Robb & Elissa in Asia - 2016!

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Re: Robb & Elissa in Asia - 2016!

Postby robbalvey » Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:35 am

Garet wrote:Just out of curiosity for future trips, what rides were given time slots for the express 7?

The two Potter rides, Flying Dinosaur, and Backdrop. Everything else we could use when we wanted to. Note that Backdrop and Flying Dinosuar were on two different books that we purchased. As of right now, you cannot purchase one book with both of them.

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Re: Robb & Elissa in Asia - 2016!

Postby robbalvey » Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:37 am

xVicesAndVirtues wrote:Aww, this made me really miss the way the Orlando parks used to be. For anyone who hasn't been since 5+ years ago, they basically took 100% of their efforts and budget in maintenance, service, food quality, employee talent, etc and just dumped it into the Potter sections, yet managed to make all of those things worse at the same time.

This is exactly how I feel as well. I mean, the reality is that I'll still take Universal Orlando over like 90% of the rest of the parks in the US, but I miss the higher level of quality the parks used to offer. And you still get that at Universal Japan.

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Re: Robb & Elissa in Asia - 2016!

Postby Itachi » Tue Jan 03, 2017 3:44 am

Thanks for this report, Universal Japan really is amazing! Didn't the staff use metal detectors at The Flying Dinosaur anymore? Last summer, every guest was checked by a staff member with a hand-held metal detector. It didn't bother me though, operations in this park are just incredible. Wish every park had operations like this one.

The Flying Dinosaur is my favorite flying coaster, but I didn't ride Tatsu yet. Which one do you think is better?

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Re: Robb & Elissa in Asia - 2016!

Postby robbalvey » Tue Jan 03, 2017 4:08 am

Itachi wrote:Thanks for this report, Universal Japan really is amazing! Didn't the staff use metal detectors at The Flying Dinosaur anymore?

Not that we saw during our visit and we rode it three times that day: morning, noon, and evening.
Last edited by robbalvey on Tue Jan 03, 2017 4:52 am.

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Re: Robb & Elissa in Asia - 2016!

Postby robbalvey » Tue Jan 03, 2017 4:54 am

Sorry about that little mess I had to clean up. Let me just make something clear - This is a report about our trip to Asia, NOT a soapbox for Universal Orlando fanboys to jump on and start making claims about the operations at that park, which has NOTHING to do with our report. If you'd like to discuss operations at Universal Orlando, we have a Universal Orlando Discussion Thread which is a perfect place for that.

Thank you!

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Re: Robb & Elissa in Asia - 2016!

Postby cfc » Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:01 am

I like Universal Japan a lot. It's too bad that Space Fantasy was closed; it's a great ride, even if it doesn't make much sense (unless you speak Japanese, I guess).

And yay for Japanese Jaws!
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Re: Robb & Elissa in Asia - 2016!

Postby musicmand » Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:55 am

robbalvey wrote:
musicmand wrote:Looks cool, but I really feel like "immersion" and theming is what separates Disney and Universal from the "Six Flags"-style parks of the world. It just doesn't look like it's there on these roller coasters (although admittedly you didn't show us the queue lines).

Don't get me wrong - I'd still visit if I were in the neighborhood, but I don't see anything that rivals USO. Cool trip, though!

I'm not even sure what you're saying in your response. If you're saying that Universal Japan looks like Six Flags, you're insane and totally mistaken. If you're saying that Universal Japan doesn't look anywhere near as good as Universal Orlando, you're insane and totally mistaken.

Universal Japan is significantly better than Orlando in every way. Operations, clientele, selection of rides, guest service, food and drink options, merchandise, entertainment, and an overall guest experience.

Maybe if you were a bit more clear with your words I could understand what your thought was, but really I have no idea and I'm just guessing at this point.


I apologize for the miscommunication - I originally had a longer post, but it was coming across as adversarial, so I gutted it, and lost my point in the process. I really need to quit violating my "no posting after midnight" rule. :) In fact, I've rewritten this post several times as well, trying to figure out how to articulate what I wanted to say.

