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Mega-Lite

Korea/Japan The Return (Part 6 Lagunasia/Hamanako Pal Pal)

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After completely and utterly burning out on reading, let alone participating in any form of theme park based forum, partly due to the immense stress I've been under this year but also truthfully because sometimes I just get fed up of reading stupid crap like "Icon's an ugly shade of grey I hate it already" and statements such as "it won't be as good as Taron" to concept videos of rides years from completion, it is as of today my long awaited return!

 

Not going to lie, I've been itching to start writing trip reports again, so whether you think they are any good or whether anyone actually bothers reading them, tough! So strap yourselves back in, here we go...

 

2 weeks ago today marked the tragic ending of the best trip of my life, I'm not going to spoil anything yet but believe me when I say me and 2 of my best friends managed to completely blow our last trip to these 2 great nations out of the water and much like when I think of Helix, I am honestly doubtful at this moment in time if this can ever be beaten, your move America...

 

2 days before our flight, my previously mentioned friends text me with news that the day we are due to land in Korea there's going to be a life threatening typhoon sharing the runway with us, I call BS on that and inform them when their so called typhoon doesn't arrive I will create one for them using fans and the sink at the hotel, I'm nice like that.

 

With that warning well and truly ignored, it was late on a Thursday that we made our way to Heathrow (going the long way because as is tradition the M25 wasn't playing nice) to board our plane to Korea. This was my first time ever flying with one of the ever so exclusive 5 star airlines, Asiana in this case. First we were delayed by an hour, then there was almost nothing to watch onboard, then the food was awful, we got offered 2 drinks in 11 HOURS and the staff were average at best. It really was a good thing we managed to book our flights at well below 5 star money because frankly I think Asiana might on par if not a little bit worse than BA (who are awful), which is not at all what I was expecting.

 

We landed in Korea at 4pm Korean time, flew through security in about 5 minutes, screamed at a poster of Blackpink (Kpop band) and then frantically booked tickets to Music Bank (weekly Kpop TV show) while waiting at the baggage carousel. Bags collected and promptly sniffed we took in a bit of Korean culture, which in this case means watching 6 beautiful ladies in traditional Korean clothing playing traditional Korean instruments, while we waited for the last member of our party to land.

 

All united we made our way onto the airport to Seoul Station metro, which seems to take longer EVERY time we use it. After arriving we got spited by Quiznos, ate Baskin Robbins for dinner, bought our train tickets for tomorrow, saw a homeless man with his d**k out and then went to bed to sleep for eternity. Thankfully the aforementioned typhoon was no where to be seen but don't worry this isn't the last you'll hear about typhoons...

 

Day 1

 

The next morning after breakfast we made our way to Seoul Station to catch the bullet train from Seoul Station to Colourful Daegu. After a pleasant journey of just over 2 hours we were there, which is rather impressive if you look on a map and realise it only takes about 2 hours to go from the very top to the very bottom of Korea, it takes me about 2 hours to get to London these days.

 

After finding lockers for the bags we took the Daegu metro system to...

 

E World - https://rcdb.com/5041.htm

 

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While buying tickets. the staff member (who had an axe through her head) gestured at 2 of the creds on the map before nodding about completing the transaction. Seriously... are we really getting spited on the first day...

 

Undeterred we made our way in and began the ascent up the hill to where the rides live.

 

Magic Castle - https://rcdb.com/1409.htm

 

Our first coaster of the trip was the perfect re-induction into Korean theme parks. Riding a wacky children's cred while a gorgeous ride op sings during the whole circuit.

 

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Boomerang - https://rcdb.com/1407.htm

 

One of the smoothest boomerangs I've ever put myself through if that counts for anything?

 

Camel Back - https://rcdb.com/3371.htm

 

Thankfully it turns out whatever the ticket lady was trying to convey about the final 2 creds wasn't that they were closed.

 

Camel Back was the first of many of the legendary "Jet Coasters" on the trip and this thing was actually pretty damn fun! Some proper forces at play, throws you around just the right amount and it even had some air time, yes this beast has some real charm to it and made this park more than just the assumed +4. Also I can't not mention that the ride station was playing Korean dubstep with incredibly offensive lyrics and this only further enhanced the character of Camel Back.

 

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Hurricane - https://rcdb.com/1408.htm

 

A mostly rust covered looping coaster buried in a sea of trees with an unknown manufacturer, what could possibly go right? While it was as crap as you'd imagine, the hilariously bad transitions coupled with my friend literally getting hit by a tree made this piece of scrap metal quite the enjoyable experience.

 

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Mega Swing 360

 

If you ever want proof that Kpop's ruined my life, this was it. After watching one of my favourite idol singers ride this insane looking flat I decided I just had to give it a go, bad mistake.

 

While the ride is in it's stride and easily making the 360 rotations, it is terrifying. While the ride is warming up to making said rotations and leaves you hanging upside down for what feels like a lifetime, it is probably one of the scariest rides I've ever ridden. I respect the hell out of it for making me feel things I haven't' felt in years but never again.

 

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To calm my nerves we went on the log fume and then went for food.

 

The park is home to both a pizza and a burger place, spoiled for choice we thought, but nope..

 

The pizza place offered a whole host of "nope!", with their best dish being a potato pizza, so we opted for the burger option, which was equally dire.

 

After lunch and with our discount voucher we were handed when we bought our park tickets, we went to check out Daegu's famous observation tower, which is right next to E World.

