TR- bert has a Spooktacular time with TPR in Japan!

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Re: TR- bert has a Spooktacular time with TPR in Japan!

Postby bert425 » Wed Dec 04, 2019 8:58 pm

so we left Yomiuriland, and after a few train changes, we pulled into the Odaiba Station in Tokyo.

We were headed to Tokyo Joypolis (a place my brain insisted on calling "Joy-Opolis", even after hearing it called "Joy-polis" multiple times).

It had already been a long day of fun and excitement at Yomiuriland, and I knew I had to get up early in the morning, but no way was I going to pass up a chance to visit this place that I'd heard about for decades - and was home to the first spinning coaster with an inversion.
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we exited the Station, and weren't exactly sure which way to go. . oh sure, we could have followed the signs, but we didn't need no steenking signs!

in actuality, I think most of us (at least I cans speak for myself) was distracted by the wonderfully lit Odaiba Ferris Wheel. .so we exited the station towards that.

the Ferris wheel was fantastic looking, and we tentatively discussed coming back later to ride it. .but we soon figured out we needed to go the other direction, and so went up the platform to take the bridge over the traffic.
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and while walking across got a lovely view of Tokyo.
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it turns out that Tokyo Joypolis is part of a shopping complex called "Decks" (or as Alex and i called it: "Deksssss", so named because the center, when viewed from the side facing Tokyo Bay, is built to look like a ship.

To quote from the booklet I grabbed inside:

"The Ship Theme Park!
DECKS Tokyo Beach is a ship-themed shopping center.
Starting with the wooden open terrace modeled after the deck of a ship, there are decorations thruout the mall that recall boating themes. Walk along the deck and feel the salty sea wind blowing pleasantly across you as you enjoy shopping and dining in a setting that feels as though you're on a luxurious cruise ship sailing around Tokyo Bay.
On the 3F Seasside Deck, take in a panoramic view of Tokyo Bay! Relax on a Wave-Themed Sofa, or enjoy the 6F Restaurant Floor's Ocean-themed mural"

heh. . I love the "hype text" used in Japan :)

there's also a Legoland Discovery Center, a Madame Tussauds & a bunch of shopping at this center, but we were getting here ~6pm and most were closing or closed).

What we were really here for was the top one listed on this sign tho: Sega Joypolis - it was open until 10pm, and although last entry was 9:30 pc, we still had at least 3 1/2 hours before close.
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we made it! (terrible angle, but we took this pic to prove we found our way there!).

and they offered a "Night Passport" after 5pm, which was only ~$35 and included admission and rides

for some reason, I didn't take a picture of the front entrance of Joypolis, only this one from outside.

not sure why. . I don't even have a blurry one! I blame the excitement of being there, since I DID take pics of the machines we used to buy our Night Passports (all came out so blurry tho, not posting).
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Joypolis is a really large space: 3 floors, that are packed with activities, and tech wonders. . .there was no way we were even going to get to do a fraction of the attractions offered, even tho it wasn't very crowded. but that was OK, as personally, I really only wanted to do one ride (the coaster) everything else was gravy.

our 1st stop was the "Gekion Live Coaster" - this is the spinner with the inversion.
It's described on the park map as thus:

"Part music game, part roller coaster, it's the world's first "concert coaster" ! You'll fly at insane speeds through a course of spectacular lights and sounds"

this coaster apparently gets a lot of overlays, and during our visit, it was themed to a J-Pop band that seemed to be super popular.

the first part of the ride, involves the 4 person car stopping multiple times in front of screens, where you had to push your color coded buttons to match what was happening on the screen. The gameplay was simlilar to guitar hero, where you had to hit the buttons when "your" color bubbles moved into "your" target range. it was fun, and not confusing, but it was way more shooting dark ride - albeit with blasting loud music - than coaster.

until you get to the top of the lift hill, and finish playing the game on the final screen prior to the launch.

Then it launches you out over the main atrium (open air beneath you), it does it's signature inversion, before going back into an enclosed room, with the same song blasting, lots of disco lights and screens on a giant tower in the center of the room, and then the care unlocks and you spin while the track loops around the outside of the room several times). . then you pull into the station, and you see who had the high score in your vehicle.

(shocker - Jon won both times, or was it 3 times we rode?).

they are VERY strict about nothing in your pockets here, and you have to put them in a cubby space at the bottom of the stairs. I mean, really strict - someone had to get out of line and go back to the cubby to put in a chapstick they had in their pocket. Really.

but the ride was fun, and I'm glad we bought the Night Pass, so we could ride multiple times, instead of just purchasing per ride.

But my phone was locked away, hence no pics of the ride queue or the ride itself here.

This fun thing that I DO have a picture of here, is one of the multiple "interactive" tech things spread thruout Joypolis.

they call these: Space Interaction ("Experience the fusioin of Digital and Real world").

