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^That spinning mouse closes whenever there is even a slight chance for rain. It was closed on our visit, and has been closed probably half the time we've been to that park. Like you said, at a park with as many interesting rides as Cosmoworld, you really don't miss it!


Thanks for clarifying! Fortunately Vanish didn't have the same rain policy. I was worried when it started drizzling and heard it was only open in the morning for you guys when you visited on the pre-trip.

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Universal Studios Japan


Day One


Universal Studios Japan was probably the most anticipated park on the Japan trip after Tokyo Disneyland. I’ve often heard the Japanese version is the best of their parks and essentially a greatest hits collection of their US dark rides. That combined with the two big B&Ms certainly had me excited. To say the visit was anything short of interesting would have been an understatement.



Mandatory Universal shot.


My visit began with an all-too-realistic Earthquake- the Ride. Instead of taking place in a tram, this took place on the 13th floor of my hotel. It was the 6.1 magnitude earthquake Osaka experienced last month. I had never felt an earthquake before, so it was pretty freaky to feel just how much the hotel was swaying.



Turns out this ride in Gatlinburg isn't exactly the best simulation of an earthquake.


Yet Universal Studios opened. It opened almost 2 hours late and without Hollywood Dream, Flying Dinosaur, or Jurassic Park River Adventure, but we really couldn’t complain. I’m pretty sure something like this would keep a US park closed. Heck, rain can be enough to close a US park.



I thought the dinosaurs only had to worry about meteors and the Ice Age, not earthquakes.


Definitely a bummer seeing the two big B&Ms down, but we were just glad the park opened.


Jaws was also closed, but that was planned.


In anticipation of large crowds, we had pre-purchased Express Passes. Unlike the US Express Passes, there is no unlimited option. Further, the most popular attractions have assigned half hour windows. We were skeptical the passes would even be necessary after the earthquake, but several rides like Despicable Me, Forbidden Journey, and Space Fantasy were posting hour plus waits for a majority of the day.



Crowds weren't exactly light, so even after an earthquake, the Express Pass was useful.


With Hollywood Dream and Flying Dinosaur closed, it seemed like Hogsmeade was the destination of choice for most people at rope drop. Since we had Express Passes in hand and a 10:30 reservation for Forbidden Journey, we joined the rush. The first thing that immediately stood out was the entrance to the Wizarding World. While at Islands of Adventure you’re just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Jurassic Park, you have to travel down this long wooded walkway in Japan and it really helps immerse you in the land.



This Stone Henge looking thing is the entrance to the Wizarding World.


We started with Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and used our Express Pass to skip the posted 90 minute wait. Unlike Orlando’s version, Japan forces a no loose article policy, so everything had to go into a locker prior to boarding. The lockers are definitely a claustrophobic cluster, but seeing that they’re free I’m willing to look past that and focus on the amazing attraction.


For the most part, the ride was identical to the US versions except that Harry and his friends were dubbed over in Japanese. Then I think the dementor scene here was more prolonged and well-executed thanks to 3-4 near-misses during the sequence. Beyond that, you have the robotic arms had the same exciting movement and the ride is an excellent hybrid of screens and physical sets. This truly is one of the best dark rides in the world. 10 out of 10



Forbidden Journey was basically the same as its US counterparts and that isn't a bad thing.


Hogsmeade was basically the same (just with less people so I could enjoy it somewhat more).


Ollivander's was the same minus the screaming kids you find in the US.


Dragon's Challenge was the same too.


Flight of the Hippogriff was due on our Express Pass, so we happily bypassed the 45 minute queue. While I sort of felt guilty being assigned the front and depriving a younger guest from the unobstructed view of a hippogriff’s neck, I was thankful for the extra legroom. Unlike Orlando’s version, this one has individual lap bars with shin guards on every row except the front.


Don’t be fooled by the modest 29 mph, but this is a coaster where you have to empty everything from your pockets. Normally I’m leery storing items on a ride platform, but in Japan I felt 100% safe doing so. The ride itself was exactly what you’d expect from the expanded roller skater. It was a smooth and decent family coaster. It’s nothing special, but this one is well landscaped and a hit with kids. 4 out of 10



I'm honestly shocked they didn't have more hippogriff merchandise considering Japan's love of characters.


The superior family coaster at Universal Studios Japan is Snoopy’s Great Race. I openly admit that I drink the Peanuts Kool-Aid, but this really is one of the best themed junior coasters out there. The indoor area looks cool on its own, but then the coaster blasts you through a billboard and has Snoopy follow the train, recording from his director’s chair during the helix finale.


The coaster’s layout is nearly indistinguishable from a Vekoma roller skater, but don’t be fooled, this is actually a Senyo creation. This is a really smooth coaster and it’s guaranteed to leave a smile on your face with its heart. One bit of advice though, I don’t recommend that adults double up in the same row. We made the mistake and it was an incredibly tight fit since the right side has oversized padding for the littlest of riders. 5 out of 10



I hope you're ready to star in a movie. Snoopy didn't say what he was filming, but I doubt it ends up on the dark webs.


