The Day that Almost Wasn’t: Misaki Park & Adventure World
June 2018 marked my third trip to Japan with Theme Park Review. Past outings to the Land of the Rising Sun exposed me to a number of new experiences, such as bullet trains, katsu curry, Pokari Sweat, Green Tea Kit Kats, and even a typhoon. But June 18, 2018 was my first, bona fide Japanese earthquake.
I grew up in Central California and attended Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, so I’ve felt the ground shake a number of times; however, the Japan quake was the biggest one I’d ever experienced (and the closest I’d ever been to a quake’s epicenter). We were standing on a train platform in Osaka, and it first felt like Godzilla had kicked the side of the building. Then the shaking began, and keeping on one’s feet was a bit of a struggle. For my part, I heroically clung to a handy vending machine.
The quake caused five confirmed deaths and hundreds of injuries in the area (from what I’ve read since the quake), as well as a fair amount ot property damage; it also shut down train service for a few hours. Measurements of the event’s force ranged from 5.9 to 6.2.
The group decided to stick it out at the sation for a while. Eventually, we were able to take a local (which made a lot of stops) to MIsaki, the first "official" park of the trip--a zoo and amusement park with three coasters: Jet Coaster (yes, this is a popular name for “big" coasters in Japan); the New Wild Mouse (the only such ride ever built by Hopkins, who gave us the Dragon at Adventureland in Iowa); and Child Coaster (self-explanatory).
Misaki was a bit rough around the edges, but the staff was very friendly and seemed quite pleased that anyone had come to visit that day. But would we push on to the second park of the day? Stay tuned.
We’ll start with a look at Osaka the night before, then move on to Misaki Park.
The best rump is an aging rump.
The official trip-opening dinner: All the meat you can cook and eat for 90 minutes! Although this was not the place that touted their “aging rump," what rump they offered was delicious.
It is, indeed.
Some of us decided to explore Osaka a bit. Kind of busy that night.
Why, thank you, Osaka.
We were hoping to ride this bizarre "rectangular" Ferris Wheel, which had reopened after being shut down for years . . .
. . . oh, well.
What is wrong with this picture?
An octopus strikes a come-hither Deadpool pose.
Dan tracked down this barcade he’d read about online.
It wasn’t very big . . .
. . . but I got a beer and a round of Burger Time, so there’s that.
The barcade may have been located in a neighborhood of somewhat questionable morality.
Need a hotel room for just a few hours? This place has you covered.
Wow--even the train station is a bit kinky. On to Misaki Park before we become hopelessly corrput!
After riding the Jet Coaster, it was decision time again. Our next park, Adventure World, closed at 5:00 pm and wouldn’t admit guests after 4:00. We had just enough time to reach it via train--that is, if the earthquake hadn’t completely screwed up the schedule (or the park). Would the coasters be open if we got there in time? Should we push on, or head back to Osaka?
At this point, the group split up. Elissa took a contingent back to Osaka. Robb led the rest to Adventure World, which turned out to be a good move. There was one hitch: While we arrived in time to be admitted, we were told that while the park didn’t close until 5:00, the rides shutdown at 4:30.
That left us 30 minutes, which was OK. One of the big rides, Dolphin Coaster, was closed (not due to the earthquake, but for regular maintenance), but the remaining three were running:
Big Adventure Coaster--a big “Jet Coaster” with very cramped trains. Seriously, I didn’t quite fit in the seat, but was still able to ride it (somewhat uncomfortably).
Pandafull Coaster--an adorable “wild panda” coaster with more adult-friendly trains. And it was, indeed, full of pandas.
Tropical Coaster--an indoor powered coaster that was themed to bees. Er, OK.
Adventure World looked pretty nice (much better than Misaki), and it might be fun to go back one day and check out its animal attractions (such as the safari ride).
All in all, an eventful, successful day, thanks to the leadership of Robb and Elissa. Some of us even had an adventurous cab ride from the train station back to the hotel in Osaka. We'd just pulled out when a truck cut off our cab. The cabby had three choices:
1. Slam on the brakes and hope for the best. 2. Crash into the rear of the truck. 3. Step on the gas, swerve to the left, and run a red light.
The cabby went with number three, which made this the second most exciting ride of the day next to the earthquake. Hey, we're still alive!
Here’s a look at Adventure World.
I have no idea what’s going on here. Can one really compare eels to oranges?
A much nicer entrance than Misaki Park’s.
Aw, you’re welcome, pandas.
A covered “Main Street”--shades of Tokyo Disneyland.
It looks much more extensive than Misaki Park.
We have no time for doggies! We must hurry to . . .
. . . no, not the Ferris Wheel, but to . . .
. . . Big Adventure Coaster!
These trains were definitely designed for Japanese butts, as opposed to big western butts.
Kind of big and clunky; in other words, a Japanese “Jet Coaster.”
We were grown men who had braved an earthquake to ride pandas.
O, we happy few . . .
Ah, but to ride the hindquarters of the wild bee! Such a challenge is truly worth braving an earthquake and a goofy park schedule!
It’s definitely better to ride in a bee’s head. To be the bee, to understand, to grok, the bee, as it were . . . oh, who are we kidding?
We're grown men who ride pandas and bees.
We may as well own it.
Hippo burgers? Do they taste like horse meat?
Here’s a “never in the U.S.” thing--a pool for penguins without a railing or barricade of any kind, smack in the middle of the park’s covered entry plaza.
We were late getting back, so certain sacrifices had to be made. This panda sacrificed his face for my dinner.
Nice scenery on the train ride back, but the cab ride was more exciting. Next stop: Universal Japan.
^What's really funny about this photo is that when I was walking over to the coaster, one of the park staff came up and moved me into a better spot for taking pictures. Like I said, they were very nice.
cfc wrote:^What's really funny about this photo is that when I was walking over to the coaster, one of the park staff came up and moved me into a better spot for taking pictures. Like I said, they were very nice.
^&^^ And they kept trying to talk to me while you guys were riding suggesting all of these other shows and things we should go do! It was hard (not because of the language but because of how nice they were) explaining that we were only there for like 30 min for the coasters since we were delayed from the Earthquake!
Great start to your trip, Chuck! Where did you fly out from and how long did it take to get to Japan? The penguin pool in the middle of the promenade is fantastic and definitely something I've never seen, and never will see, anywhere in the US!
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