This particular one, you stood on a marked spot, and the screen turned you into a creepy "Schmoo". .that mimicked your movements and did all kinds of fun stuff.

the "Spaceship" it's holding in it's right hand, is actually my phone snapping this pic, that the display turned into something else :)
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after some rides on Gekion Live Coaster, we made our way over to the other marquee attraction at Joypolis (also on the 1st floor), the Halfpipe Tokyo !

this is an amazing adrenaline rush - it's a stateboard type attraction that swings back and forth, and as you swing past the white line on the floor, the two riders on each "arm" (riding side to side but facing different directions) "tilt" the floor. The result, if you can time your tilt with the other rider, and time it as you hit the white line? the device spins, like REALLY spins, and you get higher and higher up the sides of the half-pipe.

it's HELLA fun. . but as you can see, with only 4 arms? capacity is crappola - even if its not running a long cycle (and it runs a decent one).

luckily, we were there on a Tuesday night, and it wasn't too crowded, so the wait was only 20 minutes or so.

In this pic, you can see the interactive tech thing from the prior picture near the waiting area - complete with the flagged spot to stand so you can interact with the screen.
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Not everyone wanted to ride, so they enjoyed "bench" the ride, while others of us got into queue.

the queue had several more of those interactive elements - where if you stared at a TV with your picture on it, a digital wig appeared on your head. . or your head became bubbles. It made the time in the queue fly.
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Here's Jon and I on the ride. . luckily we ended up in the front track too, so Alex was able to get this pic from the observation area where he and Allison were sitting.

Jon is facing away, but since he had been on this on a prior TPR Japan trip, he was able to advise me and help me get our timing down, so we were spinning like crazy.

we had a weird e-STOP in the middle of our ride (I think some of the riders on another track were jumping up and down and so they stopped it to yell at them). . but they started a new cycle and we got a full ride in.

we spun a lot, but we didn't "win" with most swings/spins - there's a score at the top of each track, and each cycle has a "winner". We came in 2nd tho.

was really fun.
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Leia and Brad rode after us, so I got a snap of them before the ride started.
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the J-Pop band that the coaster is themed to? The Main Stage in the center of the 1st floor had a projection mapping/hologram show featuring the band performing.

From the reaction of the crowd, I thought maybe some (or one) of them had shown up live. . but nope, this large crowd - many sporting glow sticks or LED "shakers" handed out by the staff - were all enjoying a virtual concert and totally into it.

they had signs posted everywhere advising NO PHOTOS of the show, so (with permission) I took this one from off to the side, so I could just get the crowd but not any of the projected show.

which was really pretty impressive. It was almost hologram-like. Tho I don't really get why they are all so into it, when it's not even a live person on the stage.

very interesting to see tho.
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the only nod that Joypolis had to Halloween was this photo op.

but, I mean, it's Sonic trick or treating!

so of course I stopped for a pic (or 3).
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We then splintered off into smaller groups, since some folks wanted to do the haunts on the upper level, some wanted to go into the gift shop, and some just wanted to sit in the lounge/cafe area.

so Jon, Luke, and myself headed up to the 2nd floor, and among the offerings this one caught my eye: "Transformers: Human Alliance Special"

we saw a girl get off a cycle (there were very few people on this level) and she looked kind of green, but this looked like fun: A shooting ride from inside a 360 "ball" that moved with the film.

This was the big mistake of the night, as the cycle was not only very long, but it did a LOT of 360 spinning while also gyroscoping.

I did like it. .but this kinda knocked the wind out of all of us (especially Luke & Jon..who were done with riding after this).

I'm glad I rode it, as it was something I'd never experienced before. But yeah, if we hadn't done this ride, I likely would have gotten on a few other things on this floor, such as "Tower Tag" (a climbing interactive VR shooting game), or "Storm G" a virtual bob-sleigh that also does 360 stuff.

after spinning till almost puking here tho? nope.. .I wanted to check out the stuff on the 3rd floor (mainly the Sadako attraction), but i was pretty much done with anything more extreme than sitting.
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speaking of sitting. . really liked this little game controller bench. It looked like it moved depending on what you did with the joystick. but I wasn't about to chance trying it out.

LOL. . didn't want to puke, even tho I hadn't eaten since lunch earlier in Yomiuriland.
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another "Space Interaction" spot. . this time Sadako creeps up on you when you stand on the marked spot.

boo!!!!
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in the Lounge area on the 2nd level, there's a wall size "Space Interaction" display..where you can put your face on a Sea Lion (or maybe it's a Manatee), and then swim around the whole wall. . . and you can also virtually "feed" yourself by dropping (via button on the wall), digital snacks into the "water" then watching yourself snatch them up.

here I am blowing bubbles.
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Jon got in on the fun too. . so here we are, swimming our best lives, on the wall of Joypolis.
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going up the escalators to the 3rd floor of Joypolis, you can get a great view of Gekion Live Coaster's track when it comes out over the main atrium - in particular the inversion.

also in this pic, there's a decent view of the Main Stage, when there's not a show going on. .so you can see the different sections (thru the netting under the coaster), where there are tons of LED lights, and tech for digital mapping. This thing comes alive during the stage show.

It looks like the car is in mid-spin here, so I must be mis-remembering, and it unlocks for spinning the moment the launch is done.

meaning you might be spinning during the inversion.
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yep, and here it is spinning during the inversion.

wheeee!
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up on the 3rd floor, the outside of the "She's on her Way. . Sadako - the Curse: Psychic Manor" attraction.

LOVED the giant practical display on the outside of the attraction.