Aw shucks, I drove through the billboard again.


This just looks odd in a Universal park.


Having whored out on the two smaller coasters, we decided to regain our dignity and ride the Amazing Adventures of Spiderman. Outside of a dual loading platform to expedite dispatches, the ride was identical to its US counterpart and in no way is that a bad thing. Spiderman uses its IP to perfection. All the villains use their powers to perfection and the effects (both visual and physical) are extremely convincing. 10 out of 10



The scoop is that Spiderman is the same outside of a dual loading platform.


Since Flying Dinosaur and Hollywood Dream were down for the count, we went to guest services hoping that we could switch our Express Pass to Space Fantasy, which was posting 60-90 minute waits. Unfortunately that was not an option. However much to our amazement, Universal offered a partial refund for the attractions where we didn’t use the Express Pass. That was a completely unexpected and nice gesture on their end.


Space Fantasy was overlaid with Final Fantasy VR for our visit. Since we were in Japan, the overlay was basically crack for them. We saved a large chunk of time queuing for the single rider line and boarded in about 10-15 minutes. With the overlay, Universal absolutely castrated the attraction’s capacity. Usually Space Fantasy has 4 four-person cars. For the overlay, Space Fantasy was reduced to 2 car trains with only the front seats loaded. That’s only a quarter of the ride’s original capacity. The VR headsets are loaded quickly and efficiently at least.


For my first ride, I tried the VR. Admittedly I am not the biggest fan of VR on coasters, but this is as well as I’ve seen it executed. The animation was crisp. I had zero clue what the plot was, but it was basically a chaotic mishmash of ships and dudes fighting with lasers and swords. The coaster had three lifts and each were immediately followed by a larger drop that pulled some solid Gs at the bottom thanks to the compactness. And there was even a sneaky pop of air to boot on a little bunny hill.


We immediately got back in line and ditched the VR. The ride requirements are a bit odd in this regard. Rule 1 states that you cannot ride if the headset doesn’t fit. Yet Rule 2 says you can remove the headset during the coaster if you feel uncomfortable. A good chunk of the ride’s old theming was still present and I was blown away by how trippy the mirror room was. Whoever thought it was a good idea to fill a room with mirrors and strobe lights is a mad genius.


I can only dream what Space Fantasy is like in its natural, unedited state. From Robb’s old POV, it’s clear Space Fantasy used to have more effects. Those effects combined with a spinner really must have been an incredible experience. For now, it’s either the pinnacle of coaster VR or a solid indoor coaster. It’s just a bummer to see a coaster with the potential for so much more neutered for the time being. 7 out of 10



Oh how I wish I could have experienced Space Fantasy in its natural state.


Our next stop was Backdraft. The fact that Universal opened this attraction immediately following a natural disaster may have been called insensitive by some, but we were reveling in the irony. The preshow was lost as a non-Japanese speaker, but the visual splendor of the finale transcends all languages. The final room is basically Michael Bay’s dream. It’s basically wall-to-wall fire effects. And then there’s an extra surprise at the end too that I wouldn’t dare ruin here. 7 out of 10



My inner pyro was satisfied.


Japan is the last Universal to still have their Terminator film, so we were sure to see Arnold one last time. The preshow was just as long as I remembered. Unfortunately it was again lost on us as a non-Japanese speaker, but the Cyberdyne presenter’s exuberance was impressive. She was borderline screaming every word and each of her physical movements was highly exaggerated.


The film was just as awesome as I remembered. The only thing that felt off was Arnold. Instead of sounding like his robotic self, the Japanese dub sounded fairly normal. But that was quickly forgotten after I was lost in the action. This 10 minute film was more action packed than some 2.5 hour summer blockbusters. The blend of the 3D film with live actors was seamless. And the explosion at the end was absolutely stunning. The combination of smoke and borderline seizure-inducing light flashes made it impossible to even see the person next to you.


Seeing Terminator again definitely put a smile on my face. But that quickly turned to a frown when I realized this was probably the last time I’d ever see it. Terminator is one of my favorite movie franchises and this attraction certainly does the IP justice. 9 out of 10



The last Terminator that hasn't been terminated.


Last but not least, we experienced Monster Hunter. The description sounded like a walkthrough haunt, so we were floored after 20 minutes when we were told to “choose our weapon.” Were we going to bludgeon some poor employee in a suit?


Nope. There’s a giant screen showing dragons, warlocks, and whatever else you’d expect to see in a fantasy film. Oh, so we should shoot the creatures on the screen? Nope. Every three seconds we were told to hold a pose and they took our photo. So essentially we walked into a screwed up photo shoot. We couldn’t help but laugh the absurdity of it, but this definitely isn’t something I need to experience again. 3 out of 10



It looks like a haunt.


