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Photo TR: Being Chuck's Account of TPR's 2007 Japan Tour


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Eh.

 

After Splash Bandit, everything else was

 

redundant.

 

 

When that late evening deluge hit, we got soaked, even under our ponchos, AND we lost the &*^#$ monorail station in the downpour, when we exited the park. Couldn't see it through the thick rain, lol.

 

Ah, good times.

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Chapter 12: Be Prepared to See Things You’ve Seen Before, But in Japanese, Part 2—Tokyo Disneyland

 

A rainy night led to one rainy morning at Tokyo Disneyland. The whole place was a sea of umbrellas, ponchos, and Japanese people dressed as Disney characters—and they didn’t even work for the park. Yes, TDL allows its guests to dress up in Disney drag, so there were quite a few characters running around the park that day (in addition to TPR members, of course).

 

TDL is, basically California Disneyland’s younger, larger cousin. You’ll find much of what you’ll find in the States here—that is, International Bazaar (Japan’s Main Street), Adventureland, New Orleans Square, Westernland (Japan’s Frontierland), Fantasyland, Toontown, and Tomorrowland. But this doesn’t mean that TDL is just a clone of the original DL. The place is sort of a hybrid of the California and Florida Magic Kingdoms.

 

As for the various attractions, TDL has the Anaheim Pirates of the Caribbean (minus one drop and a skeleton scene, making it better than Florida’s but quite as good as California’s), Space Mountain (sans music), Country Bear Vacation Hoedown (in Japanese, of course), and Buzz Lightyear, but the Orlando Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion, and car ride—along with Florida’s old Mickey Mouse Musical Review (in Japanese) for good measure.

 

And here is one thing I’d never thought I’d find myself saying: The best attraction at TDL is . . . Pooh’s Hunny Hunt! No, I’m not being sarcastic. Tokyo’s Pooh takes the two Stateside Poohs and pile drives them, body slams them, and stomps them to death—then it ties them to the bumper of its car and drags them down a gravel road before hurling them into landfill full of toxic waste. It is that much better—probably Disney’s best Fantasyland-type dark ride, with real animatronics (not fiberglass statues with movable arms). Even the diehard coaster buffs on the tour were blown away by Pooh’s Hunny Hunt.

 

What struck me was how the various lands just ran into one another without much in the way of transitions (they just sort of blended together), along with how much space there was between attractions. This park was obviously meant to handle huge crowds, which it certainly did while we were there. The park’s big Halloween promotion had just started, complete with an excellent “Nightmare Before Christmas” makeover for the Haunted Mansion (located here in Fantasyland) and a big parade held, it seemed, every ten minutes or so.

 

Overall, I loved this park, but I’m not quite as fond of it as I am of Disneyland. Maybe it’s just nostalgia for the first park I ever visited as a kid. I also thought the larger scale of TDL was a bit much (I have similar feelings about Florida’s Magic Kingdom); I prefer the cozier feel of Anaheim’s park. But that’s just my opinion.

 

It does have a big, beautiful castle, though.

 

Up next--DisneyQuest Asia?

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The park was so busy that even the woodworking shop had a huge line--in the rain. More to come.

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. . . after paying our respects, of course.

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Time to use those Mansion Fast Passes . . .

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. . . 2)It's X rated, baby!

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Two reasons why Tokyo's Small World is better than Anaheim's: 1) It's shorter, and . . .

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Hey, I have a great idea! Let's go over to DisneySea and ride Aquatopia! Whaddaya say, guys?

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Pathetic Earthlings! Hurling your bodies out into the void, when if you knew what awaited you, you would've hidden yourselves in terror!

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Everything looks blue--in space. Scientific fact, you know.

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This give you an idea how close together TDS and TDL are. (No one wanted to ride the Rocket Jets--go figure.)

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Just follow this adorable little pussy cat (Duchess from The Aristocats, I believe).

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But that means we'll have to queue up to explore the trackless (well, tracked) void of space.

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Yeah, I think Fast Pass might be the way to go here. (Note Jack Skellington's sleigh on the roof.)

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Well, it's not like any of us have never been wet before--time to move out.