I had planned to do it, and then noticed the warning sign out front that advised that you would be in a "coffin" for part of the attraction and those who are claustrophobic should not ride.

so i went over and joined the folks sitting in the lounge area up there - who were waiting on Brad & Leia, who had been in line for it. Since this attraction operated in groups of 6 or 7, Brad and Leia convinced me that I should join them in line for it, since I'm a fan of the Ringu films (where Sadako is the main ghost).

there were only 5 in line, so when they were finally ready for the next group, I joined them in line to go thru with, and tho it was mainly in Japanese, the actor did switch to English for the 3 of us at important parts - mainly to scream "run!!!" when it was time to rush into the next room.

the "coffin" part was a bit silly.. . you were placed in individual tiny rooms (more like High School loc_k_ers) and then the doors closed, it got completely dark, and the host ran back and forth in front of the row of doors pounding on them at random. After about 2 minutes, the whole row tilted back about 45 degrees. . . and then tilted back upright quickly. . and the host opened up all the doors and rushed us into a dead end hall.

the TV at the end of the hall flickered. . . the lights went out, and when they came back up, "Sadako" was climbing out of the TV at the end of the hall and starting to chase us, while the host shrieked for us to run.

it was fun, if a bit stupid, but we came out laughing. . . and noting how "Sadako" looked an awful lot like the guy who had scanned our ticket, but with a long wig on. . .

LOL :)

after this I did a quick walkthru of the rest of the attractions up here on the 3rd floor - most of which were motion rides, such as Wild Wing (virtual hangglider), Wild Jungle Brothers (virtual jeep safari), or Wild River (virtual white-water rapids) -- which thanks to Terminator, I wasn't feeling that up for.

the Zombie Zoo walkthru sounded interesting, and I was confused and intrigued by "Lola and Carla: the Beauty Contest". .where apparently you compete as an animated character to try and win a beauty contest - but this one had most of the younger crowd that was out tonight, in line for it.

i think it may have been ~8:30 and several folks were hungry. And as noted, I honestly was kinda "done" with riding things. . so I was certainly up for heading into the Decks mall and finding some food.

I had ridden the coaster (multiple times), the half pipe, the Transformers ride, and the Sadako attraction, so I certainly had gotten my money's worth.
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heading down the stairs to go out the exit, I stopped to take a few pics of Half Pipe in operation.

think you can see some of the rotation in effect, and how high one can get on the swings in these pics.
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we checked out a few places on the 6th floor, and it seemed that all the smaller restaurants (that seemed very expensive, likely because they had patios outside facing Tokyo Bay) were really crowded. No one was really feeling the buffet that was there (it had a lot of sushi and fish options, but folks felt it was just too many choices). . so we ended up at an "inside" restaurant on the side of Decks that faced the train station:

Tsukiji Uemura

it was very quaint, and not too busy, and the manager seemed to be this lovely older lady.

that sat us in an area that had two tables across from each other so all 7 of us could sit together, and they had an extensive menu of shabu-shabu, Sushi, Japanese omlette, as well as Takoyaki and a large variety of Sake options.

Just LOOK at Alex's stare into the *soul* of that Sake bottle.

Get in mah bellah indeed!

(and he did share it with several of us, and it *was* very nice Sake).
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forgot to take a pic before diving in (and I did share with folks who wanted to try), but this is some Japanese Omlette, and in the corner there was one of Jon's Takoyaki fritters.
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this was my main (only the 3rd day, so was still using the trainers on my chopstix). . I believe it was a teryaki Pork of some kind with a miso soup?

i remember it was good, and nice and filling.

that's a little dab of Mayonnaise. . this restaurant was my 1st exposure to how often Mayo is served with a sit down meal in Japan. I still don't quite get the attraction. . but that's not butter, it's Mayo.
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Jon with his main. . not sure what he got. .looks like some sort of hot-pot or Katsu?
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Brad got a Sushi Bowl tho. . and it looked amazing!
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Table across from us.
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and us.

all 7 of us having a blast and enjoying each other's company.

by the time we finished up and headed back down, it was just after 9:30, and even tho Joypolis was still open, they had stopped letting people in the doors, due to the rule that they close the gate at 9:30.

so although we had tentatively discussed taking a spin on the Odaiba Ferris Wheel? I think it was a group consensus that it was simply too late in the evening, and it had been a really long day.

and 5 of the 7 of us at dinner had to be up before 5am to head to Fuji-Q the next morning. . so we blew off the ferris wheel, and decided to head back to the Shinagawa Prince Hotel.
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but not before stepping out on the back deck of level 5 of "Deckssssss" for some stunning views of Tokyo Bay & the City at night.
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just lovely.
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Temptress across the parking lot, as we were heading up to the trains.

but no.. we had to get some rest! tomorrow was gonna be a full day.
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it sure looked purty at night tho!
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Re: TR- bert has a Spooktacular time with TPR in Japan!

Postby PKI Jizzman » Sun Dec 08, 2019 7:52 pm

Another great update! Joypolis looks like so much fun and so unique to us Americans. I remember those virtual roller coasters at huge Dave and Busters like places as a kid but never got to experience one. So these type of places fascinate me. Can't wait for the next update!
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Re: TR- bert has a Spooktacular time with TPR in Japan!