But then you hold the box of power to choose your weapon and take a bunch of photos.


Despite hour waits for major attractions and populated midways, Universal cancelled their evening parade and moved up their closing time by 2 hours. It definitely couldn’t be for a lack of crowds or weather, so I’m guessing it was due to the park being short-staffed considering the earthquake impacted the country’s rail system and roads. I still can’t believe the park even opened mere hours after the quake, so really I couldn’t complain.


Day Two


This was TPR's first official day at Universal Studios Japan. I returned the next day hoping to finally ride Hollywood Dream and Flying Dinosaur. Since neither was listed as closed by the main entrance booth, we were optimistic. However, that euphoric feeling quickly shifted to pessimism when we didn’t notice either coaster testing prior to opening.


Maybe they were just finishing final inspections? We certainly perked up once we saw Flying Dinosaur testing. But it was nothing more than a tease. The coaster sent out four test trains and then sat dormant for the rest of the day. Hollywood Dream did the exact same thing in the afternoon. Well that made me 0/2 trying to get the park’s marquee coasters.


Seeing the two coasters down definitely was a buzzkill, but I managed to still have a fun day. Robb deserves a lot of thanks here as he spent far more time at customer service than he spent on rides to try and ensure we all enjoyed ourselves. Robb goes into more detail about the frustrations in his report (Robb's Universal Japan Report). Just something to keep in mind on a future trip.



I hope those water dummies are enjoying their ERT session.


One attraction that did reopen was Jurassic Park- The Ride. Despite the humid weather, this was essentially a walk-on all day. Prior to boarding, there’s a queue line video demonstrating what not to do on the attraction. This wouldn’t be noteworthy except for the fact that they have an American breaking every rule. I’d say they ported over the US safety video, but the rest of the boat is filled with well-behaved Japanese riders. I’d say I’m offended, but it’s all too true about the difference in behavior between the two countries.



I hear a ride is open in the Jurassic Park area. It's just not the dinosaur I was looking for.


I don't know if I should be offended or proud of Universal Japan for preaching the truth. We Americans are more likely to do this than the locals.


The attraction was almost identical to the US versions except for two improvements. Just prior to entering a building a crate falls mere feet from riders. Then, the t-rex right before the climatic final plunge lunges towards riders, far closer than on the US version, which is quite the thrill. And of course that’s followed by the awesome final plunge which is incredibly tall and steep for a water ride. Jurassic Park really is one of the best water rides in the world. 10 out of 10



It looks really wet, yet somehow it's pretty dry.


Despicable Me Minion Mayhem was a mix of emotions for me. On one hand, this is the best Despicable Me attraction. The ride system uses individual simulators like the Simpsons Ride. The motion is far more convincing than the theater versions in the US and it’s extremely nice having an unobstructed view of the screen. On the other hand, the only reason Despicable Me uses this ride system is because it cannibalized Back to the Future.


I regret never being able to experience any of the Back to the Future rides, especially since I’m a big fan of those films. But if you can view this attraction in a vacuum, it is an enjoyable simulator. It’s also impressive what they were able to do with the surrounding area. It’s a bustling epicenter of minions and the colorful land really pops. 7 out of 10



I wish Doc Brown could go back in time to change this back, but I have to admit that Despicable Me looks really good.


Beware the dramatic feelings and banana scent.


The walkaround minions were awesome.


I cannot say the same about the pizza. Just look at those ingredients...


Waterworld is neither an attraction nor movie I had previously seen. Despite this, I really enjoyed the show. I had zero clue what anyone was saying, but it was pretty easy to tell who the good guys and bad guys were. The show is a special effects spectacular with lots of stunts, flips, and explosions. I’d say the show is so good that I’ll consider watching the film, but I heard that film really really sucks. 7 out of 10



Water water everywhere.


Then for laughs we also rode the Flying Snoopy. Essentially take Disney’s Dumbo ride and replace the elephants with adorable Snoopies. Oh and add in individual lap bars that seem more fitting on a coaster. The ride is nothing special for adults, but kids were having the absolute time of their lives. 5 out of 10



Either Japan celebrates Easter at a different time than us in America or this theming has been up a bit too long.


We then spent the rest of the day reriding our favorites from the previous day such as Forbidden Journey, Spiderman, and Space Fantasy. Since the light afternoon rain had cleared up, we were looking forward to catching the night parade. But it wouldn’t be as the park cancelled it due to weather.


Day Three


Originally we weren’t planning on returning to Universal. However, Flying Dinosaur and Hollywood Dream had reopened. Since Robb had gotten partial refunds for our unused Express Pass attractions, I immediately forked that money over for another day’s admission and rope-dropped Backdrop, the backwards version of Hollywood Dream.



That's a sight for sore eyes.