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You just can't trust TPR members with pointy things.

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So, we started with a little shopping. How about a nice Mickey Mouse hemorrhoid pillow?

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Good thing the International Bazaar is under cover.

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Right, Chris?

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Tut, tut! It looks like rain.

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The super soggy fun day at TDL continues.

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"Yes, this is what we think about those 'other' Pooh rides. One more set of photos to come, I think."

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Hmm--based on this, Pooh was a member of ACE.

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Late Night Pooh Cam.

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"Pooh moaned in ecstacy when Piglet yanked on his . . ." Wait a minute! That's not from Milne's story!

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Yay for a Pooh ride that doesn't make you want to gouge your eyes out! It really is great!

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. . . and decided that he just had to "authorize" his weasel.

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Chris got one look at Jessica Rabbit . . .

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Must . . . reach . . . red . . . switch!

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My god! Those people are plunging out of control!

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I just know that I'm going to get blamed for this. Stupid Goofy and his stupid mailbox!

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Hmm--definitely not California.

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OK--California or Japan?

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Aye, let's break bread and parley like good shipmates.

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Belay those umbrellas, ye scurvy mutineers!

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Aye, Japan--ye can tell because our voyage be sponsored by the makers of this fine grog!

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A question for ye, mate: Be this California or Japan, eh?

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Not even the rain can wash away the urge for curry popcorn.

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Some of our group thought that this BTW seemed "slow," but I liked it better that Anaheim's version.

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Yep--that's one mighty big castle over yonder.

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BTW doesn't celebrate Halloween, but the Japanese lined up for it, anyway.

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"Hey, white eye! Sorry about ruining your clothes with all those arrows."

 

"Well, I did burn yer village and kill yer family, so I reckon I had it comin'."

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Even the ghosts are into pickin' and grinnin' and cloggin' and square dancin' and baccy chewin' in Westernland. Yee haw!

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The rain finally lets up--woo hoo!

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Whew! I'm beat! But it was a great day at TDL.

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"Tee hee! That's right, folks! It sure is fun being the Spawn of Satan!"

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"We are the gods of hellfire! And we will bring you . . .FIRE!"

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"Garsh! Guess I'm the Master of Metal now!"

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So the Disney characters made a pact with the Horned One to reassert their supremacy!

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Pete's Dragon even joined them!

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Pixar took over the electrical parade.

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But you get a nice view of Space Mountain while you wait for the station to clear.

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We all agreed that TDL's Autopia-type ride kind of sucked (one of the few things that did).

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Not even Japan is safe from the scourge of Emperor Zurg. Thank god for Buzz Lightyear!

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Chris says, "MY Disneyland is better." (Yes, Chris owns his own Disneyland now--he said so.)

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The sun sets slowly in the, er, east? (West?)

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Well, so much for the theory of one of our tourmates that TDL's Jungle Cruise boats still had the colorful, striped awnings.

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TDL's Tiki Room: Get the Fever beat the hell out of Florida's Tiki Room: Under New Management--especially in Japanese.

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Lou shows us the importance of accessorizing.

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Great photos!

 

I must say, even with the large crowds and the rain, I had a great time at TDL. Thank goodness for Fast Passes! I sometimes talk smack about them, but I can also see the good side of Fast Passes.

 

I would hate to see TDL if we had went on a Saturday! I bet we would still have had fun.

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Hey, Barry wasn't with me when I boarded! My god, he's developed teleporting powers!

 

 

Seriously, Chuck, hilarious stuff as always. I almost fell out of my chair when I finally found out the "red button" reference.

 

Dan "You singlehandedly brought down the Japanese rail system for a minimum of 10 seconds!" Smith

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Chapter 13: Virtual Japanese Disney Quest with Crepes--Joypolis

 

We took a bit of a "break" from Disney on our first park-hopping day by checking our Joypolis, a huge arcade that featured what was probably the worst coaster of the trip: Spin Bullet. This bizarre spinning mouse twirled and slammed around the inside of the arcade and was uncomfortable, at best. On the plus side, it did give you a nice view of the outside when it passed through a glass corridor on one side of the building.