Postby SharkTums » Mon Dec 09, 2019 9:35 am

I love the Odaiba area. So much interesting stuff to discover. I'm a little upset that the replaced my favorite Japanese arcade with that insane Digital Art Museum, but I know that's getting phenomenal reviews and I'll just find another arcade!

Joypolis is pretty cool. It's like an updated Disney Quest that didn't stay in 1993. Also, the best crepes I've ever had in Japan came from the crepe booth inside so there's that. =)

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Re: TR- bert has a Spooktacular time with TPR in Japan!

Postby bert425 » Mon Dec 09, 2019 10:01 am

PKI Jizzman wrote:Another great update! Joypolis looks like so much fun and so unique to us Americans. I remember those virtual roller coasters at huge Dave and Busters like places as a kid but never got to experience one. So these type of places fascinate me. Can't wait for the next update!


you're in the next update with me, since it's Fuji-Q !

been uploading pics for a bit now, and really fingers crossed, will have it up by end of day tomorrow.
(it might end up being a 2 part, since was a very full day once we met up with you at the Bus Terminal).
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Re: TR- bert has a Spooktacular time with TPR in Japan!

Postby bert425 » Mon Dec 09, 2019 10:05 am

SharkTums wrote:
Joypolis is pretty cool. It's like an updated Disney Quest that didn't stay in 1993. Also, the best crepes I've ever had in Japan came from the crepe booth inside so there's that. =)


we eyeballed those crepes.

that booth was right next to the food court on the upper level and we actually had a discussion over "eat light and stay here" or "let's go into the mall and get a real meal"

since I had wiped myself out on the Transformers spinning thing? I had no problem going into the mall to eat.
unfortunately, we finished too late to get back into Joypolis, or would have hit the souvenir shop, and likely, the crepes!

yet another reason to go back to Japan, I suppose.
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Re: TR- bert has a Spooktacular time with TPR in Japan!

Postby Canobie Coaster » Tue Dec 10, 2019 11:02 am

Great report! I love how weird Gekion Live Coaster is.
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Re: TR- bert has a Spooktacular time with TPR in Japan!

Postby bert425 » Wed Dec 11, 2019 5:16 pm

So I ended up taking over 600 pics on "Fuji-Q Day" and although I'm not gonna include over 2/3rds of em, I couldn't bear to cut many of the "coaster train moving thru the course in succession" pics. . so this report is gonna end up being a three parter!

apologies for those that are already sick of seeing pics of smiling me giving a silly thumbs up, as I seemed to do that a lot on this day. . LOL
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so I had to wake up insanely early - I think this pic is ~4am (as it was evening back in Texas so sent a good night wave home to the spouse).

why was I up so early? A group of 7 of us were meeting up downstairs at 4:30 to head to Shinjuku.
We were going to meet up with Zach (who had been in Japan for a few days doing culture stuff on his own), and we were headed to Fuji-Q for the day!

Elissa helped us a TON ahead of the trip, with planning how to get to Fuji-Q (since it wasn't part of the "Official TPR" trip) - as well as tons of helpful info if the weather didn't cooperate, the crowds were terrible, or the operations were sub-standard.

it was all about setting expectations, and I really appreciated all the advice.

I was most excited about seeing Mt Fuji, and even if the weather was awful was excited - even tho it sounded as if the Mountain didn't often appear, and was often covered in fog/clouds/mist.

but we had all pre-bought our reserved bus tickets (tho not actual park tickets, or skip the line tix yet. . just in case weather turned out to be terrible), so was up and dressed, and down in the lobby meeting up with the rest of the folks coming today: Jon, Alex, Luke, Trent, Allison & David.
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our bus left from the Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal at 6:05 am, and got us to Fuji-Q at 7:42 (~1:20 before opening).

We were a few stops away from Shinjuku, leaving from Shinagawa . . and we still had to find our way from the train station to the Bus Terminal.

Luckily Zach had been staying in a hotel at Shinjuku, and had pre-scouted to find out where we needed to go for the bus. So all we had to do was to meet up with Zach at the Train Station and follow his lead.

It was a Wednesday, just before 5am. This early, the stations were all pretty empty.
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the architecture in some of the stations continued to impress me. . and with such light crowds, was able to get some nice pics.
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Go Straight?

no thank you. . .

but I will go "gaily forward"

:p
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yeah. . not many folks headed to Shinjuku this early.
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We found Zach, and he led us outside, and across the street to the Bus Terminal.

it was maybe 5:30 or so, and the sun was starting to come up and the city coming alive.
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up the stairs to the 2nd level of the Express Bus terminal, and I stopped to snap this pic out the floor to ceiling windows of what was looking to be a beautiful day - at least in Tokyo.

Fuji-Q Highland is in Fujiyoshida, about 1 1/2 hours away. . so weather could be different, but I crossed my fingers and we made our way into the Bus waiting area (which looked remarkably like a small airport waiting room) - grabbing coffee and a snack from the little convenience store.

before too long, our bus had pulled up outside and we were called to start boarding.
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this was a highway express bus, with only a few stops (the 2nd of which was Fuji-Q), but as noted we had to pre-purchase seats, and they were assigned.

thanks to Elissa's recommendations, we had all purchased seats weeks in advance - which worked out great as the bus had sold out.