 

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Call it being in Korea or call it being excited about what's to come but for some reason I rather enjoyed this observation tower, they normally bore me to death.

 

Now I've read that some people really dislike E World and call it a terrible park and I'm here to call them out for that crap. While the ride line up is rather poor and the lack of investment is disappointing, the park itself is fine and certainly has a much friendlier atmosphere than some of the places I've visited before it.

 

Thanks for reading, next time, the spites begin and Gyeonju World featuring Draken and Phaethon...

 

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With a successful visit to E World behind us, we decided it was time to "dust off Daegu" and this meant visiting Pago Land.

 

After a lengthy journey on the metro and quite literally 2 miles of walking, we arrived. Now my friend had told me that Pago Land was just a collection of crap rides at the side of a main road but even that extremely accurate description doesn't do it justice. Picture an abandoned scrap yard at the side of the road, where the only paths are loose stones and then throw the sketchiest and most sorry looking kids rides you can ever imagine into said scrap yard and have them operated by elderly Koreans who have lost the will to live and you'll be only half way to picturing the mess that lay before me. Still, there was a powered twin helix coaster up for grabs, so I'm game...

 

We walked in to see an operator at all of the rides, not another living soul other than said operators, prices displayed at each attraction, no where to buy tickets and a general sense of dread. After a second loop round trying to find a way to buy tickets and with every single old person running the place staring us down, we walked over to the twin helix.

 

The operator was sitting on the platform in a plastic garden chair and after we gestured that we'd like to ride, he began clucking and spitting and going on a lengthy rant in Korean. Utterly confused we stood there in disbelief and yet again gestured that we'd like to ride, to the exact same reaction. Following this we walked away to regroup and tried to think what the hell this bloke was going on about. We had gone on quite the journey to get here we thought, so let's give it one more go. We walk back over, he is still sitting in his chair, we point to the ride again, this time his approach is solemn and even more confusing. He muttered a slew of soft Korean words in response to any gesture we made or any sentence we spoke at him. At one point we attempted a hilarious stare down, which once again got us exactly no where. My friend believes his response was something along the lines of "why should I get out of my chair?" and honestly at this point I'm inclined to believe it, either way, first spite of the trip, at least it was memorable.

 

Following that absolute farce we took a bus back to Daegu station, collected our bags, boarded the train to Busan and then got spited by another Quiznos...

 

Day 2

 

Bright and early we took the Busan metro to the express bus terminal station, in order to catch a coach to Tongdo Fantasia.

 

While on the coach it began to storm outside, I wasn't worried though, this isn't China, what a fool I was...

 

When we arrived at the bus terminal it was raining really hard but by the time we completed the mile or so walk to the park the skies were clear, my shoes were not.

 

As we entered the entrance plaza it was quite clear that we were in for disappointment. Although the theme music was playing and the fountains were jumping away, the area was completely deserted and the turnstiles were unmanned... the information centre was open though!

 

We walked in and were informed, "the park is open until 9pm today, only 3 rides (haunted house, carousel and something crap) will be open and it's still the same price as normal". When we questioned them if they plan to open the other attractions later they replied, "no it RAINED (as in past tense), that's your lot for the whole day". Thanks then... bye. Well that's another 2 coasters missed...

 

Back to the bus terminal, to catch the coach back to Busan and while on board we decided that we now had time spare to try to get the +1 in Busan, I'll let you guys guess how that went.

 

Another lengthy metro stint, followed by an even longer walk than Pago Land (this time featuring steep hills) and we arrived at Geumgang Park, a small amusement park located in a famous park area. After reading terrifying warning signs that stated all manner of evil looking bugs were present at the park and all of them were going to try to kill us, we powered up yet another massive hill to get spited by yet another powered twin helix coaster.

 

At least this time the disappointment came clear and concise, "it rained 4 hours ago and so we can't operate this today", Korea you're better than this... So now we've only managed to ride half of what we planned to and we're only 2 days in, Christ this hobby can be a bastard sometimes.

 

We swore before the trip, mostly down to stupid baggage rules imposed by Air Busan, that we wouldn't buy any Kpop until the very end of the trip, well desperate times means desperate measures and we spent the rest of the day breaking our own rule and mending our hearts. Oh and this time we managed to actually eat Quiznos...

 

 

Day 3

 

Day 3 began very much like Day 2 with us taking the metro to the bus terminal, but this time the destination was Gyeonju.

 

After we arrived, it was a short local bus trip from the city to...

 

Gyeonju World - https://rcdb.com/5040.htm

 

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Again, much like Day 2 it was raining when we arrived at the front door of Gyeonju World, but this time things were looking a little more promising. Firstly Gyeonju World is one of Korea's top theme parks, so in theory their drive to open in the wet should be increased. Secondly, there was a large rabble hanging around outside. Should be fine right? Nope...

 

We walked to the ticket window honestly expecting everything to be fine and were then informed, "limited rides will be open due to the weather"... "Do you think the roller coasters will open later?", "Maybe..."

 

I of course didn't mind getting spited by 2 separate twin helix coasters and was only slightly miffed by missing the coasters at Tongdo but this was honestly very frustrating. Not only was this entire stretch of credding in Korea based around the opening of Draken but being able to literally see Phaethon from the car park but not ride it was heartbreaking. We'll wait...

 

After buying cereal and milk in a convenience store, we slithered into Starbucks, which had an upstairs with the perfect viewing window for scouting out the park. We weren't the only ones who had the idea either, I bet this Starbucks loves it when it rains!

