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TPR in Japan - 2018 - Theme parks and Japanese Fun!


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Very disappointed to hear about the bad experience at Universal Studios Japan. I know it's looked really good from past trip reports, and I've heard great things about Flying Dinosaur. Really hoping that this was just a one-time fluke, and that the park will be running well again later on in the year.

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I'm sad to see how much the park has changed. I loved this park when I visited it with TPR in 2013, though I have no idea if the park was bad to deal with behind the scenes even then. I loved space fantasy, its interactive lifts, and discoball room at the end, its a shame that it seems to be permanently taken over by VR.

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Really disappointed to hear how the management handled the situation. Looks like a great park but I'd struggle to commit a day there on a busy vacation knowing the cost and absurd effort needed to get on all the rides.

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I forwarded the photos of the Final Fantasy stuff to my wife, and she's currently in the process of losing her mind over it. (She's a total FF junkie.) Selected responses from her:

 

> OMG WHERE IS THIS

> OMG

> AHHHHHH

> I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS

 

Shame to hear about the substandard operations and service. That refund policy is straight up ridiculous.

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When I went last year, I bought my Express Pass and day ticket (date specific) a month or two ahead of time on klook and kind of felt like I was taking a gamble with the park because if it ended up being a rainy day with many of the attractions closed, I would be out what I spent, which was around $120 USD. Luckily it worked out in the end and it was a nice day, but this tells me that if it didn't then it would've sucked.

What sounds surprising is the fact that they had some of the closed rides listed on the sign at the entrance, but not all of them. Even if they would've been unsure of when they were to re-open, they should've been posted as it could've been all day. If I were them, given that it was a breakdown of communication on their part, I think the Express Passes should've been refunded given the circumstances.

I'm going back to Japan in September and was planning to visit USJ again. This trip report kind of has me questioning whether I should spend a full day here or just go in the evening and just ride Flying Dinosaur, Jaws, Hollywood Dream, and Space Fantasy and get out of there. Or I could just scrap my entire USJ/Osaka portion of the trip and head further south in Japan for Greenland and parks around Beppo.

 

But the call of Flying Dinosaur and Hollywood Dream is really tempting!

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REGISTER for our forum to leave a comment!

 

Click HERE for an index of all our Japan 2018 Trip Updates

 

Follow our LIVE updates on Twitter and Instagram Stories!

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And we are off on our next adventure!

 

Day Fifteen - Washuzan Highland and New Reoma Park!

 

This ended up being a "wet" day but thankfully all the parks we visited today operated everything in the rain, which a lot of parks in Japan do NOT, so that was a huge plus for us today. I was disappointed to see two of the coasters at Washuzan Highland "closed for maintenance" and I've heard the Ultra Twister has actually been SBNO for quite some time now. Truthfully, I didn't think this park would still be in existence when we visited four years ago and I firmly believe it may not be in another four years. We shall see. Anyway, on to some photos & videos...

 

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Heading out on our next Japan adventure today!

 

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Any morning in Japan that starts out with Starbucks is a good morning!

 

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Our travels this morning have taken us to the world famous “pedal powered roller coaster” over the cliffs of Washuzan Highland in Japan! This ride was kind of terrifying!!!

 

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TPR has once again survived the “backwards looping Togo coaster” at Washuzan Highland and honestly, this is a REALLY FUN ride!!!

 

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This is how amazing Japan is. As we walked into the park they handed everyone free ponchos and apologized about the rain! (It was only lightly raining!)

 

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So that is Megan... She was having “difficulty” putting on a poncho... “Guys! Stop making fun of me! Putting on a Poncho is HARD!!!” #Millennials

 

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We all look DAMN SEXY in our green ponchos, don’t you think?

 

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Fun Fact! That coaster train is actually going BACKWARDS!!!

 

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We have always been impressed with the “rust” theming of this coaster!

 

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It has a very realistic “dilapidated” look to it!

 

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Well done in the theming department!

 

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The pedal-powered roller coaster was a lot of fun!

 

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And the views of the Seto Sea are fantastic!

 

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We were just in time for the Brazilian Samba Show and it was quite amazing!

 

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Some of our members got a little too into it! lol

 

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Yes, that is a “stand-up” train and when it’s not moist outside, this coaster operates as both a sit-down and a stand-up ride!