I had purchased first from our group, so I was in row 1 and had chosen a window seat. I forgot that the driver would sit on the right, so I was behind the driver's booth. but still had a pretty good view.

The seat next to me was open for a good 55 minutes, and the person next to me didn't join until the 1st stop. So it was a nice, comfy ride although I look really wiped out.
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the bus had free Wi-Fi (as well as a bathroom). . it was way nicer than any bus one would get in the States.
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as we started to get on the road, I spotted this ahead thru the driver's window.

I knew Mt Fuji was often behind clouds, but this looked clear. There was no snow on the peaks tho.. was this Mt. Fuji? (I snapped the pic and sent it to the group chat to ask. . and yep, it was Mt. Fuji!).

So I was already happy I had seen it - albeit from way far away. . but I could say I saw it.
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oh yeah. . . glad we're going out of Tokyo. . just look at that traffic headed into the city!
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clearer shot of Mt. Fuji. .tho still thru the bus window.
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just some random pics as we drove thru Japan, to get to Fuji-Q highland.

the landscape was just beautiful, and the sky got clearer and clearer the farther we got out of Tokyo proper.
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the highways go THRU the mountains. Reminded me very much of traveling we had done in the hilly areas of Pennsylvania (particularly on the way to Knoebel's).. tho this elevated highway reminded me of driving on Oahu.
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the the front window screens, but really loved the "fog" in the crevices of the mountains.

just really cool.

but why did I include this pic?

On the left there, thru the screen? yup, that's a ferris wheel, and what looked like a roller coaster.
it's not Fuji-Q (were too far away still), but there's an amusement park up there in the mountains.

I love Japan more every day I'm there!
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Cemetery on the hill right alongside the highway.
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the sky is a beautiful shade of Blue, with occasional low clouds..

Sorry for so many pics, but these are only a dozen or so of the 40 I took. . LOL

Just wanted to share the experience of the bus ride from Tokyo. So lush and beautiful.
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Tunnel thru the mountains
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Misty Mountains, low clouds, and beautiful sky.

we were getting closer to our destination, the weather was looking just lovely.
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Rural houses, along the highway
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Getting closer. . a better pic of Mt. Fuji. . and much clearer.
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over the houses, thru the "clear" part of the window?

off in the distance, is our destination.. my first view of Fuji-Q highland.. . I'm getting Giddy.
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Holy crap. . . still thru the bus window, but look at this amazing cloudless weather. .and holy crap - Mt. Fuji is impressive as hell!

not sure where the snow is, it looks naked. .but such a clear view today!
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I believe this is Eejanaika 's lift hill peeking out towards the highway, as we are approaching.
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Yup.. almost there! and passing right in front of Eejanaika, with Fujiyama's lift hill on the right.

(and in the center of the tracks, you can also make out Takabisha's vertical lift section.

all with a beautiful Mt. Fuji in the background.

Coaster-Japan-gasm. . . I actually felt my stomach doing flip-flops when I saw this view from the bus.
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Making the turn off the highway, and pulling up to the Fuji-Q Bus Station (around 7:40 am).

steps away from the front gate entrance - and just next to Fujiyama.


Air is crisp and clear.
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exiting the bus, and I got my first view that wasn't thru a window. . and I was completely blown away with how gorgeous Mt Fuji is.
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see? I look dumbstruck. . or just dumb. . or maybe just tired. . LOL. . but I was so amazed to be seeing this with my own eyes!

and the day was so clear. . I could have never imagined we'd get such a great clear day for visiting these parks, and had prepared myself to not be too disappointed. . .that added to how blown away by it I was.
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those stairs behind me in the prior picture, went to an elevated bridge that allowed one to go across the highway and get closer to a "lookout point" for Mt Fuji. . and also provided a great view of Fujiyama - which was the worlds tallest coaster when it was built back in 1996
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looking a bit more to the right, the lift hill and 1st drop of Fujiyama

no trains cycling yet, as it's still over an hour until the park gates open.
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stun. ning.
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it's the fresh mountain air, I think. . . yep, another "thumbs up from bert" pic.
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going across the bridge, there's a neat little look-out area, and a lovely clocktower down there at the base.

nos sure which side the infamous Suicide Forest is located at, but I suspect it's on the opposite side of Mt. Fuji from where I am looking.

I had gone back down the stairs to the bus-drop off and noted to some of the TPR folks that the stairs up gave a fantastic view, and most of us went back and came across to enjoy the view.

(I believe Trent & Luke had already headed over to the front gates tho).
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thanks to Alex for taking this picture for me. It's treasured among my favorite 5 or 10 pics that I've ever had of me.
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we posed for a "TPR group shot" with Mt. Fuji, and posted it to the Messenger thread, and we initially got back a two word response from Elissa. . . before she elaborated.

let's just say she was happy has hell for us that we ended up with this view (and weather) and noted that in 10 trips to Fuji-Q Highland, they had never seen Mt Fuji so clear.

the universe was with us on this day, and we were starting out really, really well.
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clockwise from front center: Allison, Alex, David, Zach, Me, Jon

most of us making "giddy" faces. . .
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after getting our Mt. Fuji fix in (and this clarity lasted for a few hours, but by 11am, the whole mountain was obscured by clouds and fog. . so it really was a perfect start to the day that we got to see it so clearly). . we headed towards the entrance gates for Fuji Q highland.

we still had about an hour until opening, but better to be lined up when they open as we didn't know what kind of crowds to expect since the day was so beautiful.