 

I'm not big on arcades anymore, but Joypolis did have a few cool attractions. The Room of Living Dolls, a strange haunted house that used headphones with that ultra-realistic sound was probably the best--a truly freaky experience. Dark Chapel was a pretty cool 4D movie that you watch in a "fallen church" (something about some hot witch using demons to torture a priest--good 3D and physical effects, though). Wild Jungle was sort of a simulator version of Indiana Jones and made no sense at all. Non-German Tom and I discovered that we probably shouldn't consider zombie hunting as a second career in House of the Dead 4.

 

And, of course, let's not forget the crepe stand--good stuff.

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Yep--yet another Japanese Ferris wheel (not part of Joypolis) that I didn't bother to ride. Next will be some park-hopping photos from Disney (when I get a chance to resize them).

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Lou was actually enjoying this, until a certain Aussie started playing with the settings--then the thing nearly tore her feet off.

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After an intense session in the Room of Living Dolls, it helps to have a soothing foot massage.

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Who wouldn't want this darling little knick-knack in their home?

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You know, there's nothing creepier than porcelain dolls (except for, maybe, ventriloquist dummies).

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This was the typical reaction to wild Jungle.

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Yep--that's better.

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Zombie want crepes with ice cream and strawberries!

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And here's what you feel like after riding Spin Bullet.

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Here's what the Joypolis sign looks like after you ride Spin Bullet.

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Well, for some people, the glass is always half full.

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Let's see . . . car that looks like some sort of cage from the era of the Spanish Inquisition with weird restraints that may have been purchased from an S&M Web site. How can this ride do anything but suck?

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I'm talkin' Spin Bullet here.

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Welcome to Joypolis, where you can ride a coaster that seems to have been designed by the Marquis de Sade.

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The sidetrip to Joypolis took place during our first park-hopping day at the Tokyo Disneyland Resort. Park hoppers at TDR require you to visit one park each during the first two days before you can hop between them on days two and three. Here are some "hopping" pictures.

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. . . creme brulee!" More to come.

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Chris: "MY Blue Bayou has a Monte Cristo Sandwich."

 

Lou: "Bollocks to YOUR sandwich! As long as there's . . .

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OK--lunch at the Blue Bayou!

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Mickey and Minnie need to get a room.

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Yeah, we rode Dumbo--what's it to ya? (The line was pretty short, strangely enough.)

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. . . a "burning" settler's cabin! (Yeah, it's just POTC plastic fire--whey can't they do this at the U.S. parks?)

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And now a spin on Westernland's riverboat, which still has . . .

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Thanks to Disney's Halloween promotion, TDL was packed every day (Fast Pass sure came in handy).

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These parks really are pretty close together, as you can see from this map. But it's a long walk from entrance to entrance.

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Back to TDL.

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Yeah, DisneySea is pretty damn awesome. What's with the tongue, Chris?

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. . . I e-stop Bob! Better reset him.

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Hmm--if I push this button . . .

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Chris was so desperate for Hidden Mickeys that he made one of his own.

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Here I am at the corner of Park Ave. and Broadway. Over 100 years ago. In Japan.

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Evil, beady little eyes sometimes glow from the mouth of this stone head. I was the only person to see them on the first day, so it felt like I was Costello in one of those "Abbott and Costello Meet [Fill in the Blank]" movies.

 

"I tell ya, Abbott, his beady wittle eyes was starin' right at me!"

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Personally, I don't think Mr. Hightower had permission to "borrow" this particular statue.

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First, another look at ToT's queue--possibly the best of queue of them all, I think.

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More park hopping--plus a look at "Braviseamo," TDS's big lagoon show, which was interesting to watch (but I just don't get it).

 

Next up--Oh, Fuji-Queue . . .

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What an awesome day--even Mt. Fuji made a appearance. Or was it an ominous sign of things to come? Next stop--Fuji-Queue.

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"Whew! I'm spent! Show over--be sure to buy a t shirt on your way out."

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"Come to Papa, baby!"

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Somehow, you know these two crazy kids just have to get together.

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Trouble in the form of a big. scary, Erector Set dragon!