 

For 5 hours we sat and watched and then at about 2pm we spotted 3 engineers climbing Draken. Half an hour later the previously closed flat rides began to test. 15 minutes after this Phaethon tested. Cheers and screams from the Koreans sitting in the Starbucks perfected summed up my feelings and it was time to leave our viewing window, let's be honest we were probably going to be kicked out anyway.

 

Straight back to the same ticket lady from earlier, "2 free passes and 1 entry ticket please!", she remembered us and our bitter disappointment with the coasters being closed and replied in disbelief, "coasters closed, I'm sorry". "We've just been watching them testing", she stares at us not understand what we mean and scrambles to find someone to help us. This lady was so friendly and confused that we decided it would be best to actually watch people on the coasters before ruining her day too much.

 

For another 40 minutes, in which Draken began testing, we stood in the car park staring at both Draken and Phaethon, just waiting and wishing to see either crest the lift with people on and then it happened. I literally ran to the ticket window to be greeted with the lady beaming ear to ear and informing me "coaster's OK!", that's all I need, tickets please.

 

Draken - https://rcdb.com/14310.htm

 

We ran straight to Draken, as this was the first coaster we saw with people on.

 

Draken is the park's brand new for 2018 Dive Coaster and is a clone (boooo) of Busch Garden's Griffon.

 

After passing through the amazingly themed queue building, we got to the air gates, only for the ride to break down as we were about to board, you've got to be kidding me...

 

Luckily the shut down only lasted about 5 minutes and before I knew it I was about to experience my first ever large dive coaster. And how was it?

 

Well it's probably the best dive coaster I've done, due to the fact it isn't over in 20 seconds but it certainly isn't anything special. The drop isn't as intense as Oblivion, in both that Draken doesn't drop you into a hole and the drop itself is noticeably weaker in the ejection department. The large floaty inversions are fine but don't really do anything for me. Also the midcourse stopping the coaster dead half way through is just stupid and kills the pacing so bad.

 

Draken is an impressive looking machine with an amazingly themed queue and station but as a coaster it really doesn't offer much in my books.

 

IMG_6995.thumb.JPG.e95493f3b1c570acf147e4ec75befbab.JPGIMG_6997.thumb.JPG.78a6923e702fc60073592824981e9e72.JPGIMG_7018.thumb.JPG.5053f1b99e8ac9b3f8731270058776ec.JPGIMG_7023.thumb.JPG.2067c01e3522e5ecbb85e9c1f6fd1565.JPGIMG_7036.thumb.JPG.abb616be330f5244ebf3d8660c1af0d0.JPG

 

Dragon 2 Loop Coaster - https://rcdb.com/1404.htm

 

Finally managed to get on one of this stupid things...

 

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Phaethon - https://rcdb.com/3935.htm

 

Now we're talking...

 

I've been desperate to ride this beauty for years and sadly was rather let down by it.

 

Much like Draken the queueline for Phaethon is stunning and unfortunately again like Draken the ride experience is lacking something.

 

Phaethon as you'd expect from a B&M invert is very good but sadly that's about as far as it gets. At the time this was my second ever large B&M invert, with my only reference being Monster. Monster to me is a coaster that can't make up it's mind on what it wants to do, which leads to random moments of the coaster doing nothing at all and the infamous straight. However when Monster works out what it wants to do, it does it in style (snappy intense inversions and a helix that's so intense it hurts). Phaethon on the other hand suffers from the exact same moments of not knowing what it wants to do but then delivers the moments it stumbles upon in a FAR less impressive manner.

 

Sadly after 1 lap Phaethon was closed for the rest of the day due to the bad weather setting back in and maybe, just maybe with more rides my opinion would of been swayed slightly but as of right now, I like Phaethon, I just don't love it.

 

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With Phaethon closed for the day and the weather getting bad again, we had 2 more laps of Draken, until that closed for the weather and then did the rapids and the Ferris Wheel before making our leave.

 

Gyeonju World from our short time there gave me the impression of a park worth easily half a day of your time, with fantastic theming in places, friendly staff and 2 great B&Ms.

 

We accidentally booked the sexy leisure coach back to Busan, which meant wide boy seats, mood lighting and beautiful women on the on board tv, which was awesome. After arriving back in Busan we decided we'd have a Quiznos but that went about as well as you'd expect...

 

Thanks for reading, next time Suzuka Circuit and Parque Espana featuring the outstanding Pyrenees...

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Day 4

 

Today began with an early start, followed by a trip on the metro to Busan airport.

 

A rather uneventful hour long flight later and we were in Nagoya.

 

Despite it being my second time visiting Japan, it managed to yet again take me by surprise just how friendly the people are there. Look slightly confused for half a second in the airport and out of nowhere a friendly Japanese man/woman will slither over with a huge smile on their face desperate to help you, I love Japan.

 

After picking up the hire car and 2 comedy sized drinks from one of the millions of vending machines that litter Japan, it was off to Suzuka Circuit.

 

As you may remember from last time, if I actually mentioned it, Japanese highways come with very expensive tolls attached to them, it's not at all uncommon for an hours journey to cost you £30 ONE WAY. In order to slightly combat this, this time around we rented an ETC card. This card goes into a machine in the hire car and then allows you to drive straight through tolls, with the toll fee being charged to the card. The main advantage of this is that you save 1/3 on every toll and with the amount of driving we planned to be doing this was an absolute necessity.