Hollywood Dream basically looks like the bizarro version of Rip Ride Rockit as it’s a catchy, audio-reliant roller coaster occupying a narrow strip of land in the front of its respective park. I was salivating at the prospect of experiencing a backwards B&M in the back of the train, but that was quickly thwarted by assigned seating. There is absolutely no choice seating even if you ask nicely. The end result was being assigned row 4 on both my backwards rides.


Not surprisingly, Hollywood Dream/Backdrop has a very strict loose articles policy. Prior to the station, riders must place all loose articles in a bin that they take with them. The ride attendants did a very thorough job. They weren’t content with just wanding me. They had me turn each pocket inside out. Since I couldn’t do this with my back pockets, I literally had to bend over so they could peer inside. Then at the station, you place your bin in a locker and then are wanded again for good measure. Thankfully they have a million attendants so the process is fast.


Usually the only coasters I experience in reverse are boomerangs or bumpy old wooden coasters. So I was really excited at the prospect of experiencing an endless array of smooth camelbacks backwards. Again I only rode in the middle of the train, but I did get a nice falling sensation on each drop and decent air on each hill. It was a really an odd experience riding a pseudo-hyper in reverse. 8 out of 10



One out of every four trains was the red Backdrop train.


I immediately tried the forward side. Luck was not on my side as I was again assigned row 4 for my first two rides (because I’m a nerd, the odds of that happening are 1/6666). Then on my fifth ride I was given row 2 and that was noticeably better. The second hill had decent airtime and then every hill after the first turnaround had fantastic floater air. 8 out of 10


Those who were lucky enough to have ridden Hollywood Dream in the back said the airtime was quite a bit better back there. That’s about what I expected as that’s usually the money seat on B&M hypers. It’s just a shame I wasn’t able to ride anywhere near the back, but it’s still a very reridable coaster and gives a solid ride in the seats I tried.



It's a cute pocket-sized B&M pseudo hyper.


Or the bizarro Rip Ride Rockit.


It's not the most intense mega coaster out there, but it does have some solid airtime.


I couldn't pick Rainbow Connection, but Michael Jackson was a pretty good consolation prize.


But the king of the park is Flying Dinosaur. The coaster’s placement is perfect. It was a real treat to see a big B&M roaring overhead in the Jurassic Park area as opposed to the dinky little Pteranodon Flyers. Like Hollywood Dream, Flying Dinosaur has a strict loose articles policy, offers no choice seating, and has a single rider line. But unlike Hollywood Dream, I was lucky enough to get rides in both the very front and back of the train.


The action begins with an outstanding first drop. Usually flyers (and most inverting B&Ms for that matter) have a curved first drop devoid of airtime. Flying Dinosaur instead has a straight and steep drop. The whip off the lift hill is incredible and backseat riders are treated to some incredibly funky and powerful airtime. That’s followed by a graceful zero-G roll and then two of the most intense elements in the world.


Instead of stopping at the barrel roll, Flying Dinosaur turns riders on its back. This fly-to-lie has the tenacity of an RMC barrel roll drop. That’s followed by an intense raven turn that pulls Gs akin to a pretzel loop. And speaking of pretzel loops, that is immediately what follows. This one is huge and even includes a tunnel at the base when riders feel the weight of the world crushing against their chest. Just one of those inversions would have been memorable, but experiencing those back-to-back shows that B&M still knows how to make a forceful coaster.


Flying Dinosaur could have mailed it in right there and still been an amazing attraction, but it still boasts an awesome second half. The pretzel loop exit gives some surprise airtime in the back. Then there’s an airtime hill for everyone. That’s followed by a majestic zero-G roll. Time stands still with how drawn out it is. That’s then followed by an intense helix, another bit of airtime in the back, and a tenacious barrel roll. The latter was a stark contrast to the graceful zero-G rolls earlier in the coaster.


The front was spectacular for the views, but Flying Dinosaur was definitely better in the back. It pulls some serious Gs in any row, but they’re cranked into overdrive in the back row. Plus you can experience some of the funkiest airtime in the world on that first drop.


Previously I would deliberate between whether or not Tatsu or Manta was the best flyer. Flying Dinosaur ended that debate and I don’t know if any other flyer will top it for quite some time. The combination of ridiculously forceful elements combined with the fantastic setting is something few coasters can match. I can only dream something like this makes its way to Orlando to compensate for the loss of Dragons. 10 out of 10



Tatsu has been dethroned. Flying Dinosaur is the best flyer out there.


It has the obligatory pretzel loop plus so much more awesomeness.


It fits into the Jurassic Park area flawlessly.


Flying Dinosaur has no dead spots.


Getting on the two B&Ms was a win in itself, but I was also able to experience Universal’s Night Spectacular. I’ll always be more of a coaster/ride guy than a parade guy, but this parade was impressive. The floats in themselves were eye-catching and impressive. But then they were incorporated by energetic dancers and well synchronized projection mapping effects dressing the buildings along the parade route.


