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Side note, do you think Flying Dinosaur is better than Sky Scrapper? Ride wise, that is (I'm more of a ride guy than a theming guy, but maybe that's because I've never been to Universal or similar...)

I don't know if it was better or maybe just on par. But they are BOTH the most intense flyers I've ever been on. So that's a good thing!

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I like flyers but don't really much enjoy the pretzel loop, which seems like on the Sueprman Clones/Manta is the only interesting element. They all go drop, pretzel loop, turn flip, turn flip, brakes or some combination of that. Flying dinosaur looks like an awesome combination of elements that makes for a more interesting ride.

 

Also, I'd love to see a version of that ride squeezed into IOA around/over/through the Discovery Center area. I might actually go back if they built that!

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I would say the only two attractions that fall into your "Six Flags" description at USJ would be Flying Dinosaur and Hollywood Dream. But I personally like both of those rides better than let's say Hulk and Rip Ride Rockit. So maybe it's jut a matter of personal preference.

 

Well, like I said (or maybe not; I edited that post so many times), I'm not at all a fan of Hulk or RRR. Hulk was a pretty OK coaster, but not worth the wait. RRR's non-inverted loop was SO underwhelming compared to a regular loop.

 

Both the Flying Dino and Hollywood Dream look amazing as roller coasters go. Does the backward version count as another coaster credit?

 

Okay, you've convinced me. Next time I'm in Japan, I'll have to check out USJ. Should it be seen before or after Tokyo Disneyland?

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Holy smokes, what a gorgeous Christmas tree & overall great report of a great park! Nice to see that big toothy fish is still around and looking good at USJ. TPR having cultural fun in Japan could anchor entire trip reports alone, but it doesn't hurt that Japan has become a true showcase of some of the best attractions and environments that Universal and Disney parks offer.

 

Great bonus pics from Hanno at the end, too! If my username appears in this topic for hours on end, it's because I'm still ogling those photos.

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Six Flags parks seem to like slapping a DC Comics character on a roller coaster and call that "theming." The coaster is still front and center, not the cohesive theme or the overall experience of the attraction. It's the same thing I disliked about IoA enough that we didn't even go to the park the first time I went as an adult in 2007 (I regret that now as I would like to have seen it pre-Potterland). It's the same aesthetic that I hate about Rip Ride Rockit, and frankly, I was so underwhelmed by that ride that I will probably never ride it again. There's no story, no adventure. Just "stand in this queue line, strap in to this roller coaster, and hold on!" Ditto for California Screamin' in Anaheim, albeit with a much better roller coaster. *Please understand, I LOVE roller coasters, but Disney and Universal have consistently raised the bar for themed experiences.

 

By contrast, consider the Revenge of the Mummy. Theming throughout, especially the "brain burn" scene. It actually took me by surprise on my first ride. It takes a pretty unremarkable roller coaster and elevates it to a much more exciting experience. Space Mountain, Rock N Roller Coaster, et al have a story that's set up throughout the area around the attraction, through the queue line, and continues through the attraction itself. For crying out loud, people are throwing a fit about the Tower of Terror in DCA closing, and it's nothing more than a drop tower! A drop tower with top shelf theming.

 

The appeal of Potterland, to me, is extending that theming to an entire section of park. A consistent and pervasive theme can be really effective (Silver Dollar City in Branson is a great example of this), and while the traffic flow is definitely an issue, Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley provide a unique chance to really immerse yourself in that theme. The Potter rides could never live up to their hype (I was particularly underwhelmed by Escape From Gringott's - a bad roller coaster mixed with a watered down version of Spider-Man), but the theming means that the rides don't have to stand alone. It's my favorite aspect of Animal Kingdom or Epcot's World Showcase- the feeling of actually being transported to another place. Disney is continuing the trend, with fully immersive Avatar, Star Wars, and Toy Story lands in the works. I do agree with you that the storage situation could be avoided, but they'd have to be more creative than plastic bins in order to maintain the theme.

 

I get what you're saying, I always thought that the juxtaposition of rides in Potterland at USO was slightly off, with Gringotts and FJ, you have rides themed to every tiny detail, with every aspect, ride cars etc. included, becoming a part of the story, then next to that you have two giant B&M's, where the theming ends as you leave the station, and just becomes a standard inverted coaster. For an area with so much focus on total immersion, it seems odd to have rides which are just 'rides' as opposed to 'experiences' (obviously the fact DD was there already is a major factor here..)