 

On route we unintentionally passed Legoland Japan and I promise you I'm not joking when I say that the park is built in the middle of industrial wasteland to the side of a huge bridge. Seeing the stupid sky tower thing painted in the brash Lego colouring surrounded by rusting metal and chimneys was hilarious!

 

For the first 2/3 of the journey the weather was beautiful but as we approached the park, the heavens opened... For some context to my frustration I need to refer to me reading that August/September is the driest time to visit Korea/Japan, I guess not.

 

Suzuka Circuit - https://rcdb.com/4969.htm

 

As well as being a World famous race course, Suzuka Circuit is also home to a small amusement park area.

 

It was still raining somewhat heavily when we got to the ticket window and with this being Japan I was already expecting this to go awfully but to our surprise and delight it didn't. Not only is every ride still running but we'd also be getting tourist discount, sweet!

 

After passing the turnstiles, the rain went from "oh this is quite heavy" to "oh my god we are going to die" thunderstorm and immediately an announcement came over the park wide PA, well that's us screwed then...

 

We powered straight to the first cred, assuming the worst but hoping if we were really quick we might be in luck.

 

Rocky Coaster - https://rcdb.com/1225.htm

 

With lightning literally striking buildings in the background we entered the queue for Rocky Coaster. From an idiot who's ridden Stealth in hailstones, I was literally amazed any park in the World would run a coaster in this amount of rain, it's not an exaggeration to say the rain was so heavy you couldn't see through it. Couple that with lightning striking stuff and thunder shaking the ground and I'm left in complete disbelief. Nagashima closed their entire park in medium rain which ended after 2 hours and now Suzuka are running their coasters in a stupidly intense thunderstorm, Japan really is the land of extremes.

 

After seeing 2 trains worth of people coming back wetter than Valhalla and in serious pain, I was glad the rain eased slightly for our lap, which I honestly cant' remember at all because I was still in complete shock at what was happening.

 

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Adventure Drive - https://rcdb.com/12038.htm

 

We knew our luck was going to run out at some point, so we powered to the other cred as soon as we got off Rocky Coaster.

 

The lovely lady at the entrance told us something in Japanese, we nodded and entered.

 

After about 10 minutes of waiting with the already intense rain getting even worse, the ride ceased operation but in the craziest way ever.

 

The operator shut the whole ride down, including isolation of the control panel and ride system. Then he made a friendly and casual walk down the queueline informing people something along the lines of, "it's going to be about 30 minutes, if you'd like to wait that's ok". After this he jumped between contacting control on his radio and entertaining the kids at the front of the queue. 20 minutes later the rain died down, he turned it all back on, performed all the start up checks for the coaster and even explained how the block sections on the touch screen worked to the kids. I wish something that nerdy and cool could have happened to me at that age, what a top bloke. Exactly 30 minutes later the ride reopened with much Japanese pleasantries, including all the seats being wiped down and bowing.

 

The coaster itself is quite fun and the scream powered launch is just so Japanese that you have to automatically love it.

 

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After the 2 creds were knocked off we did the park's shooting dark ride, a ride style that by the end of this trip I was getting quite bored of but this was the first and I enjoyed it.

 

In order to score some juicy rare points on Coaster-Count, we checked out the park's brand new Duel GP attraction.

 

Duel GP

 

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This thing was great! 2 cars race each other in what is essentially a really complicated almost powered coaster. The catch being, you have to steer your car and the goal being, if you steer gently and precisely you'll do well but if like me you can't be gentle to save your life, you spin out on the corners and it slows you down. I'm not ashamed to admit I lost when I rode both tracks, though I'd argue losing control and spinning like a madman both times means I won anyway...

 

Suzuka Circuit really surprised me, I wrote it off as just a stop off on the way to better things but I actually rather liked the place. Their willingness to run things in the rain and their wonderful customer service are very much to be commended.

 

Due to the rain slowing us down, we were now running rather late and had quite significantly gone past the time we were due to leave the park. With this in mind and slightly worried the rain might of beaten us there, we thought it would be best to phone Parque Espana and check everything was still on for their 8pm close. What followed may be the best phone call of my life..

 

"Moshi Moshi!", "Hi! is it OK to speak English?", "ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I'll try!", "is the amusement park open?", "ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I'm so sorry, can you please say again, I'm so sorry", "no worries, is the amusement park open?, "ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I'm sorry!, I'll try to find someone!". After a minute... "Moshi Moshi!" (still the same girl), "Hi again", "one more time please?" "ok, is the amusement park open?" "ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, so sorry!", "no it's ok", "I'm so sorry!" "thank you, don't worry, bye", "bye!".

 

After that it would have been rude not to make the journey.

 

The journey to Parque Espana was rather impressive with crazy mountain roads and killer views. The best of these views however was seeing Pyrenees getting ever closer.

 

Parque Espana Shima Spain Village - https://rcdb.com/4970.htm

 

We arrived at 4pm with an advertised 8pm close but having not seen Pyrenees move during the last 5 miles of the journey we were rather worried. It was all for nothing though, as soon as we got out of the car Pyrenees dispatched onto the lift hill.

 

After buying our tickets, which were once again discounted, this time due to arriving after 3, we sprinted across the park into the waiting arms of...

 

Pyrenees - https://rcdb.com/1227.htm

 

Now at the time I couldn't believe it but even now I'm rather amazed that I was lucky enough to be able to ride what I consider to be the 2 legendary Asian inverts back to back.

 

Now while Phaethon was good, Pyrenees is in a completely different league, I'll make it as simple as, gentlemen this is a Nemesis beater...