Fujiyama as we're walking toward the main gate.
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you get quite close to Fujiyama as you approach the park.

still too early for the trains to be running, but the structure itself is impressive all on it's own.
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and here we are, ~40 minutes prior to opening, outside the main entrance.

they had some pricing info up, and hours, and interestingly some changing rooms set up (I guess because it was October, and so people want to dress for Halloween, but not come to the park in costume but rather change AT the park?).
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there was also a Photo op - so of COURSE I posed :p

i was one of the "ensemble stars" - which looking into after the fact ,are a Japanese Anime, based on a CCG (collectible card game), and seems to be very popular in Japan.

tho to me they looked like an anime Scouts group. Regardless it was a photo op, so I stopped and op-ped.

the series seems to be pretty popular, but I don't recall seeing them anywhere in the park other than this display out front (inside the park there was tons of the "Power Rangers" type mascots that Fuji-Q uses, but no more of these characters).
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Park Map, with the red box showing us where we are.

I didn't realize it at the time (probably because it's all in Japanese ???), but on this map, there is a greed dotted line, that shows where we ended up getting to go to: as at the 30 minute mark, the front of the "store" opened, and we were allowed into the area - which is an entire themed (to France?) section with shops, cafes, fountains, more photo ops and some amazing views of the park - along the way to the actual front gates - where they sell admission, as well as the main park entrance (noted on this map as "Park Entrance 1"

so you can get pretty far into the place, before it really opens - although the only "ride" out here is a double decker Carousel, that wasn't open until the park opened (and never made it back out to ride this one, so I only rode the Carousel inside Fuji-Q's main gates).

that blue dotted line, would appear to be the directions for Hotel guests to follow. .as it leads them right to the front gate as well (where they lined up in a separate queue and were allowed in about 15 minutes prior to official opening).

as you can see from this map, if you're coming in Park Entrance #1 (not even sure if #2 was open, but if I had to guess it was not this day). . then you're coming immediately to 3 of the 4 "big" coasters at Fuji-Q Highland.

literally steps straight ahead from the entrance is: Fujiyama
if you hang a right just before Fujiyama's queue building, you immediately come upon Takabisha - and directly across the "street" from that queue is the queue for Do-Dodonpa

so the only one of the big 4 that's off by itself is Eejanaika - much further back into the park from the main entrance.

so it is possible to spend a bit of time just up here by the entrance and get 3/4ths of the parks' famous coasters without ever leaving this section.
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standing in front of the park map, just before they opened up the doors to the store, and we realized we were allowed to enter into the pre-entrance area.
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as noted, I hadn't realized we'd be able to get into this section so hadn't looked at the big park map too closely. .but there was a lot of stuff here, and very well themed. Almost Epcot level in some places.

and some great shots of the coasters (which still weren't testing yet, as it was still ~35 minutes until park open).

here's Takabisha's famous "steeper than vertical" drop at the midpoint of the ride.
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Looking to the left a little, here's Fujiyama on the left, with Eejanaika's track in the center of the pic.

the morning weather was just so perfect, only could have gotten better pics if the trains had started cycling at this point.

never did figure out who the black & white dog figures are, but they apparently are Fuji-Q Highland mascots too, as they were all over this entrance section to the park.
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here I am in a photo-op with them. . riding a super-deformed version of Fujiyama.

whee!!!
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some interesting artwork here - that were down nooks and cranny "side streets" off the main path.
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a good pic down one of the "streets" with the shops, headed towards the main gate.

see? very much reminded me of Epcot theming, and those two black/white dogs (?) were everywhere out here, including in signs, as well as some Halloween versions of them at the end of the street).

and yes, at this point, we TPR folks were the only ones here.
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a fountain/cafe area, offering a great shot of Takabisha. . . and I love how they themed the planter into a Jack O Lantern for Halloween.
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yep. . we're in France, that's an Eiffel tower at the end of the pond with fountains, and there were some lovely gardens off to the right. Tho it looks like Fuji-Q ran out of budget and just stopped. . so there's a blank wall up against the rear of the building at the far back.

Still, its pretty nicely done, was unexpected, and to the left there is the Double Decker Carousel (which as I noted I didn't get to ride today, since we didn't come out until after park close. . tho it IS included in your park ticket if you buy the ride pass, otherwise you can pay to ride it as single ride).
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continuing toward the main gates, a closer shot of the "nook" area and Takabisha.
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looking up at Fujiyama, as we head down this "street" towards the entrance.

this area looked amazing at night, and yep, those two dog (?) characters are in the lights over the shops and glittered at night.
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they also had a photo op, where you could sit between them on a bench in front of a Fuji-Q version of the Arc de Triomphe.

so of course I did.
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We've now made it all the way to the front gate area - which is over there to the right.
to the left is where one can buy the tickets for the park. . which it turns out you get a discount (only $1, but hey a buck is a buck) if you show your passport when purchasing.

