figured it for a simple spin-and-puke, however the first ride put all such worries aside… it’s essentially a paratrooper ride that has an arm that moves to vertical, like an enterprise-style ride, as the cars swing freely or are affected by individual car brakes. Plenty of swing and some upsidedown action, here… Laurel and I actually managed to get a car swinging in two or more consecutive complete 360’s around its bar.

David Cornell
I really liked the bullet train ride. Although Tokyo station was not very impressive. But we quickly got to the Osaka area for Expoland. I will have to go back there some day. It had lots of interesting and unique ride besides the coasters. That longest one in the world is just a big scenic railway. No speed or air, just a nice squeeky ride. We had to leave eary to get to a park in Kobe, Portopia, that was was going to close at the end of the year. It has two great Schwartzkopf coasters, a double loop and the Bavarian Mountain Railway (BMR-X). Wow what a great ride. It took two hours and four trains, well a bus to replace the last broken train. Glad I took the time.

Eugene Robinson
The two most different type of rides at this park was the chaos-type spinning ride near the front and the Ice House. Most of the coasters were pretty good; Daidarasaurus was probably the best one there, and if you want to know the worst coaster there it would probably be the stand-up.

Nige Harness
We are sitting on the bullet train heading for Osaka drinking beer. You’re not.

Rob Derman
Last night was the adventure of a lifetime! OK well maybe just the adventure of the trip. 25 hearty coaster enthusiasts went on a trek in search of the great soon to be (unfortunately) closed Kobe Portopia park. All but two actually made it before the park closed, and the other two, well, we won’t discuss it here, that is a story of its own.

We left the Expo park around 4:30 and boarded a monorail. 25 people buying tickets for a train at a Japanese kiosk was interesting, but we made it. Then we transferred to a subway, same thing. Then we transferred to the JR train, same thing (by then we thought we lost our troublemaker but she did resurface later). Then we were supposed to transfer to a monorail but it was not working, so fortunately a Japanese guide helped us find the shuttle bus which was a little walk but we made it. After almost getting off at the wrong stop we finally found the park at around 7pm. Only an hour.

The park was basically empty so essentially we had ERT for the hour. We started on the Mack bobsled which was the best bobsled I have ever ridden (sorry PKD). Then we rode the Schwarzkopf double looper and it was smooth as can be. Then we found the BMRX mountain coaster and we finally had reached the top…

Some have said that this is the best coaster of the trip… I give it a close second, but IT WAS GREAT! In the last half hour we rode a half dozen times through the mountain, some in the dark, some outside with a view of the city, great theming!!

Then the park closed and we were treated to a great fireworks, music and water show!!

Our little troublemaker made it just in time to come home with us. Oh happy day.

Then we had to get home, fortunately it was just the shuttle bus and one train line (two trains).

Unfortunately this park is closing for good at the end of the season. Hopefully we can save the coasters, at least BMRX. Bob suggested we ask Dick Knoebel at the PhunFest if he would be interested. Who knows? At least it would certainly have a good home… and it would be much closer to me…

B. Derek Shaw
Expoland was OK. Their seven coasters ranged from mediocre to very good and everything in between. Orochi was the best one (B&M inverted). The stand up should be thrown out – worthless.

Earlier in the day I suggested to Maggie Linka and Derek Cromarty that we visit Portopialand, a three coaster park facing extinction. It is home to a Mack bobsled and two Schwarzkopf installations. What was originally a three person adventure quickly grew to 24! We decided to leave the group an hour early to take the monorail, Japan Rail and two subway jaunt trip to the park, closing at eight. The already complicated trip became more compounded with the closure of one sub line, with a bus substitution.

We got there with 55 ticks on the clock left before closing for the night. What a real treat it was! Three great coasters in a very lightly attended park made for many rides. The Mack bobsled and the double loop coaster each gave me a ride. I figured I get back there after I checked out the third ride in the trio of coasters in this park. What a third one it was. I really went nuts over the Bavarian Mountain Railway, a scenic version of Jet Line, a coaster I’ve ridden on several trips to Gronalund in Stockholm, Sweden. THIS IS BY FAR THE BEST COASTER ON THE TRIP, SO FAR!

Adding icing to the cake, a 10 minute lights, fireworks and water display finished off a great side trip to a fun little park. The 24 of us that persevered and got there were rewarded quite handsomely.

Bob Roginski
Expoland has a good variety of steel coasters with Orochi being (in my opinion) the best of the collection. It has a custom layout with elements comparable tho those of Cedar Point’s Raptor, but slightly better pacing. The most intriguing coaster was definitely Daidarasaurus whose extreme length is the result of converting a dual track coaster to a single contiguous loop. The modification occurs just before the station and is quite noticeable when viewed from the huge Ferris wheel.

I am especially grateful for the opportunity to return to the hotel at an earlier time because I am not one of those who handles consecutive nights of sleep deprivation.

Andrew Weiss (aka Mr. ACE)
Anton the genius strikes again. BMRX is the best coaster of trip so far, it was worth getting to, which involved 3 trains a guide too walk us to a bus, all for 45 minutes of coaster bliss. This is one of Anton’s best, a version of the Jet Line at Gronaland. The double loop was great, and the Mack bobsled was almost as good as Avalanche at Blackpool. It is a shame this park is going to close this year. Expoland had a variety of coaster, with Orochi being the best, an excellent B&M inverted.

Maggy Linka
Best coaster this trip was the Bavarian Mountain Railway!

A group of 24 of us took off for Portopialand somewhere in Osaka. After a 2-hr commute via two subway lines and a bus-trip leg, we arrived at the park one hour before closing. Running like mad, we took in the park’s three coasters. Bavarian Mountain Railway was superior – a tight, wild ride that just kept on coming. Awesome!

Fireworks and dancing waters show to Bizet’s Carmen excerpts completed our adventure. We sat in the dark watching the super fireworks show, eating Japanese noodles for dinner and drinking a Coke. Great time!!!

Stefan Rothaug
Expoland in 4,5 Stunden ist Stress, auch wenn man den furchtbaren Standup links liegen laesst, danach ist man dann ganz schoen platt. Trotzdem ging’s abends noch nach Festival Gate. Es war wirklich traurig, zu sehen, in welchem Zustand sich der Komplex befindet: Leere Geschaefte und demontierte Rides.

Derek Cromarty
Expoland had a long coaster you would think they joined two together, plus four others. The best one was Orochi (B&M suspended). Saturday afternoon we went for an extended tour on the Osaka subway system lasting two hours to get to Portopialand, where we rode a good Mack bobsled, Schwarzkopf double loop and also possibly the star of the tour, Bavarian Mountain Railway (another Schwarzkopf). It was A-1!

Nige Harness
Yesterday we travelled from Tokyo to Osaka via the Shinkansen (Bullet train) – what a superb way to travel (Hil, A and B – Chimaira, B Bragg and Swordfish whilst shooting across Japan – surreal!! Thanks x). High spot yesterday was Orochi at Expoland – a clone of a well known B&M at Cedar Point. Dare I say it was more enjoyable – some great Gs in certain elements – a real toe-tingler. A quick trip on the train systems last nite saw us riding Delphis at Festivalgate shopping arcade – this is a doomed ride unfortunately which is a shame as its siting on the roof is visually spectacular.

George Greenway
The groups first Shinkansen of the trip, my 9th, and like a twat I left my backpack on the bus. in any other country it would be on a boat to hawaii, but in Japan, phone call to the bus company had it back at the train station with 10 minutes to spare. a big thank-you to our tour guide for helping out. we are now in Osaka, and have a new tour guide and head for Expoland. a 7 coaster park no less… It has Fujin Raijin 2, having ridden 1 the week before the trip in Mitsui Greenland I wasn’t expecting the violent ball bangin ride this offered. so beware. the signature B&M Orochi was fast and re-rideable, if you could last it out in the queue. the load times in some parks can be disastrously long. The highlight of the day was Martin Valt helping an ACE member into the family coaster, the Japanese girl ride op couldn’t push the restraint closed. Martin offered his help. What a star.

Jeff Waters
The highlight of Expoland was Orochi; it was very much like Raptor (typists note: it *is* Raptor, other than the colour scheme — RB). The other thing I found exceptional was the ice house; that was truly a surprise. I was lucky enough to take a side trip to Kobe Portopialand; truly one of the most exciting coasters I’ve been on this trip (other than Thunder Dolphin) was the Bavarian Mountain Railroad at this park. Lot of surprises; it was really a trip just to get there; four different subways, and the last was out of service; we had to take a bus, which one of the workers from the subway system was kind enough to walk us over to. We got to the park an hour before it closed; three coasters there, a bobsled run (probably the longest I’ve been on), a Schwarzkopf double looper, and of course the Bavarian Mountain Railroad. One of the most exciting things about this was a ninety degree turn drop; there were about twenty two of us on the sidetrip, and this ride was a magnet for us. I was able to get in six rides before the park closed. My best to my wife and family; hope to see you soon.

Gloria Nakamura
I agree with Jeff except for that part about Raptor. This was the first real hard core coaster stop day; there are people who will say that you couldn’t do Expoland, Kobe Portopialand, and Universal Japan on the same day, but it can be. Universal Japan Snoopy Coaster credit and they close right at 9:00, so if you go don’t cut it too close. If you have any interest in coming to Japan come before Portopialand closes; seven months and counting.

Malcolm Marr
Today was Expoland and I thought the park was really nice. It had a Blackpool vibe with steel coasters replacing the woodies. Daidadadaidasaurus is similar to the Big One in that it goes all around the park and is a waste of steel. It’s also as noisy as Superman at Magic Mountain. They had a nice mix of dark rides, the most absurd of which was a refrigerated walkthrough that was literally set in a deep freeze. All of the scenes had been frozen over and it was difficult to make anything out. If a park was to take this further and create a maze in a freezer we could have some great Shining moments. The evening was spent taking a little detour to Festival Gate to ride Delphis which was alright. Finally ended up riding the strange Intamin wheel in the neon lit centre of Osaka. Saw a new side to Keith last night, as his day was ruined by one of the ACE members. He was furious which I’ve not seen before.

Virginia Dismer
Took the bullet train from Tokyo to Osaka. something I’ve looked forward to for a long time. `every interesting trip. `got to see some of the countryside as well as the smaller towns. Osaka is a bit different from Tokyo in that things are a smaller and more compact. Expoland was fun, lots to do and some fun coasters. The Ice Box was a big hit since the weather continues to be a little on the warm side.

David Hamburger
We rushed through Expoland because we had an overly ambitious plan for side trips. It was a nice park with a very good Raptor clone in Orochi. Expoland also had Fujin-Raijin II, probably the most brutal stand-up coaster ever. It had an extreme helix with Gs so strong it made the entire seat scrunch up, leaving us squatting! Then we headed out to Kobe Portopialand via monorail, subway, train and shuttle bus! Getting there was a pain, but it was worth it for the cool coasters. The highlight was BMR-X, a highly themed Schwarzkopf coaster in a fake mountain with an amazing steep curving drop in the middle of the ride. Finally, we got to the gorgeous Universal Studios Japan just under an hour before they closed. All we got to do was see the end of the big fireworks show (which was just ok), the cool Snoopy themed coaster, with Snoopy ‘filming’ you through the final helix. Jurrassic Park was a mirror image of the Orlando version, but still fun, though I STILL didn’t get to go to Hadrosaur Cove. We then spent more time shopping than we spent doing anything else! But the whole day was worth it.

 

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Day 9 – Hirakata, Nara Dreamland

Owen Rees
The park felt as if the dream was near to the end. The train ride was full size locomotive with an interactive tunnel. The jungle boat cruise was quite good. Loads of air time on the woody.

John Gerard
Nara Dreamland was a nice park but a little sad, too. Unfortunately, the best coaster on the trip so far was here. Aska was incredible – great power and airtime. The Bobsleigh ride was fun, too, just don’t lean into the mountain if you want to keep your head! I hated to leave so early.

andycoasterboy-san
Another park 🙂 which today is Dreamland – a Disney clone with an absolutely amazing amazing airtime machine named Aska – mega smooth airtime and sooooo much fun

Lee Bennett
The best woodie so far from begining to end ASKA was a complete airtime machine !! Row three was excellent !!

Brian Sisk
Aska-the perfect reminder of why I love coasters. Smooth, fast, air-time. Everything a coaster should be. My only complaint is that it is not in Southern California. So wrap it up. We’ll take it with us.

Ric Turner
Greetings from the altermate universe Disneyland. Nara Dreamland is what Disneyland had become if someone went back in time and changed history. Aska is awesome. Easily the best of the Cyclone clones. I owe 1,000,000 thanks to the wonderful staff of Dreamland, expecially the fellow on the swinging cages who knew where I could find my missing camera bag.

Adrian Whitcombe
Today is what the trip is all about. You’re going along quite happily when all of a sudden one of the world’s best coasters happens to be in the park you’re in that day. Worth a second mortgage on its own.

Ian Booth
ZZZZzzzzzzzzz…..

