Share thoughts, photos, and reviews from visits to Carowinds or any other amusement park
By Edwardo
#96896
Japan is the one country in the entire world that has been at the top of my bucket list for a very long time. I took 2 years of Japanese in High School, have studied the culture, pop culture, language, and more for many years, while looking at photos of cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, Yokohama, and more. I was determined to get there soon, and finally set a date, 2017. It took much planning (over a year), pre-paying, asking for time off of work, etc.

It’s been a long time coming, but the trip finally arrived. I’ve planned it out for over a decade. I’ve done heavy planning over the last couple months, and now here it is. First things first, I was nervous about being in a plane that long. The flight started from CLT to ORD, where we transferred to the international terminal, then ORD to NRT. True flight time was between 11-12 hours out. I packed every electronic I had (2 phones, 2 tablets, a DSLR camera, a GoPro Knockoff by a reputable camera company, chargers, cords, and more).

Honestly, I didn’t need as much and the next time I fly internationally, I likely will pack much less. I barely used my iPad on the flight because there was an entertainment screen in the back of the seat ahead of me with live news, lots of decent movies (I watched part of Skull Island, some of Guardians 2, and all of Minority Report and a Big Bang episode, along with CNN as Irma hit), and kept busy all fight.

I did dose off a bit, but there were 2 full meals, a sandwich snack, and 1-2 other snacks on the flight as well. And even though we were flying chasing day light the entire time, the plane’s windows dim and the flight was rather dark. Before I knew it, we were over Japan, and an hour away from Narita, so I watched a Big Bang Theory rerun to occupy me. I’m not a huge fan of the show, but I knew it wouldn’t be long after I finished watching that we would land.

Once we arrived at Narita we had to find the post office to pick up the wifi router we rented for the next two weeks. Isaac stopped to exchange the money he had out for some yen, and then we finally made our way to the Post Office on the third floor of Narita Airport. After a few moments and me realizing she couldn’t find the package, I looked at my reservation. I had had issues with the website when making the reservation anyways, but after looking, the reservation was for October, NOT September. Grr…

So we headed to the SoftBank kiosk to rent one (I’ll cancel the other order before I get back home). After that (unfortunately it was more if you rent it in country instead of before), we headed to the JR East office to exchange our Japan Rail vouchers for JR Passes for 7 days. I have to say, thus far, the customer service in Japan has been outstanding. It beats anything I’ve ever experienced on a consistent basis in the US. After that it was off to the Keisei office to get a Sky Access Express ticket and off to the terminal to catch our train. I was apprehensive because I wasn’t sure we were on the right platform, but the train came right on time.

After an hour ride from Narita in to Tokyo, we got off at our station in Asukasa and walked to our Hotel. The city is so quiet. We found the MyStays hotel and checked in, freshened up, then headed out to try and find dinner, but after walking around and nothing being open, we settled for Bento Boxes from 7/11 (They’re everywhere here).

I slept pretty well from about 8pm to about 5am Tokyo time. I got ready and went out the door to go up a couple floors to get some decent shots of the SkyTree from the top floor of the hotel, but as I was going out the door, Isaac, who also woke up around the same time, was coming out with his stuff to walk to a near by park. So we headed to the park a few blocks down. It was very nice. Since it was so early, it was mostly just a few older people walking around. Then at about 6:30 they all started doing exercises around the shrine in the garden. There were a good 100 people all doing exercise in unison. It was really great. Everyone was so friendly walking around.

Walking back by the river walk was beautiful, with one side filled with the buildings of the area’s business district. We ventured to find some food, but that turned in to a walk to the Renkoji Temple that we stumbled upon, a Buddhist temple established in the 1500s. We walked around and took pictures of the buildings and koi pond when I recognized the unmistakable site of an S&S drop tower fairly close, so we made our way over, exploring city streets. It was so quiet and very empty. After arriving, we found out we were at Japan’s oldest amusement park, Hanayashiki park. It looked very interesting, but of course it was too early to be opened, so we walked around the outside.

At this point we wanted food, so we wandered and explored some more, checking out a Starbucks and McDonalds, before finally settling on another 7/11 (don’t judge, the food was good), and walking back to our Hotel to pack up and head out.

Once back at the hotel I showered again (It's really humid here) and then we walked down a few blocks to try and find a drug store for Isaac, with no luck. We walked back to the hotel and grabbed our stuff, I had re packed and reorganized for the rest of the trip, so it was a quick in and out to go along with a quick check out at the hotel. I’d recommend Hotel MyStays (It’s a national chain) if you’re on a budget trip to Japan. I’d have used them more on this trip, actually.

So we got our stuff and headed back to Asukasa station to find a locker rental. That took a bit, but finally found one and locked our stuff up, then headed back over towards the temple area. At this point, it was packed with tourists form all over Japan and the world. We literally had the whole complex to ourselves earlier in the morning. However, it was neat seeing it both empty and busy, especially with many Japanese people now out and about, often wearing traditional garb, which I love. Also, all of the shops and stalls were open at this point as well. We headed to Hanayashiki park (the oldest park in Japan, opened in 1853), which by now had opened and was running rides. First park of the trip, and it did not disappoint. I absolutely loved it! It was great, rides on top of rides, very compact. Great employees. It was 1000 yen to enter, and then we purchased some tickets. Our first ride was a suspended pirate ship monorail from the third floor of the complex. It gave a great view to all of the rides below. Next we headed to the park’s signature (and only) coaster, aptly named Roller Coaster.

Roller Coaster-This was built by the park’s original owner, Togo, in 1953. The trains are newer, and apparently have changed often, according to RCDB. The ride was a lot of fun as it hops over and even inside of buildings all around the park. Worth the five hundred yen for the ride.

Next we went and rode the ‘Western Style’ haunted house ride thru. It was pitch black with some decent scares. I like how it intertwined in the middle of the park and in a structure that serves as a themed ‘mountain’ in the middle of the park. In fact, lots of the park’s theming was great, very charming. There are a ton of lights strung up. I’d love to see it at nite, and perhaps we’ll go back before leaving.

Next we got a few more tickets and went thru the walk thru haunted attraction. It was also very dark with some good jump scares. One animatronic was a tree splitting down the middle, and a scary Ringu-esq woman with long fingers falling towards you from behind it. The whole walk thru was bizarre and very well done. Lastly, we hit up another haunt attraction. You sat in a themed living room, put on headsets, and basically they used stereo sound to make it as if there were invisible people in the room. I didn’t know enough Japanese (You really didn’t need to as there was very little talking), but since nothing in the room moved, it wasn't very scary, though an interesting concept.

So we headed out of the park and back thru the temple area, back in to the market, and eventually found a conveyor belt sushi restaurant, so we could get a quick bite and actually check that off the list. It was worth it, but I’ve had better sushi.

Japan has an amazing mass transit system. We went and picked up our luggage and took the subway to one station, easily using our Pasimo cards (Glad I got us those at the airport). One nice thing about Pasimo/Suica cards is using them at the many vending machines in the area. I got more Pocari Sweat and tried to types of Calpis (One carbonated, one not). We hopped another train to Tokyo Station (It was massive, or what I saw of it seemed to be), before we headed off to the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) to Kyoto. The nice thing about the 3 hour Bullet Train ride (I’m on it as I type this) is that it has outlets, big seats, and a nice table top on the back of the seat.

We arrived in Kyoto Station and schlepped our luggage nearly a mile to our next hotel, Hotel Anteroom, a pop/art themed hotel not far from the station. Our arrival was late, but the staff was so wonderful, giving us cold bottles of water and making sure we were set for the nite. The room was comfortable and stylish.
Last edited by Edwardo on October 3rd, 2017, 4:02 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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By Jonathan
#96902
I was really nervous about the long flight the first time I flew to Asia (a 16 hour flight to Taipei) but was surprised to find that economy class was so nice and comfortable on the airline I flew (EVA) that it was no problem at all. I even slept a lot (very rare for me on planes).

What's the deal with the WiFi router? Is that the portable kind? What made you choose that over SIM card?

We're staying in Asukasa a couple nights practically across the street from Hanayashiki, so I'll definitely get to go there. Otherwise I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your trip reports to try and figure out what to do park-wise. I'll only have a small amount of time to spend on parks so I'm going to have to be picky. Disney Sea seems like a must. We fly out a month from today and between crazy work stuff and moving to a new apartment I have not had nearly enough time to spend planning for our trip.
By Edwardo
#96906
Yeah it’s a small pocket WiFi. Who do you two have service with? Isaac has sprint and had no extra charges to use his phone unlimited thru SoftBank in Japan (SoftBank is their best provider and who we got the router service thru), while I have Verizon unlimited. I could do a day pass for $10’that gave me unlimited talk and text, up to two gigs of 4g then down to 3g for 24hours which I is a few days, but WiFi is not ubiquitous in Japan like here. Tokyo Cheapo, Gaijin Pot, Japan Visitor and Japan guide all suggested getting it and we did. I could have likely gotten a sim, but the WiFi was cheaper and easier, esp if you reserve before getting there.

If u wanna hit me up thru PM, email, or text let me know. I can give you a LOT of advice as well as park advice before you go.
By Edwardo
#96934
Photos from my first day and first park.

ImageJapan Day 1 Asukasa by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

First view of Tokyo, at nite, with the Skytree in the background, on the way to the hotel.

ImageJapan Day 1 Asukasa by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

This is the headquarters of a beer company. The building is supposed to look like a glass of beer with a frothy head.

ImageJapan Day 1 Asukasa by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

We found an amazing, beautiful public park near the hotel that we walked to, around 6am.

ImageJapan Day 1 Asukasa by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

You can't go more than 5 feet without running into a temple or shrine in Japan. Kyoto is even more filled with them than Tokyo.

ImageJapan Day 1 Asukasa by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

We stumbled upon this temple as well, after exploring. It would turn out to be much busier later, and the only site we revisited during the trip.

ImageJapan Day 1 Asukasa by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

The pagoda was part of the temple complex.
ImageJapan Day 1 Asukasa by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

This is the main temple itself.

