This weekend marked one of the worst ice storms in the area since 1998. Power is back up so why let the weather ruin a perfectly good look back at Fuji-Q? Have to take this opportunity since it's always a gamble if the weather doesn't cooperate or a volcano erupts. Just like at Fuji-Q.
You know, it's often said that there are so many ways to have a day at Fuji Q completely ruined, with most of it being due to Fuji Q. If you've ever visited, you'll notice essentially right away that the potential for a really bad day is everywhere. I can't describe it more clearly other then to say that it's as if the real Japan of efficiency and precision only exists outside of the boundaries of the park. Mercifully, this was the first TPR Japan tour in history to have a very decent day, in fact really great day, at Fuji Q. I think I speak for everyone when I say how thankful we were for being able to accomplish all that we did.
As Nagashima seemed close to a Cedar Fair North American experience, I would say that Fuji Q is the closest to a Six Flags North American experience on account of its ride collection and overall look and feel. I can totally get why I've heard Fuji Q often compared to Six Flags Magic Mountain. A great ride line up with a ton of potential but the park can somehow suck your soul away at the worst of times or always leave you puzzled and scratching your head at the best of times. If you haven't been to either park, you'll know what this means if and when you visit.
All the background and pep talks that we received prior to our visit truly mitigated any potential for a bad day. A huge shout out to Robb and Elissa for directing traffic at the fast pass booth and honestly giving each group a customized plan of attack to get as much done as possible throughout the day. The end result? I'm happy to report that everyone made it on every ride at Fuji Q, at least once! This alone, made it one of the best days ever. The fact that the rides were good and that the park is actually quite nice was a bonus. I was really looking forward to visiting primarily because of the ride line up and am glad that it worked out for everyone.
Since this park has the closest to a North American coaster line-up, I thought I'd give a quick impression of the steel monsters at the park.
Dodonpa. The most intense launch ever, period. Sure, it may not do a lot after the launch but it really doesn't have to. This ride is all about the fastest acceleration in the world at the time and since it already does way more than Hypersonic ever did, it's a win win. Dodonpa is terrifying, loud at launch and almost stealthy quiet during the rest of the ride. It is still one of the best, if not the best thrill at Fuji Q.
Fujiyama. One to the coolest hyper coaster layouts that I've ever seen or been on. Part out and back, part twister and a great overall ride. Togo to me had most of the best coasters of the trip.
Takabisha. The tallest Eurofighter and steepest roller coaster in the world to date. It is also new for 2013. I'm not sure how I felt about this one other than it being a launched Eurofighter on steroids. The first drop really looks fantastic and is terrifying. Overall, it was a fun ride and the least painful Eurofighter that I've been on, compared to Untamed and Saw at the other end of the scale. This was also the first ride of the day and the first time I was left scratching my head at Fuji Q--it didn't take long at all. I hope that nobody forgot their dangerous park maps and tickets in the storage container wall with lockable front doors, also known here as ride fluffy, fluffy bunnies filled with medicine and goo.
Eejanaika. Great theming and a great ride. If you've been on X or X2, you'll know what this is like. Aside from being a bit bouncy, I don't think a lot of coasters can still come close to the thrill of a 4D. I personally love them and having a chance to ride one of these again was something that I took as much advantage of as I could. If I remember correctly, the only difference from X/ X2 is that the trains are a bit shorter and the ride itself is a bit longer.
Great Fluffy Sky Adventure. Simply known as the "hamster ride". One of the best rides at the park. I'll say no more.
Overall things were going as smoothly as possible! I was even given a Takabisha fast pass with two hours left in the operating day for another ride. Thing is, when I got to the entrance, the lines were closed for the day to make sure they were empty by closing time or earlier. A different take on closing time I guess? In any case, everything at that point was a true bonus so really, it didn't matter in the grand scheme of things. It sure was a great way to collect the last head scratcher of the day though. The rest of the day gave everyone a great chance to check out the views of the incredible Mount Fuji.
Enjoy the pics and have a Fuji Q day! I'm sorry, I didn't mean that. Have a great day! That's better.
Being at a Disney resort and getting ready to leave Disney can make for a tough start to day.
With breakfast in hand, we were off to...
....drive past Tokyo Disney Sea for
and head to the Mount Fuji area.
The majesty of Mount Fuji is a site to behold.
To many, so are S&S 4D coasters--the the lava best stay in Fuji.
Fuji Q welcomes its guests with Fujiyama, perhaps one of Togo's finest.
A bit Togo for the soul.
Park is open and despite the slight drizzle, Fujiyama, Dodonpa and Takabisha were testing/ open.