David Cornell
We are on our 4th 10-coaster day of the trip. Dreamland was great with Aska as you have heard. The Disneyland replica was cute. off to the next one…???

Anneliese Heiner
[Aska] I see London, I see France; I see 1-2’s underpants!

Paul Tooke
Nara Dreamland is an excellent park, kind of like a downgraded Disney with an excellent coaster in Aska. Rode it several times and managed to break my suncream bottle and ended up covered in it!! And it means my money is a bit gooey now!! Why can’t we have a coaster like it in England.

Hector Jimenez
Aska is great!

Malcolm Marr
Nara Dreamland today, a park on its last legs by the look of it. The wooden coaster is completely out of place and needs a new home. The Matterhorn head chopper ride is hilarious if only to hear the people behind you scream out when you lean out of the car and get your head close to the passing scenery. Easily close enough to trigger law suits if built like this in the west. Disney have probably caused this park to close as it is clearly inspired by its layout. Hirakata was a really nice park, built on the side of a hill so it has a nice view over the city. The wooden coaster lies half way up it so this must be the only time where climbing a steep hill can be good for your “ELF“. It’s way too big to be a billed as a kiddy-coaster though as it had nice pops of airtime and was really pleasant to ride for adults as well as the children. This park also had some odd attractions including an exploration game where you had to charge up coloured eggs, a scary attraction that had you put in sarcophoagi and another refrigerated walkthrough, which wasn’t as frozen over as the one yesterday.

Eugene Robinson
Aska was probably the biggest surprise of the trip so far. It’s probably in my top 5 wooden coasters

B. Derek Shaw
Nara Dreamland was first up today. It’s a park that thinks it is a vintage Disney clone: Main St. Railroad Station at the front entrance, a main street shopping area, along with a sky ride through one of their coasters that is Matternhorn-like. However the park is in need of TLC. Aska is still one of my seven number one wooden roller coasters! This Cyclone clone is fast, has lots of lift and packs a punch in EVERY seat. It doesn’t get better than that. I did manage to get a couple of souvenirs here, which was good. I worry about the future of the park as our 117 person delegation was more than everyone else in the park and this was on a Sunday. I hate saying this phrase but Aska rules!

Hirakata Park was the second stop of the day. It was nice to revisit that place as well. All coasters running well and the drop tower was fantastic. Why would the park invest in a spinning mouse (Crazy Mouse) when they don’t run it in the spin mode – at all?! Elf was good as usual. Coaster Rowdy lived up to it’s name – rowdy and rough. I thought Red Falcon was a Vekoma, the manufacturer plates on each train said Senyo. Peek-A-Boo Town kiddie coaster was a tight squeeze – no leg room.

Merchandise Review – Next to nothing today. That makes my bank account happy, but me sad. Coaster Review – Best steel coaster on the trip: Bavarian Mountain Railway Saturday night at Portopialand. Best wood coaster on the trip: Aska, Nara Dreamland, today. That’s all you need to know.

John Covan
ASKA is one bitchin’ woodie! Due to a severe thrashing at the hands of Regina the previous day, I was a mite apprehensive about piling onto another rough woodie, but that feeling of malaise evaporated after a short fraction through this easy-to-take ride. I have not experienced multiple doses of air time on a woodie since Shivering Timbers. The continuing headache I was carrying around early today abated with the sweet swings of the ASKAlator. Thirteen cycles later I find myself hauling ass running frantically behind Justin to try to avoid a tardy return to our coach.

Andrew Weiss (aka Mr. ACE, but you should know that by now!)
What can you say about Aska, Air Air Air. A great coaster, every seat has air. Best coaster of trip. Rest of park looked like bargain basement Disneyland. We also had 4 Japanese schoolgirls on platform with us, that were really getting into it. They were giving us high fives and clapping, it was great.

Bob Roginski
Nara Dreamland gave me an opportunity to ride the old human-powered cages. This is something I have not done since I was about ten years old, and I am now 58. I was pleased to find that I remembered the technique for getting the cage over the top. Once this is accomplished, it is fairly easy to maintain rotation in one direction. It takes a lot of energy and is quite tiring, but after I stopped “pumping”, the cage cleared the top another three or four times.

Lisa Scheinin
I’ve been lurking silently until now. I’ve always felt that Aska was a Top Five woodie, and now I hope everyone can see why! Still the best woodie in Japan and one of my all time favorites!

Tom Barr
We took a side trip yesterday to Universal Studios, and really found it interesting all the people there and the love of American culture. Today we went to Dreamland which seemed in many ways to try to be a Disney knock off. The Aska coaster though was really wonderful and reminded me why I really love coasters. A large coaster, but not done so just to be large like some. A great ride!

Derek Cromarty
Sunday we went to Nara Dreamland. The park appeared to be in need of attention. They had three coasters which were OK. Another top star was the woodie, Aska. Sunday afternoon Harakata Park was our destination. There were five coasters, with the best one being, Elf the woodie, although not nearly as good as Aska. Hello Lorna and Adrian! You would have loved the two Disney Parks right next door to each other. There were as many beanies as you could carry!

(Stenography by Derek Shaw since this would have taken me too long to type!)

Maggy Linka
More great coasters! Weather is hot and sticky, a bit, but much better than rain.

Gotta go, more later.

Marlon Scott
I first heard of this park when I was a child and now I’ve experienced Dreamland for myself! Over the years, enthusiasts have poked fun at this scruffy Disneyland wannabee. I gotta tell you, thanks to some quirky rides, “theming” and the best coaster so far on the trip. I will always remember Dreamland fondly.

Aska is a classic example of a perfect roller coaster. Fast & smooth trains, disorienting twisting layout, liberal and fun ride operators (who played great music by the way), and solid airtime!

Again on this trip, the second park of the day, Hirakata exceeded my expectations. Scenic hillside location. Lots of flowers and greenery, good wood coaster (Elf) with a wee bit of air. Tried my first KFC chicken in Japan today. Pretty much the same but they give you syrup for your biscuit instead of honey. Also tried a terryaki burger at McDonalds (meh).

Matt Crowther & Betsy Abrams
This is our third visit to this park- we finally got to ride the ersatz Matterhorn bobsleigh coaster… but the big star of this park is undoubtedly Aska. This is easily a top ten level woodie, very smooth but filled with liberal doses of massive airtime- to our minds the best of the Cyclone clones- even surpassing the original. I really hope that the coaster is saved from destruction, as the ride and entire park is in great danger of closing- Aska is already listed as being for sale. So if you can get to Japan in the next few years, this is a must-do coaster.

Nige Harness
Today we hit Nara Dreamland – a typical Japanese park – almost deserted. Most non-corporate parks here seem empty and feel like late 70’s parks from elsewhere in the world – this is probably due to the older generation Japanese not embracing change where theme park investment is concerned – unlike Western style parks here which are doing great business? The great surprise of the trip so far has to be the Intamin woodie Aska – great ride! Pacing excellent and some real pops of airtime – it had a slight Megafobia feel even. Regards from the very warm Land of the Rising Fun!

Mike & Kammy Sislofsky
Having a great time!!! The Japanese people are SUPER friendly and so accommodating – we are going to expect great service when we get home, and we’ll never get it. The children are so cute here, and very well behaved.

Dreamland today was funny because of it’s similarities to Disneyland: Matterhorn, Jungle Cruise, castle, monorail, skyway, etc. Aska was really great – airtime everywhere.

Hello to anyone back home who may be reading this. It’s amazing here.

Jeppe Nygaard
So today was Dreamland.. A Disney type lookalike park.. Their Matterhorn bobsleigh coaster was fun, and potentially deadly to some taller people, since we were getting *very* close to the wall. Their wooden coaster Aska was no less then avesome. I really mean fantastic!!! Very fast and loads of airtime. And we almost had the whole park to ourselves, so we was having a midday ERS on that coaster for hours. Riding, cheering, slapping hands, and all the social fun that comes with normal ERSs finally shined, and everybody cheering, smiling, laughing, and EVERYBODY looked to be having a fantastic time… Again an always friendly and smiling Japanese staff did their very best to make us have a good time. And nice music too. But though no fun comes whitout casualties, my phone was broken, screen smashed, in my fanny bag during riding on Aska.

We are having a fantastic time, but the days are flying by way too fast, and already past halfway. More to come…..

Danish note : Hilsen og stort knus til Jer derhjemme.. I ved hvem jeg mener… 🙂

Al and Martha Amborn
This trip is so much fun! Aska is quite a wonderful wooden coaster. Would be top 5 if it wasn’t so far away! Learned how to use chopsticks today without too much mess. Having a great time, wish you were here!

Bob & Cheri Armstrong
Hirikata Park—Fun place. Cheri & I rode our 700th coaster today, ELF. The non-looper was a fun ride, just don’t kow why it needs horse collars. This is a very nice park, well kept up. We could have spent a couple more hours here.

Patrick Flumet
Encore deux park , Dreamland et Hirigita et deux coasters en bois. Aska est excellent,mais malheureusement il risque de disparaitre vu que le park semble deserte par les gens du Japon. On peux sentir que le coeur n”y est plus en se promenant dans le park, construit comme une copie conforme des parks Disney mais en plus petit. Elf, dans le deuxieme park est plus tranquille mais excellent aussi lorsqu’on est dans le premier siege. Lui semble assure d’un avenir car la il y avait plus de monde et de vie. Bref encore une journee fantastique du cote d”osaka cette fois.

Dan Harvey
Aska at Dreamland was superb!! Airtime Airtime Airtime!! By far the best woody I’ve ever been on! Elf, the woody at Hirakata was no comparison to Aska….the Rapids ride got us a little bit wet! A great day!!! 🙂

Ricky Cooper
Hirakata Park was an absolute gem. The main promenade was beautifully lit at night and the entire park was spotless and nicely themed.

The Crazy Mouse was a real hoot. The zig-zag laterals were intense and a lot of fun — the traits of a good mouse.

A first for me was being slammed on a drop zone. Of course airtime on a drop zone is to be expected but never before I have been absolutely slammed before the stopping. This ride was like a drug for me.

Finally, the kids show with the cartoon characters was highly entertaining and you can rest assured that the chicken dance looks pretty much the same in Japan as it does back in the States.

Having a blast in the Land of the Rising Fun!

Bill Tyson
The wooden coaster Aska at Dreamland was the best woodie so far, sitting in the front, back or where ever it was a great ride. Amazing how much the park reminded you of Disney. Then at Hirakata Park many good rides like the Red Falcon and the junior woodie. I liked the Ice House but thought that the one at Expoland was better being colder and a little better themed. Well off to another park.

Craig Knor
Aska was the third woodie for us on the trip. It was also the best one and running really well. ERT like conditions made for many rerides. Nara Dreamland looks kinda bad and I expected the worst but to my surprise all the coasters were enjoyable. Aska was also the 250th coaster for Gage Knor.

The Frenchies
We had a great time on the Aska yesterday !!! And also in Nara Dreamland with the Jungle River the animals seems so real ( French humour!!! ). We just want to thanks all English and American people who are trying to do their best to talk French with us. Vive l angleterre, les USA et la france !!!

B. Derek Shaw
Bonus report: Last night 20+ from our group journeyed over to Festival Gate to ride Delphis the Coaster. This trek was much easier than the previous bonus evening – only two subway lines and three stops. Delphis situated inside/outside a shopping mall that had one foot on a banana peel – it is nearly closed. This steel coaster is beautifully situated within the premises, however it looks better than it rides. There’s a lot of banging from the very heavy, over-the-shoulder, restraint system. We also rode an interactive dark ride/shooting gallery-type ride. It was fun. I’m glad I visited, but also equally glad it wasn’t a long journey. I finally got caught up on a little more sleep.

Special Note: Mr. ACE (aka Andrew Weiss) is known as “ACE – san” in Japan, so that’s what we are now calling him until we get back home!

Derek Cromarty
Sunday night we went on an extra trip to a run down shopping mall that had a coaster, allegedly. The over head restraints weighed a ton. The coaster was less than average. There was also a dark, interactive ride, which was good.

Kevin Moran
Great time over last few days with both the scheduled parks and the side trips!!! BMR-X at Portopia is my top steelie on the trip thus far and Aska my top wood. That’s all for now.

Bob Hoffman
Nara Dreamland was a Disneyland knock off only done really, really cheap and looking like no maintenance being done for a while. The woodie, Aska looked out of place and was a really good ride. Lots of air time! The Bobsleigh was a so so ride but the cool part was that if you leaned to far to the right and held your hands up, you would probably hit them on the mountain.

Hirakata Park was a nice park. Well maintained and a nice mix of rides. No ride was outstanding but Elf was a good woodie. I would have liked a little more time there.

Thomas Enders
Gestern standen zwei Parks auf dem Programm: Nara Dreamland und Hirakata Park.

Bei Nara Dreamland war deutlich zu erkennen, dass hier Disneyland das Vorbild war.