ImageJapan Day 1 Asukasa by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Another random shrine. Japan is not a very religious country, they have kind of a passing interest in religion, but they still dutifully drop money and come to pray at the temples, shrines, and other places of worship.

ImageJapan Day 1 Asukasa by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Famous Kabuki Actor.

ImageJapan Day 1 Asukasa by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

One of my favorite photos of the trip.

Then we went to Hanayashiki Park, Japan's oldest.

ImageJapan Day 1 Asukasa by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Entrance to the park. It is VERY urban, surrounded by buildings that the rides are in the middle of, and many rides are on top of them.

ImageJapan Day 1 Asukasa by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

The park was very charming, with a faux mountain and caves in the middle that hosted a quaint little garden, and a dark ride, and other rides.

ImageJapan Day 1 Asukasa by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

The coaster was rather fun, I enjoyed it.

ImageJapan Day 1 Asukasa by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

This was the 'western style' haunted house, that you rode thru (it was in the mountain). It was really very good.

ImageJapan Day 1 Hanayashiki Park by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

This was the walk thru haunt, very Japanese, very well done, quite weird.

ImageJapan Day 1 Hanayashiki Park by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

This was a haunted attraction where you sat around a table with effects with earphones on, and the stereo earphones 'played tricks' on you. In japanese, so not quite as effective on us.

ImageJapan Day 1 Hanayashiki Park by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Here you can see some of the layout of the park and coaster.

ImageJapan Day 1 Asukasa by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Sunrise in Tokyo
Last edited by Edwardo on October 3rd, 2017, 4:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
By Edwardo
#96937
We got up super early again on Tuesday morning, but this time we skipped breakfast at the hotel (It was too early), and headed to the station to catch a bullet train to Space World. I forgot my phone, but once we had our ticket, we realized we had plenty of time to run back and get it AND eat a bite at a breakfast place across from Kyoto Station. We arrived at Space World after a 3 hour Shinkansen ride and a couple of transfers. This area was definitely different. Not one of the ‘major’ Japanese cities, much further south, even hotter, more humid, and in an industrial setting. Many people were heading to Space World, since it is closing, so we had to stand in line for a bit to get tickets. Lines would be the order of the day. Thankfully, all of the coasters opened.

ImageJapan Day 4 Space World by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Unfortunately, all but 3 of them had waits, with a couple having insane wait times as they seemed to launch every 10-15 minutes. Since we were prepared, it was only slightly annoying. After getting in to the park, we headed to Zaturn first, as a launched Intamin was more prone to go down.

Zaturn-This Stealth Clone is fairly new and looks nice. Nice station, matte black trains (they looked great that color), and it was the first thing I saw from the train when getting to the park. They were running one train, loading slow (But getting faster while we were in line), and we waited maybe 30 minutes. Zaturn is mostly about the launch, and the launch is really great. I liked the pulsing lights that also flashed in the station. But after the launch you go up a top hat, come back down, up a small hill with brake fins, and it’s over. Fun, because I like launches. But the OTSRs really don’t feel great. This ride is already up for sale so I’m sure a park will pick it up for a great price. The park was fairly dead, but lines for the coasters were long.

ImageJapan Day 4 Space World by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

We toyed with what to do next before settling on Titan Max, the park’s Arrow hyper coaster, that is unlikely to be saved. The park recently purchased new trains by S&S for the ride, and painted it, and it even had on board music. Sadly the line moved at a snail’s pace, and parts of the line weren’t covered. The sun was bright and we were in direct sunlight for a bit of the hour or so long wait. Eventually we made it on.

Titan Max-The trains were comfy. Titan Max is a ‘typical’ Arrow hyper coaster. I enjoyed it. There was a great first drop, an airtime hill, then you kind of meander around the turn around, all of which is high up off of the ground. Then on the return let there are some triangle shaped airtime hills that deliver. The ride was fun, and I’m glad I got one ride one it. This one will likely be lost for all time.

ImageJapan Day 4 Space World by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

It was afternoon at this point, so we went to grab a bit to eat, and ended up getting a teriyaki burger (Yum!) on our way over to the other side of the park. Venus was up next, and I was prepared for another long line, but honestly, it was maybe a 30 minute wait.

Venus GP-First the bad, the OTSRs were torture for someone of my height. I barely fit, and it was uncomfortable. Other then that, though, the ride was really great! The first drop up into a turn gives great airtime. The inversion was very Anton-esq. Then after that it’s a series of turns, hills, a helix, and laterals. This is the other coaster the park put up for sale, and I really hope someone buys it (along with the large Space Shuttle, it needs to be kept).

ImageJapan Day 4 Space World by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

I’m glad I got to ride, it was totally worth the trip south. We headed towards the back of the park next. I’ve seen photos of the park from as recent as 2014 and let me tell you, it isn’t as nice as it was. I wonder if they’ve been planning to close for a while. Granted, our next coaster seems to have been let go a while ago, and the park was clean, but buildings hadn’t been painted or maintained, though the gardening has (and was being done as we were there, with the park closing in just over 3 months).

The next coaster we walked by gave the option to ride forwards or backwards, with a walk on line for Forwards, so we did that next. Boogie Woogie Space Coaster-This little thing was actually really fun as well. You could ride facing forward or backwards. The backwards section had a mild line so we opted for forward, which was a walk on. There was some nice pops of air, and you go thru a couple tunnels. It was definitely a novel coaster, and another credit added.

Making our way to the back of the park, we went inside the Space Dome. This was a large exhibition space with another coaster, a museum of Space World memories, and some kid’s attractions. It also just happened to be the nicest area of the park! The kids attractions were all bright and colorful, and the whole dome was future/space themed, and well kept. Plus it was comfortable in here. We headed to our next credit, which wasn’t a terrible wait.

Black Hole Scramble-This little indoor coaster was another nice surprise. An obvious reference to something Iike Space Mountain, the layout was good with some forceful laterals and some airtime. There was theming and lights and music, and honestly I could see this having been very popular when the park was at it’s beak. I enjoyed it as well.

ImageJapan Day 4 Space World by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

We walked thru the museum for the park next. They really did put on some decent shows, as there were videos playing of shows up to about 2015, with decent production. I hate that this park is closing, it really looks like it was a gem at one point. We took a break and I had a Skal to dream (Now I’ve had Skal, Pocari Sweat, and Calpis, so I feel indoctrinated. The day was hot and humid and getting long.

Park closing was around 5pm, and everything shut down at closing. Most lines would be closed early to close the park in time, and thus Titan & Venus were no longer allowing people to get in line. The park had a really decent double flume ride, themed to aliens crashing into a faux mountain. The line wasn’t really long, but the wait was. Twin Mercury has an adventure side and a mild side. We did the adventure side first.

Twin Mercury-What a great flume, and such a loss! Great theming. The logs/cars are themed like the old Titan cars, and thus look very much like mini Arrow hyper cars (Think Magnum’s trains). It was cute. The drops were fun, and the theming was well done. Plus there was a helix on the flume inside a mountain that was killer! On the mild side, you’re given water guns to squirt at targets, but my gun didn’t really work. It was also well themed and you were shooting at aliens.

ImageJapan Day 4 Space World by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

We walked around the back of the park and tried to ride the Ferris Wheel, but it had just closed. Bummer. Venus was a short wait so we actually rode it again, then rode the kiddy coaster, which is a stock Vekoma roller skater. At this point it was time to head out. Space World, a once very nice and unique park, that still has some great rides, closes at the end of 2017. It’s a good 6 hour bullet train ride from Tokyo, 3 hours from Kyoto, and in the south of Japan, not close to any discernible tourist spots, where everything looked like industrial manufacturing is the main economic booster. Not sure why they decided to close, but I'm glad we got to go.

ImageJapan Day 4 Space World by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Random Store in Kyoto near our hotel.
Last edited by Edwardo on October 3rd, 2017, 4:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
By Edwardo
#96938
So after going to sleep early, we got up early and headed to Osaka after checking out (I accidentally booked one less nite than we needed, but we decided just to hotwire a room in Osaka). Osaka is a very convenient hour or so train ride from Kyoto. We got there a good hour before the park opened. I’m actually fairly proud of the fact we were able to do this for the parks we needed to. After we got our tickets and chose our express passes, we got in the massive line to go in. And just before 8:30, Woody Woodpecker and his girlfriend came out to greet everyone. Once the gates opened, everyone rushed in to the park.

ImageJapan Day 5 Universal Studios by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Universal is another park with a covered ‘main street’. My first impression of the park and CityWalk were that they were definitely modeled after both of the US Universal parks, and that's great. At this park, you choose which type of Express Pass you want. You get 4 main rides at timed slots, then get B leave rides (You choose between 2 rides for the 3 slots) you can use at any time. This is a busy park with long lines, so we wanted to maximize our Express Passes and play it smart. Hollywood Dream, the park’s mini B&M Hyper, is running one of it’s 4 trains backwards and calling it Backdrop. We decided to hit it up first thing since it’s only one of the trains, and they were running 2 forward.

Hollywood Dream: Backdrop-This was a lot of fun! You enter a tunnel very much like Hulk’s (But without the effects) for the lift hill. There was decent airtime on all of the hills as you drop then go over the entrance, then into a hammerhead turn, back over the front gate, then hop and turn up, over and thru buildings around the front of the park. There’s a helix at one end, and then you’re done. The ride has a beautiful red train (Like a red background curtain on a stage), and the trains all have great light packages. I really enjoyed it!

ImageJapan Day 5 Universal Studios by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Universal Studios Japan kind of took some of the best parts and concepts of USF, USH, and IoA, and put them in one park. We walked around and saw the entrance to the Harry Potter area, which is tucked back in a corner and not visible from the rest of the park, for the most part. We walked by JAWS (Yay JAWS!), in the Amity village area, then in to Jurassic Park. No one had really made it back here (I think a lot of people detour to Harry Potter, and those that do make it back here early go to the new coaster), so there was no wait for Jurassic Park The Ride. We decided to go ahead and ride it. There were parts that were slightly different, and its a mirror of the Orlando version. The ending T Rex was better done than any of the others I felt. It was a lot of fun, and no wait.