The parade represented four of Universal’s strongest IPs (Minions, Transformers, Jurassic Park, and Potter) and designed unique elements for each. The Jurassic Park sequence was the most impressive as they unleashed a cage of raptors to run wild with the dancers and audience. Then the Potter sequence had the characters casting spells and warding off dementors. Not only was it well-executed, but it was long too. I’m pretty sure the parade was in the 35-40 minute ballpark. That’s compared the 15 minute length of most Disney parade. Sorry Disney, but you’ve been bested here. 10 out of 10



I thought Disney was the king of parades. Universal has thrown their card into the ring.


It had Potter.


It had Transformers.


It had Jurassic Park.


And it had Minions. Plus all sorts of projections and music.


So my visits to Universal were far from conventional. Basically it was two days exclusively of dark rides and then one day of just coasters. Next time I’m hopeful an earthquake won’t throw a monkey wrench into plans. I do think this is the best of the Universal parks and that makes it one of the best parks in the world. My favorite parks tend to blend thrills and theming, and that’s basically Universal in a nutshell.



The Universal visit didn't go how I thought, but in the end I think it's better than the Orlando parks.


Universal really did look amazing at night.




Beyond the parks, Universal Japan also had the obligatory CityWalk just outside the front gate. It wasn’t as expansive as Florida’s and consisted almost entirely of restaurants, but the restaurant selection was quite impressive. Over the 5 nights we were at the resort, I sampled the following:



Gyoza is basically crack. Pan fried crack.


There was something genuinely satisfying about grilling my own meat.


Ok so this was inside the park. It taught me an important lesson; just eat at CityWalk.


It did feel odd not having an entertainment complex like a movie theater or mini golf course right there, but then again Japan has an amazing rail system and there’s a station smack dab in CityWalk.



And I'll finish with an early morning shot of CityWalk. It looks sort of creepy this empty.

Edited by Canobie Coaster
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It frustrates me reading how you had such a great visit to the park only because in order for you to have such a great visit I had to deal with an insane amount of frustrations including, but not limited to: Standing in their guest services window line for over four hours during the course of our visit due to completely incompetent customer service staff, not being able to exit or re-enter the park without paying another full entry (which later was explained why and we were able to re-enter if we lied and told them we were going to our hotel), having to actually fight to get those partial refunds for the express passes (you should see the text message exchange I had with the communications rep, it's shocking the park is allowed to interact with guests paying thousands of dollars this way), rides that were completely closed for the entire day not communicated at the front entrance of the park, being given the wrong tickets after I waited hours in line only to be told that they might not be able to exchange them even though we paid for different tickets and Universal admitted it was their mistake, etc, etc... There is more, but I'll stop there. You get the idea.


Let's just say I'm happy to hear you had a great experience as a guest. As a tour organizer, this set of days completely sucked for us and Universal Japan was by far the worst park of the trip that we had to deal with, and we went to Fuji-Q on this trip. (Who was amazing, BTW!)


Sorry, to derail your trip report, but I just felt it was important to add that in.


I was NOT impressed with Universal Japan this visit. Operations and guest services took a complete nose dive since our past visits.

Edited by robbalvey
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It frustrates me reading how you had such a great visit to the park only because in order for you to have such a great visit I had to deal with an insane amount of frustrations including, but not limited to: Standing in their guest services window line for over four hours during the course of our visit due to completely incompetent customer service staff, not being able to exit or re-enter the park without paying another full entry (which later was explained why and we were able to re-enter if we lied and told them we were going to our hotel), having to actually fight to get those partial refunds for the express passes (you should see the text message exchange I had with the communications rep, it's shocking the park is allowed to interact with guests paying thousands of dollars this way), rides that were completely closed for the entire day not communicated at the front entrance of the park, being given the wrong tickets after I waited hours in line only to be told that they might not be able to exchange them even though we paid for different tickets and Universal admitted it was their mistake, etc, etc... There is more, but I'll stop there. You get the idea.


Let's just say I'm happy to hear you had a great experience as a guest. As a tour organizer, this set of days completely sucked for us and Universal Japan was by far the worst park of the trip that we had to deal with, and we went to Fuji-Q on this trip. (Who was amazing, BTW!)


Sorry, to derail your trip report, but I just felt it was important to add that in.


I was NOT impressed with Universal Japan this visit. Operations and guest services took a complete nose dive since our past visits.


I'm thankful for the sacrifice you had to make to ensure everyone on the trip had an enjoyable day. I definitely agree it's important to share the frustrations you experienced with guest services since that occurred in the background and you did a great job shielding us from it. I didn't want to go into too much detail on those issues since everything I'd be sharing would have been secondhand information from you and your report had already covered several of these points. But I can see how that's important to set the tone and circumstances of the visit (especially if any future reader hasn't seen your report), so I added a link to your report so they can see both sides of the coin- as both the organizer interfacing with guest services and the guest separate from them.