A few special rules that make Fuji Q so special.
Up first, Fujiyama!
Terminator 2 trains?
New for 2013 is Takabisha.
This ride looks great and the first drop is honestly terrifying. Mount Fuji as your view is never a bad thing, so long as there is no lava.
Now, I only want to give sneak peak of one of the most intense rides ever--Great Fluffy Sky Adventure
A few shots of Dodonpa.
Time to give it a try.
It looks cute and cuddly, doesn't it?
Don't let that fool you.
We're ready for the fastest launch.....in the world.
It didn't disappoint.
Up next, lunch with Eejanaika.
The ride area looked great.
A walk through Thomas Land, which is the nicest one around.
Well, it's a credit, so..
Chuck! The ride op wasn't that bad... Oh wait, we're in line for the Haunted Hospital
This is one of the best haunted attractions around. Even if you don't come across an actor, the props and sets are enough to creep you right out.
The day ended with a bit of time checking out Mount Fuji. What a backdrop to any park.
A fun day at the park all things considered.
Nevertheless, a drink after a day at Fuji-Q I've heard is mandatory. We obliged at the Resort Gateway area.
^I can totally understand that, I loved the coasters there and being able to walk around with Mount Fuji just happening to be in the background was something truly "awesome". I mean, if that doesn't inspire awe, what does?
As great as coasters are, Japan has a lot of other stuff. This section is about two really interesting spots near Kyoto--the Fushimi Inari shrine and Arashiyama.
Fushimi Inari is the most popular Inari shrine in Japan. You can easily spot these shrines by all of the orange traditional Japanese gates, or torii, which represent the gateways to sacred areas. Inari are the Shinto religion's spirits, or kami, which are thought to resemble foxes. They are worshipped to maintain fertility, rice, tea and sake--the staples of ensuring prosperity and success in agriculture and industry. Foxes, called kitsune, are believed to act as advocates of success to the Inari on behalf of their worshippers. This is why you'll see a lot of fox statues at Inari shrines, often in male/ female pairs. The statues hold a symbolic item of prosperity that they are protecting on behalf of their worshippers, such as keys or rice, in their mouths or under their paw. It's believed that the whole advocacy process may work out better if you make offerings to the kitsune. These are traditionally of rice, sushi rolls or tofu, but you'll see plenty of places to donate your change and money as another option to help with your own prosperity and success. The torri are also generally sponsored by companies, families or individuals. The larger the gift, the larger your gate.
Arashiyama is a smaller touristy area west of Kyoto with a traditional central area leading to the Togetsukyo Bridge and mountain area. It looks like it would be a great place to visit in the fall or spring. The lake is full of cool traditional boats and touristy "pleasure boats", where yes, sometimes people "make pleasure". Further down the path are the Arashiyama bamboo groves.
For the animal lovers, this area is also home to the Iwatayama Monkey Park on top of Mount Arashiyama, a conservatory of over 170 wild Japanese macaque monkeys, who have kinda sorta become used to us humans being around. It's only a "short" climb up a mountain, but worth it. Although in geography like this it isn't uncommon to encounter monkeys in the wild, this is a cool way at bringing them closer to us and really is something to experience, as frightening as these monkeys can be up close...
After a long day, we ended up having burnt ramen for dinner at Gogyo and checking out the Shinkyogoku arcade on the walk back to the hotel.
Enjoy the pics!
Let's start at Fushimi Inari Shrine
A good cleanse is needed before moving on to sacred realms.
I have forgot what these are, but definitely one of the more interesting displays along the shops area.
Worshipping at the main Inari shrine.
One of many kitsune.
The start of the torii pathways leading to the shrines.
These donated by families and companies. The more you donate, the larger they are.
Some of the smaller Inari shrines around the grounds.
The Inari are not amused.
Throw some money at this one and you'll guarantee success and prosperity....just not yours ;)
Main shopping area and these carts were cooking up some great local eats--octopus in this case.
After leaving the shrine, other traditional figures were everywhere. Time for lunch.
After a day of tradition and worship, it was time to get cultured with that other staple of Japanese culture, Shaka Shaka Chicken. Next up, Arashiyama.
We made it to the Arashiyama tourist area and man, it was a hot day!
Definitely serene with no clue about the extent of a mountain climb we were about to take part in.
The Togetsukyo bridge, leading to Mount Arashiyama.
These stairs were just the beginning.
Ok so getting there wasn't easy as pie but it was worth it.
Great views of Kyoto from the park.
What a life.
The sounds these monkeys make when fighting is pretty vicious and a good reminder that you're in the middle of wild habitat.
A monkey in a tree..who knew?