Es gab ein Maerchenschloss, eine Matterhorn-Bahn, ein Jungle-Cruise und eine Eisenbahn rund um den Park. Aber es gab eine Bahn die Disney nicht zu bieten hat: Aska. Dieser Wood-Coaster ist absolut top und alleine deshalb lohnt sich schon den Park zu besuchen. Aska ist sicher einer der besten Wood-Coaster in Japan.

Hirakata Park hat auch ein paar tolle Coaster zu bieten, besonders Elf ist schoen zu fahren. An diesem an einem Hang angelegten Park faellt besonders auf, dass alles sehr geplegt und sauber ist. Es sind hier keine alten rostigen Coaster wie in anderen Parks zu finden.

David Hamburger
Nara Dreamland was all about Aska! My day there was basically Aska, credit, credit, credit, credit, Aska, Aska, Aska, Aska, Aska, Aska, Aska, Aska, Aska, Aska, Aska, Aska, Aska, Aska, Aska, Aska, leave. And many more Aska rides in between! Aska absolutely earned its top 10 ranking on the internet woodie poll. Airtime all over the place, with some good laterals as well. It’s definitely a front car ride, though some of us preferred seat 2 to the very front. And it had a great moment of extreme lateral airtime combo, which is my favorite. Aska is definitely the coaster of the trip up until now!

Hirakata park was a very nice park with some ok coasters. But the highlight was all of the various dark rides and walk-thoroughs, from horror ones to a Small World rip-off. They even had a silly short show with audio-animatronics characters – including one called Frodo! tell a story and sing the same song over and over with a video of a bad dragon turning into a silly cartoon dragon. It would have been painful in English, but we found it funny in Japanese!

Timothy Galvelis
Hello all, haven’t kept up with the reports, but I’ll be brief with what’s happened so far. Yomiuri Land was a fun park, but Bandit was a let down. White Canyon was the best coaster in the park, and the Standing Loop Coaster was surprisingly smooth, both sitting and standing. SL Coaster was as strange as the name it was given. The second best coaster in the park was Wan Wan, the kiddie coaster. That takes care of YomiuriLand.

Back to Tokyo Dome after Yomuri Land to ride Thunder Dolphin (Even though I got to ride it the night after Disneyland). All I can say about Thunder Dolphin is that, despite what the experts had to say about it, this coaster is an absolute gem. It works fantastically well in the space provided, and the trick track is great that high above the street level.

Sega Joypolis was a fun arcade complex with a very unusual coaster that really was uncomfotable, but served it purpose for the credit. The show stopper at Sega had to be Half Pipe Canyon, and ride game where you stand on a snowboard type platform with another person and score points every time you move the platform side to side with your feet.

Nara Dreamland was an outstanding park. We had a half hour of ERS in the morning on the Spin Coaster, was alot of fun but just a little to spinning for me. The Big Boom coaster was probably the biggest surprise for me at the park. It was pure intensity even with the harnesses. I forget the name of the corkscrew right now, but that really doesn’t matter, because it is a forgettable coaster. The Camel Coaster turned out to be better than Bandit, but that’s not saying much. Unfortunately, Lightning, the best coaster in the oark, was closed.

Panic Drive was a pretty intense mouse, especially when you ride it by yourself. Batflyer, of course was there for the credit, and still just as impossible to get into and out of. Then the last coaster for this park is the SLC, and the name of this one also escapes me right now, but I did manage to escape it alive.

More upbeat reports to come, including the extremely excellent BMRX at Kobe Portopialand.

 

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Day 10 – Parque Espana

Owen Rees
The boat ride theming was amazing, with an unpredicted ramp to the finale down a slope. The magic circus was stunning.

Anneliese Heiner
Parc Espania was s; even though there were only three coasters, one of which was closed, there was more than enough to do. Pyrenees, the B&M inverted had extraordinarily tight vertical loops and an airtime hill. The mine ride was an unexpected treat; it had severely banked turns, reminded me of Whizzer, and I think will make my Top Ten steel coaster list. I quickly named the surface boat ride ‘Pirates of the Mediterranian,’ and a dark ride as ‘Peter Pan Meets Don Quixote.’ Both were excellent. There was also a dark ride which was actually a light ride; I think it was called ‘Carnival Light Show.’ Also lit up beautifully was the escalator tunnel, which I had heard about from other roller coaster fanatics and I was glad to experience. The music around the park was catchy.

Maggie L. and I went to the hotel hot spring afterwards. This was a wonderful extra that Justin told us about earlier that day. We had some misadventure getting there; we wore our room robes down, rather than our spa robes; we didn’t bring our spa tickets (they were in Japanese); and we brought our towels down, which we weren’t supposed to do. But once we got everything sorted out, the hot spring was wonderful. No bathing suits; everybody was naked. It was single-sex, except for some little boys, one of which had a great time jumping around. One of the pools was outside, with an infinity edge and a view of the sunset. One of the inside pools had very strong jet massagers. Ummmmmmm. Maggie & I parboiled ourselves! We also partook of the cold water; you take a small bucket and dump it on yourself.

Andreas Lindemuth
Parque Espana is probably the only major theme park in the world where the theme is only one country … and why the park picked Spain to be that one country, is still not entirely clear. Apart from the Disney parks, the theming was the best seen on this trip so far. Everything is relatively authentic; restaurants serve Paella (although mine included only one single shrimp and was served in a plastic dish, which is not the way you would have it in Valencia) and some of the buildings were set up in a Gaudi style – the theming did not include Spanish speaking staff members though, and some Italian specialties could be spotted in between the tapas menu.

The Mack mine train is smooth, fast and offers some impressive positive Gs. Pyrenees appears like an exploded Batman type of B&M inverter. The ride has the usual B&M feel, with some not-so-usual rough spots and a brief air time moment. Dark rides were pleasant, and another walkable fridge was available, something else you would not find in Valencia.

Tim Herre (Karaoke God)
Today’s park, Parque Espana, was by far the best themed we visited if you don’t take Disney into account. Excellent landscping, fabulous theming and brilliant dark rides, along with some of the finest coasters of the trip, made this day at Shima Spain Village surely one of the trip’s highlights. The Mack mine train coaster was as good as I expected it to be – german engineering still rules the world and the Americans.

One more time had to bow to the excellent powers of Deutschland, the f#cking best country in the entire universe. Its strong positive gs surely were a bit edgy for a family coaster, but, well, German families could stand it. After all, if everybody would stick to their wives instead of going for holiday crushes, we would have less divorces in the world and more intact families could enjoy these great, powerful family rides. But I’m off topic now … OK, let’s get back on: second highlight of the day, and surely the top notch eve in terms of socialising, was the Karaoke bar night out we had. Malcolm Marr and myself did some weird, special versions of Song 2, Ghostbusters (with altered lyrics: “If there’s Finkelstein at the front of the line – who you gonna call? Q-BUSTERS!”) and a very rocky remix of Fight for Your Right of Beasty Boys fame. Truly horrific, maybe a good preperation for the big haunted house at Fuji-Q we’ll be hitting tomorrow …

Evan Hoagland
A wonderfully themed park. The train had custom crossing gates of colorful poles that came down spreading like a fan. There was a fine flamenco dance show. The sparkling carnival ride was a dark ride through an abundance of twinkling holiday lights. The Bosque De Cuentos was a long walk with scenes from Spanish fairy tales. Could easily have spent more time in this park.

Brian Sisk
Park Espana was probably the most unique park I’ve visited in that I actually felt like I was in Spain and not just in an amusement park with a Spanish themed area. The entire park is themed like a Spanish village. I forgot all about the fact I was in Japan for a few hours. A very pleasant park.

Ric Turner
Wow, Parque Espana was an amazingly immersive theme park. Everything in the park fron the attractions to the cobblestone streets and Spanish tile roofs make you really feel like you are in Spain. You have to keep reminding yourself that you are in Japan. Adventure Lagoon is a huge boat ride with animatronics, projected environments, water explosions, and some very interesting machinery that moves the large boat around in surprising ways. Fantastic!

andycoasterboy-san
moshi moshi from Parque Espana a fantastic park high on the hill side overlooking oyster bays. A fantastic mack trian ride. a cool freezer walk through. A great themed pirate ride a disco escalator ride!! very hard to imagine that we are in Japan. Then back to the parks hotel for an amazing buffet 🙂 and onto the bar with and a night of karaoke. Blur will never sound the same after a Tim and Malcolm remix… Jeff and Wortsie the beer is still very good.

Lee Bennett
As previously mentioned parc espana is a very well themed park. Le Pyrenees was a delight to ride due to the massive amount of G-force. Also Gran Montserrat was a very impressive mine ride. In the evening we were treated to a very nice buffet. very very good.

John Gerard
What a surprise Parque Espana was! Much, much more than I was expecting. Great theming–I especially enjoyed their homage to Gaudi. It wasn’t just a few colored tiles, either, the buildings actually looked like something he’d have designed. Actually, all the areas were very accurately themed and a good cross-section of popular Spanish icons. A nice selection of shops and restaurants, too. I loved their choice of Don Quixote for their mascot. Pyrenees was a fun Beemer–a cross between Batman, Raptor and Talon. The tangle of track through the second loop was very photogenic and I thought their paint scheme of brown supports with white tracks (like snow on mountains) was a good choice. Gran Montserrat was an unexpected pleasure–a very powerful Mack mine train with great Gs at the bottom of a few of the highly banked, swooping drops. The boat/dark ride that was interesting, especially the way that the boat was tilted down onto the last drop. There were several other interesting dark rides. There was also a “flying” Peter Pan type ride themed to the Don Quixote story that was head and shoulders above the Disney version. Even the LED fireworks had convincing booming noises at the right time.

Malcolm Marr
I type this with a bruised elbow following a moshing collision with Tim Herre during Blur’s “Song 2” at last night’s Karaoke takeover at the Park Espana hotel. The park itself was a big surprise with the second best theming of the trip. It was really hard to believe you were in Japan, the Spanish theming is that good. The B&M was great with a better airtime hill than Fire Dragon at IOA and the Mack mine train ride was really smooth too (as Tim was constantly reminding us this was due to German Engineering). The park also has a nice mixture of dark rides including one that used the same system as the pyramid thing at Terra Mitica, but this one was a lot lot better. The third park with a refrigerated walkthrough, and this one was the best themed one yet with a single rose in the centre of each block of ice. I was stupid enough to sleep on the ice bed; in hindsight the day has been the wrong way around as I could do with some ice right now to heal my arm.

Richard Bannister
Riddle me this, Batman. The stage is set when a small park in Japan purchases a large B&M inverter, with three trains, for umpteen billion yen. The ride as delivered is capable of somewhere around fifteen hundred persons per hour, with a considerable portion of the build price spent on the equipment to allow this to happen. With this investment made, two trains are installed in a garage area where they won’t get in the way. Next, the operators adopt the insane policy of wiping down every seat on the one train after every ride. With the train fully fumigated, each of the eight queueing areas is filled (slowly – tickets must be checked first). Only after the train has been parked three minutes or so is a safety announcement made, and maybe thirty seconds after that the gates will be opened so people can load. Ninety seconds later, on a good day, the train will be dispatched. That’s right folks – five minutes to unload, clean, load, and check, on a ride that takes about two minutes out on track. Total capacity? An astonishing 275 per hour. Pure genius.

David Cornell
Park Espana made me feel very much like I was back in Spain, including the heat. The operation of the B&M coaster, Pyrenees, was perplexing and slow. It took 11 minutes to get a train all the way around because the Japanese culture was imposed on the operation. They of course would not let you on the platform until the ride was ready. Plus each seat even the ones not used had to be individually opened, cleaned, closed, then opened again if someone line up there. The rest of the park was great. The boat ride had a great surprise at the end. There was a very technically interesting dark ride with cartoon animal robots and 3D. I was told by someone that the flying island observation ride was one of only 3 running in the world. I have now done them all including the ones in Cypress Garden and Efteling. We finally had a chance to do Karaoke in Japan. It was fun though I only sang with Brad and John. Others were much more fun to watch.

George Greenway
This is a must see park. Whilst it doesnt have a great number of coasters, Pyrenees is another good B&M turn out, still re-rideable, probably due to its lack of use. the throughput of riders is 20% of its operational capacity. A tragic waste of thrill factor, but on the upside it meant I spent more time exploring the other areas of the park. Despite suffering an injury to my right foot in a Hirakata Park, “The Park of a Thousand Steps” heading towards the kiddie coaster, serves me right, I still managed to walk 4.5 miles. The highlights were the musical staircase which has to be seen. If you’re fit you can traverse all four escalators before the music stops. The river dark ride is in a huge building themed like an acient earthquake destroyed ampitheatre and happens on two levels before dumping you back into the lake by the pirate ship. The amount of detail has you believing you are in a Spanish Park with few Japenese tourists, we managed to quadrupple the attendance in one visit. The biggest surprise is the cultural exhibits. the Gaudi museum is a collection of reproductions of Spanish culture, clothing and some quite graphic scenes of Spanish conquering, looting and murdering of East Asian countries. As usual scant little merchandising worth buying.