We had lunch, and then eventually dinner as well, at Mel’s Diner. Burgers both time, and they were good. We walked all around the park to check it out. So many things look and feel familiar, or are just a little bit off. On the other side of the park is another credit, a space themed spinning indoor coaster that is said to be quite good, so we got in line for that, which was about 30 minutes.

ImageJapan Day 5 Universal Studios by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Space Fantasy The Ride-First off the queue is very well themed. As best I can tell, you’re supposed to be a new singing act, or you’re joining a couple of animated characters at singing. Or something. Regardless, there are to CGI hosts and there’s music. The coaster is indoors, highly themed, and the J Pop is actually really good. This was one of the best surprises of the trip! The spinning action was really fantastic. Each room was themed. There were a few surprises. The music was great. There were laterals and some decent drops. I wish they’d bring a version of this to the US!

After that we headed over to a ride I never tried in either USH or USF, but, like JAWS, is still an option at USJ, Terminator 2: 3D. The preshow was far too long. The hostess must have been pretty good because everyone in the room was laughing. If you’ve never ridden, you start in a room where a ‘rep’ for Cyberdyne does a presentation, plays to the crowd, then shows a video that gets ‘hacked’ by Sarah and John Connor. Of course, here its all in Japanese, so although I got the just of the video segment, I had no idea what the hostess was doing, other than asking people where they were from and making jokes. Everyone laughs, so I hate I missed out.

ImageJapan Day 5 Universal Studios by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Then you head in to the theater for a demo of the new T1whatever robots, and of course, chaos ensues as Skynet Skynets, and Terminator Terminates, saves John Connor, and takes him into future. All in 3D! The show is actually really good, and I like how they use the seats for jump scares.

It’s September at Universal Studios, and that can only mean one thing, Halloween Horror Nights. I’d never been to any HHN, and the Japanese version is quite different. Mazes start opening at noon, and haunts/shows/etc. roll out during the day, then at 6pm (It gets dark at 6 in September in Japan), they release the street haunt zones, and change the music, etc. So since we were near our first haunt and it was noonish, we went in. It was Chucky themed, and while the production value was really great, it was just ok. I wondered if this was what their mazes would be like, but since I wasn’t really there for HHN, it didn’t matter.

Our first two Express Passes were over in Potterville, so we walked across the park to there next. At this park’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you feel like you’re in some themed HP section not near anything else. It was crowded, but you’re really not near the rest of the park. The theming is as fantastic as I imagine it is in the other parks, and of course people eat it up. We walked thru and rested for a bit before we headed to the Forbidden Journey to use our express passes.

ImageJapan Day 5 Universal Studios by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Harry Potter & The Forbidden Journey-I’ve done the Kouka arm at Epcot, but this was different. Oh, first, the queue was quite impressive, even if I’m completely unfamiliar with the source material. It was well done, especially the talking pictures. We boarded our vehicle with our glasses on and off we were. I must say, it was very well done. The 3D was cool, the movements of the arm were really great. Then, quite near the end of our journey the ride stopped at a screen, with our vehicle slightly tilted. The entire ride and all announcements are in Japanese, and I wasn’t sure what the announcement they made was, but was hoping it was some variation of “Your ride will restart shortly”. And we did. The rest of the ride was cool, even though the room we were in didn’t finish, but both of us got off feeling queasy. I Think it was from the stop, as it abruptly pulled us out of the 3D world and movement was then less than natural.

ImageJapan Day 5 Universal Studios by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

We were offered passes to ride again, but declined, especially since I feel we got the experience and were both quite queasy, so we had a butter beer and hung out till our next Express Pass, which was for the Hippograff coaster. It's just another roller skater with better theming, so there’s that. Credit.

After leaving Harry Potterville, we headed to the other nostalgic attraction at the park, JAWS! It's a clone of the USF version (R.I.P.), and even though it was in Japanese, I knew what was going on, and was able to explain the little I needed to to Isaac. Ah, memories. And shark killing.

We stumbled upon the small lines where they were giving timed tickets for two more haunts later that evening, the Exorcist and Nightmare on Elm Street mazes, which are timed ticket only so we picked them up for later. One thing USJ does for HHN is turn Backdraft (another oldie from USH), and T2:3D into haunts after a certain hour. Backdraft was Deadman’s Forest, and since there wasn’t much of a line, we decided to check it out.

ImageJapan Day 5 Universal Studios by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Deadman’s Forest-You enter the preshow for Backdraft, but instead, there’s some preshow with military personnel where they show a video about infection, some type of military exercise gone wrong, gives you a number that I realized later was a combination, and then send you into the main show room for Backdraft. Again, it’s in Japanese, so I was picking up some stuff here and there. The main show building had some kind of ‘creature’ attacking the military folks. It was kinda sucky, and I didn’t know what they were saying, it was too dark, and not much went on, so when it let out, I was like ‘meh’. Wasted time. Or so I thought. What I didn’t realize that once you get out of the show building, the rest of the attraction is an actual haunt, and this one actually kind of ‘maze like’, with different options on which way to go. Granted, it wasn’t as scary being outdoors and in the daylight with zombies, but it was a good set up, and I’d bet at night it was more fun. Eventually, though, you end up at this long gate of different rooms you have to hurry into and you have to remember the 6 digit code to be ‘decontaminated’. Thankfully the group of kids with us entered it, we were sprayed with life saving mist, and survived. Thank god for those kids!

Since we had a choice on our ‘anytime’ Express Passes, and had done JAWS, T2:3D, andJurassic Park without waits, we decided to use our first second option on Spider-Man. I’m assuming this one got the 4K upgrade, because the video was much clearer than last time I was at IoA.

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man (In Japanese)-I’ve always loved this attraction, and was excited to do it again. Like in Florida, there is still a bit of theming in the Express Pass queue for the Daily Bugle. Otherwise the ride is exactly the same…Just in Japanese this time. Not much else to say, I like it, and had fun.

ImageJapan Day 5 Universal Studios by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

It was finally time to use our Flying Dinosaur Express Pass. This is the park’s newest attraction, a B&M flyer, and lines are often well over 2 hours, as was the case today. We sauntered up in front of all of that because Ballers (of course), and were quickly on the ride.

Flying Dinosaur-I would rank this as my second favorite flying coaster. The first drop is fairly straight and really good, then you do an amazing airtime filled flip. Next you fly up, twist, dives down and then head straight in to the pretzel loop, before coming back up, diving back down, twisting, turning, flying all around Jurassic Park, and then hitting the brakes. It is very well done, integrates with the section of the park nicely, looks impressive within the park, and B&M flyers thus far have been better than the Vekoma or Zamperal versions. I give it an A.

ImageJapan Day 5 Universal Studios by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Next we did our timed passes for the 2 mazes we had tickets for. The Exorcist maze was interesting. For both mazes, you wait in the queue side by side, and one house is the Exorcist maze, then next the Nightmare on Elm Street maze. You’re given a tied/segmented bedsheet and sent in with about 5 other people, all holding the sheet. Of course, everyone wanted the 6’2” big Gaijin (Japanese for Foreigner) to go first, and the problem with this was that. Unlike American parks, they wait and scare the middle of the group, so I missed out on quite a few scares. The theming and production was very good tho. All of the famous scenes were represented, and the ending got everyone but me.

Then you do the Nightmare maze. Also very good, with iconic scenes from the movies. This time I was put in the back holding the bed sheet, so at least I got to see everything, and again, it was very well done.

Now that it was time for our final timed Express Pass headed back to the new Minions area and did the Despicable Me ride and hung out for a while. This is how they re-themed their Back to the Future ride, and it was well done, but I’m so over 3D moving simulators.

ImageJapan Day 5 Universal Studios by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

We went back to Mel’s for dinner, and at this point the park was starting the rest of their Halloween stuff, which included a show on the Main Street, zombies, and random loud BOOMs (a great Idea I’d always thought would be cool) going off. Oh, and dancing zombies. Because at different intervals, each zombie ‘troupe’ will start dancing to the music in a choreographed show. All over the park.

I wanted to do Terminator again because after 6, Sadako from Ringu (The original version of The Ring, where she’s named Samara) takes over T2:3D. Unfortunately, the line was very long, and because of the long preshow from earlier (that I’d hoped they wouldn’t repeat) we opted out and did another spin on Space Fantasy instead. Just as good the second time, and so worth it. There was another haunt over by the Chucky haunt that we attempted to do after that, but it was also time ticketed only, and we hadn’t seen where to get tickets for it earlier. We walked down a pathway and ended up behind the park, near the back of the Jurassic Park building. There were still random zombie troupes here, often performing for just 2-5 people. I assume this pathway is opened because the park does get packed, but it was not needed this nite. We emptied back around at Terminator, and this time the line had shortened tremendously, so we went in.

Unfortunately the same long preshow started. In anticipation of this, we had walked over to the doors that open into the theater so I could sit on the floor amongst the crowd. Same hottest, same banter. The first time it went on WAY too long as you stand there, and my feet hurt. But this time I was better because I was sitting. Then the video for Cyberdine plays…but when it cuts to static for John and Sarah Connor to ‘hack’, the static stayed a little too long. Then the TV and all of the lights went black. Everyone was slightly startled by the change, and then, up on the stage where the hostess was supposed to be, a spotlight very quickly pulses on and off, as you see Sadako standing there, before the lights come on and the hostess hurriedly gets everyone into the theater.

We sat about 3 rows form the front. Everything starts back up again much like T2 does, and as the ‘presentation’ was getting underway, a young Japanese girl sitting near us gets up because her phone was ringing, to which the host goes back in to her Schtick of making fun of people. I was surprised as being on your phone or it ringing in public like this is very uncommon and I rolled my eyes at the girl getting up to answer her phone over to the side…Then the show really started. The girl screamed and died. Just like in Ringu. She was a plant. And she was very good. Then it happened a couple more times as phones started ringing (Of course, that’s the whole plot of the movie). Then the hostess gets a call and also screams and dies. Then the lights go off and Sadako takes her revenge. This was amazing. The video from Ringu plays on the big screen. There are several actors in the theater dressed as Sadako all over, and so it looks like she’s moving all around just like in the video. She comes out of the well. There's the T2 smoke effect. The hundreds of people in the audience were terrified, and I admit, it was the best use of something like this to scare a crowd I’d ever seen. I was so glad we did it. Very well done. And they could easily do this at the parks in the US…If they still had T2:3D.