Fuji-Q has now become a "free" park - there is no separate admission fee, but instead you purchase an entrance ticket (free), or Free Pass ticket (which includes all rides).

OR you could just purchase for whatever specific rides you wish to enjoy when there. (in addition, the 4 "big" coasters, all have machines in front of them that sell the Fuji-Q version of Fast Pass, which seemed to average ~$15.. but they give you an assigned time (you get to choose what timeframe), and you come back and bypass the standby queue).

of course we purchased the Free Pass, as we wanted to ride everything - and we did confirm before purchasing that all the big coasters would be operating (minus the Mad Mouse which had been declared SBNO earlier in the year).

they don't give you a wristband or ticket that you'll need to keep pulling out. . instead the park uses Facial Recognition! at the main gate, you pose for a picture, and then every ride (even the Carousel), you stop in the booth on the way to the ride, and smile, and it recognizes that you bought the ticket type that allows you to ride that ride (either free pass, or for that specific ride). Very cool, and a little bit "Technology is taking over" freaky.

it worked really well tho, and I think the only time we even hit a small snag was when Allison put her hair up, and the booth didn't recognize her, until she took it back down for the green approval from the technology overlord. :)


anyways, as you can see from this pic? the park was preparing to open!
(and a cut out of the female "power ranger" type mascot of the park).
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a good look at the entrance gates, and the facial recognition booths where they snap your photo upon entering the park.

also Eejanaika way back over there.

no one in line, yet, as it was still about 20 minutes to opening, tho that would change as the Hotel guests started to show up shortly after for early admission.
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I absolutely adored this.

the park name, as Vending Machines.
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LOVED it.

even better? all Coke product, no nasty Pepsi to be found anywhere :p
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better look at the entrance facial recognition booths, and some of the Halloween Decorations the park had put up.
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less than 20 minutes until park opens, and the Hotel guests started to arrive in droves, and lined up at the special queues to let them into the early admission. (i think that maybe those that pre-bought tickets online got 15 minute early admission too).
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a few other non-early admission folks had shown up, and joined the line in front of us, but it wasn't much of a line. . the day was beautiful, but opening didn't seem too crowded (although the early admission line was growing and growing).

still can't really believe I'm here, and the day is so beautiful.


just after I snapped this pic, they opened up the park for the early admission, and folks just streamed in. . .and went directly ahead to join the Fujiyama queue.

The Ride wasn't open yet, but that's right where everyone went. . we looked at each other and were a bit surprised that no one was heading to the right (for Do-Dodonpa or Takabisha) ,but it seemed almost every person went to get in line for Fujiyama.
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less than 10 minutes to "general" open, and Fujiyama has started testing (only Silver train tho, no Gold. . which never ran all day, but this was the only major coaster that was running 1 train).

these set of pics are from just outside the main gates.
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and while Fujiyama was cycling, we started hearing the jet-engine take off sound of Do-Dodonpa tearing out of the launch, while they readied that.

and then moments later? the gates opened for everyone, and into the park we went - a place I never in a million years thought I'd ever set foot in (same thoughts I'd have every day on this trip! especially once we got to Disney)
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thru the gates, and I/we followed the advice Elissa had given me to prepare us for a "not-perfect" day so we would still enjoy Fuji-Q: at open, head to the coaster I MOST wanted to ride, and get a ride on it standby.

THEN go hit the skip the line machines to buy further passes if needed.

for me, and for most of those on the TPR trip at Fuji-Q with me today, the #1 ride I MUST do was Do-Dodonpa, so we made a bee-line for it.

a quick glance at Fujiyama as we walked by, confirmed what we thought we saw - everyone did seem to go there. The queue was full all the way down every ramp, and into the back&forths at entrance level. I knew from research, if the ramps were full? that's a 2+ hour wait.

So we headed to the right, and were shocked to find Do-Dodonpa with a queue that wasn't even 1/2 way down the 2nd ramp. We're talking ~15 minute wait. . so we hopped right in line.

looking across the walkway, Takabisha's queue wasn't even past the entrance door out into the back&forth queue area. . so we knew we'd be hitting that next. But from our wait on the Do-Dodonpa ramps, we got some nice visuals of Takabisha running, with multiple empty rows!

wow, we picked a great day to go. . maybe the Typhoon kept people away? Maybe because it was a Wednesday? Or maybe just pure luck?

but we had managed to hit Fuji-Q Highland on a perfect morning (great weather + light crowds). .
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HOLY. .
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the back portion of Takabisha's course
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So. many. inversions. . .
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and zooming into the frame? Do-Dodonpa train on the return to the station, still just FLYING.

they were running two trains on Do-Dodonpa today, Purple and Red.. this is Purple.
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and they were running it with lots of empty seats - which seemed odd, but I think these were still some of the first trains with riders today.
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Selfie from the queue (and some serious side eye from the girl in front of me who is watching the speed of the train returning. she seemed to be wary about riding but was being egged on to ride by her boyfriend).

this is really the only ramp full of folks between us and the ride - the load station is at the top of the ramp, on the left.

and you can see on the right, that no one really filled in the queue behind us either, the remaining ramps are pretty empty!
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a peek across the "street" at the completely empty outside queue for Takabisha !