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Uh oh! Trouble coming!

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OK, the Big Show--first, this peaceul blue water spirit, which looks a lot like a barge with water cannons and lights, cruises around.

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And out come the strange children of the night!

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Aquatopia is at its coolest (and, fortunately, driest).

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Lightning strikes at the Tower of Terror.

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Sunset--almost time for Braviseamo.

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God, it took me three days to get this photo--those cars really haul over that hill.

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. . . DisneySea.

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Well, that was a bit of fun--now back to . . .

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Lou wins! She gets to ride the wild stallion!

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. . . or Chris?

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OK, who looks better in these furry ears? Lou . . .

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Aghh! Angus McNasty has followed me to Tokyo!

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. . . and was protected by demonic pumpkin knights--from Hell!

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The castle was decorated from top to bottom . . .

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^Np problem--I never realized that about DL's "flaming" cabin. I miss the big gas flames, myself,

 

Yes, the awesomeness of Fuji-Queue will be next.

 

Thanks for the nice comments, everybody.

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Chuck, this trip report is AWESOME!!! I saw the beginning, and I've seen the last four updates but I need to go back and read all the in between bits, I'm loving it. Great pictures, hilarious captions, nice format... Really enjoyable. The TDR pics are making me miss Disney, Japan, and you guys, SO much!!!

 

I need to leave it a few months before I start my trip report if I end up doing one, this one will put me to shame.

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Chapter 14: And the Theme Is . . . Wait for It—Fuji-Q (Kue?)

 

On one hand, Fuji-Q has a beautiful view of Mount Fuji—when the weather’s clear. On the other hand, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy it while you’re waiting in line to ride something—when the weather’s clear.

 

The last time I waited three hours to ride an attraction was Curse of DarKastle at BGE—and that was on the ride’s opening day. At Fuji-Q, one-hour-plus waits seem to be the norm, not the exception. How bad was it? Between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm, the little group I was with managed to snag four credits. I’m convinced that this park’s “theme” is waiting; in other words, Fuji-“Queue.”

 

Robb and Elissa warned us about Fuji-Q’s notoriously slow operations and policy of shutting down all coasters in even the slightest rain. So they went to a lot of trouble to ensure that we could hit the park on the most optimal day, at least when it came to rain, so that everyone could get in all the credits if they wanted to. My hat’s off to them for going to this much trouble.

 

That being said, not everything about Fuji-Q was bad—just uninspiring. It truly is the Magic Mountain of Japan. As for the coasters:

 

Fujiyama—This is, actually, a pretty good hyper coaster; if you like Steel Force and Steel Dragon, you’ll probably like Fujiyama. There’s a fair amount of air, and I rather like the twisty bit at the far end. Plus, we only had to wait about an hour.

 

Dodonpa—This is Hypersonic’s bigger cousin with a fairly intense launch and good air over the high hat. I actually kind of liked it, but would I wait more than 20 minutes for it again? Nah. Besides, the constant “do-don-pa” drumbeat playing in the queue is enough to madden Mother Teresa and turn her into a serial killer (it’s worse that “It’s a Small World After All”).

 

Zola 7—OK, this might be the weirdest coaster of the trip (next to maybe Geo Panic). It’s actually an indoor shooting-dark-ride coaster. Kind of rough, but unique. The shooting portion is a real challenge: 14 is considered a pretty good score (I managed 1). This ride was practically a walk-on, by the way.

 

Zuwa Zuwa—This is the “Hamster” suspended coaster. Cute, kind of fun, but definitely not worth 45 minutes in line.

 

Mad Mouse—A fairly standard model, except for a really funky “club-shaped” turn on the top level. And not worth 30 to 45 minutes in line.

 

Eejanaika—This is Fuji-Q’s “X” (or “4th-dimension” coaster). I know a number of people who liked it a lot, which is fine. But to me, frankly, the park could’ve saved itself a lot of money by simply rolling guests down a hill in a garbage can.

 

There was a kiddie coaster (Rock ‘n’ Roll Duncan) that I skipped. If I ever go back to Fuji-Q, I’ll definitely check out their Haunted Hospital walk through; unfortunately, a two-hour wait to take a 45-minute walk wasn’t very appealing that day.