 

Disney parks with occasional exceptions create these total 'experiences', never wanting anything to seem like a ride or a coaster but rather an immersive 'adventure'. Coaster track is generally themed to minetrains and the like and things like ride cars and 3D glasses are usually included in the story.

 

So yeah I get what you're saying, and it does kinda seem odd to have a load of Coaster track when you are supposed to be inside Jurassic Park or whatever, but I guess if its a good coaster then does it really matter? I suppose it just comes down to levels of theming and immersiveness which as US parks seems to be sometimes quite inconsistent compared to Disney. It also comes down to personal preference, I am massively into themeing and 'experiences' whereas I know a lot of people dont really care and would rather ride a great coaster.

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I get what you're saying, I always thought that the juxtaposition of rides in Potterland at USO was slightly off, with Gringotts and FJ, you have rides themed to every tiny detail, with every aspect, ride cars etc. included, becoming a part of the story, then next to that you have two giant B&M's, where the theming ends as you leave the station, and just becomes a standard inverted coaster. For an area with so much focus on total immersion, it seems odd to have rides which are just 'rides' as opposed to 'experiences' (obviously the fact DD was there already is a major factor here..)

Don't worry. Someday Dueling Dragons will look just like it does in Japan...

C0l-9eyUAAA_nzx.jpg

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Awesome report! USJ looks like an amazing park to visit! The Flying Dinosaur is a coaster I must ride one day.

 

Yeah, I almost feel bad for KT! Flying Dinosaur was her first B&M Flyer and she pretty much started at the top!

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I get what you're saying, I always thought that the juxtaposition of rides in Potterland at USO was slightly off, with Gringotts and FJ, you have rides themed to every tiny detail, with every aspect, ride cars etc. included, becoming a part of the story, then next to that you have two giant B&M's, where the theming ends as you leave the station, and just becomes a standard inverted coaster. For an area with so much focus on total immersion, it seems odd to have rides which are just 'rides' as opposed to 'experiences' (obviously the fact DD was there already is a major factor here..)

Don't worry. Someday Dueling Dragons will look just like it does in Japan...

C0l-9eyUAAA_nzx.jpg

 

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^Haha, touche'

 

I may have missed it but was Roaring Rapids (or whatever the Shanghai rapids ride is called) closed or just not open during the winter months? That ride looks awesome but the videos I watched it seemed pretty mediocre, then again what rapids ride isn't.

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Next up was the "Cedar Point of Japan..." Nagashima Spaland!

 

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This morning we are at Nagashima Spaland filming on the new Acrobat flying coaster! It's like alternate universe Manta!

 

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Filming is going well at Nagashima Spaland! Next up... Steel Dragon now!

 

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The staff at Nagashima Spaland are amazing! One of the reasons why we love this park!

 

The Ultra Twister is one of my favorite classic roller coaster designs! So glad Nagashima Spaland still has one!

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Riding Acrobat at Nagashima Spaland does this to you!

 

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Love this view of Steel Dragon from Acrobat!

 

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Damn! Steel Dragon looks good all lit up!

 

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Yes, it's exactly like Manta is almost every way, but it's GREAT!

 

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The park is getting an S&S free spin coaster next year! It's already track complete!

 

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Ok guys... assume the position!

 

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Let's just make something clear right now... This toilet is WAY smarter than you'll ever be!

 

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White Cyclone... still one of the most impressive looking wood coasters ever made!

 

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Just look how pretty that is!

 

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Dear Jack, I miss you. Wish you were here. Signed, the Nagashima Spaland Ferris Wheel.

 

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Any park with Pokémon themed attractions is going to be a win for Kristen!

 

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Matt bought the official White Cyclone cookies! And he shared them with everyone! Want one?

 

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Nagashima also has a classic Schwarzkopf shuttle loop! Love these coasters!!!

 

I really am a sucker for Shuttle Loop coasters! Nearly 40 years old and still thrilling riders!

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The Bobkart is another fun & fairly unique ride at Nagashima Spaland

 

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OMG! OMG! Two roller coasters in one pic!!!

 

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And yes, this version of "Cedar Point" still has Demon Drop!

 

So we just survived a first generation Freefall ride! lol

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The Haunted House is sort of uniquely Japanese! It's so odd to me that people get legit freaked out in this! I wish I understood the culture more, but it sure was "interesting..." Here's a video:

 

Here's a few pics from Hanno's camera...