ImageJapan Day 5 Universal Studios by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr
Last edited by Edwardo on October 3rd, 2017, 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
By Edwardo
#96949
I would be remiss if I didn't include some photos of some of the non-coaster stuff I did. Again, check my website in a few days for pix and trip reports for the non-coaster trip (It was amazing).

ImageJapan Day 2 Kyoto Imperial Grounds by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

This is part of the Kyoto Imperial Palace. It was the seat of Japan's government, and home to Emperors for Centuries. Also on the grounds are the Sento Palace (The current palace used for the Emperor & Crown Prince when in Kyoto), which we could tour the beautiful gardens, but not the buildings, and the Kyoto State House, which is a working state house (It was in use 2 weeks prior for visiting dignitaries).

ImageJapan Day 6 Himeji Castle 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

This is Himeji Castle, considered the finest surviving example of prototypical Japanese castle architecture. It was beautiful. You can even tour the entire inside of the castle.

ImageJapan Day 7 Mt. Inari 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

The torii gates on Mt. Inari in Kyoto. Rain couldn't keep us away.

ImageJapan Day 7 Mt. Inari 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Bamboo Forest on Mt. Inari.

Now on to more coasters...

Sunday was planned as our last non—Tokyo day. Our Japan Rail pass was done after that day, but again we wake up to rain. We talked and talked and decided to take the hour and a half transit trip to Nagashima and hope for the best.

You can see Nagashima Spa Land from a distance. It's often considered the Cedar Point of Japan, and really, that fits well as a comparison. On a peninsula. You go over a causeway to get to it. Can see the massive rides in the distance. Nagashima was very much a Cedar Point feeling park. Clean, large midways. Large coasters, new and old. Modern and classic flat rides. Water park. Hotel. Big ole’ Ferris Wheel (which just happen to be everywhere in Japan). We got there and honestly, it was mostly a worst case scenario. The rain was subsiding, but it was supposed to come back with a vengeance for the day. We didn’t want to pay $50 to go in and not ride anything, but there is a cheaper entrance fee and you can buy tickets.

Isaac and I discussed it, asked if Steel Dragon would be open (it wasn’t running), was told it was unlikely, and at the time, the only coaster that was running was Arashi, the new for 2017 S&S 4D Freespin. Then Acrobat, the Manta clone also opened up. I wasn’t happy, because this was the only chance I’d get at the park on this visit without spending way over budget to come back, and I wasn’t willing to do that. So we eventually decided to try to make the best of it, go in, and maybe get some credits and enjoy what we could of the park. I wasn’t happy, but there’s nothing you can do when the island is getting hit by a typhoon.

Once we got in to the park, we walked around and I took pics. The rain wasn’t falling, but it was misting. Our first stop was tickets and then Arashi, which was a walk on. This would be my first one of these, even though there are several in the states. I loved 4D coasters, but my last ride on Green Lantern at SFMM wasn’t great. How would the S&S version compare?

Arashi-We got on and I have to say I loved the restraints. I wish a park would order a more traditional 4D with these restraints. You go up the vertical lift and the first drop gets ‘help’ to make you spin in the form of a copper fin passing thru a magnet. It was great! I was really kind of frightened, as you get major spinning on this ride. It was disorienting, had airtime, and parts feel like you’re flying, just before you flip upside down. I loved it.

ImageJapan Day 8 Nagashima 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Everything in the park is well taken care of and most of the park looks freshly painted. A few years ago, they expanded the park into a new plot of land, moved their old Arrow Corkscrew closer to Steel Dragon (and put a kids area in Corkscrew’s old spot), moved their Ultra Twister into the new section, along with a slide ride, and then recently built a really nice looking Manta clone called Acrobat. It was open, so we headed there next.

Acrobat-I’ve yet to ride Manta, but Acrobat was really well done. There’s the drop then pretzel loop, but the rest of the ride is mostly turns, inline twists, and swoops, and it was fun. It evens Borrowed Manta’s water effect, which was nice. Lots of fun, better than the Superman clones, but I like Tatsu and Flying Dino better.

ImageJapan Day 8 Nagashima 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

One nice thing about the park is that they were announcing when a new ride was opening, which we figured out after hearing an announcement about Ultra Twister, and then seeing it run, to which we hurriedly got tickets and walked over to ride. I’ve always wanted to do one, and there are still a few in Japan, so this was my chance.

Ultra Twister-The vertical lift is kind of overdone now, but these started the trend. The first vertical drop was really good, and the hill after had nice airtime. Then you do a heart line roll, which is weird within the cage structure of the coaster, before hitting brakes on the drop track, then dropping, another heart line, a rampy drop, and then another heart line roll before heading to the station. It was fun, and looks really good with it’s current paint job. I enjoyed it.

ImageJapan Day 8 Nagashima 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Another ride opening made me hopeful that since the rain was holding off we might have a good day. So a few minutes later as we were hanging around Steel Dragon to see if anyone was doing anything (We were told at the gate that it had been prepped to run before the rain, and there was a train in the station), I saw White Cyclone start to cycle, so I got Isaac and we went over.

White Cyclone-This ride looks beautiful, and is quite large, which oft leads to comparisons to the former Mean Streak at Cedar Point. Many people think it’s rough. Many others boring. Honestly, I went in planning to get the credit and be done with it, but surprisingly, I liked it. The first drop and hill were good. We had airtime on it, and though it was a little Janky at the bottoms of the larger drops, it wasn’t terrible and I thought it was a fun ride. There are two helices which add to the fun, and the ending is several hills. I don’t know if it just ran well because of the rain and cooler weather, but I thought it was highly underrated as a coaster, and a lot of fun.

ImageJapan Day 8 Nagashima 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

At this point, one side of the mouse was running (It was dead, so no need to run both sides), the gigantic Viking ship was running, the Giant Frisbee was running, most of the flat rides, the mine coaster, and then eventually Steel Dragon, so we decided to pay the difference and get an all day ride pass to just ride everything open. Shuttle Loop was opening up, and I love a good Schwarzkopf.

Shuttle Loop-With so few of these left, I’m glad this one opened and I didn’t have to miss it like Jet Star, which never opened. We sat in the back of this fly wheel launched model and of course it was great. Nice launch, then the loop, spike, stall, backwards loop, backwards spike, stall, and you’re done. A dying breed, but still so much fun.

Japan is known for their meandering Jet Coasters, which seem to be everywhere. I didn’t actually ride more than one on this trip, and it was at Nagashima.

Jet Coaster-This was similar in some ways to Cedar Point’s mine train. There was some airtime, and a stretch of straight track over the water. It was really a lot of fun, and there was even some airtime. Plus, another credit.

After getting our wrist band, we headed to Steel Dragon, which was a 30 minute wait. First off, the music in the line is really obnoxious and annoying and I’ve spent over a week trying to forget it to no avail. But this was THE ride I came for, and now here I was, in line, ready to ride!

I was just getting in to coasters in 2000. I was already a fan, but had just discovered online coaster communities, so the four biggest rides being built that year were Goliath at SFMM, which would open early in the year and be the tallest/fastest traditional lift coaster in the world until a few months later, when Cedar Point was debuting Millennium Force. I thought it was kinda boring looking. No loops, nothing. And Kings Island was building the tallest, fastest, only looping wooden coaster! Millennium Force opened and was the tallest/fastest traditional lift coaster in the world, for a few months until Steel Dragon 2000 opened. And though it’s still the longest coaster in the world, Steel Dragon is no longer the tallest traditional lift in the world (That just happens to be not too awful far from my house in Fury 325). But I’ve now ridden all 4 of those major coasters from 2000 multiple times (and said goodbye to Son of Beast).

Steel Dragon 2000-The ride is impressive looking. You get in the custom built B&M trains, the second set of trains the ride has had. I thought the lift would seem longer, as it’s not steep, has 2 chains on the lift, and is over 2 minutes long, but once we were off, we were near the top pretty quickly. That first drop is amazing. There's some rattling at the bottoms of the drops, but it wasn’t terrible. The B&M trains are very open. Then you got up and get decent floaty air on the next hill. Then you go up and top down into a lateral filled twisted section of track that you speed thru at the end turn around. The ride is basically the length of the entire park. Then you head back to the station on a series of hills and tunnels, all giving decent floater airtime. I liked the ride a lot. It was better than Steel Force, but rides like Phantom, Lightning Run, and Steel Eel show that Morgan can give better airtime. But this ride is fun and still very impressive.

ImageJapan Day 8 Nagashima 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

The mouse had been running, so we Got a quick ride on it now that we had wrist bands. It’s 2 standard portable mice, mirrored beside each other. Mice scare me, but I loved them, and it was another credit. Time was getting short and we wanted to do a few more things. The rain had held off and it ended up being a really great day. Overcast, but comfortable, with most rides operating. Next up was Corkscrew. This is a corkscrew clone, just like many before it, with a drop, turn, 2 inversions, and you’re done. And it’s still in the traditional blue/white color scheme. Just like the Myrtle Beach Pavilion’s and many others, it was a nice shot of nostalgia.

There was a walk thru haunted attraction by cork screw, so we did that next before heading over to the Ferris Wheel, which gave great views of the park and surrounding bay. I had wanted to ride the Giant Frisbee (They have a regular and giant version), but we didn’t have time. There is however, a flat ride at the park I was not going to miss. The world’s tallest (double) swinging ship ride, Viking. They had to wait for enough people, but it was really a lot of fun. It doesn’t swing as high as traditional swinging ships, but it’s fun. I thought it funny they have the Giant double swinging ships, a Galleon swinging ship, and an Intamin looping starship. This park has several similar rides. We hit up White Cyclone again for another good ride, and then I rode Arashi by myself (Isaac wasn’t ready for more). We were going to ride Steel Dragon one more time, but there were people in line with terribly strong perfume that were over by Cyclone, so we went and did another ride first. The park has a flat where you stand in little ‘Jet ski’ type vehicles, and it’s in water, and it’s basically a water whip where you can use the rudder to swing out. We rode it and it was great! I wish more parks had these!