Dolores Damm
Pyrenees among best of B&M INVERTED COASTERS. PARQUE Espana beautiful Spanish themes set amidst spectacular mountain lake setting in Japan’s shima oyster-gathering area. Great view of park and Pyrenees from hotel balcony.

Bob Roginski
Parque Espana has two excellent steel coasters. The Pyrenees B&M inverted is the best of its type I have ever ridden although not everyone might agree. It has the speed, pacing and all the necessary thrill elements necessary for a great ride. The load/unload procedure is rather inefficient due to a wipe down of each pair of shoulder restraints. The operators are apparently somewhat paranoid of funky armpit odor establishing permanent residence.

The performance of the Mack Gran Montserrat mine train coaster took me quite by surprise. This is coaster heaven for helix lovers. The S-curved double-down following the second of two chain hills is probably the quickest part of the ride. The ride is very smooth and all turns are properly banked. I wish we had one of these at a park near Scranton, PA.

B. Derek Shaw
We visited another great park today. This time it was quality over quantity, with an assortment of fewer, but better and more unique rides. It was fun to feel like I was in Spain even though we hadn’t traveled there. Pyrenees was a unique B&M layout. The mine train was phenomenal with extreme banking, head chopper sections and decent speed. The ride boasts two lift hills being shared by the same structure. We visited our third ice house on the trip, complete with a table and chairs and a bed at probably 25 degrees F! For an added fee, we enjoyed a flamenco dancer show. They made it look easy.

My only disappointment was finding that the always precise Japanese were not. At 4:57PM, the entrance to Pyrenees was closed for the day. I thought I had three minutes to spare to take my second ride on that coaster, but it was not to be (in general many Japanese parks close at 5 or 6 PM are considered “day parks”.) This makes night rides impossible to get.

After a superb group buffet dinner that included lamb (one of my favorites), many of us packed the karaoke bar to sing at our best (or worst) until the wee hours. I even sang “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones, although I’m sure Mick wouldn’t approve. This is something that I normally don’t do, however the alcohol helped!

Derek Cromarty
A great park, Park Espana. It was a three minute walk from the hotel (bliss). Three coasters. First up was a B&M inverter – a great ride. The second one was a mine train type. This was a very smooth great ride. The third one was closed, so no comment. The park was a great place, very well themed in a Spanish style setting. We even caught a flamenco show. They even had a very cold igloo house where it was great to cool off, only for a few minutes though. It contained an ice bed, but we didn’t try it.

Ricky Cooper
A beautiful day at Parque Espana. The B&M inverted had the tightest loop of any coaster I’ve seen thus far. First ride was in the rear left and was filled with plenty of intense “your-shoes-are-gonna-come-off” positive gs. What a rush to start the riding day.

The mine train was another surprise with some of the strongest positive g spirals I’ve had on a “mine train.”

The park theming was extremely well done. I have not yet visited Spain but the Plaza area with the fountains looked just like all the photos in my old textbook.

I stopped by theater to experience what I thought would be some comical movie attraction. It turned out I was treated to an I-Max movie giving a lesson on art history with 3 of the Spanish painting masters — all done in Japanese. Not at all what I expected but I did learn a bit and would be glad to share with you some of the finer points on the works of El Greco.

Still smiling and bowing in the Land of the Rising Fun.

Bill Tyson
A very nice day at Parque Espana started of with a bang when we rode the Pyrenees, what an incredible ride. Very well designed with interlocking elements. The mine train was unexpectedly quick and had some serious gs. Went to see the Flamenco dance and that was very good. Can’t wait to see what is in store for us next.

Maggy Linka
Super trip! Meeting lots of great folks from Europe and USA, making lots of memories. Blisters on feet and bruises from rides are healing up now; although, expecting more bruises from the short Togo cars. It’s hard to cram long femoral bones into the shorter cars! The knees take a beating, except in the front seat.

The signage is a riot! Japanese translations of ride rules into English are truly FUNNY!! Been taking photos of these rule/precaution signs because they are such a hoot. One ride closed for maintanence said. “Ride closed. It does not know when it works.”

Food is an adventure, as well. Ate some octopus for lunch yesterday. Seaweed for dinner. The transition to Japanese culture is well underway. Can’t read a word of Japanese, so we just point to a picture of some food item that looks good, and hope for the best! So far, not one’s been sick on the trip (knock on wood).

Went to a traditional Japanese bath house yesterday. What an incredible experience! Hot spring bathing in outdoor pools overlooking a harbor surrounded by mountains, watching a pink sunset while water melodically slipped over boulders in the background. Soothing to the extreme!

Wonderful country, wonderful coasters, wonderful enthusiasts!

Tom Barr
As we left Parque Espana we took a road that made me think of the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway), we overlooked the Pacific Ocean from a couple a hundred feet above, on a very very narrow two lane road in a BUS! They have a gutter on the side of many of the roads that give a new meaning to “no shoulder, steep drop-off”. I just can’t believe the skill of the bus drivers and the courtesy of the other drivers. In some cases you go one foot off the road and your tire is in a one foot trench!

The coaster and parks are really great, but as they say it’s not only the destination, but the journey. That is certainly the case here.

Andrew Weiss (aka “ACE – san”)
Parque Espania was very interesting, it was built for large crowds. Some very impressive dark rides were there. Disney was a big influence here, Pirates was similar in a very elaborate building which cost a lot of money. With a unique final drop. The circus 3-D ride was in a wild building where the floor rotated and dropped. The mine train was one of best I have been on. Pyrenees was intense, but I liked Orochi at Expoland better.

Marlon Scott
Parc Espana was a fabulously themed park. Almost too good! The ‘pirate’ ride they have is very elaborate with a surprising ending. The B&M Inverted, Pyrenees, was a larger version of Montu with an extra speed hill at the end-not bad!

They keep a supply of rubber bands in the station for securing loose shoes. I took a couple and strapped them from my camcorder to my hand and convinced the ride ops to let me shoot POV!

Parc Espana spread out a massive banquet for us. Meats, shushi, Paella, lamb and so much more. Afterwards, a large group of us took over the hotel lounge and made mad fools of ourselves with Karaoke. Crazy!

David Hamburger
Parque Espana was a really nice park with many intricately themed dark rides and Gran Monserrat, a very good mine train ride. But I’m a huge fan of B&M and positive Gs, so for me, this park was all about Pyrenees. This was old-school B&M, just filled with positive Gs, especially in the amazing cobra roll (easily the best one I’ve been on, and the helix immediately following it. The last quarter of the ride after the mid-course brake was somewhat weak, mostly getting the train over to the neat little airtime hill over the queue. But the middle of the ride especially made up for it with some of the most extreme Gs seen on a B&M coaster. Fans of old-school B&M should really try to get out here! What was really great was getting to ride my new #3 steel coaster just a day after riding a new top 10 woodie in Aska!

Jeppe Nygaard
Parque Espana surpriced me big time, being a very, very well themed park, except for the two Disney Parks by far the best looking park so far. (And we have almost seen them all now) Their huge B&M, Pyrenees, was very good, fast and smooth. Not the most usual track layout, and some very intense G forced around the middle of the ride. But the ride operators was the slowest I think I had ever seen. Almost doing their utmost the load and unload the train. I mean they wiped all the seats of the train every time it was unloaded. I was quite surpriced with the Gran Monserrat ride, with was a great Mack mine train, quite fast and very smooth, good high speed helixes.

At the Park Hotel they set up a superb buffet in the evening. Maybe the best looking one I have ever seen on a Club trip. More then 20 meters of table packed with food.. Justin was smart enough to organize how to send us table by table to the buffet, so it did not get ruined within a minute.. Thanks for a very good meal J.

After the dinner many of us went to the hotel Karaoke bar, and really had a fun party night. I am all to shy to sing, but not too shy to really enjoying myself watching some of our fellow friends really working that entertainment. Thank to Carole and Marlon for getting the party started, and Tim and Malcolm for being by far the wildest performers on stage, (And offstage too. Hope your bruises has gone away now, Malcolm.)

Many of us, including me, are starting to feel really worn down now. The trip has been very good fun, but also quite exhausting with a lot a walking. (Not any moaning Justin)

 

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Day 11 – Nagashima Spaland

John Covan
Finally I have found a Togo ride worth going back to. After having been nearly bored to death or being beat senseless on every other Togo I had previously ridden, the Ultra Twister surprised me by showing originality of design and good craftsmanship. Its 6-person cars are suspended within traveling rings that are compatible with both barrel rolls and a weird transfer to vertical lift and descending, backsliding return. I did not expect the quick transition from lift to a vertical drop, followed by air time on the first hill. Now I have to temper my until-now relentless badmouthing of Togo. Also I had great fun on the Giant Frizbee the ultimate swing, big Gs at the bottom, floating at the top, and silky smooth the whole time. If only the steelies could be this smooth! What I would give to have this bad boy in my back yard. The short lines facilitated quick turnarounds for multiple rides. Try that at a major park in America.

Bob Roginski
My day at Nagashima Spa Land was quite enjoyable despite the fact that most of the coasters are identical to their counterparts in the US and other countries. One notable exception is the White Cyclone woodie which is breathtaking and photogenic, but is too rough for a significant number of rerides.

Owen Rees
The big frisbee had loads of air time and good veiws of the bay. Pity the Viking ride was closed as it looked good, they did some testing. The coasters were colour co-orineted.

Eugene Robinson
I like Nagashima Spaland, and I talked to many people before the trip who said that because Steel Dragon 2000 was not running that they would not come. The Bobkart was great – it’s one car I can drive at 50mph on my own (I am partially sighted), and as I can’t read Japanese I bought my first beer from a vending machine in 19 years.

Dolores Damm
White Cyclone has a very intricate layout, but is bumpy sitting on the wheels. Enjoyed the Schwarzkopf coasters, loved the Bobkarts, I hope we get them in the US. Strange mixed feelings looking at Steel Dragon… If only…

Virginia Dismer
Another hot day in Japan. Seeing Steel Dragon was a thrill….would have really loved to have rode it. Ultra Twister was a blast, especially in the front row. Bobkarts were fun even they were old hat to the Europeans.

David Cornell
Nagashima Spaland was a great park with lots of type of rollercoasters and other rides. Unfortunately some of the best were down. Of course the large piece of modern art called “Steel Dragon 2000” loomed mockingly over the parking lot, forcing you to walk under it to get to the park. The giant Viking ship was also down. But I loved the Ultra Twister with the vertical lift hill. Also, they had a fairly good Bobkart. Once again the park had few guests making it easy to ride 8 coasters in 2 hours. But that also meant that one of the twin Wild Mouse coasters was not running. Tomorrow at Fuji-Q I will hit coaster #700.

Anneliese Heiner
Nagashima Spaland was a lot of fun, although it was frustrating to see Steel Dragon 2000. I can’t believe that it’s been down for so long, and Justin mentioned that the whole situation with the coaster was so screwed up, that it might just be sold for scrap. The Bobkarts were a big hit. This ride is a hybrid between a bobsled and a go-kart; you sit in a bobsled and control your speed, and careen around a track that has banked curves and bunny hops. We spent a lot of time at White Cyclone, which was great if one avoided the wheel seats. I was pleasantly surprised by my first ride on an Ultra Twister; I had not expected the lift hill to be vertical. The visuals in the front seat were stunning. I also enjoyed several rides on the Giant Frisbee, which was like a huge swing. Wheee! Other people mentioned that the ride cycle on this one is longer than usual for this ride, so we got lots of good swings. There was also a Magic Carpet with inverted seats.

Tim Herre
Nagashima was meant to be one of the trip’s highlights, but it wasn’t. Looking at Steel Dragon instead of actually riding it was a big pain in the arse, and we should better have just looked at White Cyclone instead of actually having ridden it, for it was probably the worst wooden coaster experience you can have on this side of the pond. Again, German technology ruled the place, with two coasters from Schwarzkopf being the top rides at the park. Ron Toomer should have gone to Schwarzkopf school, then he might have learnt how do do it properly. The TOGO Ultra Twister was, despite many people feared it, mostly enjoyable. If it weren’t for the awful brake at the very far end, it would have been a pretty much reridable coaster. Second worst decision of the day has to be our go for the Shoot the Chutes without ponchos, which got us absolutely soaked. Worst decision of the day was paying 1000 Yen for the hotel’s porn channel, which acutally had the porn bits blocked out. OK, therefore I had a good and refreshing 9-hour-sleep. At last!

