CoasterAuditor wrote:My theory is you had what happened to me with New Texas Giant. I overhyped New Texas Giant so much, I expected it to blow me away like El Toro did. It simply didn't. Now I always just take new coasters as they are and try to keep hype manageable so I don't ruin the ride for myself. Also excellent reports from Japan!
Thanks! It's hard not to hear the hype about certain rides- El Toro, Lightning Rod, etc. But the truly great ones live up to the hype. From Robb's reports, he noted that Kawasemi was running slower in the morning, but it had warmed up in the afternoon. I suspect it never fully warmed up because the park was so empty and it was barely running. And then when it did run, it had no more than 2-4 people on the train.
cfc wrote:^Personally, I was blown away by New Texas Giant.
If New Texas Giant was the first RMC I ever rode, I would have been absolutely blown away. Having ridden several others, New Texas Giant's individual elements aren't quite as daring as their other coasters. Again this is like saying a bucking bull running on setting 9 isn't as wild as a bucking bull on setting 10; both are crazy. The ride's sheer length is its strength.
coneyislandchris wrote:Really enjoying the play-by-plays of all the parks on the Japanese trip. I sure hope I can get out that way sometime in the not-too-distant future, as it looks like you've all been having an amazing journey!
Thanks! It's definitely a bucket list place for all the parks and culture.
It's like Intamin steel coasters have the biggest spread between the not-warmed-up rides and running-all-day rides. Riding EGF last year first thing in the morning was like "SFNE Superman on a fairly good day", then just 4 hours later I knew why many people consider it the best steel coaster.
^ I've never had an issue with SFNE's Superman warming up over the course of the day. At least for me, how it runs in the morning is how it runs in the evening. It just runs noticeably better on warmer days and not the 40 degree opening days.
Tokyo Dome City is so much more than just an amusement park. It really feels like its own little city in the heart of downtown Tokyo. You have a massive baseball stadium, tons of shops and restaurants, and several interesting amusement rides scattered about. They don’t have as many coasters as they used to, but they still have the incredibly unique Thunder Dolphin.
The Tokyo Dome is unsurprisingly the main attraction of Tokyo Dome City.
But not for coaster enthusiasts!
Coaster enthusiasts come for Thunder Dolphin, the funkiest Intamin hyper out there.
Like moths drawn to a flame, we were drawn to Thunder Dolphin. It’s easily one of the most visually stunning coasters out there. For one, it’s massive. It’s Japan’s tallest coaster. Second, it uses its surroundings well. It winds itself up, around, and through buildings. Other coasters have done this before, but the difference here is that Thunder Dolphin is a hyper coaster. Incredicoaster thinks it’s cute to pass over the roof of a 1 story building. Meanwhile Thunder Dolphin flies over 10 story buildings and through a 200 ft tall Ferris wheel.
Like many Japanese coasters, I had to empty everything from my pockets. There were no metal detectors a la Universal, but they were very thorough and had me pat down every single pocket. This combined with one train operations led to 10 minute dispatches. There also is no choice seating on Thunder Dolphin. We were fortunate enough to get a ride in the back car, but never got a ride towards the front. I’m sure a front row ride has some of the best visuals of any coaster.
The first drop is one of the best of any coaster. The sustained floater and sheer length is enough on its own, but then you throw in the visuals of a bustling metropolis. Instead of jumping into massive camelbacks like a majority of other hypers, Thunder Dolphin loops around a building and then through the complex’s massive Ferris wheel. None of the overbanks are particularly forceful, but the visuals are one-of-a-kind.
The second lap begins with a tiny speed hill giving fantastic air in every single seat. Unfortunately that is the only other bit of airtime. Thunder Dolphin then speeds atop a building, loses all steam, and treats riders to one of the most anti-climactic coaster endings ever. Basically you have some awkwardly slow trick track. If it were right on the edge of the roof, the visuals would have been able to compensate, but this takes place smack dab in the middle of scaffolding. The drop off the roof is solid, but it’s right into the brake run.
Thunder Dolphin is a really strange coaster. The coaster doesn’t do the usual things a hyper coaster should. I prefer coasters with airtime or positive Gs. Thunder Dolphin really doesn’t do either. It trades these for breathtaking visuals. I still really enjoyed Thunder Dolphin, but it doesn’t use its speed to its fullest potential and there are parking lot hypers offering better rides. 8 out of 10
Thunder Dolphin dives through buildings.
And passes through a hubless Ferris Wheel.
And it even has an amazing first drop.
But unfortunately the coaster doesn't offer the crazy Intamin airtime I've come to know and love. Don't get me wrong, it's still a very fun coaster. It's just not as amazing as it looks because it looks incredible.
Beyond Thunder Dolphin, Tokyo Dome City also had a few dark rides. We missed out on the Haunted House due to time constraints, but we did experience Dive. After 1.5 weeks of shooters with similar ride systems, we completely caught off-guard by Dive’s vehicles. Riders stand against a central pole. The reason for this quickly became evident.
At first I thought my gun was broken, but I found out the gun only activates when the vehicle stops and begins rotating 360 degrees. You only have one rotation per scene, so you basically have one shot per target. Like James Bond, you have to make every shot count. Outside of the wonky ride system, it was a pretty standard shooter and an enjoyable experience overall. 7 out of 10
This sounds like the perfect name for a drop tower.
But instead it's a funky stand-up shooting dark ride.
They also have the Tokyo Panic Cruise. When browsing the ride list, I was stunned to see something that looked like Spiderman’s ride system. I figured it was just another simulator, but it actually was a 3D motion dark ride. Awesome!
The movement was as great as Spiderman and the 3D was solid, but the plot was a total WTF. Basically you had a catwoman. I’m not talking about a woman dressed like a cat like Catwoman from Batman. No, I literally mean a half-woman, half-cat creature. With her umbrella, she fought off a series of beasts straight out of the wildest anime you can imagine. At this point, I’d expect nothing less from Japan. Now it was a very short ride, but this ride system couldn’t have been cheap so I appreciate the ambition. 7 out of 10
It saddens me to know this screwed up attraction is closing soon.
Do you understand the theming on the wall? I rode it and still don't know.
Last but not least, we also tried the Wonder Drop. That sounds like the perfect name for a drop tower, but here it’s used on their flume. The layout was very quirky. Not only is it on the roof of a building, but after the lift, we saw a turntable. We figured that meant a backwards drop was imminent, but our excitement was tempered after we just rotated 270 degrees and continued along facing forwards. I guess clearances were that tight they deemed a turntable necessary?
The final drop at the end wasn’t overly steep, but it was visually impressive. You descent three stories and have a scary headchopper with a pedestrian walkway. Picture yourself on the top floor of a mall and descending to the lower level and that basically is what Wonder Drop did. The final splash was a real soaker, a surprise considering the other flumes on the trip barely got us wet at all. 7 out of 10
Those walkways created quite the headchopper.
Unfortunately I ran out of time to try the Sky Flower parachute tower as well. This one was particularly noteworthy since it had standing vehicles instead of the sit-down ones I've previously encountered.
I wonder how many people's legs quiver atop the tower?
If Tokyo Disneyland didn’t offer an after 6 special I definitely would have stayed later. I imagine Thunder Dolphin is a particularly impressive night ride and there were enough rides and attractions to fill a few hours. Because of its proximity to downtown Tokyo and Thunder Dolphin, this is definitely a must on any future trip to Japan.
And remember, no selfie sticks unless you want to get zapped.
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