 

I can't not mention that this coaster looks absolutely insane, the shaping on the first drop compared to Phaethon alone got me moist but everything just oozes that this thing is going to kick ass... and it does.

 

So you think the drop looks intense off ride? That's nothing compared to how it rides. The loop, zero g, loop start to Batman is one of my favourite opening sections on any coaster, so the fact Pyrenees borrows it on an enlarged scale is lovely. While the section doesn't ride as intensely as Batman (which rips limbs off), when coupled up with the beautiful drop, it is an absolutely incredible way to start a coaster.

 

The madness is followed by a snappy and intense cobra roll and only then does Pyrenees let you catch your breath, slightly. Next up is an almost helix through the second loop, a midcourse that barely slows you and perfectly pulled off corkscrew.

 

It's now that you really catch your breath, because sadly Pyrenees does a suffer a bit from the large invert habit of searching for the next bit to do, however it really is a short patch and it's so out of place after the intensity before that it's quite amusing.

 

Then things pick back up with a freaking air time hill on an invert, madness, followed by an intense floor hugging drop, before you're swooped back into the station.

 

I knew after my first lap that I was really taken with Pyrenees but by the end of the night and after 5 laps I was in love.

 

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Kiddy Montserrat - https://rcdb.com/13668.htm

 

+1

 

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Gran Montserrat - https://rcdb.com/1226.htm

 

One of the biggest surprise hits of the trip belongs to this Mack mine train coaster, this thing is seriously good fun.

 

It's surprisingly fast, way more intense than it looks and as you'd expect from Mack it's butter smooth, for what it is I can't praise it enough.

 

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With those 3 down, we went looking for the park's final cred, a search which led us around the entire park. On route we did the Nutcracker dark ride (which was weird), another shooting ride thing (which was meh) and the park's Peter Pan inspired dark ride (which was awesome).

 

I didn't take anywhere near enough photos because of time constraints but please believe me when I say this park looks absolutely beautiful in places. The theming, the location and the setting sun really made for some fantastic sights.

 

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Steampunk Coaster Iron Bull - https://rcdb.com/1293.htm

 

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I hope this photo of the building sums why it took it so long to find this enclosed Togo coaster, it's hardly screaming in your face and I almost respect that.

 

I won't dare spoil the hilarious experience but I will let you know it rides fine, because almost all the reviews I've seen say it's rough and that's BS.

 

How many parks in the World would bake you a pizza if you show'd up in the restaurant 5 minutes before park close and then proceeded to take most of them 5 minutes choosing said pizza? Not many... But Parque Espana did for us, but not only that, the incredibly friendly elderly man insisted on us taking our seats and bringing it over himself, oh Japan.

 

Given the choice I'd easily be able to entertain myself for the day at this lovely park. From riding my new favourite B&M Invert, riding the fantastic Mack mine train, checking out the many dark rides and just enjoying the lovely theming. Truly the dark horse of the trip. Oh and the pizza is delicious too!

 

Thanks for reading, next time Nagashima Spa Land...

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Day 5

 

Nagashima Spa Land - https://rcdb.com/4958.htm

 

Today was the day I've literally had dreams about, the day I seek revenge on Nagashima Spa Land. For those out of the loop, the last time I visited it rained an hour in and they closed almost everything for the rest of the day, even when the sun came back. Rain wasn't going to be an issue today thankfully, although the sudden immense heat that descended on Japan made for other issues.

 

Learning from our past mistake of arriving late and Steel Dragon having a 90 minute queue within half an hour, this time we rocked up for opening. While my friend got tickets I marvelled at one of the best theme park investments in years, Nagashima Spa Land now has large electronic information screens telling you what's open in Japanese AND English. Previously you had to contend with 3 different hand drawn signs, all contradicting each other and all in Japanese, which is about as helpful as it sounds.

 

Steel Dragon 2000 - https://rcdb.com/1173.htm

 

Once in we powered to straight to Steel Dragon and entered a 30 minute queue, it was about now that it became apparent just how hot it was going to be today as I found myself sweating from places previously undiscovered. Looking around the queue and seeing that even the Japanese were dying led me to believe it wasn't just me, this was indeed very hot weather for Japan.

 

After the usual Japanese faff of nothing in pockets, this time featuring a metal detector, we took our seats on this legendary coaster and what great seats they were. Steel Dragon as you'll know has trains designed by B&M, so this amounts to the ride basically featuring 2 wide hyper trains with clam shells and as anyone who's ridden a B&M with those seats will tell you, you can't get much better without going Mack.

 

After the ride staff finish an amazing chant which ends with "Steela Dragon!" you are off up the unnervingly tall lift hill, sadly the following drop doesn't amount to much however. With this being my first giga coaster I rather foolishly expected the drop to be quite special but it really isn't. The shaping of the drop and the fact it pulls out 100 feet from the ground produce an experience that goes on forever and is completely forceless.

 

Following the disappointing first drop is 2 camel back hills which do absolutely nothing and then 2 huge inclined loops which only serve to kill speed.

 

Thankfully things pick up on the return to the station with several air time hills in a row, with at least half of them providing some decent pops of ejector. 2 of these hills are inside tunnels which makes for some good headchopper moments and in the heat made for some interesting extremes of temperature.

 

While I'm very satisfied to be able to say I've experienced Steel Dragon, I can't help be feel a little disappointed.

 

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Acrobat - https://rcdb.com/12272.htm

 

From the moment Flying Dinosaur showed me that flyers can be so much more than Craplatica, I was desperate to try another and Acrobat certainly didn't disappoint!