^^ Amazing pictures! This park has been a "bucket list" park for me for a very long time, and I hope to have a chance to visit one day. Flying Dinosaur is just magnificent, and I'm sure it provides a great ride!


Thanks! Flying Dinosaur really is an outstanding coaster. I really hope something like that comes to one of the US Universal parks.

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Fun. I love me a mouse coaster. Too bad it was closed


Thanks! I definitely would have ridden the mouse had it been open, but it would have been a 1 and done. Cosmoworld had far more unique attractions that I would have preferred to reride. The placement atop a building was the most intriguing thing about it.

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Can't believe I left this thread as neglected as I did. I just spent the last hour catching up, but still have another 50 posts to go >.< -- very informative reports and great photos, too! Looking forward to reading the rest and catching up on the rest of the thread soon. Tons of great info in these, thanks for taking the time to write these up.

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Washuzan Highland


Washuzan Highland was an odd park. And odd may be putting it mildly. I don't even know where to begin with this one.



A Brazilian park in Japan. Who knew?


And it was located in the Holy Land of Jeans.


Actually I do, the park is themed to Brazil. Of all the things to theme a Japanese park to, this park picked Brazil. I'd say I should be surprised, but this is the same country with Parque Espana. The theme is pretty loose outside of Brazlian themed music and height check signs of Brazilians.



The park had plenty of flags but not enough soccer balls.


Yeah mon, you're tall enough to ride.


We were a bit worried the bad weather would keep the coasters closed, but the park assured us they’d run any operating attraction in the rain. Awesome! Not awesome was the fact that half the park’s rides seemed closed. That unfortunately included the rare Togo Ultra Twister and jet coaster on the mountain. It was certainly a bummer to miss Ultra Twister, but fortunately Nagashima Spaland still has one as well so I have one more shot this trip.



Ultra Twister sat there teasing us.


The park is aptly named Washuzan Highland, as you have to climb almost 400 stairs to reach the park’s highest point. It afforded me the opportunity to work off the Japanese BBQ and gyoza. Plus the views of the surrounding area was breathtaking. Japan really is one of the world's most beautiful countries.


The top of the hill included several attractions. Beyond the closed jet coaster, they also had an observation tower and a drop tower, both of which were unfortunately closed. That left two operating attractions. One was a terrifying looking Bungee Jump. Beyond the height, it was pretty disconcerting after seeing the rust of the park’s coasters and that the operator was also the bartender from the nearby drink stand. Still I probably would have risked death had it not been a steep upcharge.



Right this way to some more closed rides.


Some spare parts for the jet coaster?


Neither tower was operating. I was sort of looking forward to riding in the dense fog.


The upcharge bungee jump was open though.


The other attraction was the Sky Cycle, an odd self-powered monorail on the edge of the mountain. On ET Adventure, you ride things looking like bikes. On this, you actually ride bikes complete with the saddle, pedals, and hand brakes. The view was fantastic and it was a pretty frightening experience considering the bikes shifted side to side a bit on the turns. 8 out of 10



There's the nice view we were promised!


There was one coaster operational for us and of course it was the backwards Togo. Those are two words sure to make any enthusiast cringe. I mean they can barely make a forwards coaster that doesn't kill you. The rusted appearance of the coaster certainly didn't instill confidence that I'd come off without a concussion, but I remained optimistic.


And in actuality, it was reallyy good! Basically it followed the same layout as Kings Dominion’s Shockwave. The first drop had some good floater air and the subsequent vertical loop was forceful and extremely disorienting in reverse. I braced for the worst on the helix, but headbanging never occurred! After the helix came the best part of the ride, the bunny hills. Most of them gave weak pops of air, but the final turnaround surprised everyone with a strong pop of ejector airtime.


I rode it 4 times in a row before I started to feel a bit nauseous. It was one heck of an intense coaster. Because of the rain, the stand-up train they also run was out of service. I was intrigued to try it standing up, but I also wanted to have kids someday so it was a win. Maybe the secret for Togo is to only run their coasters in reverse. I'm sure that'll fix Manhattan Express. 8 out of 10



That's quite a bit of rust.


If you told me a rusty, backwards Togo would have been good, I would have called you a liar. Turns out I was very wrong!


I wanted to try the park’s intriguing looking walkthrough, Cavern Quest, but on my way I was solicited into participating in the park’s Samba dance show. I'd say the odds of being randomly chosen are slim, but TPR members were literally the only parkgoers in the two hours we were there. So I was quickly reminded how terrible of a dancer I am.



In retrospect, it's not surprising I was picked to participate considering the size of the audience.


I didn't quite make it to Cavern Quest this time, but maybe in a future visit. It looked intriguing.


Washuzan Highland had a beautiful setting and a nice staff. While they were completely transparent about their closed attractions, it still was a bummer to see almost half the rides closed for maintenance. Still we had a solid time thanks to a backwards Togo looper. That is a sentence I never thought I'd write.