I'm actually not sure if this was for the monkeys or us. It was fun regardless ;)
After Monkey Park we headed to the Arashiyama bamboo groves.
I don't think there are many things that are more peaceful.
First geisha sighting of the trip.
Back to Tokyo train station
We decided to check out the pathway across the train station's atrium for some great views of the city.
It was definitely of a decent height.
My very first burnt ramen at Gogyo Kyoto restaurant.
The fact that they still served us after taking off our shoes on this day in particular was exceptionally impressive.
The Shinkyogoku shopping arcade was on the way back to the hotel.
As much as I've tried to say that I'm not really a huge Disney guy, there's just something about actually arriving at a Disney Park that makes even the "kinda sorta" fans into excited kids again. It's as close a definition of "Disney Magic" that I can think of. Being an easily accessible and popular city park means that it's usually quite busy at Tokyo Disney parks. We were lucky on our first day as crowds were moderate.
I feel so lucky to have been to three Disney "Magic Kingdom" parks. It's hard to choose a favourite and I can honestly say I really like the all, with a very slight edge to Magic Kingdom at WDW. The Winnie the Pooh ride? The easiest way to describe it quite honestly is...magical. An honourable mention to Jungle Boat Cruise and Enchanted Tiki Room in Japanese.....what a trip.
I've heard the Japenese being described as impossibly friendly in some travel guides. It's true and even more so inside the gates of Tokyo Disneyland. It's an incredible place to to be.
Enjoy the pics!
Good morning Tokyo Disneyland!
A great "good morning" view.
We definitely lucked out with the hotel rooms
This....is Bayside station...
We got there early to make sure that we got our Fast Pass strategy all organized
We are now officially Disneyfied
I am the princess now.
Tokyo Disneyland has the full size castle!
Our first Fast Pass stop was Monsters Inc. It was closed but we were told we could use them whenever the ride reopened, even if expired--that is service!
Still a lot of fun.
The best ride at the park by far.
This always deserves a courtesy ride.
This was such a bizarre experience.
My fourth time seeing this at three parks. It's still uhm....surreal?
Love Toon Town!
Such a great day.
Time for Doma Doma! All you can eat and drink is a great thing....
We move one of the most beautiful theme park ever built, DisneySea. It's like a modern version of Epcot, which means it's more of a concept for those pushing the strollers. I really think that this park defines what a theme park is on what definitely looks like a spare no expenses budget. The details are incredible, almost unheard of for a theme park. The Italian section was phenomenal along with another of my personal favourite areas, New York.
If you really think about it, there aren't a lot of "rides" per say at DisneySea, but each one is an incredible attraction. Quantity doesn't really matter here as you could ride nothing and still have an incredible day at the park.
Highlights were for sure the gyozos coupled with a truly refreshing glass of frozen Kirin beer, debating whether or not the Neptune submarines actually go under water, being schooled on whether the lave monster was male or female and coming up with the meaning of life--why Aquatopia exists and why it is so much fun. Riding Indiana Jones a few times here and in California, I'm wondering why it's not at Disney World. Journey to Centre of the Earth was a fantastic ride for the moment you enter the queue right to the end.
This was my third Tower of Terror ride. I'd give it a first place finish for the overall theming, concept and pre-show but the short height and seat belts put it slightly behind the Florida version. I love the extra stuff that the Florida version has.
I know there are a ton of phenomenal pictures from DisneySea so I'll keep this set a bit brief. Just a bit. I mean, who gets tired of DisneySea?
Enjoy the pics!
It was great being there during an anniversary year.
A little Europe to welcome you?
It really is mind blowing.
Even on a rainy day, we were having a blast.
A few attempts at trying to catch Journey
An unexpected part of the ride for sure.
The details here are incredible.
It's bizarre seeing a relative's family name in Japan.
I really liked this area as well
Hotel Hightower! We'll be checking in there soon.
We've heard so much of the Shiriki Utundu piece that we just had to check in and see it for ourselves.
About to head to the pre-show. I know the effect is simple but it's done so well that it amazes me each time we saw it.
For me, even thought I'm afraid of drop rides, I think the Tower of Terror rides are the most re-ridable rides at every Disney.
Checking out some other ares while heading to the "under the sea" area.
Time to ride Indy!
After a long day, nothing like gyozo by the volcano.
Mmmm, really nice coverage on the Disney parks, Jason. I am still not happy about not being able to go back this March (doing the Scandi tour, can't afford both). Hopefully, in 2015....maybe? Or 2016 with the China Tour!
Looking forward to more great photos and commentary, Jason.
And you got a better shot of BAYSIDE STATION than I did!
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