 

This beast of a coaster packs so much intensity into it's perfectly paced layout, it really is hard to point out a favourite part of the coaster when everything just flows so well.

 

Once again I'm walking away from a flyer with an intense hunger for more, I think that speaks more than enough for the quality of Acrobat.

 

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With the really important stuff that we missed from last time dusted off we spent the couple of hours of mopping up the filler stuff that litters Nagashima.

 

We started with the park's Bobkart for those tasty undefined rare points on Coaster-Count, I love these things and this one was no exception.

 

Ultra Twister - https://rcdb.com/15562.htm

 

My second time on one of these things and their existence still confuses me.

 

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Now that Coaster-Count counts Intamin 1st gen drop towers as undefined creds it would have been foolish to not put myself through riding Nagashima's one for the rare points, these things are so messed up.

 

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Looping Star - https://rcdb.com/1178.htm

 

Blame it on the heat stroke or blame it on the concussion at the hands of the drop tower but I really wasn't a fan of my first Looping Star. I've seen these things talked up all round the internet and I can't understand why at all. Not as good as Nessie and I can't remember Nessie is my review.

 

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Shuttle Loop - https://rcdb.com/1177.htm

 

From one boring as hell Schwarz to another, give me Pyske Underground any day over this crap, on second thoughts just give me the Pyske Underground theme.

 

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Children Coaster - https://rcdb.com/1181.htm

 

Better than the above 2 coasters...

 

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After this we had lunch and I got to experience my first and last ever soda float, there's something wrong with people who want vanilla ice cream melted into their favourite drink.

 

To let food settle we rode the Ferris wheel which was thankfully air conditioned.

 

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Wild Mouse - https://rcdb.com/2558.htm

 

The last of the missing creds finally dusted off and with time to spare, sadly they were only running 1 side which means the other will have to wait till RMC Spite Cyclon opens.

 

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After this we went back to Steel Dragon, which broke down 5 minutes after we entered the queue, having not gained anything we tried to leave, before being stopped by a staff member who told us to wait and we'd get a priority pass for when it reopens, awesome.

 

Next we went for a second lap of Acrobat and I fell even more in love with it.

 

By the time Steel Dragon reopened it was dusk and this made for a nice backdrop to our second lap.

 

Arashi - https://rcdb.com/14052.htm

 

Now you may notice that I've yet to mention Arashi in this post...

 

When I first rode Arashi last year I really didn't enjoy the experience it offered and vowed that it would take alot to make me go on it again. Well I whole heatedly retract all previous statements about this wonderful ride.

 

While walking past, after having ignored it all day, I on the spur of the moment decided that I NEEDED to give it one more go to be sure.

 

Once seated however I couldn't have been regretting my decision more, as the seating position jogged my previous traumatic experience.

 

Without a shadow up of a doubt going up the lifthill was the most scared I've been in years with palms sweating so much they were sliding on the restraint and heart thumping harder in my chest than when I met my ultimate bias on Valentine's day.

 

Then it began and I wish I could do it justice. Spinning so fast, so many times that I lost count and even though I try not to swear in Japan I found myself painting the almost night sky with every profanity under the sun. Intensity like I've never seen before and will likely never see again, in a hobby that features so much of the same sensation this thing takes you completely out of your comfort zone and then some.

 

I can totally understand why I hated this thing last time but now that I've grown some balls Arashi is beautiful.

 

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Riding Arashi twice in one day caused my friend to spend 20 minutes in the bathroom sorting his life out and wanting the leave the park, thankfully I managed to convince him to join me in riding Acrobat one last time. At night I fell even further in love with it and I couldn't think of a better way to end the day.

 

In the gift shop I bought an Arashi T Shirt as a peace offering to the beast for slagging it off last time, oh and because it looks freaking awesome.

 

Nagashima Spa Land has gone from a park I openly mocked and despised, to a park I've grown rather fond of. When running, the sheer amount of rides surrounding you at all times is quite the site and at night the place looks fantastic. Acrobat and Arashi aren't far off competing for the bottom end of my top 10 and Steel Dragon isn't without it's charm. Plus when this park opens it's RMC things are going to get even more interesting.

 

Thanks for reading, next time Enakyo Wonderland, Japan Monkey Park and Higashiyama Zoo, featuring heat stoke and Slope Shooter...

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Jae 6

 

The heat from yesterday, combined with the long day at Nagashima, coupled with 5 busy days in a row of coaster goodness meant I woke up today feeling like crap. Now this obviously isn't ideal, but the situation was worsened by the fact today was the day we knew we had to go hard in order to mop up as much of the parks in Nagoya as possible before we headed off for Tokyo. To make things even worse, today was even hotter than yesterday. To put it in context, my legs never get sunburnt but I could literally feel them cooking from being in the sun for all of 3 minutes.

 

Enakyo Wonderland - https://rcdb.com/5276.htm

 

The first park of today was Enakyo Wonderland, a small family oriented park home to 3 roller coasters.

 

After being attacked by a flying bug half the size of my hand (no seriously) and shouting about how hot it was, we made our way to the ticket counter. We picked up the entry only tickets because we knew it was cheaper to just purchase tokens for the coasters once in the park.

 

There was no turnstiles or staff to check tickets so rather strangely you just sliver into the park, made all the more strange by the fact we were the only visitors in sight. I had written down on my phone the amount of tickets we needed to purchase, so we walked to the nearest ticket dispensing machine we saw. While making a scene at said machine, 2 adorable staff members slithered over from out of thin air bowing and blushing, see I told you you don't have to wait long for help in Japan!