Ric Turner
Kuma the bear says Hi Kai and Zak! Yesterday I got to see the longest, tallest and fastest lift hill coaster in the world. It’s called Steel Dragon 2000. Sadly it was not working and we did not get to ride it. But, the park (Nagashima Spaland) had lots of other rides including an Ultra Twister spiral coaster, a huge wood coaster called White Cyclone, and powered bobsleds that were really fun. By for now, love, Kuma. PS.. Happy Birthday Zak!

xxxx xxxxx-xx
Repeat after me. We are European, we are inferior. We are European, we don’t have the knowledge, how in the world could we ever? We are European, we say hello. We are European we ride to enjoy! We are European and yes, there are some very nice Americans!

andycoasterboy-san
moshi moshi, today we are at Nagashima Spaland home of a tremendous amount of steel, mostly dormant but there are loads of other things to do. A giant woodie which will have your fillings ready to pop out of your head. 2 great Schwarzkopfs – Shuttle Loop and Looping Star. Then back to the Business Hotel directly opposite the local red-light district, cheers Kev… Jeff and Wortsie the Beers are still very tasty next I will be having many Sake….. 🙂

lee bennett san
The hi-light of todays park was the Looping Star and the Shuttle Loop. Also worth a mention was the Ultra Twister by Togo a very smooth ride compared to the one in Houston Texas!! I finished my day at Spaland with a back to back ride on Giant frisbee and a return to the Shuttle Loop!! Sai O nara!! Bring on Fujiyama!!!

Paul Wortz
Where the hell am I?

Jeff Holmes
I like Sushi and Octopus.

John Gerard
Steel Dragon, Schmagon! We had Bobkart- the powered bobsled! Nagashima Spaland was the biggest non-themed park we’ve been to–and two Schwarzkopf coasters! An interesting floorless Magic Carpet ride and my first Giant Frisbee. White Cyclone, the wooden coaster, was unimpressive until they added the second train; then it really came alive with good speed, airtime and less roughness.

Russell Van Tassell
I was very much looking forward to Nagashima Spaland on this trip… like most, I was disappointed that Steel Dragon is still down. Just looking at such a gorgeous structure was very depressing — even more-so to think that this awe inspiring Morgan mega coaster might end up hitting the scrapyard while the metal is still worth a bit of a return to the original investors.

A surprise hit were the Bobcarts, with a bobsled-like track and a third-rail type impulse to drive the car. I found it funny that this park seemed to be using a lot of “catalogue names” for their coasters and similar (eg. Corkscrew, Ultra Twister, Looping Star, Shuttle Loop, frisbee, giant frisbee, etc). The giant frisbee also flew suprisingly high (bottom seats were past the 90 degree horizontal plane of the pendulum). Despite what others say, White Cyclone was quite rideable with a decent amount of airtime (with a distinct lack of wheel noise).

Richard Bannister
I don’t know that I’ve ever enjoyed a coaster quite as much as Steel Dragon 2000. High quality air time over every hill, smooth tracking, and almost two miles of track – what more can an enthusiast ask? Everyone should come out to Japan to ride this coaster *NOW*; nothing else comes close. My only regret? That I only managed fourteen rides on it during the day.

Jeff Waters
After seeing videos of this park on the travel channel several times I finally got to visit it. I was as disappointed as everyone else arriving there seeing this huge coaster Steel Dragon 2000 pristine looking but not running, but nevertheless still managed to have a lot of fun. It was another hot and steamy day in Japan, and it seemed like in all the parks, spending all my money on liquid refreshment. One of the rides that I really enjoyed was the White Cyclone, a good woodie; the front seat was best, a lot of airtime; the back seat would jar you pretty good, it was like a flat wheel on it. The Ultra Twister; I found that to be a little different, and much smoother than the one in Texas, so I did enjoy it. The bobkart was pretty unusual; rode that a couple of times, it was a lot of fun; and also the drop ride. Really enjoyed the vistas of the park; all in all another great day. Miss my wife and family; see you soon.

Malcolm Marr
Nagashima Spaland today and it wasn’t a bad park, although it was let down by some awful ride operations. The two Schwarzkopf coasters were the best the park had to offer. After missing out on the giant pirate ship at Toshimaen I was disappointed to not see them not running here too. Fortunately they decided to open them up at the end of the day and I got a go on one of them. Pirate ships rock! but Giant pirate ships rock more! Oh, and there was a big red coaster there that sort of looked like Blackpool’s Big One but it was stuck in a car park and wasn’t running. Maybe it’s due to open soon.

Andreas Lindemuth
Sorry folks, but Nagashima Spaland appeared to me like the Japanese version of Six Flags: Just very slight, loveless notions of theming, and a selection of rather poorly maintained rides centered on steel roller coasters. Combine this with annoying muzak played all over the park all day long, boiling heat, rides that remain shut down till 4:45 pm (when the park closes at 5 pm) and the once highest and fastest steel coaster in the back ground grinning at you “yeah, I might look good, but you cannot ride me”, then you will not consider this to be your favorite Japanese amusement park experience. The Schwarzkopf Looping Star is the best coaster in the park (the Arrow Corkscrew and White Cyclone beat you up worse than any Meisho or Togo coaster on the trip so far) and the Bobkart is another pleasant experience.

Evan Hoagland
I enjoyed the Ultra Twister, fun, not painful. Rode it twice. Park had a Bob Cart, a powered bobsled style ride, that apparently they have in Europe, but not in the States, this was fun also. Goes faster with single riders, (each car takes one or two). As is common with the dark walk throughs, this park’s included a mixture of the spiritual-people playing drums, and the scary. And it was so dark that it was hard to impossible to see some of the scenes. And this one had a fine animated display over the front entrance. There was also a Giant Frisbee, that I rode on the recommendation of others and it’s very smooth, like being on a giant swing, doesn’t get you dizzy, despite its spinning.

John Coffield
Sadly no rides on Steel Dragon 2000. This park has one of the last freefalls, and Ultra Twister, and a Shuttle Loop – all which were running quite well. The best coaster in the park was the Schwarzkopf Looping Star. It’s amazing that a thirty year old coaster runs smoother than many of the newer coasters. The bob karts were also excellent.

The Irish Representative
One for the odd ride policy file; guests disembarking from a ride in Nagashima Spa Land were not allowed to leave the ride platform until everyone had congregated beside the exit. Having gotten there first on one occasion I almost had the gate open before my hand was politely but forcibly removed and the operator held the gate shut. What on earth is the point in this floccinaucinihilipilification?

George Greenway
The best day so far, nearly every photo I took had SD2K in the background, it would have made a superb~ 500 coaster, but it was down, so I had my 500th coaster on the woodie. Rough in places but full of energy, it was also the last of the 6 woodies in Japan, ridden by at least 2 ECC members on this trip and 1 ACE member. The park only had 1 other unmissable ride, the Schwarzkopf looper, 20+ years old and still a good ride. without SD2K, there is little reason to visit this park apart from 8 coasters. yesterdays park espania set the base line for park theming, and Spaland falls well below that.

Chris Penn
Tried the red light district out last night; really cheap; three transvestites in a row. One of them gave me my money back because I was so crap. I can’t find my underwear this morning; it has Hello Kitty on it so it should be easy to spot! Woke up itching in odd places.

B. Derek Shaw
Nagashima Spaland was a park I had visited on the 2003 trip with Matt, Betsy and Lisa. Unfortunately I knew before I left for Japan that Steel Dragon 2000 is still not up and running, so riding their signature coaster was not going to occur. (In 2003 it was not the accident, which occurred later that year, but the high winds the day we visited which forced the park to shut down the ride.)

While Steel Dragon 2000 dominates the park, it is not the only coaster. There were eight coasters that were running, including the surprisingly smooth Ultra Twister and the disappointingly rough, White Cyclone wooden coaster. I’m surprised that since the latter ride has defaulted to the park’s current signature ride that they’ve made no attempt to elimate the washboard effect. A call to the Canadian trackers (Martin and Vleminckx) should be Nagashima Spaland’s first priority. The rather small Schwarzkopf Looping Star was the hit of the park proving that “good things do come in small packages”. It delivers far more than many rides ten times its size.

Extremely HOT with NO water fountains – a challenging day in an OK park. Oh yes, there were more souvenirs at this place.

Derek Cromarty, England
Nagashima Spaland was the place we visited today. There was a big 300 foot coaster that unfortunately was out of action. There was a big woodie the White Cyclone, that looked quite good, but they had the square wheels on today. The Ultra Twister was a one off that was like riding through a tight corkscrew. Looping Star was very good. The Shuttle Loop was good. The Vekoma Corkscrew was below average. Overall a good park.

ETC, ETC, ETC!

(Notes still being transcribed by B. Derek Shaw since Derek Cromarty hasn’t taken his typing class yet!)

Maggy Linka
On the bus again this morning, knitting, and enjoying the sights out the window of the farming in Japan. We’ve been in the coastal areas lately (last two days), and the weather has been muggy. But we’ve seen rice paddys (sp?) and fishing boats as a result of the coastal travels. The rice fields so on forever, seas of green tufts. Very different vistas from the big cities of Tokyo and Osaka.

Last night our “business hotel” was in the middle of the red light district… very interesting. Most of the guys on trip were propositioned at least once while walking around the neighborhood going to dinner. The propositions came from both males and females. Nightlife at the beach!

Everyone is still in good health and spirits. Some are behind on sleep a bit, as the heat is very taxing (and who knows how late folks stay out). The children with us (3 boys) are doing great, working on their journal homework during our bus rides from park to park. Such a GREAT experience for these kids!

The NFL fans are anxious to hear the scores of opening-day games from home. No CNN news on the TVs in this part of the country (as there was in Tokyo), so we’re out of touch with the sports world. Baseball fans are getting twitchy as well with the playoffs looming. Hopefully, we’ll find an English newspaper somewhere soon!

Having a tremendous time! Hope New Orleans is pumping itself dry, and that those poor people are safe and fed.

Andrew Weiss
Nagashima Spa Land was a very generic park, a few good rides , but no atmosphere. The wood coaster was very rough, but had an interesting layout. The hotel was in the middle of red light district, which made for an interesting walk at night. I thought Houston was muggy in summer, it is nothing like Japan.

Marlon Scott
Even though I knew we would not get to ride Steel Dragon 2k at Nagashima Spaland, when we drove up to the park, the coaster looks so magnificent, I couldn’t help the creeping disappointment. I think a combination of the heat, tiredness (remember the karaoke?), and the park having more of a ‘theme park’ mentality, made this one of the more underwhelming parks on the trip. Until-that is, I took matters in my own hands and spent most of our visit in the massive waterpark- perfect attitude adjustment!

David Hamburger
Nagashima was a nice park with an ok woodie (which only had airtime in the front, but had angry ride ops who MADE you sit in the open rows, even if you wanted to wait for the next train and the next people wanted to ride) and two nice Schwarzkopfs. And the Bobkarts – a combination go-kart and bobsled ride was really cool! But it was so hot that after getting all of the credits and riding the bobkarts a few times, all our group wanted to do was hit the upcharge water park. We really enjoyed the two lazy rivers (one of which was salt water, probably pumped in from the nearby ocean), the toilet bowl slide and the cool Flow Rider (complete with expert surfers showing off.)

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Day 12 – Higashiyama Zoo, Fuji-Q

Russell Van Tassell
The zoo here was amazingly large and very-well kept. It would have been nice to have been able to see more of it at less of a rush (we only had two hours here). The “cement bobsled” was awesome (Ricky called it a “cement mouse” of all things). Rumour has it that Justin is awarding a prize to the first person to build one in their backyard and invite everyone over.

Darren R. Besoyan
The trip is almost over, and I’m tired, but don’t want it to end. Japan is amazing! The people, cities, parks, and coasters are all fantastic. Being a tall fellow in Japan has proven interesting to say the least. I’ve banged my head more times then I care to mention, and more often then not, it takes me about three minutes to fold my body into the often too small seat/car. Both my ankles are bruised, so are my knees, and the whole side of my right foot is one big bruise. I wouldn’t trade any of them, or any of the adventures for anything. Much love to all my freinds and family reading this, especially Ray (I really miss you).

Laurel Edel
Today I learned that one woman with a full bladder has the ability to stop three large coaches. I also learned to not mistake the auto water dispenser for the soap dispenser because when you give it a small “smack” you will douse yourself and everyone within a five foot radius. Some days I learn more than others.

Paul Asente
What an interesting hotel we stayed at last night. I don’t believe I’ve ever found sequins on the floor of my hotel room before. I wonder how they got there? I don’t suppose that it might have had anything to do with the large number of scantily-clad ladies strolling around the streets outside of the hotel? Perhaps that’s what is meant by “business hotel.” We did have a fantastic meal at a nearby restaurant. The best 2000 yen I’ve ever spent.

John Gerard
This zoo had an interesting bobsled type coaster that was “asphalt tracked”. There was a fun non-looping steelie, too. The zoo was nicer than the other zoo that we visited, with a better selection of animals and better-kept. The cages were still a bit small, though (although I am spoiled, being from San Diego). There was a beautiful observation tower with a “funicular elevator” transport to take you up the mountain to the entrance. A fun place.

Malcolm Marr
This morning started with a trip to a zoo with a few rides in it. Higashiyama was OK but has a unique coaster in it’s Slope Shooter, a trackless coaster that is neither wood or steel; something to confuse the credit counters.