 

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Did we mention this park has an ass-load of stairs? We walked up hundreds!!! Bring your defibrillator!

 

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Taking one more ride on the backwards looping Togo coaster because it’s actually shockingly a lot of fun!!!

 

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We had a good time at Washuzan Highland. Bummed that a couple of the rides were closed for maintenance but we had fun on the attractions that were open!

 

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Our train to the next park leaves from “Kojima: The Holy Land of Jeans!” (Seriously!!!)

 

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Everything in this station is themed to “jeans!” The stairs...

 

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the vending machines are denim themed...

 

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the entrance gates have jean pockets...

 

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and there is even a store to buy a pair of jeans!

 

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In the shop you can buy “whale shark coin purses made out of jeans!”

 

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The lockers have jeans on them!

 

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...and their station mascot is even a pair of jeans! This really IS the “Holy Land of Jeans!!!”

 

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We have made it to New Reoma World! It’s wet today but all rides are running! Yay!

 

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Started our day at New Reoma World on Vivace!

 

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That’s Italian for speed! It’s quite a fun coaster!

 

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Space Ship 2056 is a pretty cool indoor “Space Mountain” type roller coaster!

 

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It has some really neat effects and at certain times of the day, they run a VR version of the coaster!

 

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Rainbow Bandits is a seriously fun and cute dark ride!

 

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Suspended ride vehicles like Peter Pan with an anime themed storyline!

 

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Took another ride on Vivace!

 

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This ride feels like it has way more speed on it that it looks!

 

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The “Lady Bird” coaster was a kids coaster but not a “kiddie” coaster.

 

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It was fairly unique, spread out, and fun!

 

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Here’s the park map for New Reoma World. As you can see, it’s a fairly decent sized park!

 

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At just about every theme park in Japan you can get Katsu Curry.

 

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It’s delicious and is a common staple food in Japan.

 

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Even “amusement park” versions of this is better than how you get it in America!

 

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Like many parks in Japan, New Reoma’s entrance area is covered so when it rains guests can have a sheltered area to go and still shop, have food, or just relax.

 

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The sign showed Capybaras in the water...

 

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...and when we got to the enclosure, we saw Capybaras in the water!

 

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Had a fun visit to New Reoma World despite the weather. Even in the rain all rides and attractions were open! So that at least made for a successful visit!

 

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Now, POST YOUR COMMENTS!!!! After all, we took the time to write this report, the least you can do is post something nice about it!

 

Click HERE for Part Sixteen of our 2018 TPR Japan Trip!

Edited by robbalvey
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Washuzan Highland looks very intriguing. I wonder what magic happens for the backwards looping Togo of death to somehow be better than the forwards ones. That coupled with the rusty aesthetic and stand-up train makes it a very interesting-looking ride. The pedal-powered coaster also definitely looks like a "never in America!" type of deal.

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I forwarded the photos of the Final Fantasy stuff to my wife, and she's currently in the process of losing her mind over it. (She's a total FF junkie.) Selected responses from her:

 

> OMG WHERE IS THIS

> OMG

> AHHHHHH

> I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS

 

Shame to hear about the substandard operations and service. That refund policy is straight up ridiculous.

Same to all of this. A case could be made that Final Fantasy is the cause of our marriage. It's a series we've both loved since we were kids (I started with II/IV back on the SNES). A large number of our dates consisted of one of us bringing our memory card over to the other's apartment to play FFX, which was back then the latest in the series.

 

So yeah, my wife wants to go to Japan right now for this. The 1000 Needles churritos sealed the deal.

 

Odd that customer service was lacking. I understand customer service in Japan usually exceeds that in the States (as evidenced by those free ponchos). Frustrating, and especially bad because of the high cost.

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I'm sorry the TPR group did not have a Tramtastic day.

 

I started Googling to learn more about the screwy Express passes offered at USJ. While I was visiting the site, I came across "Information of temporarily closed attractions".

 

Space Fantasy - The Ride

closed 1/9/18-1/17/19 (Japan has a very unusual definition of "temporary")

 

Jaws

closed 6/11/18-6/24/19 (just missed it, Robb)

 

They state: "We will sell Express Pass as the regular price during the above maintenance, so screw you silly Americans".

I may not be translating that entirely accurately.