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Great report of indeed a very odd park.


It is a shame most of the rides were closed, but it seems like you still had a good time. It is kind of disturbing though that the operator of the bungee jump was also the bartender from the drink stand. Oh well..

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That backwards Togo really was one of the surprises of the trip so it was indeed still a solid visit. And I'm sure the attendant was a bungee jump operator first and a bartender on the side, but it was still quite funny to see him running on over.

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Finally got around to reading everything... great stuff. Really looking forward to getting to Silver Dollar City one day. I didn't know much about it outside of Outlaw Run (and now Time Traveler). Looks like they have a bunch of other great rides too I wasn't aware of. I'd also love to go to Japan, but closed rides always seem to be a theme. Granted I'd enjoy more than just the theme parks, but still. Looking forward to hearing and seeing more about the Japan trip! Tokyo Disneysea is on my bucket list...

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Silver Dollar City doesn't have any weaknesses. It's truly a park you want to spend a few days at. Not that it's necessarily needed, but it's a park you don't want to rush through. At one point I could have said Silver Dollar City may have been the best park I visited, but that discussion has been put to rest after visiting Tokyo Disneyland. I was absolutely blown away by everything at that resort.


Between rain or maintenance, basically every park had at least one ride down. But on the bright side, it gives you incentive to return, not that it's really needed since Japan is awesome anyway.

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New Reoma World


I'm sure you've all visited a park where you set the bar low and then it exceeded all expectations. For me, that happened with New Reoma World. I saw that they had some intriguing coasters on RCDB, but I wasn't expecting such a cute and well-themed park.


Unlike the last park, TPR was not the park’s only guests. We were joined by 2-3 other families. I was impressed the park was even open on such a low-attended and rainy day, but Robb pointed out Japan’s full-time employment policy which is a stark contrast to the arsenal of seasonal workers that form the backbone of Six Flags and Cedar Fair.



I guess Tails is the park mascot.


Our first stop was the park’s largest coaster, Vivace. Approaching the mine train coaster, it was hard not to notice two things- the coasters beautiful setting over a pond and the large, sweeping first drop. And that first drop did deliver. It feels even faster than it looks and the high-speed turn immediately after pulls some decent Gs and even had me starting to greyout. The middle of the layout isn't much to write home about, but the finale has two tight helixes, one downward and one upward.


I got two rides on Vivace- one up front and one towards the back. I preferred the latter for the added Gs on the turns. I was expecting some shaky transitions like an Arrow mine train, but Vivace was remarkably smooth and reridable. 6 out of 10



Have I mentioned the park has a gorgeous setting? You have mountains in the background and a few ponds in the park.


Vivace is all about the drop if you ask me. It's surprisingly big for a mine train.


On the way to the next coaster, I passed a few dark rides. The first was Battle Beasts. I suspected it was a shooter based on the name and my assumption was correct. For a smaller park, I was shocked they had a video in the queue giving the ride's story and some alien theming straight out of a Ridley Scott film.


The ride itself was much better than expected. I figured this would have cheap cardboard cutouts like Boo Blasters, but this had countless full-size statues along the course. Most of them were static, but I was willing to give them a pass because of how nice they looked. For the finale, a few of the larger ones did start to move as a bonus.


The targets were large and the laser sights on the guns were clear. As a result, I scored well over 220,000, which got me a sticker to honor me for protecting Earth from the alien invasion. This may have been the park’s best attraction and it's one of the funnest shooters out there. 9 out of 10



This shooter had way more theming than expected. The entry area looked like a set from Alien.


They even had a special newscast to set the story. I would have watched if it weren't a walk-on...or in Japanese.


Dark Side was an interesting haunted walkthrough. For the most part it was extremely dark, but there were two noteworthy scenes. One was a creepily desserted church. Another was a well-done screen with projection mapping effects. I'm pretty shocked other parks haven't utilized this more with their haunts, but I'm sure it's coming down the pipeline. Then there were 3-4 scenes with scare actors, but the strange part was that it was the same dude running scene to scene wearing just a hockey mask. There are definitely better haunts out there, but this is pretty good for what it is. 6 out of 10



The Japanese parks really do love their haunted houses.


The most WTF attraction at the park was the innocently named Rainbow Bandits. If I did acid, I’m pretty sure this would classify as a trip. You ride in suspended ships a la Peter Pan and then pass scenes reminiscent of It's a Small World. Except instead of little dolls from around the world, there was the Tin Man, Garfield, Elsa, cross-eyed male Maleficent, ans dragons. If that sounds random, that's Rainbow Bandits for you.


We had no clue who the rainbow bandits were, but it didn't matter. The ride was very well done despite its randomness. Like Battle Beasts, the figures far exceeded what I expected from a smaller park like New Reoma World. It was impossible to come off Rainbow Bandits with anything but a smile. Ok maybe it is, but you're probably one of those people who hate puppies. 9 out of 10



It looks so unassuming, but your mind is about to be blown by Rainbow Bandits.