Keith Johnson
Higashiyama was great fun, especially riding on the Slope Shooter. There was also a nice walk-through that I enjoyed as well. I just wish that I had more time to visit the zoo area, but I know that I’ll visiting Japan again in the future.

Richard Bannister
I really enjoyed my ERS on the Big Wheel it was very cool in the metal gondalas. Special thanks to Martin Valt for making it possible, and I hope he enjoys his collection of vending machine photographs…

Owen Rees
Bob Sleigh ride was unique. The zoo itself was very poor, animals in concrete pens.

andycoasterboy-san
moshi moshi – day 12 and Higashiyama Zoo, a small park with some very unique rides including an amazing trough coaster – which is very hard to describe being a cross between a coaster and a log flume without any water?? every enthusiasts garden should have one. Then a loooooooooooooong drive to Fuji-Q and a rush to check-in and into the park only to find 2 hour queues lines have already closed the big rides Dodonpa and Fujiyama, so many pictures taken and many drinks in the hotel bar.. Jeff I did good 🙂

Paul Wortz
I still have no idea where the hell I am.

Ric Turner
Hi Kai and Zak from Kuma the Bear! Today we visited a zoo in the city of Nagoya. It has several rides including 3 coasters. One of them is the only one of its kind in the world! The Slope Shooter looks like it was made in someody’s back yard. It has goofy cars with big rubber wheels running down concrete and asphault chutes down a big hill. It doesn’t have any drops, and never goes very fast, but was lots of fun! Your dad has lots of pictures and video to show you when he and I get back to Valencia. Bye for now. Love, Kuma

Tim Herre
Today was a big drive that had to be done, but the team managed to tie in a real gem: Higashiyama Zoo. This beautiful gardens had not only a lot of animal displays on offer, but also a few decent rides: a powered coaster, a family coaster from Meisho (which was surprisingly good) and, highlight of the day, the very unusual Slope Shooter. This is a trough coaster with logflume-like cars that run on wheels on a concrete surface. It looked much like a sidefriction coaster, but without any supports, for it was located on the side of a hill. Big fun, could have ridden it forever. Every park should have one. Then it was on to Fuji-Q Highlands, only to find it had already shut its queues for the big coasters because of the crowds. So we had some glasses of warm milk and went to bed early …

Ricky Cooper
For dinner last night I went exploring near the hotel. I really enjoy finding locations for a mystery meat dinner with the locals. I stopped by a noodle shop and had to take the waitress with me to the window display to order since the menu was all in Japanese with no pictures. The meal turned out to be a large bowl of some type of noodles with some meat that seemed like beef and chicken. The food was very good, service was swift, and I got to eat with the locals – key ingredients for a great outing.

Higashiayama Zoo

Jet Coaster: The cars on this one reminded me of the cars of an Arrow steel looper except no over-the-shoulder restraints. The ride was very tame and there were the gentle slopes that we have encountered on many of the coasters in Japan.

Slope Shooter: I think a better name for this coaster would be Cement Mouse. The “track” was a trough built along the hillside with cement in the curves. The entire layout was like the hairpin section of a mouse. There was a really quick and fun surprise jerking as the lift chain engaged. The Cement Mouse was my favorite coaster here.

There was a walk-through attraction that reminded me of “Small World” because it had a very peaceful and happy atmosphere. The first room contained a small model coaster that unfortunately was not working but the Ferris wheel filled with stuffed koalas was working just fine. We spent probably 15 minutes clowning around in the tilted room section. This attraction was a lot of fun and had some good quality displays — a really pleasant surprise.

O yeah — they had some animals at the zoo, too.

Still smiling and bowing in the Land of the Rising Fun.

B. Derek Shaw
In the morning we had a brief two hour visit to Higashiayama Zoo, a small two coaster park (plus a powered one) and a decent size zoo. Jet Coaster (Meisho) had no leg room (I didn’t know my feet could go in so many odd directions!) The Slope Shooter was odd, unique and fun. Free wheeling two passenger bobsled-type cars went up lift to be guided in a concrete trough down a course that went back and forth (ala the top of a standard Wild Mouse layout.) At the turn-a-round area the trough gave way to a large open area. Somehow the car navigated the turn successfully. It was different.

Richard Bannister enjoyed extended ferris wheel time as Martin and company paid the operator to keep him on a second time. Maggie and I paid for a third time, (when he was still on the second ride) but Richard lucked out since the operators changed shifts and the first one did not communicate that information to the second one!

Nige Harness
Where am I? Who am I? This replacing fluids business is very hard work – maybe we should be using water rather than beer (Mart! Mart! What do you think? Sorry he’s unconscious!). At present we’re in transit to Fuji-Q eager to ride Dodonpa. We’ve just left Higashiyama Zoo where we experienced a most unusual bobsled ride – basically soap boxes on wheels in a concrete track! We also have to salute Richard Bannister’s valiant attempt on the world ferris wheel endurance record!

It’s a bit difficult to know which day we’re on but…day before yday we hit Parque Espana in Isobe. Nice place which had a superb Mack mine train – very quick and smooth and also a monster custom B&M – Pyrenees – a 1997 creation with a fabulous first drop. Highlight of the day was the amazing buffet provided by the park hotel for the whole group – stunning sushi, stewed octopus, tempura etc.

Yday we visited Japan’s second major Japanese park, Nagashima Spa Land – I was expecting crowds but the place was nicely quiet. High spots were Togo’s 1989 Ultra Twister – the cars are like something fron Judge Dredd – beautifully engineered considering their age – surprisingly smooth to ride too! Best coaster in the park was a Schwarzkopf Looping Star from 1982 which had the advantage of some input from a certain W.Stengel. Next to this was a Shuttle Loop from the same company which also rode extremely well.

Well it’s nearly over – tomorrow is our last day – what a trip! You have to marvel at the hard work put in by Justin and the rest – a big thank you and kiss to you all. Overall impression of Japan – it’s a very busy place yet the people are truly ‘beautiful’ and I don’t say that lightly. Love to all and arigato!!!!!

Christopher Smith
Hey ho; last update was on the train, it seems that the return journey is by coach (do the time calculation yourselves) but we have visited a load of parks on the way there. At Expoland there was a dualing coaster that has been recycled into one extremely long rusty ride, the main fun factor is the weird noise that the trains make as they go faster. Also there was a stand up ride with so many positive g’s is was like an ejector seat, everyone came out the end a few inches shorter.

At Nara Dreamland there was a great woodie, lots of air time at the front, and a mine train / bob-sled that left the taller among us with a crick in our necks as we ducked under the ride’s props.

Hirataka Park had a good drop tower and the white coloured ‘Red Falcon’ steel coaster. Parque Espania was a sight to behold, it was like being in an actual Spanish coaster park, the themes and the costumes and buildings were awesome, check out the pictures!! The B&M coaster at the Spanish park (reminiscent of a Nemesis style) has an awesome first half of spins looks and a cobra roll, the second half was almost as good with more corkscrews and zero g hills before a hard brake into the station, The problem was the turn around which was almost 3 times as long as the ride time, but at least all the ace’r sweat was removed before we had to ride. Nagashima Spa Land was possibly the best park so far on the trip for those not only after coasters. The super spinner provided a chance to ride an unsuall type of coaster. The blue drop tower was rough but accelerated towards the ground , before turning to run parallel to the ground providing the weirdest feeling. The giant Frisbee was great for developing trust in ride restraints, as a disk of people are thrown a 100 feet up into the sky in all sorts of orientations. Finally the shiny powered bobsleigh although slow but produced a great thrill and a fantastic on ride video, This morning we visited Higashiyama Zoo, it was a mini stop with a rather strange ‘coaster’ that ran down a concrete channel somewhat like a bobsleigh. This afternoon we have a hyper-coaster, a huge drop tower, and the aircraft carrier like launched coaster so assuming I’m still capable of thought and articulating myself I’ll see everyone back in the UK next week.

Overall the trip has been a great experience, lots of coasters but also drop towers, dark rides and themed rides. Lots of folks that are good fun, and up for all sorts of new experiences in food, entertainment, shopping and more. I’d say the fusion of ECC and ACE members into one trip has gone great, and given me a first trip to remember. So as soon as I’ve got home (and slept for a few days) I’ll look forward to recounting the awesome trip experience to my friends and family.

Dan Harvey
Parque Espana has a nice Spanish feel to it with an abundance of things to see and do. Pyrenees is a powerful coaster with some intense positive Gs, very enjoyable. At Nagashima Spaland, the White Cyclone was a good way to cool off and rattle your bones. It’s a decent woody, although a bit on the rough side. The Shuttle Loop coaster was my favorite ride in this park. It’s the same as Knotts’ Montezuma’s Revenge, which I rode about 20 times in a row with my Grandmother when I was in middle school. It brought back some nice memories. Higashiyama Zoo has the coolest little ride of the trip. It has little bob sled type cars on wheels going down a trough. FUN! This has been a wonderful trip! Japan is a great cultural country, The coasters were a big part of the trip, but I’ll be returning home with memories of how nice the people are in Japan, and how amazingly clean the cities are. I’m very fortunate to have been able to take such a great trip!

 

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Day 13 – Fuji-Q, Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise, Yokohama Cosmo World

Owen Rees
The park had the most people than the other parks. The dark coffin ride was very bizare, the coffin tilted. The target shooting coaster was pointles. The launch coaster was very good.

The rapide ride at Sea Paradise was very compact with a fast curent, and white water. Free fall drop tower was exicting.

The log flume at Yokohama Cosmoworld had a double drop with airtime; very compact park to end the trip.

Darren R. Besoyan
I came to Fuji Q Highland Park, and all I got was a lousy hardhat! I was with a bunch of other trip members for the first ride on Fujiyama. All was fine, and we were clapping and having a great time. About 60m up, we suddenly stopped. The car lunged forward a few more times, but couldn’t get going again. The view was nice, and it was interesting to watch everyone below pointing and looking up at us. About 20 minutes went by, and a crew with hardhats and harnesses started climbing the lift. Thankfully, they started unloading from the back (I was third from the back), and the harnessed us up, asked us (in Japaneese) to strap on our hardhat, and they helped us out of our seat and onto the stairs next to the lift. Under the handrail was another rail for a rolling/locking harness holder. You would have to pull back on a pin release to make it roll. We started climbing down only to realize the white paint was coming off all over our hands and arms in a very fine powder. Once we reached the station, they apologized. They gave us an up the exit pass, and a free ticket to return to the park (can you say e-bay?). They also gave us several moist towelettes to wash off all the white powder. They were so sorry about the incident, they escorted us to a restaurant to give us complimentary beverages. I started chanting Coca Cola no, Dodonpa hi! Next thing you know, they are escorting us up the exit to ride Dodonpa (90 min wait by now). The end.

Paul Asente
I had a great time at Fujikyu Highlands, and Landdog enjoyed looking at Dodonpa (he isn’t tall enough to ride). I’m really looking forward to Geisha, the new for 2051 coaster that they’re already advertising. 12 km high really sounds faboo!

It was good. I had fun. Refreshing airtime from mountain to sea. Enjoy, enjoy! OK? I love Landdog. Bye Bye!!

John Gerard
I was disappointed that Fujiyama wasn’t running (it was really painful to watch that nicely themed train just sitting there, stuck on the lift) but Dodonpa made up for it. Great launch and speed. And speaking of launch, there was ejector air at the top of the tower. As Paul Asente said as we coasted into the brake run, “I’ve never been so happy to have a lap bar.” On another note, I think I may have given the park reason to institute new safety standards for their dark-ride employees: I was on the previously mentioned coffin attraction when during a dark segment, one of the attraction’s actors appeared in front of me, shouted and turned on his flashlight. Startled, I did what any red-blooded American would do: I kicked out my foot. Right into his groin. I don’t think he was expecting that, as evidenced by his groaning and crumpling over. Fortunately, he was OK and moved on to frighten other unspecting attraction attendees. Needless to say, he left me alone for the remainder of the show. Can you say “athletic cup concession”? I would also like to mention that the Thomas the Train-themed dark ride was very well-done and charming. Great views of the park from the women’s bathroom on the 12th floor of the hotel. Also, I would like to mention that at last night’s dinner I tried “salted guts of sea squirt” for the first (but not the last) time.

Sea Paradise was a fun little park with a cool mouse-type coaster and a very, very tall drop ride. The Surf Coaster was dubbed a “hyper galaxi” by one of the other attendees. A very fun ride, smooth and fast. Whee!