ImageJapan Day 8 Nagashima 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Finally we got one more ride on Steel Dragon to end the night before heading back to the station. We really were fortunate that we were able to ride as much as we did. There was a lot of plans that changed towards the second week to accommodate weather, travel, etc. But we got a full day at Nagashima Spa Land, and it was worth it.

We ate a quick bite at McDonalds and had a teriyaki burger on our way back up to Yokohama, just outside of Tokyo, where we would be based out of for the rest of the trip. It had been a long week, and I was tired, so the Shinkansen back was a nice break. We arrived and checked into our hotel later Sunday evening.

ImageJapan Day 8 Nagashima 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

ImageJapan Day 8 Nagashima 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr
Last edited by Edwardo on October 3rd, 2017, 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
By Edwardo
#96950
Monday morning was a late morning, and we needed it.Then we grabbed breakfast and headed up to Tokyo for some site seeing and attractions. First stop: LaQua. We went over to Tokyo Dome City and LaQua to see if Thunder Dolphin was running. The whole area was really nice. I had considered going to LaQua Onsen while here, but didn’t get a chance. We walked around and eventually got a ticket for the coaster.

ImageJapan Day 9 Tokyo & Shibuya 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Thunder Dolphin-As far as hyper coasters go, it was what everyone else has said. Good couple of drops, no major airtime, but a fun coaster, and it looks stunning. It gives a few good views as well. The hills really didn’t have much airtime, and the trick track was odd, but I liked it. I probably wouldn’t pay to ride it again, though.

We walked thru the area, where there were a ton of cosplayers all over, and over to the other rides section. We were going to ride the parachute drop, but the line was too long, so we had dinner at a burger joint in Tokyo Dome instead. Then we walked back thru the cosplayers, LaQua/Tokyo Dome City, and caught our next train down to the waterfront area to hit up Sega Joypolis. Once we arrived, though, we realized the area by Joypolis was a beautiful public park with a beach on Tokyo Bay, and gorgeous views of the Tokyo Skyline, the Rainbow Bridge, and other landmarks. We hung out and took photos while the sunset, soaking up the atmosphere. It was really a nice evening.

ImageJapan Day 9 Tokyo & Shibuya 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

We headed in to Joypolis next. Because we were foreign tourists, they gave us 300¥ discount (Score!) for the entrance fee. Joypolis is basically a huge arcade with not only cabinet games, but large interactive mazes, unique 'flat ride' games, a roller coaster, and other crazy Japanese gaming attractions, with loud music, smoke, and lasers. I would have absolutely LOVED this place when I was a teen or in my early 20s. Not that I didn't like it now, but we were basically there for the coaster, although there was a neat looking half-pipe ride/game we'd have liked to try out, but unfortunately wait times were an issue. So instead, we headed to get in line for the credit and wait out the 30+ minute line.

ImageJapan Day 9 Tokyo & Shibuya 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Gekion Live Coaster-This is the second coaster that Joypolis has had. It's been changed from when it was first installed, but currently the ride is a spinning coaster with a 'dark ride rhythm game' section, where you hit buttons in succession to the rhythm on screen from a boy band. After that section theres a blast of fog, a tire launch, and then your car starts spinning over and around the queue, then in to an inline twist (all while the car is spinning), then into a small room with the coaster layout with drops and turns before hitting the brakes. Overall it was a fun little coaster! I was apprehensive about spinning and inverting, but it really did work, and the launch was well done too.

ImageJapan Day 9 Tokyo & Shibuya 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

ImageJapan Day 9 Tokyo & Shibuya 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on FlickrOnce we were done with Joypolis, we got back on a train and headed to world famous Shibuya Crossing, the busiest cross walk in the world, in the Shibuya shopping district. On the way to the station, we accidentally stumbled upon Ultra Tokyo (the EDM Music Festival), and I actually heard some of Steve Aoki’s set. Once we got to Shibua, We crossed a couple times, took pictures (and video), then went and found some dinner at a noodle shop (which had amazing food) before taking the metro back to our hotel.
Last edited by Edwardo on October 3rd, 2017, 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
By Edwardo
#96953
I met up with Isaac in Shinjuku and we took a bus down to Fuji Q, which was about a 90 minute drive. We were smart enough to get return tickets, and because we were going down and back, the bus company sold us our tickets to Fuji Q at the station at a small discount, negating the need to buy them at the gate the next morning (This would prove to be really important). Once we arrived at the station, we took the local (very cute) train to the main station, found a free shuttle that took us to another station, and hopped a cab to our pod hotel for the nite.


One of the things I'd wanted to do while in Japan was stay at a pod hotel, so this was another thing marked off the list. It was comfy, and convenient, and I would definitely do this again, but not for more than a nite or two.

ImageJapan Day 11 Fuji Q 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

The next morning we had to get to Fuji Q highland early. I've read nothing but horror stories from both coaster enthusiasts and non enthusiasts, locals and visitors about how terrible the operations at Fuji Q are, and how long the lines are. During the day, those horror stories would prove to be correct, and they make any poorly run park in the U.S. look like a walk in the park. So the plan was to get there and be close to the first ones in line. We woke up from our hotel, headed to the station, stored our luggage, and headed back to the cute local train. We arrived about an hour before the park opened, and I was shocked (and didn't quite believe) that we were the first ones in line.

In order to get to do all of the major coasters, we were planning on quickly exchange our tickets, then once the rope dropped, literally running to the middle of the park where the very limited express passes could be purchased for rides. Express Passes are sold at the resort, online (but only on the Japanese site), and a few local convenience stores, which means they sell out very quickly on the morning of. So at 8:20, we were able to exchange our passes and, even though they were letting in resort guests early, we were at the front of the rope for the rope drop. Once the park was opened, it was go time.

ImageJapan Day 11 Fuji Q 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

EVERYONE runs, either to whatever coaster they plan on hitting up first, or towards the middle of the park to buy express passes. We were at the back gate, so you had people in the front gate all heading to the Express Pass booth. Isaac sprinted, and though I tried to keep up, I just couldn't do it. So I briskly walked as quick as I could after the first initial burst, and was happy to see Isaac being the second person in line when I rounded the corner. Score! I had read online that the people at the express booth don't speak english, but both the person managing the line (Where they mark off each ride when it's no longer available to buy passes for each time slot) and the girl at the booth spoke english fine, and we quickly bought passes for the four main roller coasters available, 2 for the 10am hour, one for the 11am hour, and one for the noon hour, all for around 1000¥ each.

So at this point, we were ahead of the game, and had an hour before our first 2 coasters. The lines were already packed for the major coasters at about an hour and a half for each, and the park hadn't even been open for 20 minutes. Thankfully, our first ride was on the Wild Mouse coaster.

ImageJapan Day 11 Fuji Q 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Mad Mouse-The Roller Coaster Database doesn't list the manufacturer of the ride, so I'm not sure who made it, but it was a first for me. The layout was different, and I liked it. The cars were small, fitting only 2 people side by side. It looked like it would be a little rough, but I actually really enjoyed it, and it was a walk on for our first ride.

Next we walked over to the Ferris Wheel for a ride, which gave great views of the park, surrounding town (which is beautiful), and of course, Mt. Fuji. Since we decided to skip the Mt. Fuji tour, any chance to take photos and view the mountain were welcome, and Fuji Q offers that in spades.

Next up we headed to Pizza-La, the park's Giant Frisbee, to take a spin, since it had no line, and we missed the giant frisbee at Nagashima. These rides are always fun. Three rides in the first hour was not only kind of shocking, but put us ahead for the rest of the day. Up next we headed to the park's newest coaster, a Gerstlauer Eurofighter with both a launch & a lift.

ImageJapan Day 11 Fuji Q 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Takabisha-First off, this is probably the best Eurofighter I've ridden. We show up and present our pass and make our way to the station. Once you board, you roll out of the station in to a dark indoor section, where there are dips, drops, an inline roll, all in the dark, before you drop down into the launch. It was all amazing, especially in pitch black. Once you're catapulted out onto the course, traversing 3 inversions (including my first banana roll), and then you end up at the bottom of the vertical lift. Once you're at the top, the ride slowly creeps down the incline, before being let go into the beyond vertical drop, then you get thrown thru 3 more inversions (dive loop, top hat, immelman), along with some hops and turns for good measure. This ride was fantastic, and I wish a US park would add something similar.

Immediately after that it was time for us to hit up Fujiyama. This was the tallest & fastest coaster when it debuted, and is loosely based on the Coney Island Cyclone. Though they have 3 trains (Chrome, Gold, and White), only 2 were running, and very slow at that. Thankfully we had the Express Pass.

ImageJapan Day 11 Fuji Q 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Fujiyama-The first drop is tall. I'm not sure if it's because of the surroundings, as this is far from the tallest coaster I've been on, but it seemed massive. And the first drop was great. Then you head up into a slow turn around, which drops you down and in a mad dash thru the course. There are hills, turns, and trick-track hills on the course. Parts of it are rattly, but honestly, especially for a Togo coaster, the ride is really fun!

At this point we were already halfway thru our Express passes, and the other 2 were at least an hour apart. So we hung out around the park, had some food and drink at Mos Burger, and got our tickets for the Haunted House. Yes, THE infamous Fuji Q haunted house, set in a fake abandoned hospital. Its an upcharge, but totally worth the price. The park had other haunts going on for halloween that we didn't bother with, especially since the lines were long, but I didn't want to miss this.

The nice thing about getting several things done our first hour, and having Express Passes for the major rides meant we could have a nice leisurely day at Fuji Q Highlands, and not be bothered. And the park is actually rather nice. It reminds me somewhat of Waldameer, but with a few gigantic coasters. Such a shame that the operations on their major rides are so poor. Eventually, it was time for our next skip the line pass.

