Lobster Pinocchio and Micro-Mini-DisneySea: Hamanako Pal Pal & Lagunasia
It was another train-and-cabs day as TPR returned to two parks from the 2007 trip: Hamanako Pal Pal and Lagunasia. Had either of them changed since then? Not much. But that day affected me profoundly. You see, I met someone at Pal Pal in 2007 . . .
. . . but she broke my heart. She looked at me, sighed, and said, “I’m made of fiberglass, while you are flesh and blood. It just won’t work. Besides, I’m sort of seeing . . .
. . . Pinocchio and Lobster Pinocchio.” (Well, her Facebook relationship status did say, “It’s complicated.” Never trust the Blue Fairy--or little wooden guys.)
Yes, I’ve grown hardened and more cynical since the Blue Fairy dumped me for two cartoon characters. But that doesn’t completely alter my feelings for Hamanako Pal Pal--a fun, funky Japanese park with a big Togo coaster than doesn’t kill you and a little wild mouse that does.
Let’s have a look at Pal Pal 2018. I promise that there will be little, if any, heartbreak.
Upon seeing this Togo coaster, which resembles a certain death machine in Vegas, what would you do first?: a) say “that looks awesome”; b) weasel out of riding it; c) make out your will; d) all of the above.
There you are, Pinocchio, you lousy, two-bit woman-stealing son of a . . .
"Dude! She dumped both of us for Lobster Pinocchio! Let's have a beer and talk this out."
Yeah, that lobster looks pretty shifty.
We were drawn to the huge Togo like moths to a blow torch.
They take this . . .
. . . very seriously.
This is why they took that very seriously.
There’s no turning back now.
The bow is drawn . . .
. . . let fly the shaft!
Why doesn’t this hurt more?
Yay! We’re still alive!
Congratulations. You’ve earned this.
Truth be told, Mega Coaster wasn’t quite as painful as Mini Coaster.
Cute cars, though.
Jungle Mouse was the most painful of them all.
Ever rode Desperadoes? Well, this is Desperadoes with pirates.
So, would that be “Pirates Adventure--Pirate’s Plunder: Ghosts of the Golden Grotto”? That's more complicated than the Blue Fairy's relationship status.
Did you know that pirates rode both horses and boxes?
Pink is for girls, bluish green is for boys.
“Pinocchio is dead! Long live Lobster Pinocchio!”
This dark ride has changed a lot since 2007.
But the creepy ride vehicles still stare at you.
Then again, the whole thing is a bit creepy--especially the grinning tomato. (Oh, the Blue Fairy is probably hot for that tomato now. Watch your back, Lobster Pinocchio!)
It’s now a low-budget “Midway Mania.” You play sports games (such as a hurdles race) with a controller in your ride vehicle.
“Please push the plush Pinocchios at Pal Pal.” How’s that for a tongue twister?
Even so, the Minions are moving in.
One last look at the relatively pain free Mega Coaster. Next stop, Lagunasia!
I had an interesting chat with our cab driver on the ride to Lagunasia.
CABBIE: You know, this is a very small city. ME: Is it? CABBIE: Yes. Why you come here to go to kid’s park?
Well, if it’s such a “small city,” why not spend it at a “kid’s park” like Lagunasia? Like Tokyo DisneySea, it has a nautical theme, with coasters themed to fish, pirates, and . . . er . . . wet wind?
And don’t forget the “Magical Powder.” It can really change your attitude about everything--and make you forget that entire days, weeks, or months ever happened.
Had the park changed at all since 2007? A wee bit. They added a VR option to Pirate’s Blast, an indoor-outdoor coaster. As rough as that thing was, I chose to skip wearing the headset, which I was afraid would come loose and give me a concussion. I’m happy to report that the park’s Gerstlauer Bobsled, Aqua Wind, is still a lot of fun. They also added onride audio to their kiddie coaster (Stellar Coaster).
Be on the lookout for big rubber-headed characters, and cats, as you enter Lagunasia.
“Lagunasia” is Japanese for “why do you silly adults visit kid’s park?”
He is totally checking her out.
I met a long-lost relative at Lagunasia. There does seem to be a family resemblance.
Lagunasia is a very pretty little theme park.
OK, it’s nice, but is it really “stellar”?
The synchronized on-ride audio was rather odd--and in Japanese, of course.
Of all the rides to offer VR . . .
Enjoy your neck braces and black eyes!
Hmm--”Wet Fart: The Ride”?
Nice queue--unless someone cuts a big wet one.
I kid, but this is a pretty good Gerstlauer Bobsled.
Not to be confused with the “Gato House.”
“Do I get a cut?”
Er, Dan? It’s a bit creepy in here.
Speaking of creepy . . . the strangest dark ride ever.
Dan! Don’t look at it!
“Dan? There is no more Dan.”
“Yes, we have taken his essence, drained it of all impurities, and . . .
. . . and ground his dehydrated remains into Magical Powder. Er, he’s on the right.”
“Oh, wait . . . there he is. Our mistake.”
“But if the two of you wouldn’t mind stepping into our dehydrator . . .”
Sheesh! Magical Powder is a big deal at Lagunasia.
Pink is for FAT.
You can instantly gain 15 pounds just my hugging a pink Magical Powder plush.
This powder can make you disappear for a mere 400 yen!
Looks like we stumbled into a Carnival Cruise ship theater.
We weren't there in time to be dazzled, though.
We settled for this shooting dark ride with the redundant name. That's all for now.
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