 

Cycle Coaster - https://rcdb.com/2502.htm

 

We started with Cycle Coaster and with immense confusion. There was a sign on the fence that implied you get a discount with 3 people, so we asked the very friendly bloke about it. 5 or so minutes of confusion and Google translate later we never found out the answer but he let us on the for the price on the fence anyway, Japan!

 

With peddle being the only English word spoken as we were dispatched I took charge in powering us to the lift hill, that's a first.

 

It's pretty much a roller coaster that you have peddle to get to the next section when it runs out of steam, I'm not normally into exercise but this was quite amusing.

 

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Jungle Coaster - https://rcdb.com/1970.htm

 

No not the piece of crap that used to live at Legoland but instead a small family coaster with a hamster on the front, that's perched on the edge of a massive drop and has brutal laterals. It was awesome.

 

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Camel Coaster - https://rcdb.com/1969.htm

 

We had a mix up with our tokens and turned out we didn't quite have enough for Camel Coaster. The ride operator, an absolute hero of a man, personally walked us to the machine and told us which package was the cheapest in order to get enough to ride between us, oh Japan.

 

The coaster itself although the biggest in the park was probably the least interesting. Peddling a roller coaster and getting brutally beaten by a crazed hamster coaster were much more exciting.

 

As we went to leave and thanked the op for his time, he offered to take a photo of us infront of the train in the station to forever remember our experience, what a lovely person.

 

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So it's obvious that Enakyo wasn't built for me, so there's no point in me giving an opinion of it but I can certainly say if nothing else, the staff were absolutely fantastic and turned a cred run in 40 degrees into a memorable experience. 

 

Japan Monkey Park - https://rcdb.com/4996.htm

 

The sheer intensity of the heat on the walk from the car park to the entrance of Japan Monkey Park was breathtaking, I really can't put into words just how unpleasant it was. While this park was nothing special, we knocked it off in such a hurry to get out of the sun that I really can't remember much of anything.

 

Highway Coaster - https://rcdb.com/1283.htm

 

Easily one of the most boring jet coasters I've ridden. I have 3 lasting memories of the entire ride, 1) thinking I was going to black out from the heat in the station, 2) it has a mister near the end of the ride and 3) the coaster has one of the dumbest looking trains I've ever seen.

 

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Monkey Coaster - https://rcdb.com/1297.htm

 

Well this was a thing that happened.

 

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Go! Go! Banana Coaster - https://rcdb.com/1913.htm

 

The elderly man operating this tiny cred did a super enthusiastic chant during dispatch, which you have to commend considering it was 40 degrees and his only riders were 3 weird foreigners.

 

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And that was Japan Monkey Park.

 

Higashiyama Zoo - https://rcdb.com/5179.htm

 

As well as obviously being home to a zoo, this park also features a garden and of course the amusement park, from my memory the entry ticket is really cheap too. While zoos and walking through gardens aren't really for me, I'm sure there's loads of people who could spend an enjoyable day here.

 

Jet Coaster - https://rcdb.com/1706.htm

 

Much like the jet coaster at Japan Monkey Park, all I remember is being hot as hell and nothing else.

 

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Bear Coaster - https://rcdb.com/2522.htm

 

+1

 

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Slope Shooter - https://rcdb.com/2521.htm

 

Let's get it out of the way, this isn't a cred, I wouldn't count brake failure in my car going down a hill as a cred, so why count this?

 

While it may not be a cred Slope Shooter is really quite enjoyable.

 

We entered the station to be greeted with 2 ultra friendly blokes who instantly made the experience special. Following that I wedged myself into my comfy car, then got pushed by the blokes (who were singing me a song) to the base of the lift hill. Once you reach the top, you coast on tarmac down several slopes until you get back to the station. Now that may sound a bit boring but it's quite fun. You pick up quite some pace at certain points and hilariously crashing into the walls never gets old. Plus at one point I got slapped in the face by an overhanging plant which only added to the experience. When I got back to the station the ride hosts were chanting, clapping and beaming ear to ear, what a great way to end the ride.

 

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With those 3 parks down we had managed to knock off the 3 larger parks we planned to do on this day.

 

We had planned to go visit 3 +1 parks after, but after we showed up at the first one to discover it was completely closed we decided to bail out on that idea.

 

That night while sitting in Mos Burger my condition went from bad to worse and it was at this point I decided that I probably actually had heat stroke for real. As soon as I hit my hotel room I collapsed, then set my alarm and passed out.

 

Thanks for reading, next time Lagunasia and Hamanako Pal Pal.

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Day 7

 

After close to 10 hours sleep I woke up feeling considerably better but still not 100%. With some of the most exciting stuff on the trip quickly approaching I vowed that today I would go as easy as possible and drink more fluids than I've ever drunk before.

 

Lagunasia - https://rcdb.com/5228.htm

 

Previous reviews I've read of Lagunasia promised uncomfortable levels of friendliness from the female ride staff, a park swarming in bikini clad women and not much else, well then, sign me up!

 

We were planning to hit 2 parks today so we rocked up for opening, only to find out that the park's major dark ride opened 2 hours after opening. Luckily we managed to keep ourselves entertained until said ride opened and oh boy was it worth the wait...