 

They also say (and I think I'm understanding this correctly) that if rides on your Express pass are closed due to maintenance, they offer "alternative attraction" EXCEPT for Harry Potter, Hippogriff, Hollywood Dream Backdrop. So if, say, Flying Dinosaur is closed for maintenance, they will offer some alternative, but not one of the three mentioned. I'm really surprised that Flying Dinosaur is not on that list. That implies it might be an alternative attraction? Nowhere does it mention a list of "alternative attraction".

 

What blows me away is that not only does your Express pass let you only do 4 or 7 rides depending on what you buy, you are pre-assigned very strict time windows for the "big rides". So if you purchase this Express pass long in advance, you sure as hell better not be delayed getting there, your you will be SOL. For the non time-window rides, you get a choice of Ride A or Ride B. i.e. Jaws or Spider Man. Google "USJ Express Pass 7" to see how unusable these are. The 7 attraction pass goes for around $77 and the 4 attraction for around $50.

 

I find their helpful information not helpful. And frankly, not Universal-like.

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In a week or 2 that 77dollar ticket will be 150 dollars. Also I can pretty much guarantee that flying dinosaur and minions that are timed entry will also not be allowed as alternatives to a regular ride down for maintenance

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Sorry to read your Universal day didn't go that well.

But awesome that the next parks worked out great!

 

And green rain ponchos given to you!

Very cool of them to do that.

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I've been following this thread and love how well organized it is, and the great time everyone is having. Love the pics and reports, and I am very impressed how everyone made the best while at Universal. Surprised to hear about the problems there. I hope I can make one of these Japan trips in the future as they look like a great time and a nice change of pace from the US. Enjoy the rest of the trip everyone.

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yay for the Twitter Updates that show y'all got to go back and ride the closed coasters. . . but yeah, I can't believe how poor the customer service was.

 

Glad it didn't cause any damage to the fun y'all had (and that the universe stepped in to allow the rides the next day).

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It's unfortunate that the Universal visit turned into a bust in several ways. Nevertheless, this trip looks like another amazing TPR adventure to Japan! I love living vicariously through these trip reports and remembering the awesome time I had there with you all a few years ago!

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Loving the report and finding all the information incredibly helpful as I'm looking to go to Japan in late December/early January. Haven't mapped out the whole trip yet as I've been debating just staying in the Tokyo area or going around to different cities as well. Definitely thinking about not bothering with Universal now but I'd like to go to Spa Land. I really need to get planning on it, probably gonna splurge and stay at one of the Disney hotels for a few nights at least too.

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REGISTER for our forum to leave a comment!

 

Click HERE for an index of all our Japan 2018 Trip Updates

 

Follow our LIVE updates on Twitter and Instagram Stories!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Day Sixteen - Today we made a stop at one of my favorite "smaller family parks" in Japan - Hirakata. This park has a bit of an old-school feel to it while still remaining a really nice, clean, family park. It's geared mostly towards kids in the same way a Legoland park would be, but it does have some decent rides, a drop tower, and enough fun for a good few hours. Originally this day was supposed to be a morning at this park and then some "free time" for our trip participants to go do some sightseeing (some of them did go to Kyoto this day) but we also build in days like this into our tours as a contingence in case something went wrong at one of the parks. And such a day like this is good to have on a trip as we found out at the Universal coasters that were missed two days ago would be open today and some people in our group used this time to get back to Universal, along with taking a short visit to Hirakata during the middle of the day.

 

Here's how it all went down...

 

First of all... watch this video! lol

*Filming was made with safety enough device on Hirakata’s special permit.

 

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Today’s TPR adventure takes us to Hirakata Park! A really nice “family” theme park just outside of Osaka!

 

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Our day started out on the wooden roller coaster “Elf.”

 

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...which actually does stand for “Episode of Little Fairies!” (Seriously!)

 

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Elf may only be a “junior” wooden roller coaster, but it’s a really fun ride! Some surprising moments!

 

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Serious question: If Japanese parks can all sell sodas for about $1.50 - $2.00 why do the US parks feel the need to charge so damn much?

 

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Hirakata Park has an interesting coaster line-up. Here you can see Red Falcon and the Mouse are very close to each other!

 

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Red Falcon sprawls all over the park! It’s kind of a crazy “Jet Coaster!”