ImageJapan Day 11 Fuji Q 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Eejanaika-Okay, first things first, I love me some X/X2, and when this ride was announced as the second 4D coaster, I watched the construction and have wanted to get to Japan to ride it for a very, VERY long time. The layout looked like an improvement over X, with an overbanked turn at the turnaround, and a 'full-full', a Zero G roll with the seats making one full rotation. So we made our way up into the massive station, and it honestly took a good 20 minutes to just load and be on our way (and they have a better loading system than X2 does, so I see no need for it to be this long). Eejaniaka lived up to my expectations. Yes, the outside seat was rough, but the ride is incredible, if you like these things. The first drop is just like X2, as is the raven turn, but the rest of the ride is significantly different enough. I do want to get to China eventually to ride the version there, and I loved Arashi, the freestyle 4D, but I'd love to see a park contact S&S to build a new full scale 4D based off of what they've learned thus far, with better restraints from the free spins. It was definitely worth the wait.

We walked around and Isaac did some shopping for gifts before we headed over to our final Express Pass coaster. This was another ride I'd been excited about for many years, and even though it recently changed, I was still looking forward to it. Dodonpa was the second Thrust Air 2000 launched coaster, and I was in love with the first, Hypersonic XLC, but Hypersonic is long since gone. And one of the features of Dodonpa I was looking forward to was the tophat airtime. Alas, earlier this year S&S modified the ride now known as Do-Dodonpa, removing the top hat and adding the worlds tallest loop. On the bright side, they made the ride faster at launch. Oh, and the station was really cool.

ImageJapan Day 11 Fuji Q 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Do-Dodonpa-We were in the back of the train. You roll out in to the launch tunnel, and there's a recording of a hype man who does a countdown. Once you hit 'one', the train launches at incredible speed. Do-Dodonpa is no longer the fastest roller coaster on earth, but it does have the fastest acceleration, hitting over 110mph in less than 2 seconds. And boy is that launch incredible. The new restraints are really comfy, and the trains are very roomy. After the launch, you go down into another lighted tunnel, then around a very large curve and then up in to the very large loop, which had massive hang time at the top. After the loop you dive into another tunnel, up on to a straight away to bleed off speed, then hit the brakes and you're done. A quick easy credit with an amazing launch.

So at this point we had completed the major rides at Fuji Q and had time before our ticket to the Haunted Hospital thingamabob. The rapids ride looked really cool, but it was an hour wait. The only other coaster we were interested in was the small suspended coaster that had about a 35 minute wait, so we got in line for that after we sat for a bit.

ImageJapan Day 11 Fuji Q 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Voyage Dans le Ceil-This is themed to some French cartoon. Basically you board a cloud with the bunnies (?) on the front and are lifted up the first. The single car then floats around the lower end of the park, goes around the drop tower, has some airtime and swinging moments, then back to the brake run and you're done. Another quick credit.

There is a viewing area in the middle of the park that you can climb for views of Mt. Fuji, so we made our way up there next and spent the next 30 or so minutes taking photos of the mountain and surrounding park & town. Mt. Fuji really is massive. On my next visit, I'd like to do a cruise on one of the 5 lakes around the mountain, and perhaps climb to the top from Station 5, but alas, this time it wasn't mean to be.

We made our way back down from the viewing hill and headed to the Evangelion attraction. This was mostly just some sets you could pose with, but in the last room, there was a rather large head from a mecha that made great use of projection mapping. Video and photos don't do it justice, it looked really cool, and lots of people were in watching each sequence. But I've never been into Evangelion, so seeing one was enough for me.

Instead, it had been a few hours, and I was hungry, so I had some Mt. Fuji Pizza from Pizza La. After that we went to ride their Soarin' rip off, which is a Fuji themed flight. It was very well done, with breeze, smells, and nicely done fly overs of Mt. Fuji. The wait wasn't terribly long either.

Then we went down to get in line for the haunt. For years I'd heard about how well done it was, how scary it was (Most haunts really don't scare me, but they do put me on edge), so I was looking forward to this one. We were put in to a group of 4 (Isaac & myself and a male/female couple), but not before our 'initiation'. Even with a timed ticket, you have to go thru the hospital 'gates' and get in to a queue and wait. Eventually a decent sized group is pulled together and brought into a dark room where a video is shown to set the mood.

ImageJapan Day 11 Fuji Q 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

The video tells the story of what happened at the hospital (In Japanese!), and you find out that three people go into the abandoned hospital that did experiments on people, only to eventually succumb to whatever evil lurks there. Once that is over, you're lead down a hallway, split in to smaller groups (ours of 4), given a flash light, given the instructions (In Japanese! But pretty basic for me to understand), and then let loose. The haunt is 3 levels, the main floor, upstairs, and a basement. There aren't a lot of people in at a time, and there aren't a lot of actors, but the maze doesn't need it to be scary. You go up and down several times between floors. Scares are done mostly after you've passed the area where the person is waiting (either in the dark or behind a wall), and they're far more effective, as the zombie Stops then half runs towards you. I was jump scared more times than I usually am in a maze. They claim that it takes up about 45 minutes, but it 'only' took us 30 minutes to go thru. The lone couple behind us caught up, and we kind of caught up to the group in front of us, but as the leader, I slowed us down, so as not to have too big a group to scare. At one point, you turn your flash lights in and you're left in more of a dark portion. It is really well done, and on a high level of production, just as good as anything at Knotts or what I'd seen at USJ's HHN.


At this point we had to head to our bus to as not to miss our ride back to Shinjuku, as this was the last bus of the day. We took some photos, bid adeau to to Fuji Q, did some shopping in the large resort gift shop, and made our bus in plenty of time.

Once we arrived back in Shinjuku, we decided to head to another Onsen in Tokyo. This one was older, but the facilities were just as good, with hot tubs, warm tubs, cool tubs, saunas, steam rooms, relax rooms, and more. And after nearly 2 weeks of being on the go, it was a welcome change to get some rest and relaxation. The U.S. needs to learn to Onsen. We got back to our base hotel room before midnite and I was out like a light.

ImageJapan Day 11 Fuji Q 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Super Evangelion Mechwardo attacks puny humans from his containment cell.
Last edited by Edwardo on October 3rd, 2017, 4:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
By Edwardo
#96956
Thursday morning was set to be beautiful. Unfortunately, some stuff regarding my job back home found its way in to making the next few days slightly less bearable, and although I'd planned to switch to an office closer to home after September, it looks like that won't happen at this point, I wasn't going to let the incompetence of others ruin the rest of my epic vacation. Isaac and I slept later than we'd planned and after discussing what to do, we decided to go to Tobu Zoo together, so that Isaac (and I) could check out the Zoo, and I could get the credits he got a couple of days prior. The only downside is that Tobu Zoo is really rural, and about 2 hours from Yokohama, which is on the south side of Tokyo.

Having said all of that, it was worth the trip out there. Getting there on the train takes you to a newly remodeled station out in the Tokyo suburbs and farm land. The quaint little town didn't seem to see much in the way of caucasian or generally non-asians. We walked to the zoo in the beautiful weather (another reason this ended up being today). I'm not sure what the park is like on the weekends or when school is out, but during midweek with school in, the park was absolutely dead. We paid our entrance fee and for a ride all day pass and headed in, hoping that all of the coasters would open, and they did.

ImageJapan Day 12 Tobu Zoo 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr


You can walk for quite a ways in Tobu wihtout seeing anyone, employee or patron alike. Our first stop was Regina, the wooden coaster built over a small lake, as it was further out from the rest of the rides. I'd heard good things about this ride when people started going to Japan to ride coasters, but in recent years reviews hadn't been so good. Isaac wasn't able to ride in the back on his initial visit, but today the crew didn't seem to mind, so the back it was.

Regina-Of the 2 wooden coasters on the trip, I was surprised at how much I liked them both, but Regina was absolutely fantastic in the back. You're pulled over the first drop and get some nice airtime. Then after you go up into the turnaround, there's a rampy drop that eventually drops out into a regular drop, and it was great! Kind of like a double down, but not quite. The rest of the ride has laterals and airtime, and I really, really enjoyed it. I went in thinking it would be just okay, and it was actually really great.

We walked over to see if Kawasimi was open yet. The ride park, which was absolutely dead, is very nice. Theres one of the nicest looking wave swingers I've seen though. Its parted out for the kids sections and regular sections, has some decent rides, and at least 2 haunted attractions. Once we got over to Kawasimi, we were the only 2 people there, so we rode in the front of an empty train.

ImageJapan Day 12 Tobu Zoo 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Kawasimi-I've been looking forward to the Intamin Mega Lite for quite some time. Although a little sluggish in the morning, it was a really fun coaster, with a great first drop and much aitime afterwards, though mostly floaty airtime in the morning. The hill under the lift was good, and all the hops at the end had airtime. It would be much better later with a fuller train.

Next we walked over to the nicely new looking (but lacking in shade) kiddy area of the park. Over here we found Tentomushi, which Isaac had ridden previously on his day trip. There wasn't anyone on the platform at first, but a young man came over and rand the ride for us. Its a basic medium Tivoli, and we got two passes on it. Then we walked over to the other kids section where the newest kiddy ride is. I pondered whether I wanted to ride, but since there was no one there, other than us, really, I let go of my self respect and we rode the cute otter themed powered coaster.

ImageJapan Day 12 Tobu Zoo 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

After that we went over to the cheese themed Ferris Wheel for a ride in a nice, air conditioned cabin, then we walked leisurely thru the actual Zoo, which is very nice and well kept. We fed a bear, watched as they readied parts of the park for autumn (They were putting in flowers for the new garden). I assume the Zoo is the money maker for the park, but again, the rides may be more popular on weekends and in season.

Once we were done animal gazing, we headed back over on the quaint inverted monorail and took another couple rides on Kawasimi. In between that we hit up the haunted walk thru. It started with a quick video, and honestly, it was one of the better done haunts we did. Very dark, and though I think there were only 2 people in there to scare us, they did a fantastic job.

ImageJapan Day 12 Tobu Zoo 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

There was a 3D haunted simulator that we didn't bother with. Our last ride was another back seat ride on Regina, and much like Kawasimi, with fuller trains and the rides warming up, there was much more airtime.