Russell Van Tassell
After a long harrowing bus ride from the Zoo yesterday, we arrived at Fuji-Q in time to see them closing any significantly long lines (more than an hour before park closing) — quite a disappointment, but true to their closing time, almost everyone was done/gone by the time the park was closed. John Gerard and I still managed a few good pictures of Fuji and a ride on their completely unique wild mouse. I also managed a few late-night shots of both Fujiyama and Fuji. When returning this morning, our “early entry” time amounted to just that… a half hour to walk in to the park and wait for things to open. Laurel and I, running a bit later than usual, opted for a late breakfast, still in-time to get escorted out to a slightly early entry and a good place in-line for the much-anticipated Fujiyama… it, however, decided that one train was enough and stuck the second train mid-lift… we were still in the station (the folks on the lift waited about an hour for their walk-out — something that would have been cool in one sense, but we really wanted to ride the ride… some later joked “have you rode the handrail yet?”). Mark Brown and I ventured off to the haunted hospital for a quick “ride” after a quick ride on the shooting dark ride (the hospital being an additional $Y500 cost). While nicely themed, my general feeling was that Thirteen Doors (Tokyo Dome City) was MUCH scarier, though this attraction took us a good half hour to walk through… it was still a “must see” here, though, as far as we were concerned. Lastly, my general affection towards “pedal coasters” took over and I ended up riding that instead of chancing a long queue for the suspended (and a chance of missing the bus) — again, the seats were small, but nicely do-able… it was also one of the longer ones we’ve seen this trip with some great views of a fairly unique flume ride, below.

Sea Paradise was a cute little park, really amounting to a shopping center with a couple of coasters and a few rides. The drop ride was one of the first I can remember actually achieving “steady state” on the fall — that is, a time I could actually take the time to think of not hitting the shoulder harness and being completely out of my seat, falling. The Surf Coaster was a VERY nice surprise, out of the water, very smooth, with some nice high-G helixes.

Malcolm Marr
Last night and today was spent at Six Flags Fuji-Q. When we arrived last night everything was running but all the queue lines were closed so it was a case of “you can look but can’t touch”. This morning we had guest access to the first half hour before the public got in but the rides weren’t running until the park fully opened; waste of time really. I did however manage to do a “Finkle” on Dodonpa and get the front row on the first train of the day. The ride is amazing with a really punchy launch and loads of ejector airtime on the hill. Fujiyama broke down first thing with some of the group having to be evacuated half way up the lift hill; it failed to open whilst we were there, so I did not get to ride that. I also failed to get on the mouse coaster due to the queues. I did however manage to do the haunted hospital which was superb. It was like playing Silent Hill for real, and it took 30 minutes to get through it. There was also a cool alien encounter type ride which had you standing in a coffin for the duration of the show. Very weird.

Final day of the trip and we’re just leaving Sea Paradise to go to Cosmoworld. The Surf Coaster was a really good coaster and a surprise to ride. If all you can build in Rollercoaster Tycoon is a couple of drops and long helixes then this is the coaster for you. I’m going to be ending the trip by hitting 400 coasters. The plan had been to avoid Dodonpa and have the Duncan Kiddy coaster but that has fallen through due to some of the rides not running/being missed. This has been an enjoyable park as I’ve not had to drag Keith’s idle butt around the park. He’s on his way to Tokyo to do my shopping for me. Thanks Keith!

Final park was the Cosmoworld inner city park at Yokohama and the stand out ride here was neither of the coasters but the lap strapped log flume, and given the airtime it was giving on the final drop it was a necessity. I guess this is the final report so thanks to Kevin, Lisa, Justin, Andy and Toshio for putting this trip together. Roll on American in 2006 (assuming I get a place).

Lee Bennett – smiler san
After spending the night in the Fuji-Q resort hotel, we were allowed in the park 30 minutes before joe public. Most of us headed over to Dodonpa which is a very exciting ride with a spectacular launch. We then went over to ride the rest of the coasters except Fujiyama which was closed due to a technical problem.

Ric Turner
Kuma the bear says Hi Kai and Happy Birthday Zak! Today I got to ride one of the tallest and fastest coasters in the world, Fujiyama! Well, I got to ride part of it. Your dad and I ran to Fujiyama to be on the first train. When the train was almost all the way up the lift hill it stopped. After a few tries to get it going again, the ride attendants climbed up the 200′ lift hill with hard hats and harnesses for all the riders. We put them on, and one by one we climbed out of the train and walked down the giant lift hill. The view was tremendous! Your dad was sad that they would not let him take any of his cameras on the ride, he would have gotten some great shots! The coaster did not run for the rest of our visit. None of the 117 people on our trip got to ride Fujiyama, but a few of us got to at least ride up the lift hill. A little while later there were news crews in the park shooting video of the train stuck on the lift. Big news in Japan I guess, and we got to be a part of it!

Kuma the Bear here. Hi Kai and Zak. I love old rides, and it was a real thrill to see the last remaining original Shoot the Chutes ride at Sea Paradise. Unfortunately it was down for maintenance, but it was still neat to see all the old mechanisms and boats. When it is running, the boat operator stands on the bow of the boat as it goes down the ramp and jumps into the air when the boat hits the pond. It must take a lot of practice to land back on the boat. Bye for now, love – Kuma.

Cosmoworld; beautiful lights; fun park at night; loved the log flume with airtime, and I still don’t know what happened after the diving coaster vanished. Kuma the Bear says “Great Trip, thanks for everything, be home soon, Kai and Zak”.

Brian Sisk
Today I took the longest coaster ride ever. Time wise that is. We got stuck near the top of the lift hill of Fujiyama, over 200 feet up. The park staff brought up hard hats and construction belts to connect us to a railing to walk safely down. It was quite exciting. No one on the trip got to ride the coaster-we came the closest by getting up the lift hill. Does that count? My first hyper walk down.

Last day of the trip. It has been fabulous. Lots of surprises and lots of fun. Great friends to hang around with. Can’t wait for the next trip, wherever that may be. Many thanks to all who organized this trip.

Talhat Mahmood
Fuji Highlands is a great park, which is shadowed over by Mount Fuji. We caught the park on a bad day as there were too many teenagers there making the lines very long. Fujiyama was down all day, but at least we got to ride Dodonpa, which was a blast. It had great acceleration, and airtime over the hill. I tried the Haunted Hospital, which was good but needs a few more actors.

Just finished the last two parks, which were two fairly small city parks, both having two coasters. The trip is finished; its been a magnificent trip. I’ve enjoyed it very much. Japan was a dream for me, which has been fulfilled today. Just like to thank the people involved, firstly Lisa and Toshio for helping with the some of the itinerary, Kevin for doing behind the scenes stuff, and lastly Justin for the overall organization of the trip.

andycoasterboy-san
moshi moshi for the last time sadly its the last day of this amazing trip today we are at Fuji-Q and home of Dodonpa great… Fujiyama was down all morning which was a shame as I tried to get a ride 8 years ago!

Sea Paradise – has a great ear bashing drop tower and 2 interesting coasters.

Paul Wortz
Are we there yet?

Tim Herre
Sea Paradise – Another fine park – and one with a fabulous coaster! The Togo-built Surf Coaster really kicked ass, and was reportedly much m ore enjoyable than the piece of junk named Fujiyama in Japan’s biggest tourist trap namely Fuji-Q Highlands. The Blue Fall must be the roughest Giant Drop out there, it really got my ears bashed. Plus: it’s height did not mean much to me.

Last park of the trip was Yokohama Cosmoworld; the main reason for visiting was Diving Coaster Vanish, another crap contraption from Senyo. Unfortunately the ride wasn’t half as smooth as the Delphis coaster at Festivalgate in Osaka, but it had the same trains. Another highlight of the park was the log flume that had a kind of speedy approach to the final drop, and delivered incredible air time. Also the ghost train was pretty good, and got the Tim Herre justification “f*cking great!”. It got me jumping five times, which can’t be said about every ghost train on the trip.

George Greenway
The Highland Hotel at Fujikyu is very nice, the rooms are a decent size, some come with Thomas the Tank Engine theming. I was looking forward to our 30 min ERS in the park, however it turned out to be spent in the queue for Dodonpa. what a let down. I’d been warned to sit right for this ride as it can catch you out. The launch was spectacularly fast and pushed you back in your seat. we headed round the bend towards the vertical hill feature which is best braced for. I got 3 nasty up and down lurches that first pushed my back out, then launched my lower body towards the padded bar. still, it was a better ride that Fujiyama, the first train out spent the first hour on the lift hill. Having missed riding this yesterday due to the inordinate time it takes on roads to get there from Nagashima, i estimated leaving Nigashiyama Zoo early, taking the train and missing lunch would have given me 3 hours extra in the park. I did consider staying at FujiQ and using the shinkansen to get to Yokohama but my foot is not in a fit state to walk for that far.

Chris Penn
Git! I’ve forgotten now. I’ll have a go. You bastard. I hadn’t started yet. Right. Richard, delete that. This is not amusing. Right. Hi all! As you probably know, I don’t do many of these posts, so please ignore any previous ones that have been posted. (whistles) You’re a git! (laughs) The best coaster at the park today was Dodonpa, but not quite as good as Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point. Park was quite busy today, but still managed to do nearly all the coasters, apart from whatever it was called, because the Americans broke it and got stuck half way up the lift hill, and unfortunately they didn’t repair it by 12:30 when we had to leave. Just thinking… RIGHT! Git! Richard Bannister’s a git! He ain’t gonna put that (Ed: Yes I will!). Next year I will do more posts on trips, because otherwise people will make them up as they have done on this trip. That’ll do.

Richard Bannister
Heartbroken at my inability to enjoy a second ferris wheel ERS today at Fuji-Q, but Dodonpa made up for things somewhat. Fantastic launch marred only by a turning ability roughly equivalent to the average shopping trolley. Capacity was a bit of a problem too, though I still managed two rides. Pity about Fujiyama, but at least I wasn’t one of the poor people who lost the first hour of what was already going to be a rushed morning in a park sitting more than two hundred feet in the air. I’ll have to come back here at some point when time is less of an issue so I can enjoy the park to the fullest. As this is the last trip report I am going to be doing for the ECC web site, I think it only fair to provide a list of thanks to all involved in organising the last three weeks of my life. All in all I have ridden 123 coasters, or some 49% of those in Japan, in thirty nine amusement parks (including two with no operational coasters). First up is the list of people involved in the club trip, in no particular order, Lisa, Justin, Kevin, Toshio, and Tony. Next must come the bus drivers and tour guides, whose names I probably couldn’t pronounce even if I knew what they were. Last and by no means least, I would like to publicly thank George Greenway, who did about 95% of the work for our first week here before the ECC trip proper began. Hitting a stupidly large number of parks in one week all by public transport may sound like a fools errand, but we achieved it with no major problems – a testament to the quality of the organisation. Until next time…!

Gloria Nakamura
I was told that Fuji-Q is the Magic Mountain of Japan and now I know why. They shut the lines in time to be sure the ride can close 15 minutes before official closing. The non MM part would be that they did the same with all the gift shops except the main shop/entrance. The Haunted Hospital was great except it takes at least 45minutes. I was expecting to love Dodonpa since I love Hypersonic better than Top Thrill Dragster and I wasn’t disappointed. If you’re interested in this sort of thing, Mt. Fuji was completely visible this morning. Cosmoworld: Come for the terrible ride operation; stay for the lousy coaster. The over-the-shoulder restraints are like an anvil on your chest; the one good element, the “dive” into the “pool”, is when your head gets smacked around.

David Cornell
Screw you guys, I’m going home! (Ed: Yes, he did say this!).

Dolores Damm
Loved the trough coaster at Higashiyama Zoo; definitely affected by weight. The speed of the ride was affected. Got a kick out of the chant “Do-Don-Pa” waiting in line. Very intense launch; loved it. Too bad we missed Fujiyama.

Anneliese Heiner
Fuji-Q Highland; T-shirt of the day, worn by a young teenage Japanese girl, “I DID JUSTIN TWICE TODAY”. Sea Paradise; Drop tower was fantastic; half of the drops had a fake out at the top. Dolphin Coaster was a small cute roller coaster that was half wild mouse. Surf Coaster was an unexpected delight, very smooth with lots of drops and helices. Yokohama Cosmoworld; Diving Coaster Vanish had a nice effect of disappearing into the water, though many people thought it was rather rough at that point. The Spinning Mouse was rather scary, since it was high up on top of a building. The Giant Wheel was beautiful; we also did the log flume ride and a funhouse across the bay.

John Coffield
Dodonpa at Fuji-Q, while very fast, was a bit of a let down. Sadly enough didn’t get to ride Fujiyama for the second time. Sea Paradise; Surf Coaster was the first coaster that I’ve ever ridden that was half over the bay and had three helices; quite a delight from the front seat.

Rob Derman
Today we had a walkback… no, not like the one we get for the Beast at PKI, instead we got to walk down the lift hill on Fujiyama at the Fuji-Q park. We got the very first ride on the coaster that day… and seemingly the last. We got up the lift hill about 60 meters (about 200 ft, there were signs on the lift hill) out of the roughly 70 total, and all of a sudden the coaster stopped dead. We sat for a moment. I thought that maybe we were waiting for the other car to be prepared and that we would move shortly. Then, we lurched a little and stopped again. This couldn’t be good. Then one more time. Finally a maintenance guy came up and told us to wait a few minutes. Then a whole group of maintenance people came up with hard hats and harnesses and had us put them on. We were thinking what good would the hat do us but once they got us out of the cars they attached us to a rail next to the steps and we could not move forward without holding the harness so if we tripped and let go the harness would stop us and the hat would protect us if we fell forward.