 

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Aqua Wind - https://rcdb.com/2591.htm

 

We started with Aqua Wind, the park's Gerts Bobsled and it was better than expected. I've become a bit Jaded with these things (excluding the awesome Van Helsing) and they all blend into one but Aqua Wind's first drop was more intense than I was expecting and unlike other examples this hauled ass over the air time hills at the end. The ride's theming was really nice too.

 

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There was some sort of J-pop 360 3D cinema experience thing that looked awesome but sadly the first showing wasn't until like 2pm and would have meant missing the next park, in retrospect it may have been worth it...

 

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I had read online that Lagunasia's log flume was special and Christ was it.

 

The flume is called Legend of Labyrinth and all but the last drop is enclosed. To spoil what you'll find inside would be criminal but trust me when I say I was utterly speechless at the scale and quality of what I was faced with. Easily the best ride at the park.

 

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Pirate's Blast - https://rcdb.com/3801.htm

 

After politely turning down the VR option at batching, I left this coasters utterly perplexed why it was an option in the first place.

 

80% of Pirate's Blast takes place within a highly themed show building, with the coaster speeding past and reacting with some really nicely done set pieces. After that rather awesome section ends, you take the big drop out the show building, jolting in amazing fashion as you do, then you mince around on a patch of a grass for a bit before re entering the station. To call the ending a let down is a bit of an understatement, never mind...

 

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Stellar Coaster -  https://rcdb.com/1825.htm

 

A singing whale coaster with kick ass onboard audio, 10,000 times better than your average Vekoma Junior.

 

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2 hours had now passed and the aforementioned dark ride was now open.

 

Named Magic Powder, which should give you some idea of just how messed it was going to be, this thing can't be explained and you wouldn't even believe me if I tried.

 

It would be a stretch to say I enjoyed this madness, it rather occurred around me as I was having several out of body experiences and then it ended and I'm not sure I'll ever be the same person again.

 

An absolute must ride, just make sure you're of a semi sound mind before you enter because if not it WILL destroy you. Literally the dark ride you imagine you'll stumble on in Japan but you guess it can't exist, then Lagunasia has it and suddenly you regret everything.

 

The following pictures were taken in the queueline and serve as a warning of what's to follow.

 

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And somehow this is the ride vehicle, please don't ask me to explain how it works because it was all a terrifying drug induced blur.

 

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And with that, Lagunasia was finished and while I sadly wasn't swimming in bikini clad women or fighting off ride staff with tins of magical powder, the park itself far exceeded my expectations.

 

My friend's really wanted to ride the Ferris wheel next to the mall opposite the park, so we crossed over the bridge and grabbed some ice cream for lunch, living the dream. The lovely lady serving me at Baskin more than made up for the lack of female attention elsewhere and even saved me money, that'll come in handy soon.

 

At the entrance to the Ferris wheel a sign mentioned that the pods had no air con and currently the temperature inside them was 37 degrees, as I was being good to myself I opted out and instead sat under an air conditioner in the mall.

 

Hamanako Pal Pal -  https://rcdb.com/4997.htm

 

After a relatively short drive we arrived at Hamanako Pal Pal, a park I walked away from rather disappointed.

 

The park has a weird mall like hub which you enter after purchasing tickets, this "hub" connects the two sides of the park together. There was something rather off putting about walking through a dirty looking mall type room full of arcades as you enter an amusement park.

 

After getting out we arrived at...

 

Mega Coaster - https://rcdb.com/1284.htm

 

Online I'd be led to believe that Mega Coaster was some sort of hidden gem and since then I had been quite excited to give it a go. Unfortunately I found it ride exactly like I'd expected before I read the hype, completely devoid of excitement or charm and just another cred for the count, what a shame.

 

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Mini Coaster - https://rcdb.com/1802.htm

 

+1

 

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Jungle Mouse - https://rcdb.com/1285.htm

 

+1

 

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It was a shame that a park I was quite excited for ended up being a bit of a disappointment. I wouldn't recommend bothering with Hamanako unless like us you're just doing it for the creds, the park itself needs some work done to tidy it up, the staff weren't up to Japan standard and with Mega Coaster being a disappointment there's very little to keep you there.

 

Following this we went to a mall to get food and watch Ant Man 2, both were great.

 

We left the mall at about 9pm for the 2 hour drive to Tokyo. The first half of the journey was spent watching an absolutely beautiful thunder storm light up the night sky in spell bounding fashion. With the second half spent trying to see Mount Fuji or Eejanaika out the window, I saw neither but don't worry I promise you I see ONE of them before the end of the trip.

 

The following is a sore subject but I really do find the honest trip reports the best reads, so you're welcome.

 

We arrive at our hotel for the night at almost midnight. We go in, exchange pleasantries with the friendly lady behind the counter, get our rooms keys and head upstairs...

 

I open my room door to discover that my friend without telling me has booked us into a traditional style Japanese hotel. The kind where the floor is a straw mat, there's nothing else in the room and you sleep on a half inch thick piece of cloth on the floor. I was f**king livid...

 

If it wasn't for the following day containing something I'd have given body parts to attend, helping me to keep my eyes on the prize, I probably would have caused more of a scene and I did honestly think about sleeping in the car for a long while.

 

It took me half an hour to kill the largest fly I've seen that was circling my room and a further 20 minutes of spraying various scents around the place to get rid of the awful smell before I managed calm myself enough to attempt to sleep on the floor.

 

Thanks for reading, next time, 7 hours of paradise, an impending typhoon, Joypolis, Tokyo Metro, Yokohama Cosmoworld (sort of) and Yomiuriland.

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