It's so colorful that you can't help but smile.


It's like Peter Pan's Flight and It's a Small World had a baby.


The ride I was most anticipating was Spaceship 2056. The ride is a clear Space Mountain knockoff, but I was even more intrigued after seeing that riders never experience the lift hill on this coaster per RCDB. Would we have to climb a million stairs a la an Arrow launched loop? Thankfully no! There was a well-themed shuttle elevator to take us to the (space) station.


Before getting to the ride, I have to remark just how awesome the queue looked. Take the space station inspired tunnels of Space Mountain, but also mix in a cool star tunnel and some additional props. As long as the ride wasn't a painful dumpster fire, it was already a win.


Cramming a trainload of Americans was a bit tricky. Due to the loading and exiting platforms being multiple stories apart, riders must place any loose articles on the floor between their legs. This was a challenge for our taller riders, so I did my fair share and crammed 4 bags below my seat. We then sat there waiting to be dispatched until we were instructed to hold the lap bar- not the padded portion, but the metal bits next to it. Odd, but I wasn't going to complain.


The layout was reminiscent of a slower version of Disneyland's Space Mountain. The first half was a never ending series of right-hand turns. But then the second half had a few slopes where the train built some solid speed and they were immediately followed by tight turns that pulled a few Gs. It's not an intense ride for sure, but it's a well-themed experience from start to finish and offers a smooth coaster to boot. 7 out of 10



And there's Space Mountain...err Spaceship 2056.


The queue actually beats Space Mountain. It has this trippy mirror/star tunnel, an elevator, and other random space theming.


But Space Mountain wins for the coaster portion. Not to say Spaceship 2056 is bad though; it's a fun ride.


On the way to the next two coasters, it was hard not to miss the Ferris Wheel. For one, it was probably 150-200 feet tall in typical Japanese fashion (they love their big wheels). But what really caught my eye were two specific cars. Instead of the usual gondola, this wheel had 2 cars without outside facing seats and OSTRs. If I had more time, I definitely would have tried it solely for the novelty.



Putting OSTRs on a Ferris Wheel shouldn't make it more desirable to me, but it actually did for sheer uniqueness.


As you'd guess, the Kids Coaster was the park’s kiddie coaster. The layout was unique and the coaster was smooth, but that's about all I can say. For better or worse, it offered a completely mundane ride free of any tight transitions or roughness. Like Cosmoworld’s kiddie, this one also only offered 1 lap, a stark contrast to how similarly sized coasters are operated in the US. 2 out of 10



Did we ride the kiddie coaster?


Of course we did!


The final coaster was an odd duck, the Lady Bird Coaster. While the layout definitely isn't what I’d call a kiddie coaster, the single person trains definitely were a tight fit. In many ways, this was a wild mouse with a few added tricks.


For one, it began with a decent sized drop. The subsequent curved turnaround looked terrifying, but the train navigated it smoothly. The rest of the coaster was a series of hairpin turns, some of which were particularly aggressive. Though the most aggressive part of the ride was the final brake run. All I have to say is brace yourself. I didn't think a 1 mph stop could be so abrupt but on this coaster it is. Overall it’s probably better than the standard steel mice from Mack or Maurer because of its uniqueness. 5 out of 10



The Lady Bird Coaster is undeniably cute.


Each of the 1 person cars was themed differently.


With only a half hour left, I debated trying the Bird Flyer, but I have a star flyer twice as tall at my home park. Conversely I don't have a Space Mountain knockoff and shooting dark ride, so I prioritized a last ride on each of those attractions.



I'll save my birds eye view for my next visit to New Reoma World.


New Reoma World was a very pleasant surprise. I wasn't expecting much beyond the coasters, but it really was a charming park with some well themed rides and park areas.

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Thanks for sharing!


Your Report made me check RCDB to find the location of this park, those dark rides are very intriguing. Sadly it looks a bit further south than the trip I would want to do but I guess that's the benefit of doing Japan with TPR, you get to do it all!


Without TPR it's pretty likely I would have skipped the park and I would have missed out on a really cool place.

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That looks impressive as heck!

Here's the footage that we shot on a previous visit to the park in 2014:



that's so fantastic. . and the description Canobie gave (Peter Pan and It's a Small World had a baby) is spot on!


not sure how I've never seen this footage before, but so glad you posted this Robb. . . adds an extra dimension to enjoying Canobie's thread.

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Seeing the POVs of several of these dark rides really shows just how weird they are while also being well done.


I liked going in blind to these dark rides, but it's nice to have the POVs to relive them until I hopefully return to Japan again.

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I've never seen that POV before, thanks so much for posting it. What an amazing ride, and I agree that Pan + IASW baby is a perfect description. I just wish Peter Pan was even half this length, I love that ride but gosh it's short.

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