As enthusiasts we were fine with this. The park staff was very concerned though so they walked us down slowly while we were waving at the group members on the ground who were taping and photographing us. When we got down they gave us a front of line pass for the ride and a free admission ticket to come back. They also gave us some towels and a free drink. When we explained that we would be leaving soon and would not be coming back they gave us a front of line pass for Dodonpa, the launch coaster at the park, so we got to ride and avoid the hour long line. Great ride too!

Later a Japanese television reporter interviewed us asking if we were scared. We are enthusiasts, we can handle this.

Oh and by the way Mount Fuji was nice too…

Jan Duncan
We had decided yesterday to get our first ride of the day on Fujiyama, so we joined the queue as soon as we came into the park. As the ride opened and we moved to the front, a Japanese couple in front of us let us join some other ACE members in front of them. That’s how we came to be the last riders on the first ride of the day. We sure had a nice view as we waited for our rescuers to walk us down, but I must admit the idea of climbing out of my seat 60 meters up on a catwalk was more than a little disturbing. The park employees could not have been nicer – repeating “sorry” and asking us to walk down very slowly. It would have been nice to ride the coaster, but I think we got a more unique experience out of it!

B. Derek Shaw
Wednesday evening we arrived at Fuji-Q Highland only to walk around the park. With 90 minutes remaining, the lines to both of the major coasters (Fujiyama and Dodonpa) were so long they were already closed. There’s always tomorrow, or is there…

The evening was spent at Fuji-Beer, a micro-brewery in town with great beer and food. Thirteen of us enjoyed the festivities in a German festhaus-type building.

It was nice to get back to Fuji-Q Highland on Thursday. This was another repeat park for me having visited during my 2003 four person journey. I did pick up the suspended coaster credit, as it was not running before. Dodonpa had a great launch but became rough for the second half of the journey, the same thing I experienced the last time.

Next up was Fujiyama, King of Coasters, however upon looking up it was stopped on the lift hill and passengers were walking down the catwalk wearing hard hats. A great bonus for them but this first ride of the day became the last. Something happened on the lift so no one on our trip managed to get a ride! A real shame as it is a good ride. (When we departed at 12:30pm, there was no change; the train was still perched on the lift hill.)

The park is very nice with a decent assortment of rides and an interesting added fee attraction, the Haunted Hotel walk thru. Now it’s on to the final two parks of the trip.

Paradise Sea was a nice aquarium with two good coasters and the second tallest Intamin drop tower in the world (350+ feet!) Surf Coaster is only the second Togo coaster I’ve ridden that I’ve really enjoyed (Fujiyama is the other one.) The one at Sea Paradise is positioned partly over the water, ala Indiana Beach.

Cosmo World was the wrap up park of the trip, featuring a spinning mouse and Diving Coaster Vanish! that was much smoother than I expected. A beautiful wheel, that the park claimed was the tallest in the world situated in a downtown skyscraper/bay area of Yokohama. The tallest skyscraper in Japan was within eyesight of the park.

Derek Cromarty, England
He says the same thing today, ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

(These coach journeys are putting him in a sleepy trance!)

(Update: Derek just woke up.) Fuji-Q Highland was the first park today. Unfortunately Fujiyama broke down, so we couldn’t ride it. Gutted. Dodonpa was quick good. The launch was out of this world and I thought that’s where we were going! Sea Paradise had two coasters – the big one was very good. Surf Coaster was surprisingly smooth. The second coaster, a wild mouse was good too.

Cosmo World was next. Diving Coaster Vanish! was just average, with an unusual element where it dove underneath the water. Spinning Coaster (spinning Wild Mouse) was quite good. The log flume gave us a bit of surprise air time. It’s now back to the hotel for the night and then fly home tomorrow.

Still being reported by B. Derek Shaw.

Andrew Weiss (aka “ACE – San” for another day, then it’s back to “Mr. ACE”)
Fuji-Q Highland turned out to be a big disappointment as Fujiyama became stuck on the lift hill, with the first train of riders, and never reopened. They had an interesting dark ride , where you stood in coffins and lots of scary sounds abounded. An interesting Mouse, with a stange layout. Ay least we got to see Mt Fuji, it was spectacular at at sunrise. 2 more parks to go. This has been another great ECC-ACE trip, many thanks to Kevin for planning, Tony for finances, and Justin for running things so well. Best Coaster Wood- Aska. Steel- BMRX. Favorite park DisneySea and Nasu- Highland. Biggest surprise Big Boom at Nasu Highland. The people of Japan have been extremely friendly and courteous. They also have great hand dryers in restrooms that actually work. Looking forward to Scandi in 2007.

Maggy Linka
The pink scarf I’ve been knitting on the bus travels between parks is finished—perfect timing, as we finish up our travels today and return to Tokyo for flights home. Hard to believe that the “Land of the Rising Fun” trip is almost over.

I’d like to bring home the heated-seat toilets found in our Tokyo hotels, and the bathroom mirrors with a fog-free area right in the center. Two extra touches not found in the USA.

Coaster-wise, I agree with ACE-san (above) that the best woodie was Aska, best steelie was BMRX. The theming of Japanese coasters and their parks is so different from the US. Unique cultural touches.

Today, we went thru a Haunted Hospital, which was really bizarre. Big hospital-like building with a dark, sinister tone full of foreboding. We were greeted by a blood-splattered RN with a lethargic, zombie-like demeanor, wearing a bloody eyepatch over her left eye. Things got spookier from there! Took us 35 minutes to make our way thru the hospital’s labyrinth hallways, cluttered patient rooms, OR, lab, x-ray room, nurse’s station, ambulance barn, and morgue. Lots of costumed occupants made their appearances in the darkened hallways to startle us. They did a good job, too, as we all jumped/screamed/hollered throughout our hospital stay. Great fun.

I’m really gonna miss many people I’ve been with on this trip.

Ricky Cooper
Dodonpa at Fuji-Q was really a pleasant surprise for me. I was expecting this coaster to be much like the air launch at King’s Dominion. I’m happy to say I was wrong. The impulse launch was absolutely intense. The layout is also much more interesting than the stateside incarnation. Dodonpa has also taken my number one spot as the most insidious queue music – the constant droning of “Don- Do- Pa-” was almost more than I could bear. I’ll tell you anything you want. Just make it STOP!!!!

On another note, the mouse at Fuji-Q was a real winner. It started out slowly with the first brake engaged. But the second half really increased in the wild to-and-fro action that makes a great mouse.

The kiddie coaster was charming as we were all supposed to chant “Go! Go! Go” at the start of the ride.

I am thankful that everyone is still healthy and in good spirits.

Still smiling and bowing in the Land of the Rising Fun!

Bill Tyson
The final day was full of wonders from the amazing views of Mt Fuji and the coasters of Fuji-Q, really liked Dodonpa. The final park of the day had a wonderful mouse and a thrilling Flume ride and ‘Vanish disappeared before my eyes. The trip has been more than I could have ever imagined. I want to thank all involved. This truly has been the Land of the Rising Fun.

Craig and Gage Knor
Wow what a trip! What a wonderful experience for both of us. We have to give thanks to all those involved in the planning of this trip. We know it was not easy and thank you for all your time you have devoted in planning this trip for everyone. Many new friendships have been made here and we hope they last. Hanging out with my substitute wife for two weeks was great! Thanks for many great times Lisa. Am I annoying you yet? Thanks to all that got Gage involved with things and fit right in. YMCA—YMCA!! Good times.

B. Derek Shaw
Parting thoughts and comments:

On the country –

* The Japanese are honest, hardworking, polite and friendly people.

* There are some very beautiful Japanese women.

* English is understood by many at some level.

* Many road signs are in English, making navigation easier.

* Diet soft drinks aren’t easy to come by in all places.

* Beef, chicken and pork dishes are readily available, so food is not a problem.

* Subway transfers can be complicated (in Toyko three different subway companies to deal with)

* There are way too many McDonald’s, Denny’s and Wendy’s!

* No tipping – good service is expected with each meal or service.

* I’ve never bowed so much in my life.

On the amusement parks –

* Don’t expect to visit EVERY Japanese amusement park in one, two or even a half dozen trips. There are many all over the country.

* Many people dress up to visit parks (a throwback to the 1920’s and 30’s)

* There was no traditional Japanese music in any of the parks visited (roaring twenties to hip hop to instumental, musiak versions of 1980’s tunes!)

* Most parks lack adequate amount of water fountains (if any).

On the trip itself –

* Extremely well organized!

* It was a nice combined club effort (ACE and ECC). Let’s hope there are more combined efforts.

* Thanks to all who were involved in any capacity. (Kevin, Justin, Andy for the logo, Tony, Tom, the Coach Captains, etc., etc. All of you gave your time and expertise to make this an enjoyable experience for us to enjoy – THANKS!

Martha Amborn
This trip has been fascinating. The best recommendation for an ECC/ACE trip I can give is to do it again next year! The country and people are pleasant, welcoming and seem to find westerners quite fascinating. The children are precious even as they stare at us with open-eye amazement. The coasters have been great fun (hit my #900 yesterday!) and being a coach captain has been easy with the great group I have. Looking forward to getting home to see our dogs, but otherwise would love to spend another 2 weeks here. Thanks to Justin, Kevin and Tony for all their hard work to make this successful.

Marlon Scott
FujiQ was pretty much the most disappointing visits of the trip. Most of us did not get to ride Fujiyama. We arrived at the park with over an hour to spare but in classic ‘theme park mentality’ style, they closed off the queues for Fujiyama and Dodonpa. Then the next morning, Fujiyama’s train died on the lift hill during its first run. It would not run again during our visit.

Now to make up for Fujiyama not running, there is Dodonpa! I have not been on Top Thrill Dragster or Kingda Ka, so that launch is the most intense I’ve ever felt. WOW!

David Hamburger
Well, I got to ride Fujiyama – sort of. I was on the first train that got stuck on the lift! I’m counting it as 1/10 of a credit! After all, I was on the ride for around an hour! I came to Japan for new coaster experiences, but little did I know I’d be wearing a hardhat and a waist safety belt attached to the stairway handrail and walking down almost 200 feet! Bet they tried to make it up to us by giving us exit passes for both Fujiyama and Dodonpa, along with a free return ticket. And when it was clear that Fujiyama wasn’t going to run before we left, they let us use the Fujiyama passes on Dodonpa instead. Dodonpa was an amazing ride, though, with a much better launch then Hypersonic, but somewhat less air in the front on the big hill. Still, despite several frustrations, we managed to have a great time anyways.

Dan Harvey
Fujiyama’s lift hill was the first lift hill I’ve ever had to walk down. It was quite an experience! The train made it to just past the 60 meter mark, or 200 feet, then stopped. We were on the first train of the day, They tried several times to get us going again, each time the train only moved a few feet. We ended up having to walk down the hill. The park workers came up, gave us harnesses to put on, hard hats, and a rope and clasp, then we climbed out and walked down. The media showed up a few hours later and interviewed a few of us, including myself. Something to remember! Dodonpa was awesome! What a launch!! Much more intense than Top Thrill Dragster! We rode the front seat to top it off! Glad we got exit passes due to the Fujiyama event! 2 hr wait otherwise.

Jeppe Nygaard
Yesterday evening and this morning was Fuji-Q. We arrived so late yesterday, that when we finally entered the park they had closed the lines for both the 70+ meter high Fujiyama and launched Dodonpa. L Shame. I was afraid it would be raining this morning, and the rides being closed, but it was’t. We decided to start with riding Dodonpa. I really can’t describe how much a blast it was to get launched in that thing. It is really, really extreme. we decided to wait the 2 hours line for another go, and I got the front seat. Did not see much else in the park.

The trip is for me always over now. Sad but true. I have had a fantastic trip, and have fallen in love with Japan. I will be back here to catch up with more of the culture and great places they have. I can not thank ENOUGH to all the people that had work so hard to make this happen, and some of you even not attending after all your work.

THANKS AGAIN. And I hope to see many of me good friends, new and old, on another trip.

 

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Day 14 – Travel

Justin Garvanovic
Well, there isn’t really much to say for day 14.

Those on the flight left the hotel early, whilst those that didn’t either left later in the day, or stayed in Tokyo for a few extra days.

It’s nearly three weeks since the trip came to an end, and still I find there’s plenty to do with regards it. I doubt it’ll ever be finished. I will sit down with Andy Huckle at some point in the near future to discuss the “Japan trip book” – from the talks we’ve already had, it should be pretty special. 🙂

I have already sat down with Kev to discuss what we should do next, and we have a few ideas. I know we’d love to do Japan again – we learnt so much on this trip that another one would be a “walk in the park” – well it wouldn’t, but you get the idea.

We’ve already talked with ACE about coming in on a future trip like this, and I see no problem with it at all. If there’s one thing that pleased me the most it’s the fact that it did become a “coaster enthusiast trip” – not a Club trip. 🙂

So until then – goodbye.

 

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