(and the empty ramps behind us on Do-Dodonpa)
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Silver Train of Fujiyama climbing the lift hill .. behind the return track from Do-Dodonpa (and thru the tunnel is the "out" track from Do-Dodonpa
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and across the park?

Eejanaika has started to cycle.
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OMG. . never been on X2, didn't know what to expect. . but OMG. . this looks amazing.
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Do-Dodonpa's red train returning after the loop.

we were going to be on this real soon.

I believe we ended up riding purple, and myself and Allison got front row.

Absolutely incredible launch - I had heard it described as feeling like you got hit by a truck. . and that's pretty much what it feels like, with a surprise pop of airtime as you enter the tunnel (the track does a little bunny-drop, and your ass just keeps lifted out of the seat). This is all about the speed, and boy does it deliver.

i obviously never got to ride it with the "ejector airtime hill of death".. but I can imagine I would have HATED that. .but I really liked the replacement loop - which had quite the hang time as you went thru the giant loop.

it's over pretty quickly and really doesn't do all that much. . but wow, that speed. so impressive.

and the theme song playing in the station, and the launch tunnel (not to mention the LED display on the walls of the station.. which i didn't notice on our morning ride - so I think they weren't on - but certainly noticed on our afternoon ride? that's a wow moment as well.

Very good. . so good, i was tempted to get right back in the short line for it. . but with Takabisha right across the way, with also a shortish line? yeah, common sense kicked in, and we exited and got in line for that.
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in line for Takabisha - it was ~ two ramps, and this wait was maybe ~20 minutes, but it went by really fast.

we were all talking about how much we had enjoyed Do-Dodonpa, so the time flew, and we were at the station before we knew it.
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but before we got to the station, the ramps going to Takabisha's station offer some more great views of Fujiyama. . .
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and while taking that pic? Do-Dodonpa decided to photo bomb.
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some of my photo taking skills are ninja like!

Still can't believe I got this shot, considering how fast Do-Dodonpa's train is moving at this point.
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although you have to put your stuff in cubbies (all provided free), after our ride on Takabisha, I hung out in the station for a moment to snap a pic of the mural that I loved.

honestly, most all the stations on the big coasters were pretty spectacular, with either painted murals (Takabisha, Eejanaika), digital displays (Do-Dodonpa), or just some amazing classic Japanese architecture (Fujiyama).

I didn't realize this mural would also be on the outside of the photo frame of any pictures purchased. . so I made sure to get a snap of it.

I even like the checkerboard floors. . tho the top stripe is really nice.
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here's the pic i bought.

SO. MUCH. FUN.

and this "beyond vertical drop" is at the 1/2 way point of the ride! there's a bunch of inversions and a launch before you even get to this point. Tho it didn't end up being my favorite ride at Fuji-Q, Takabisha is top 3 for sure (and in the #2 spot if only counting Coasters)

Jon, Allison, Me in back row
screaming locals, Zach, and Alex in front row.

Funny how the TPR folks are smiling. . LOL

it turned out that with every "print" one buys, you get a digital copy too.. so what those of us who spent the day hanging out together did, was take turns buying them, then Alex would download the digital pic and share to the TPR messenger thread so we all got copies.

i'm the only nerd who likes hard copies, so I really appreciated that everyone gifted me the hard copies of pics we bought. they make wonderful souvenirs for me.
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leaving Takabisha, and noting how light the crowds were, we as a group decided to hit up the remaining coasters first, to check them off our bucket lists.

one look at Fujiyama confirmed that yes, not only was it still completely full on the ramps, but the queue had spilled out into the ground level queue as well.

as I noted, it turned out it was because they were only running one train. So we all ended up going to the machine and purchasing a fast pass for Fujiyama (for later in the morning), as with 1 train, the line simply wasn't going to get any shorter, regardless of how light the crowd might be.

pass purchased to come back to ride this in a little bit, we set our eyes on the remaining big coaster in the park, and headed towards Eejanaika.

to be continued in part II
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Re: TR- bert has a Spooktacular time with TPR in Japan!

Postby SharkTums » Wed Dec 11, 2019 7:17 pm

FYI - the black and white bunnies are Gaspard and Lisa. A pretty famous kids show. It's like British, French, and American rabbits!

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Re: TR- bert has a Spooktacular time with TPR in Japan!

Postby bert425 » Wed Dec 11, 2019 7:32 pm

SharkTums wrote:FYI - the black and white bunnies are Gaspard and Lisa. A pretty famous kids show. It's like British, French, and American rabbits!


ah. .that would explain the sign behind what I called "Superdeformed Fujiyama"

what is the tie to Fuji-Q Highland? any idea.. or they just decided to theme that entry section to France (with some British shops thrown in), and so used them as mascots there?
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Re: TR- bert has a Spooktacular time with TPR in Japan!

Postby SharkTums » Wed Dec 11, 2019 7:58 pm

^It's just a popular IP, similar to their Thomas the Tank Engine land.

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