 

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According to the ride sign at Hirakata...

 

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...we assumed the proper riding position on the dolphin ride!

 

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Yes, of course there is a giant Ferris Wheel at Hirakata... it’s a Japanese amusement park!

 

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The “Big Refrigerator” attraction literally was a walk-through of a big refrigerator!!!

 

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GIANT CHEESECAKE!!!

 

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This is hilarious!

 

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Best themed teacup ride ever?

 

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Peek-A-Boo Town. It’s a kids roller coaster not, um... something else!

 

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The petting zoo area at Hirakata is amazing!!! Kristen got to feed a Capybara!

 

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...and hang out with a Sulcata Tortoise!!!

 

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One of the Hirakata Park characters came and hung out with us today!

 

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Huge thanks to Mr. Kitagawa helping us sort out this day and our Cosmoworld day!

 

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If you think Dan looks comfy in that Shinkansen you should send him an email to mrt0ad13@aol.com and tell him! (Seriously, do this!)

 

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Hirakata Park has a McDonalds in it so we tried some new Japanese McDonalds offerings along with some old favorites!

 

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Shaka Shaka Chicken FTW!

 

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Even Kristen loved the spicy nuggs!

 

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So Hirakata Park is doing some sort of “haunt” later this year. I don’t know about you but that image is CREEPY!!! How many of our followers are deathly afraid of clowns?

 

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TPR had a really good day at Hirakata Park! Such a fun "family" amusement park in the Osaka, Japan area! Highly recommend visiting if you're nearby!

 

Now, POST YOUR COMMENTS!!!! After all, we took the time to write this report, the least you can do is post something nice about it!

Edited by robbalvey
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Serious question: If Japanese parks can all sell sodas for about $1.50 - $2.00 why do the US parks feel the need to charge so damn much?

 

 

One bright spot which I'm hoping changes things here is that in Atlanta at the new stadium where the NFL Falcons play they lowered all their concession prices and brought in more revenue so maybe other stadiums and theme parks will finally follow suit and do the same...

 

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/01/25/sports/football/nfl-concessions.html

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One bright spot which I'm hoping changes things here is that in Atlanta at the new stadium where the NFL Falcons play they lowered all their concession prices and brought in more revenue

We were just discussing this sort of concept yesterday... "Don't you think if prices were LOWER people would buy MORE?" Games here in Japan are usually only 100 yen (A dollar) and you see people playing them all the time. Food & Drinks are also very reasonable, basically the same normal price as non-theme park restaurants and quick-service locations.

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Iv'e been to Hirakata and it is really fun (especially with the kids). They have some very unique stuff there and the staff was super happy to help. They gave us a guide through the witch maze to make sure we knew how to play all the games (sadly we didn't win). Never did get on the card game ride (it had a long line all day) but I was curios about how it worked (and seeing all the kids with their card deck holders running around was fun). My other favorite thing is that you can get Japanese curry at the cafeteria, my favorite!

 

Can I make a small request? If you are heading to Fuji Q Highlands can you do a video of my sons favorite ride? Nagashimasuka (The Lucky Cat Ride). He is actually the reason we started watching your channel and there aren't any really good videos of his favorite ride! Instead of "We are on a log Flume" we chanted Lucky Cat! Lucky Cat!

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This really is the best thing I've seen on this site in a long time.

 

We were just discussing this sort of concept yesterday... "Don't you think if prices were LOWER people would buy MORE?" Games here in Japan are usually only 100 yen (A dollar) and you see people playing them all the time. Food & Drinks are also very reasonable, basically the same normal price as non-theme park restaurants and quick-service locations.

 

It's certainly an interesting discussion.

 

I'll say this. Every time I go to a boardwalk or theme park and see these $5 per person water gun games where you compete against others and need to assemble 8-10 people to play for a large, there's nobody playing and the game operator is usually on a microphone annoying people to play.

 

We visit Funland in Rehoboth Beach every year. Games are a dollar. Game operators are not allowed to annoy people to play and don't have microphones. All lanes are full on every game every night and they turn them around in about 60 seconds and keep them full since games are $1. As for their 25 cent Skeeball (where you play for prizes rather than tickets and trade up 3 of one size for the next size), good luck getting a lane in less than 20 minutes on ANY summer night.

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