After we finished with the Zoo, we headed back to where we started in Japan, Asukasa. We wanted to go back and do some shopping near the temple area we discovered when we first arrived, as well as hit up the Tokyo Skytree. Skytree is the second tallest building in the world, and also owned by Tobu (among other companies). Because Tokyo Tower was getting dwarfed, they needed a much taller tower to handle the Tokyo Metro Area's broadcasting needs, so Skytree was built. For about 2000 Yen you can go to the main 3 levels, which include panoramic views, shops, restaurants, a bar, a glass floor, and more. And for another 1000 or so yen, you can go up to the highest occupiable floor, which we declined to do. Next time I visit, though, I may just try it out.

ImageJapan Day 12 Skytree 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

From Skytree, you get spectacular views of Tokyo, Yokohama, and many miles around. It shows you just how large the Tokyo Metro Region really is. After spending some time up top, we headed back down and went to the food court to eat. One of the food stands had amazing food, and was the busiest with everyone local, so we got food from there. We went back over to the shopping area by the Temple that we discovered our first morning to pick up some gifts. Most shops were closed, but we found what we came for. By that point, it was dark, and the temple area was once again empty, so I took a few night shots of the pagoda and other buildings all lit up.

ImageJapan Day 12 Skytree 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

ImageJapan Day 12 Skytree 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

ImageJapan Day 12 Skytree 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr
Last edited by Edwardo on October 3rd, 2017, 4:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
By Edwardo
#96958
Let me start by saying that Tokyo DisneySea is everything you've ever heard it was. Amazing, meticulously themed, beautiful, beyond words. The park is really something special, and while perhaps not my favorite Disney park as of this writing, I will say it may be the most amazing of all the Disney Parks. I think part of that because parts of it are so 'real'. Anyways


ImageJapan Day 13 DisneySea 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

We had to push the two Disney parks to the end of the trip since other parks and attractions were affected by weather, and Friday & Saturday called for rain, which I knew wouldn't affect Disney nearly as much. On Friday morning, we slept a little later than planned, but eventually made our way to the Tokyo Disney Resort by around 11am to spend the day at Tokyo Disneysea. I was afraid since we'd let the morning get away from us, and it was a Friday, that wait times would be unbearable, but we actually lucked out for the day. After getting tickets and getting in to the park, we headed over to our first ride, Aquatopia. This ride uses RFID pucks to guide water based vehicles around in a very shallow pool (6 inches deep or less), spinning, stopping, and swinging around rocks, water falls, and whirlpools. I anticipated an hours long wait, but it was only 25 minutes, so we got in line. Aquatopia was really a lot of fun!

After our ride, we noticed that the park's newest attraction, a Nemo themed simulator, had a fairly long line, so we got a fast pass for later. Then we headed into the inner part of Mt. Prometheus. This faux volcano houses several attractions, restaurants, shops, and serves as the centerpiece of the park (the 'castle' if you will). The whole park is amazingly themed, and one you enter the crater lake in the middle of the mountain structure, you have plenty of entertainment options. We eventually made it into a cave and got in line for Journey to the Center of the Earth, the park's signature attraction in the volcano. It only had an hour or so wait, which wasn't bad, and the queue was immensely themed.

ImageJapan Day 13 DisneySea 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Journey to the Center of the Earth-You basically follow the notes left by the explorers in the Jules Verne themed attraction, seeing the giant crystal caves, giant mushroom caverns, waterfalls, odd creatures, and eventually a gigantic animatronic subterranean monster, before catapulting up, down, and around the inside and outside of the mountain. While not an extreme thrill ride, it is a lot of fun, and of the three rides based on this technology, this is thus far my favorite.

After that we noticed that 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea had a 25 minute wait, so we went to that next. This dark ride is basically an inverted monorail that goes thru a lot of underwater scenes that make you feel as though you've dived underwater with effects in the 'ships' windows to bubble and make it look like you're diving down in the ocean. You come across some different creatures, including mer-people.

ImageJapan Day 13 DisneySea 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

We had lunch at Volcania, the restaurant in the volcano. Very good food. Then we walked around the main lagoon, where a Villains Show was about to begin. Isaac went in search of a restroom. There were at least 3-4000 people all sitting so quietly around the lagoon waiting for the show to begin. It was so quiet that it was almost eerie. When the show began, the show barges just happened to emerge from underneath the bridge I was standing on. After a few moments of the show, we decided to press on.

At this point, the mist was turning in to rain. I was under the impression that the main adult coaster at this park was themed to Indiana Jones, so we went in search of that, finding in the Mayan Pyramid. The wait was over an hour, but there was a single rider line. This would prove to be another win for us. You get to go thru the entire queue (which, again, was amazing), as the single rider & fast pass queue are the same till nearly the end, then, where they scan fast pass tickets, single riders diverge into another line that goes down some stairs and directly into the station. Our wait was less than the time it took to travers the queue! Then I realized that this was like the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland (the coaster is in Paris), which was a nice surprise, especially since this one is slightly different.

ImageJapan Day 13 DisneySea 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Crystal Skull-The one in California is one of my favorite rides, but this one I thought was even better. You're still in a jeep, and the physical ride may not be different, but the theming was, as was the storyline (In Japanese!). I could follow bits and pieces of the story, and that was enough. There were several times you're attacked by beams coming out of the eye of the crystal skull, there was a cool vortex effect, and the ride was really well done. I enjoyed it, and since the wait was so short, we decided to come back later and try again.

It was pouring outside, and neither of us thought to bring our umbrellas. Once the rain subsided just a bit, we looked at the wait time for Raging Spirits, the coaster at this park, saw that it was a 10 minute wait (if that), and decided to get in line. The queue shows the ride off, and again, the theming is just impeccable.

ImageJapan Day 13 DisneySea 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Raging Spirits-I'd hear some very bad things regarding the comfort level of this ride. I will say that the OTSRs weren't great, and came down tighter during the ride, but the ride was not rough in any way. It was highly themed, going up a lift, dropping, hitting the loop, then going thru several more drops and turns. This is, if I recall correctly, a modified Pinfari Loop layout (the Paris version copies the layout moreso). I enjoyed it overall. The rain caused the fog pumped out onto the ride to linger, which was great.

The rain had pretty much set in for a while at this point. We headed over to see the Arabian Coast section and went by the Little Mermaid section, though we never made it inside. We did, however, ride the kiddie coaster, Flounder's Flying Fish Coaster, a Togo in really good condition, if nothing to write home about.

So by this point we had most of the major attractions as well as both roller coasters done. The next signature ride that we didn't have a fast pass for was Tower of Terror, so we went there next. This one is different as it was the first not to be themed to The Twilight Zone.

ImageJapan Day 13 DisneySea 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Tower of Terror-Situated in the American Waterfront section of the park, the Hotel Hightower has it's own backstory of an eccentric millionaire and the stuff he found on his adventures. Theres a statue that causes the problems here. The bare bones of the ride are the same as the (now rethemed) former California tower, just differently themed. The ride itself is, as all of them have been, really great. Way too much airtime (if thats even a thing), views of the park, and a highly themed queue. Overall wait time was 90 minutes. I guess it could have been worse.

We walked around for a bit to find an umbrella for Isaac and poncho for me. While in line for Tower of Terror, a very nice lady gave us 'My First Visit' stickers, which, when seen by other cast members, always got us some extra attention, which was nice. I eventually put mine on my poncho. Soon it was time for our fast passes on Nemo & Friends Searider, a newly re-themed simulator ride. The preshow was cute with the shrinking sub display, and the overall simulator was well done. I'm glad we did it, even happier we didn't wait for it.

Aquatopia had basically no wait, so we got in line for the other side, which was a lot of fun yet again.

ImageJapan Day 13 DisneySea 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

We were both hungry. We looked at options around the American Waterfront area, eventually getting in line for the Sailing Day buffet, which ended up being a good 45 minute line. They give you a full 90 minutes to eat though, haha. We barely took up 30 minutes. I will say, though, that the food was really good, and worth the price for an all you can eat at a Disney park.

We walked around the back of the park again and took advantage of Indy's single rider line yet again while back there. This time, though, we walked thru the Lost River Delta section. From Indy we headed over to the Arabian Coast section and rode the carousel's upper deck. Then we rode the park's answer to 'its a small world', Sinbad's Storybook Voyage, a much superior version of the ride. I loved the song, it was really well done, and the ride itself was very cute.

ImageJapan Day 13 DisneySea 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

At that point we were pretty much done and the park was closing, so we made our way up to the front gate. Tokyo Disneysea and the Tokyo Disney Resort have a real metro monorail (that you have to pay to ride), so we got our tickets, not knowing we could have used our Pasimo cards to get on) and hopped around to the station to get our next train back to Yokohama. Disneysea is everything I'd heard and more. it was really amazing, intricately detailed, and I'd love to spend a full, non-rainy day there some time in the future.

ImageJapan Day 13 DisneySea 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr
Last edited by Edwardo on October 3rd, 2017, 4:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
By Edwardo
#96959
The next morning we got up early and made our way to Disneyland. It was our last day in Japan, and I knew it was likely to be busy at Tokyo Disneyland, but we pressed on. We ate dinner outside of the park at the train station before heading over to the front gate. When you enter, there’s no familiar hill with a train station for you to pass under, but you are immediately standing on a covered version of Main Street U.S.A. (Still not sure why the covered main streets are all the rage in Japan, but it does cover you from rain). The castle in the distance, however, is all too familiar.

ImageJapan Day 14 Disneyland 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

The park was quite busy. We made our way to the right first to their version of Tomorrowland (or, more aptly titled, we need to upgrade it all land). Tokyo's Tomorrowland has the familiar Space Mountain, and we were able to snag a fast pass for it for later. But it also has a version of Star Tours that never seemed busy (I'm not a fan, so we never bothered), Stitch Encounter (Stitch is pretty big in Japan, but again, I'm not waiting for 2 hours for that ride), Buzz Lightyear's Astroblasters (ditto), and a version of the twirling rockets that is being removed soon for their version of New Fantasy Land. This part of the park is in desperate need of a make over.