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acrobat1.thumb.jpg.f0215b742226e907977b93cd77215f29.jpgHaving some fun on Acrobat!

 

816756574_coasterface2.thumb.jpg.57cc013741f0e9d05110fc6342cd455f.jpgNow THAT is a "coaster face!"

 

192020135_coasterface.thumb.jpg.d49c2a1b62d5fb01e381ccbe49cc9ae1.jpgAnd that would be "coaster hair!" lol

 

921150082_derekbob.thumb.jpg.8eb4f40cb3d8c4aa9f7a8e4886b4d653.jpgHaving a jolly time on the Bobkart!

 

168860040_elissabob.thumb.jpg.3210dddf708da65cfc3b77fcb4d56f05.jpgSomeone is enjoying this!

 

709981841_kristenbob.thumb.jpg.a2963263bf5afee477cef4bcc2df36e3.jpg"Is that creepy Dutch guy taking a picture of me?"

 

445881952_lookingbackbob.thumb.jpg.3137bfc4baf8e261451c06267d2d7da7.jpg"Oh you best not be riding my ass!"

 

1545810974_mattquinnbob.thumb.jpg.e0173355cf2d0e419d799e11d827b3a4.jpgHow many Americans can we get in one Bobkart?

 

413301969_shanebob.thumb.jpg.7a120ced5ce2f23fe4c5ccc8a8c9524d.jpgWill we see one of these at Cowabunga Bay?

 

819353451_tombob2.thumb.jpg.27e1b7b98dce93ad8ac883648b0aab49.jpgWhy so serious???

 

54054209_tombob.thumb.jpg.f877f2b107f8d9d4f71e242b0816a59f.jpg"Hi, my name is Tom, but you can call me Serial Killer!"

 

1484752947_steeldragon.thumb.jpg.d1ec1672a2662e468b9c51e956a03302.jpgSteel Dragon FTW!

 

2116670037_twocoasters.thumb.jpg.e1aa4b323efa204bc3f413f1fa6a35d0.jpgOMG! OMG! OMG!!! TWO COASTERS!!! Twice in one trip report!!!

 

263646296_hanno1.thumb.jpg.c8030bc951f6b1bd615f45101b392e33.jpgSteel Dragon at night looks amazing!

 

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Had a GREAT visit to Nagashima Spaland in Japan!

 

CLICK HERE FOR KIDZANIA JAPAN PHOTOS!

Edited by robbalvey
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Awesome reports! I loved Nagashima Spaland! I'm so glad they still have the Ultra Twist, the 1st generation free fall, and the shuttle loop.

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I don't understand why America doesn't have those awesome Asian toilets. When I went to South Korea for business, I literally sat on the toilet for like 20 minutes at the hotel trying out (most of) the features!

 

Seriously...we NEED these in America!!!

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I also should have pointed out that we were at Nagashima Spaland just a couple of days after Christmas, EVERY SINGLE coaster was open, it was like 45 degrees outside, and the entire park was in operation. Explain to me again why we can't have more parks open in America during the winter?

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Nagashima Spaland looks "generic" on the surface, but it's a cool place. I really like their haunted house (so wonderfully weird), and Acrobat looks like fun, too.

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Just one question: how did the bobkart work? Is it like an alpine coaster where you control the speed? Or is it automatically powered?

It's actually exactly BOTH of these!

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Amazing park! I loved how everything looks brand new, not only the newer rides like Acrobat, but also the older rides like Corkscrew, Looping Star and Shuttle Loop. And indeed, White Cyclone must be the most beautiful woodie. So clean! Glad you had a good time.

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Great trip report! I love 1st generation Intamin drop towers, so clunky and scary with a great drop! I really wish they would develop a newer version of them that are taller and have a funky element or two after the drop.

 

Does Steel Dragon 2000 have a max height limit? I heard it was 6 feet tall?

 

I also should have pointed out that we were at Nagashima Spaland just a couple of days after Christmas, EVERY SINGLE coaster was open, it was like 45 degrees outside, and the entire park was in operation. Explain to me again why we can't have more parks open in America during the winter?

 

Six Flags Parks seem to have finally realized this. HITP at GADV was awesome, and Carowinds is coming on board with Winterfest in November. The cold weather coaster policy at GADV just needs to get adopted at other parks.

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Was the park running their coasters with water dummies? Haha

Yes. Since it wasn't that busy and it was cold out, they would fill the middle of the trains with water dummies so that people could fill the front and the back and still be able to keep the coasters open!

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