 

Mt. Fuji is, indeed, an awe-inspiring sight. I just wish the park could live up to it.

 

Next up—The end

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. . . suckit! It gets a bit painful on the other side of this drop. More to come.

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Get ready to Hyper . . .

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Yes, the scrunched-up-face train is much cooler.

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Oh, god, please don't let me get Dodonpa's polka-dot train.

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As for me, I'll scarf down some of these garlic chips, thus making my breath deadly to all insectoids!

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That's it, Bill! Start waving to keep those horny bugs away!

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Hmm--I can see why the grasshoppers are attracted to these insect-like trains.

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Just beware of horny 'hoppers!

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Well, royalty or not, Fujiyama is pretty good.

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The "king," eh? Well, Louise would like to introduce you to a little ride they like to call "Nemesis" in the UK.

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It looks like they reserve the front car of each train for giant-grasshopper-mating season on Fujiyama.

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. . . or play a rousing game of Tic Tac D'oh!

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. . . take a picture of an enormous camera, . . .

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So, besides waiting in line, what else can you do at Fuji-Q? Perhaps enjoy a nice taco, . .

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You gotta wait in line,/And Barry's way behind,/At Fuji-Q!

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You gotta wait in line,/Such a long, long time!

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Oh, Fuji-Q!/Oh, Fuji-Q!/Oh, Fuji-Q,/Ijust don't get you,/Fuji-Q!

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Still waiting? Then welcome back to Fuji-Q!

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. . . Mt. Fuji. Thanks for hanging in there--one chapter to go.

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And now, I'll leave you with the two best things about Fuji-Q: Fujiyama and . . .

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Yes, we are all complete persons now!

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Why is this man smiling? I think this is credit number 800, or something.

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All must obey THE SACRED HAMSTER OF VENGEANCE!

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Sad, but true.

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At long last! Our dreams will be fulfilled!

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Apparently, you have to jump over some other fence if you're looking for "danger."

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Do you see that line of people in the lower left? Yes, they're waiting the ride the Mad Mouse. They'll be waiting a good 30 to 45 minutes. Don't ask me why.

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Happy, smiling people everwhere . . .

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Yeah, right.

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I wonder how many kids have chipped their teeth on these guns?

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Oh, Yashimi! Don't let those robots defeat me!

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. . . the Eejanaika Zone! At least I had good company.

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Yes, you've crossed over into . . .

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A dimension of ouch!

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A dimension of suck.

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A dimension of pain.

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There is a 4th dimension, beyond that which is known to man.

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This was the one I've been waiting for...thanks, Chuck! I'm sure Robb's will have a much angrier slant. (Boy, he looks PO'd in that group pic!)

 

I prefer to think of Fuji-Q's slow operations as "full service." Where else do you get clapping?

 

Also, I am a fan of industrial/factory sounds, and Dodonpa has some of that in the launch tunnel.

 

Oh, and that girl in front of Bill on Fujiyama is VERY HOT, so thanks again!

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Oh, and that girl in front of Bill on Fujiyama is VERY HOT, so thanks again!

 

Now I feel so.... unloved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You gave more credit to Fuji that I ever would, Chuck. After that several hours of... well, tired but true. Waiting.

 

Hospital thing would have been cool too. I remember we all found out that THIS was a pretty great walk-through in all we'd go through in the Japan parks, hmm?

 

And I still have both rodents to get the credits on, heh heh.

 

Thanks for the memory jog. One more chapter, huh? Looking forward to it, finale' ultimo!

 

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Fuji-Q is the suckhole of the damned. Like I said before, it's like Six Flags Darien Lake and PKI had a baby and then dropped it on it's head several times. Absolutely horrible operations and crap rides. When the hamster coaster is the best ride in the park, there is a problem. Oddly enough, the Thomas Town was actually nice, which leads me to believe that it was accidentally delivered to the wrong place. If I never see this park again, it will be too soon.

 

Chuck's report rules, as always. And it was cool to see Mt Fuji for a few minutes that day.

 

dt

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