One ride that I've heard is nothing short of amazing, and had yet to reach a 90 minute wait time was Pooh's Honey Hunt, so we got in line with 82 minutes to wait. The queue is very well done, mostly outdoors. They should incorporate the queue entertainment from the ride at Magic Kingdom. Having said that...

ImageJapan Day 14 Disneyland 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Pooh's Honey Hunt-This was everything I'd heard of and more. Another ride that uses embedded RFID pucks to move the trackless cars around. You are grouped as 3 cars at a time, all three going thru seemingly random (though not really) jaunts thru each room. The ride is capable of spinning, stopping, swerving, and everything else Aquatopia was (without the water). One large rooms sees several different groups of threes as the cars spin and dance around, adding a custom character vehicle into the mix that stays in that room. The whole ride was great. I like Pooh, and this was the best use of the IP I've seen to date.

We walked around the park some, checking out the lines and lay of the land. Splash Mountain (which supposedly has a single rider line) was already up to 3 hours. No thanks. I knew going in that its a small world, Big Thunder Mountain, and Jungle Cruise were all down, which really hurt capacity.

ImageJapan Day 14 Disneyland 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Since Splash Mountain was likely a bust, we headed back over towards Fantasyland, and found a Haunted Mansion with a 50 minute wait (that ended up being less than 20 minutes). The ride was set up for Haunted Mansion Holiday, which was my second year in a row seeing that in another park all together. This one is slightly different than the California version of the ride, from what I remembered. After Haunted Mansion Holiday, it was time to head to Space Mountain for our Fast Pass.

ImageJapan Day 14 Disneyland 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Space Mountain-The queue needs a good overhaul (much like all of T). The station is fairly identical to the California version, but the ship hanging in the 'bay' is much different. As for the ride its self, it was a lot of fun. This is the side by side train like California. There are quite a few drops, turns, and some decent laterals. Not much in the way of theming outside of music and a projected star field on the interior of the dome, but the ride was fun. It could use the California upgrades, though.

We went back over to Splash Mountain in a second attempt to find the single rider line, to no avail. So we went over to Tom Sawyer's Island for a bit instead. I'm not sure if this one is different, but seemed much larger than what I'd been on before (and that's before Disneyland California's was shortened). After hanging out over there and having an iced coffee, we headed back to shore. A parade had just started, so we took this opportunity to head to Adventureland, grab a bite to eat, then hit up some attractions. After our sandwich and bubble tea, we did something I'd never done in any Disney park before, the Enchanted Tiki Room (Featuring Stitch, because he's huge in Japan). We had little translators that gave us subtitles, and it was cute. Also, it was a nice chance to sit down.

ImageJapan Day 14 Disneyland 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

After some shopping and a couple of pit stops, we saw that Pirates didn't have much of a line, so we did Pirates of the Caribbean next. This was much like the version with Cap'n Jack and an updated soundtrack of characters from the movies. Tokyo Disneyland also has a Blue Bayou restaurant that the first part of Pirates winds around, but the wait was 2 hours without a reservation, and I'd forgotten to make a reservation before heading to the park when planning our trip.

ImageJapan Day 14 Disneyland 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

We walked back to the very large and well done Toontown to see about Car-toon-spin, but the line was a couple hours for a fun ride that I can hit up in SoCal next time I'm there. Then we went back over by Splash Mountain (still at a 3 hour wait) on our way to ride the Mark Twain, which ended up being our final ride of the day. We walked around the park afterwards for a few more photos, and once we were back at the front of the castle, Isaac made the suggestion that we get a cheaper dinner outside the park, and actually make our way to Yokohama Cosmo World, since the lines were way long at Disneyland.

We actually had dinner where we ate breakfast (it was good), and after I picked up a few gifts for back home, we headed to the station and caught our trains to Yokohama, which wasn't far from our hotel.

ImageJapan Day 14 Disneyland 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

ImageJapan Day 14 Disneyland 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

ImageJapan Day 14 Disneyland 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr
Last edited by Edwardo on October 3rd, 2017, 4:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
By Edwardo
#96960
By this point in the trip, my legs hurt even with 1000mg of Ibuprofen, and as much as I enjoyed being in Japan, I was pretty ready to come home, sleep in my bed, and get some rest. But I'm glad we made the trip out to Cosmo World. As we got closer to the park, which is in a beautiful part of Yokohama, right on the river and across from an outcropping of Tokyo Bay. It had great lighting and a nice atmosphere. You can tell that people come to hang out on a Saturday night to have some drinks, ride some rides, and have a good time. My next time back to Japan, I'd like to spend an evening here.

ImageJapan Day 14 Cosmoworld 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

The skyline is dominated by a few buildings like Yokohama Tower, as well as the Cosmo Clock 21, formerly the world's tallest Ferris wheel (in a country filled to the brim with them). This would be our largest of the trip, as well as our last. The light package on it was spectacular! Video and photos do not do it justice. Once we found a ticket office, we got tickets for the main coaster and the ferris wheel, as the other coasters were closed, and we didn't really have time for any flats, though I would have liked to ride the log flume (complete with light package, but then again, every ride and building here had a light package).

ImageJapan Day 14 Cosmoworld 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

The wait was around 20 minutes and we had to blow in to a breathalizer to ride (I'm guessing theres a lot of drinking that goes on in the area as we smelled quite a few drunks in line for the Ferris wheel). Upon getting in and pulling down my shoulder harness...the seat belt from the harness to the seat wasn't long enough. I just knew I wasn't going to fit. Then, right about the time I looked up to say I wouldn't be riding to Isaac, the op came over with the extension. The OTSRs were really padded, and most Japanese people aren't my height. Score one for the team on the ride looking out for me though.

ImageJapan Day 14 Cosmoworld 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Diving Coaster Vanish- Once we dispatched, we swing around to the lift hill, and about 1/3 the way up, the coaster stopped. They made an announcement, and I looked back, and the guy that had given me the extension belt was shaking his head (trying to tell Isaac and it it wasn't us and everything would be fine). Of course we didn't understand much of the announcement. What I hadn't noticed was the ride op that had walked up the staircase beside me to the front row, where the 2 passengers there were filming on their phone, which is prohibited. The first drop was fun, then you swoop up and under the Ferris Wheel before diving down into the tunnel under the water, which was filled with LEDs. You come up and there are more hills and a helix at the far end of the park before you pop up into the brakes. It was a really fun ride, and its in a great setting.

We hurried over the 40 or so minute wait for the Ferris Wheel, which gave a decent 15 minute ride, which included amazing views of Yokohama, with Tokyo in the distance. There were SO many blinking red lights from the tops of buildings in Tokyo.

ImageJapan Day 14 Cosmoworld 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

Once the Ferris Wheel ride was over we headed across the street to the station and took our last train back to Tsurumi Station, just down from our hotel. We got there, packed up for in the morning, and went to sleep. Saturday morning came as early as ever as we got everything together and headed down stairs to check out (and buy a gift for my mom), then walk to the station one last time to take our last couple of trains to Narita airport, about 90 minutes away. The morning actually flew by. We got to the airport, dropped our off, checked in for our flight, grabbed some snacks, had a chair massage, and made it to our gate right on time.

The flight back wasn't so bad either. It was slightly shorter, though our crew wasn't nearly as good. I slept a little during the first three hours. This time Isaac and I were sharing a row of only 2 seats, so I was able to not wear the shoes I'd brought which were too tight in the toe section, to give my toes a nice rest and ability to stretch out. I did watch a movie and type up several large sections of this report on the flight back.

We landed in Dallas around 7-8am Texas Time. Our first order of business after getting our luggage to switch over and going thru customs, was getting an American sized burger at TGIFridays. The burger was good, though the kitchen was slow. Our 2 hour flight back to CLT was noisy and annoying. The woman beside me needed 2 seats, but only had one, and decided to put her small son by the window as she sat in the middle beside me. Yay. I think everyone on the plan got up to go to the bathroom at least twice. And the crew seemed to have done 5 drink services on a 2 hour flight. Jeez. All I wanted to do was rest, but there was no rest for the weary on this flight. We landed in Charlotte before 4pm, got our stuff, got to the car, and headed home, where I crashed after about an hour for a good 15 hours of sleep.

ImageJapan Day 14 Cosmoworld 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr

So was it worth it? Absolutely. Japan is wonderful, weird, beautiful, strange, and everything I thought it would be for the many years it took to plan. I will definitely go back, especially now that I've learned so much about how to make the trip more comfortable and successful. The culture is fairly welcoming and if you make small efforts to speak the language and understand, it seemed to make their day. There were some amazing parks, astounding beauty in Mt. Fuji, and great architecture, with atmosphere that can compete with the US's best cities (and I'm not talking about NYC). Each city we visited seemed to have it's own feel and flair. It was a great trip, and I'm thankful I was able to finally make it happen.
Here are some other photos from non coastering.
ImageJapan Day 11 Fuji Q 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr
Mt Fuji
ImageJapan Day 12 Skytree 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr
Foodz
ImageJapan Day 12 Skytree 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr
Back to the temple from day 1
ImageJapan Day 9 Tokyo & Shibuya 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr
Shibuya Crossing
ImageJapan Day 9 Tokyo & Shibuya 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr
Cosplayers at Tokyo Dome City
ImageJapan Day 9 Tokyo & Shibuya 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr
ImageJapan Day 9 Tokyo & Shibuya 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr
ImageJapan Day 6 Himeji Castle 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr
Random Shrine or something
ImageJapan Day 6 Himeji Castle 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr
ImageJapan Day 6 Himeji Castle 2017 by C. E. Beavers, on Flickr
Inside Himeji Castle
Thanks for reading along, like I said, the rest of it will be on my site (link below) this week, with several thousand photos on Flickr

cebeavers.tumblr.com
#97008
You can easily do Hanayashiki and Dome City the same day (3 hours for both parks max unless you just enjoy them and hang out). The only park I would suggest otherwise as a must would be Yokohama and you can spend an evening in the area it just doing coaster/Ferris wheel. I can’t say enough good things about the area. Food, drinks, and atmosphere.

Also, Joypolis is cute, BUT the public park and beach and boardwalk area around it is FANTASTIC. Highly recommended for views of the bay and city.

What non coaster stuff are u doing?

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