Six Flags parks seem to like slapping a DC Comics character on a roller coaster and call that "theming." The coaster is still front and center, not the cohesive theme or the overall experience of the attraction. It's the same thing I disliked about IoA enough that we didn't even go to the park the first time I went as an adult in 2007 (I regret that now as I would like to have seen it pre-Potterland). It's the same aesthetic that I hate about Rip Ride Rockit, and frankly, I was so underwhelmed by that ride that I will probably never ride it again. There's no story, no adventure. Just "stand in this queue line, strap in to this roller coaster, and hold on!" Ditto for California Screamin' in Anaheim, albeit with a much better roller coaster. *Please understand, I LOVE roller coasters, but Disney and Universal have consistently raised the bar for themed experiences.

By contrast, consider the Revenge of the Mummy. Theming throughout, especially the "brain burn" scene. It actually took me by surprise on my first ride. It takes a pretty unremarkable roller coaster and elevates it to a much more exciting experience. Space Mountain, Rock N Roller Coaster, et al have a story that's set up throughout the area around the attraction, through the queue line, and continues through the attraction itself. For crying out loud, people are throwing a fit about the Tower of Terror in DCA closing, and it's nothing more than a drop tower! A drop tower with top shelf theming.

The appeal of Potterland, to me, is extending that theming to an entire section of park. A consistent and pervasive theme can be really effective (Silver Dollar City in Branson is a great example of this), and while the traffic flow is definitely an issue, Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley provide a unique chance to really immerse yourself in that theme. The Potter rides could never live up to their hype (I was particularly underwhelmed by Escape From Gringott's - a bad roller coaster mixed with a watered down version of Spider-Man), but the theming means that the rides don't have to stand alone. It's my favorite aspect of Animal Kingdom or Epcot's World Showcase- the feeling of actually being transported to another place. Disney is continuing the trend, with fully immersive Avatar, Star Wars, and Toy Story lands in the works. I do agree with you that the storage situation could be avoided, but they'd have to be more creative than plastic bins in order to maintain the theme.

So I guess the short version of my post is this: how is the theming of the park? IoA has flashes of brilliance; USO is limited in this aspect. I want to visit Tokyo DisneySea at least once in my life because it seems to be the mecca of impeccable theming and themed experiences.

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Re: Robb & Elissa in Asia - 2016!

Postby robbalvey » Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:33 am

musicmand wrote:So I guess the short version of my post is this: how is the theming of the park? IoA has flashes of brilliance; USO is limited in this aspect. I want to visit Tokyo DisneySea at least once in my life because it seems to be the mecca of impeccable theming and themed experiences.

Well, the park IS sort of a mix between Universal and IOA and with that is the styles of theming you know between those two parks. I will say though that I feel USJ pulls it off much better.

While, sure, rides like Flying Dinosaur and Hollywood Dream are not themed that much once you leave the station or really at all in comparison to a "themed attraction" like Mummy or Spider-Man, but Flying Dinosaur does at least fit in with the whole "flying" theme, and the train is very nicely themed.

Potterland aside as I'm not a huge fan of the property or the land, I do feel that USJ has a better selection of themed attractions and does a better job with theming the rides they have. For example, I still think Space Fantasy is one of the best themed indoor coasters you'll find. Mummy and Tron I would also put in that category. I have always been impressed with Jaws and am very happy that attraction lives on in that park. And attractions like Spider-Man, Jurassic Park River Adventure, the indoor Snoopy area, and even Backdraft are all very well done and well themed.

I would say the only two attractions that fall into your "Six Flags" description at USJ would be Flying Dinosaur and Hollywood Dream. But I personally like both of those rides better than let's say Hulk and Rip Ride Rockit. So maybe it's jut a matter of personal preference.

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Re: Robb & Elissa in Asia - 2016!

Postby Donkeygoat » Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:58 am

I wish Flying coasters became a trend in the west, since the newer ones in Asia to me looks vastly superior to the other ones. Here in Europe we haven't gotten a flying coaster since Air/Galactica which was almost 15 years ago, and it doesn't seem as good as the others. Instead we soon have 5 dive coasters that I'd be more than happy to trade for the two cusom flyers in Japan. :cry:

Side note, do you think Flying Dinosaur is better than Sky Scrapper? Ride wise, that is (I'm more of a ride guy than a theming guy, but maybe that's because I've never been to Universal or similar...)
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Re: Robb & Elissa in Asia - 2016!

Postby cfc » Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:09 am

^^I also prefer Hollywood Dream to Hulk and Rip Ride 'n Rockit. The Backdrop version of Dream is lots of fun.
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